Why it’s important to blog and how to put together a good strategy
Posted on 22 April 2017
This month, I want to cover a few of the reasons as to why it’s important to blog and how to put together a good content strategy to help add value to your brand and attract new customers.
Blogging is a funny conversation I’v had over the past few months with designers and I think it’s pretty obvious why it is a part of marketing that often get’s over looked and under utilised.
As a small business and most importantly, as a creator, coming up with subjects to write about and actually writing about them is pretty hard.
I have and still do write a lot of the blog posts for The Pommier but one thing I realised is it takes me a LONG time, simply because, I’m not a content writer.
With that said, I understand the importance of blogging but with limited resources and a lot of work, I find myself putting my attention into places I enjoy more (speaking to new designers, networking, marketing ads etc) which means our content isn’t going out as frequently as it should be.
I would imagine this is similar to you right?
You’re running a business on your own, you’re amazing with your hands, making things, designing things, getting in with new stockists and a dash of social media that actually sitting down and writing an article is like…blurgh.
Also, what i’v found, is sometimes you will write an article you’re really proud of, post it on social media and not much happens. And that kind of kills the buzz and makes you think “is it really worth it?”
Well here’s the thing, it really is!
I will highlight some of the things content does below and will go into a deeper analysis of it further down in this article.
What does blogging actually do for your business?
- It gives your brand a personality
- It adds value to your readers and inspires them to take action
- It’s a great way to drive traffic
- It’s a great way to drive sales
- It’s a great way to make your brand more rememberable and referable
We touched on the scenario of you writing a great blog post, putting it out on social media and no one reading it but I also want to tell you, that’s not the end of that piece of content.
When you write a blog post, you have created a new page on your website. A new page for Google to pick up and display in a search result to attract users who are looking for an answer on the subject you have just covered.
Take this article for instance, In January we wrote a little article about Fashion Hacks to try in 2017. Now this is nothing life changing but we come up on the first page in the UK when someone searches the term Fashion Hacks 2017 and have attracted on average 100 new visitors a month from a post we put out on social media and then forgot about it.
Although 100 new visitors a month isn’t nothing special the point is, if you wrote 4 articles a month it could be 400 visitors a month and will continue to grow month on month as long as you do it right.
If you’re really determined, you could try to write an article on a subject with a really high search volume, albeit the more searches a term gets the harder it is to get that top spot as your competing against big companies that have spent lots of money making sure they always rank at the top.
But the point is and let’s be honest, we’re not those massive companies with £100,000 a month budgets, so we’re happy just to grow and any new visitor, any new customer is a great achievement.
How do you prepare a content strategy?
If you’re already writing content, you’ll get this right away but for those who are newer to this side of your business, it’s a pretty important step. The better you prepare and plan, the easier the rest will become.
Starting with the basics:
Who are your customers and does your brands personality match theirs?
This is an interesting question, I read an interview with a new eCommerce business and they where asked this and their response was something like “free spirit girls who love to party, they’re the type of girl with lots of friends, very social and very fashion conscious. They are the type of person who loves finding new treasures and standing out from the crowd”…
This got me thinking…How do you know that and how does that information help you to grow online?
I mean, it’s great to know as much as possible about your customers but from that description, how could I put together a marketing plan that will specifically target that kind of personality. It’s not impossible, but it’s hard.
If you asked a marketer “who are your customers” there response would look something like this:
“18-24, Female, Lives in London, New York & Paris, has a household income of 30k a year, uses an iPhone, Uses Safari as their browser, Loves Fashion, Celebrities and Holidays.”
If you have ever ran a Facebook Ad, you know you could target this person right!
Check out Audience Insights on Facebook and it will give you the information you need to know about the people following your page.
This is a big subject that has lots to cover which I will focus on in a later post but basically, find this information, understand who actually likes your products and become their new best friend by matching them as an individual and adding value to them to maximise your engagement.
Prepare a Social Calendar and incorporate your content within it
I follow a lot of you on Facebook and I know a lot of you have this in place pretty well but I will cover this for those who might not understand it as much.
Preparing a Social /Editorial Calendar will literally make your life so much easier.
In short, it’s a calendar comprising of a number of events that are related to your brand.
Here is an example of our calendar for March 2017
For us, we tend to look at three things;
- What exciting things are happening at The Pommier (with us or our designers)
- What exciting things are happening in fashion (Fashion Weeks, Events etc)
- What’s happening in the World (Mothers Day, St. Georges Day etc).
Typically, we will fill the calendar up with as much stuff we think might be relevant, then we review it and brainstorm idea’s and remove the events we feel necessary.
Here’s a great source for finding world events that we use.
Once you have a calendar like the one above, coming up with relevant social media posts and content idea’s is really easy.
I found, I spent 60% of my time scratching my head about what subject to write about than actually writing about it so I saved a lot of time by preparing a calendar.
How can you get content idea’s if there’s nothing in your calendar for the month?
We’ve just finished our first round of interviews for a Fashion Editor, and these where the questions I asked them to see if they knew or had a decent answer.
This is my new favourite by the way and it will sound pretty obvious as to why.
Both of these websites are communities of people asking questions about problems their having which they really need an answer too.
Now, it’s not a simple thing to do, you need to spend time researching and understanding how to use these platforms effectively but if you get it right it works wonderfully for picking up new followers and customers.
I have a friend starting a Food Delivery business in the suburbs and I had a quick check on Quora and noticed a few people discussing “Why there no decent restaurants in Erith”, I mean, the guy is right, theirs not much in Erith that will take your breath away but my friends company will pick up food from a place further down the road.
So we wrote a blog about the top 10 restaurants in a 2 mile radius, replied to the users comments like “ahh, have you checked out Efes, their a little up the road but their kebabs are amazing. I had the same question as you a few months ago so done some research and wrote about it here if you want to check it out”. The post got a ton of hits and was shared on social media a handful of times too.
It’s more of a case of finding the right people with a problem you can solve and adding value to them.
Another question I asked in the interviews which will be super relevant for you too is:
“If you have no social media followers, no email marketing list but you wrote a great article and wanted to get the biggest reach possible, how would you do it?”
Genuinely, before reading on because I'm clearly going to give you the answer to this… try and answer this question yourself if you can?
It’s a great question to ask because your exercising peoples brains and seeing how they think outside of the box and on the spot.
The answer is…
Give it away to someone with a bigger reach than you.
Do you get it?
Think about this, journalists have to write loads of articles every day. Do it for them.
Albeit they used a snippet from my article but I got a lot of traffic from both of them, plus the backlink from their website helped us grow our Domain Authority (Another subject I will cover later down the line).
This method can be hit and miss so you need to work on your pitch to get the journalists attention because this is not by no means a new thing and hundreds of people are trying to do it but if you do it right, it works pretty well and you make amazing relationships with people who are willing to help your business grow if you need them.
You can also do this with bloggers too by the way! Literally, anyone.
Coming up on Google Searches.
Again, this one is a huge topic and I promise I'm going to cover this one in depth because it so valuable. Half of our traffic comes from Google and it’s free but there’s a bit to it so I will run over the basics.
Get Keyword Idea’s.
If you don’t have a Adwords Account, get one, it’s free.
Adwords is how you create advert on Googles Search and Display Network but it has a bunch of handy tools to help your advertise better which you can use to grow your organic content strategy.
Use this tool, Keyword Planner.
Here, you can either put in your website address and it will generate a bunch of suggested keywords for you or you can type in a topic like “Handmade Jewellery” and it will generate some alternatives.
You can check the search volumes on these keywords and also how competitive they are to rank for.
But in short, and something to think about is it’s harder to rank for words like “rings” but it’s easier to rank for what are called Long Tail Keywords such as “handmade sterling silver rings”
The idea is to think “what would someone search on Google if they wanted to find my product”.
There’s also another little trick I learned when I took my Google Exams (cheeky boast there due to proud moment there ha). Think of the third search term someone will use to find your product/service.
Here’s the scenario.
Imagine I was searching a new Black Leather Backpack for myself. Iv probably got a budget but it’s not the first thing I think of right so I jump on Google and type in something like “Black Leather Backpacks”.
With that search, I will get a ton of Bags appear but probably a lot of women’s, which I am not looking for so I go to the search bar and type “Black Leather Backpack for Men”.
Your results will get better but again, the backpacks are too expensive so I do a third search “Black Leather Backpack for Men under £100”.
I have a much higher chance of finding what I set out to search for now as all that should come up is Men’s Leather Backpacks within my price range.
Now, you won’t get much in terms of search traffic if you ranked for this Long Tail Keyword but it would be pretty safe to say your conversion rate will be high because someone searching that term is specifically looking for that product and because the search volume is low, big companies won’t be ranking for it so it will be easier for you to take the top spot.
So how do I rank for that search term?
There’s a lot to this, but for easier, less competitive long tail keywords such as “Black Leather Backpack for Men under £100” you could likely get away with including the the words in your article in the right places.
Here are the right places to consider:
- Meta Description
- First Paragraph
- Through out the article
Remember, this is not a case of stuffing in keywords to try and rank, Google know’s these tricks, it’s about writing an article relevant for the reader with those keywords included so Google understands it’s relevance to the search term.
If you stuff the article with keywords it becomes un-readable and less people will be interested in it so Google will soon rank you lower. So write the article for the user first then optimise it with the keywords so it reads really well.
So how often should I write blog and where should I post?
Realistically you should be writing content every week but if you can, even more.
Ideally you should write 2 articles addressing a problem, 1 inspirational article and give one article away.
Distribute your articles on social media and in forums if possible but always optimise the articles for Google so that you start to benefit from search traffic a few months later down the line.
One thing to remember too, it’s good practise to post your articles a few times on social media. Some people think they overwhelm their followers if they post the same thing twice but the truth is, not all of them see it.
Facebook for example, on average, show your posts to 8% of your followers.
By posting the article over a 1-2 week period at different times (morning, afternoon and evening) you maximise your chances of reaching the right people.
Hopefully this article has added some value to you and maybe given you and insight to the importance of your blog and I would love to hear your thoughts?
If you have friends who you think will benefit from reading this, feel free to send it them, after all, sharing is caring!
Of course, if you have any questions, drop me a message I am always happy to help where I can. Especially if it add’s value to your business.