When done right, blogging can be a great way to connect with potential and existing customers. It gives you an avenue to demonstrate your expertise, engage with users, and more importantly, convert them into paying customers.
If you’re planning to start a blog for your store or if you already have one but are looking to step things up, below are 9 retail blogging tips (complete with screenshots and examples) that you may want to try:
Retail blogging tip# 1: Let pictures tell the story
The Home Depot Blog is one of the most educational retail blogs around. The company regularly publishes posts on DIY projects, home improvement tips, outdoor living, and more. But what’s really impressive about the site is its heavy use of images.
Home Depot’s bloggers make it a point to include an image for every step, tip, or item that they write about. Doing so not only makes the articles more attractive, but the images help readers better understand the posts.
Keep this in mind especially when you’re blogging about DIY projects or how-to articles. Always include images to demonstrate the steps, examples, and tips on your blog. It makes your posts more educational and actionable.
And when readers see just how great of a resource your site is, they’ll learn to trust you more, and they’ll likely turn to YOU when it’s time to make a purchase decision.
Retail blogging tip# 2: Publish seasonal content
In the same way that you would update your window displays to keep up with the seasons, you should also ensure that your blog content is updated for special holidays and seasonal changes throughout the year.
Check out the blog of Total Wine & More, which features posts with seasonal recipes and tips.
Retail blogging tip# 3: Feature your employees
Securing top talent is critical in the retail industry, and one of the ways you can do that is to promote your workplace. You can use your company blog to do this by publishing employee spotlights and by sharing content on what it’s like to work at your store.
Target does a great job at this. The retailer has the Target Pulse Blog, a site that focuses on employee stories and career insights.
Retail blogging tip #4 Give your big bosses a voice
In addition to scrumptious recipes, Whole Foods Market also has blogs by its CEOs where they post updates and informative articles.
Let your founder, CEO, and other executives take the blogging reigns every so often. People would feel more connected to the company when they see that your corporate leaders are taking the time to engage with the community.
According to the BRANDFog 2012 CEO, Social Media & Leadership Survey, 82% of respondents are “more likely to trust a business whose top leadership communicated openly via social channels.
The survey also found that “77% of respondents were more likely or much more likely to buy from a company whose values and mission are defined through CEO and executive leadership participation on social media.”
Retail blogging tip #5: Invite people to join the community
One of the things we love about the Huckberry blog (aside from the great content) is that it proactively invites visitors to join the community. When you visit the site, Huckberry displays a pop-up asking if you want to sign up. This is an effective tactic for building your list and generating repeat visits that can ultimately turn into sales.
Not a fan of pop-ups? Add a static form on your site. Huckberry does this as well by having a form at the footer of its site.
Retail blogging tip #6: Let your customers interact with your content
The ModCloth Blog has everything a good fashion, lifestyle, and beauty blog should have: How-to posts, content around the latest trends, DIY ideas, and more.
But one of the things that truly makes the blog stand out is ModCloth creates content that encourages visitors to interact with the brand, rather than just passively consume information.
ModCloth does this through fun lifestyle quizzes like “What Are You Wearing for New Year’s Eve?” and “What’s Your Dream Job Dress Code?”.
Aside from getting people to engage with ModCloth, these quizzes also put the spotlight on some the brand’s products. Each style quiz comes with product recommendations at the end, that shoppers can check out.
Retail blogging tip #7: Include “before and after” posts
Front + Main, a blog by furniture store West Elm, features some great “before and after” articles (with lots of photos) that demonstrate how its products improved the homes of its customers.
See if you can do something similar. If you sell products that make people’s lives better, invite your customers to take pictures and tell their story. If you provide services, be sure document the jobs you do for your clients. For instance, a lot of salons take before and after photos of customers to demonstrate their results.
Before and after posts are compelling, not to mention useful. They give you a chance to showcase what you’re selling, plus they can also serve as catalogs for your products or services.
Retail blogging tip #8 Have certified experts contribute to your blog
GNC’s Live Well blog covers nutrition, exercise, and other health-related topics. What helps it stand out however, is that some of its articles are by real doctors and nutrition experts. Having certified experts on your site builds trust and credibility–which as we all know, are two very important factors in converting shoppers.
Are there any experts who can contribute to your blog? Invite them over to give your site an instant credibility boost.
Retail blogging tip #9: Feature celebrities
Aside from writing about fashion tips and company updates, Untuckit’s blog also features prominent personalities on their blog. For example, to celebrate Father’s Day, they put the spotlight on four extraordinary men — New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson, actor and producer Josh Schubart, and agency president Won Kim.
Now you might be thinking, “Well, this works for Untuckit because they have a lot of pull in the sports and entertainment industry.” That may be true, but it doesn’t mean you can’t apply this tip in your business.
Why not interview local celebrities or authority figures in your specific field? Their input would make for great content, and could open up your site to a wider audience. Once you publish the post, be sure to notify them so they can share it with their fans, and hopefully bring in more readers (and potential customers) to your blog.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.