Blogging is the original social media and, when done properly, it can actually boost brand awareness and build a community of fans. But what many natural products entrepreneurs don’t realize is that their company blog can also bring in new, interested customers who are ready to shop.
In addition to offering your existing customers a new and exciting view of your business, blogging gives you a free and easy way to pump up your search engine ranking. Without getting overly technical, here’s how it works:
Search engines like Google and Bing scan the internet constantly, cataloguing the keywords on each and every webpage. While you’re already using keywords like “organic shampoo” or “recycled fabrics” on your product pages and other levels of your website, a blog gives you so many more opportunities to have your keywords show up.
Now that you understand why you want to use a blog to drive brand awareness and sales, it’s time to learn how. Here are seven strategies to get the most bang for your blog:
Strategy 1: Content is king—here’s why
Think about the last blog post or article you read from top to bottom. What kept you reading? The answer, as you already know, is a good story. You need to share information your readers want if you hope to keep them coming back.
You posts can take many forms from reviews of products and services to news about your business and social causes that your company champions. Did you start your business because you were allergic to toxic ingredients in personal care products? Or did you start it because your child is sensitive to toxic paints on toys? Stonyfield Organics does a great job of featuring different types of content on their blog—everything from recipes and information about their farmers to videos of recent events and pioneers in the industry.
If you’re like many natural product entrepreneurs, you might shy away from blogging because you think it’s something that you have to do on a daily basis in order for it to be effective, but that’s not entirely true. Consistency, rather than frequency, is a lot more important.
Strategy 2: An updated blog is a busy blog
Your blog must be updated regularly for two reasons: search engines and your readers. To make the most of its search engine effect, regular posting offers you more opportunities to show up on the radar. In addition to benefiting the search engines, this strategy also benefits your readers. If it’s unrealistic for you to blog daily, pick one day a week and blog consistently on that day EVERY week.
When your blog updates follow a regular schedule your readers know they have a reason to check in with you. Readers are nice, you might be thinking, but once they know about my brand why do I want to reach them again? A regular reader is more likely to become a regular customer, and even more likely to share a post they enjoy with a friend, bringing a new reader or customer into the fold.
Strategy 3: Look for link opportunities
The key to driving traffic to your website is that your blog actually makes it simple to visit your website. In addition to placing a link from your blog back to your website in a prominent place (like the side bar or header of your blog), look for ways to tie individual blog posts back to relevant pages on your site.
For example, if you blog about a new organic eye cream you’re offering, link to it from your blog to your site so interested readers can get there with one click.
Strategy 4: Ask for help by working with guest bloggers
Guest bloggers can help keep your content quotient up without taxing your time. A guest blogger offers a new voice to your blog, brings new and interesting ideas to your readers and, best of all, brings their readers to your blog.
Whether you invite a well-known speaker or organic foods advocate or your local farmer’s market vendors to contribute to your blog, make sure to keep it relevant to your audience.
Strategy 5: Connect with other bloggers by commenting on their posts
This tip works hand-in-hand with the one above. If you’re not a blog reader, it’s time to start. Not only will reading the blogs of other natural product companies or eco-friendly lifestyle bloggers make you a better writer, it will also help you find guest bloggers and ideas you can explore in your own blog. Commenting on the blogs of others helps you gain exposure for your brand because blogs allow commenters to link back to their own websites.
Strategy 6: Use social media to push your posts further
Share your blog posts on your company’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and, if you’re not on them yet, join Google+ and Pinterest to reach even more new customers.
Most blog interfaces offer widgets to let you make your blog content easier to share by allowing a reader to share a blog post with their social network with just one click. As a business owner you know that the easier it is for a customer to tell her friends about your business the better your business will be.
Strategy 7: Use an analytics tool
The key to a successful blogging strategy is to understand what works for your readers—and what doesn’t. Take advantage of one of the many free analytics tools out there on the web like Google Analytics, Bitly or HootSuite to track engagement by your followers. By monitoring which posts earn the most clicks or what keywords most often lead to a purchase you can hone your blogging skills.
Integrating blogging into your overall marketing strategy can take time, but if you’re willing to put in the effort to create a space that attracts new readers and encourages them to come back, you’re sure to see a bump in sales.