Blogging for SEO and Expertise
Blogs are the articles on a website. These articles are usually written by an employee or owner of a website. Sometimes an expert guest will contribute articles to this section of the website. The National Retail Federation Blog is about retail in the United States. If you own a flower shop, your blog might include articles like, “How to Pick the Best Flower Arrangement for Mom,” or “Ways to Personalize Your Valentine’s Day Flowers.” In this article, we talk about the value of blogging for retail businesses. It not only makes you look like an expert but Google loves a good blog too!
There are two important reasons to blog: SEO and Expertise. Blog articles add more content to your website. Search engines crawl your blog to learn about your business. Each new blog article creates a landing page on your website. Google catalogs these pages to rank you for more topics in search results. Additionally, consumers read blogs to make purchasing decisions. As a blogger, you’re the source of quality information for your customers. These two factors mean that blogging needs to be an important aspect of a quality website. Let’s discuss both reasons.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engines are always looking for new information. Google doesn’t want to show results for outdated websites. Thus, the search engines favor websites that add fresh information. Adding new blog articles is a great way to do this.
Furthermore, each blog article’s topic orientation is around a particular subject. The topics that your customers will be searching for. Store owners usually find that blogs about the buying process are helpful in engaging potential customers. For instance, if you sell Husqvarna equipment at your store, you may consider an article such as, “Husqvarna vs. Stihl – Which products are right for you.” A lot of consumers search for this when deciding which brand to buy. Wouldn’t it be nice to lead these consumers to your website? Wouldn’t you like to weigh in on the decision making process with your expertise? You may be able to provide a convincing argument to choose Husqvarna over Stihl. Demonstrating your expertise will lead customers to your website and into your store.
Ask any independent retailer what differentiates them from the big box stores and they’ll say, “Service!” But that doesn’t mean training your staff to say please and thank you to customers. It means that you have the answers that the big box stores don’t have about products and your industry.
I don’t know anything about promotional products. However, I know that when used effectively they can have an enormous impact. Before I invested in promotional products for a recent trade show I decided to do some research online. Lucky for me, our supplier, Juice That Brand, posted great articles online. They offered a ton of ideas for using promotional products at trade shows. Their articles inspired great ideas. I understood that they were experts before I even spoke with them.
The other promotional products companies in the area did not have blogs. The Juice That Brand team demonstrated that they were more than salespeople. They were experts and consultants that could help my business with their product. I knew this because they put effort into blogging about their business, expertise and products.
As a store owner, you provide the same expertise to your customers. I own chickens. I shop for my chicken food at a local Ace Hardware store. The reason I shop there is not because they have the lowest prices. It’s not because they are the most convenient. Actually, it’s not even because they have the best selection. It’s because they’re the most helpful.
At Ace Hardware, the staff helps me make decisions about food, supplements, lamps, shavings and supplies. As a casual hobbyist I don’t know all the ins and outs of raising chickens. But the Ace team does.
The problem is that today’s consumer doesn’t go to your store first to see if you are an expert. They look on your website. Do you have helpful articles? Can I trust that you and your team will know what you’re talking about before I drive to your store for help?
Share your expertise with your customers. Blogging is a great medium to do that.
How to fend off Amazon with your blog
Remember, Amazon and other e-retailers in your industry aren’t local. You are local. Your blog can discuss things that are relevant to your market. If you own a garden store in Ohio consider writing an article titled, “Planting Annuals in Northeast Ohio.” Engage consumers in your market the way that Amazon never can.
Why do your customers shop with your store? You understand your products, sure. But, specifically, you understand your products in the context of your local market. As an independent boutique apparel store you don’t just know about the latest styles. You know about the latest styles and popular trends in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Your blog can reflect this unique selling proposition. There’s no other store like yours because there’s no other owner who understand the products, customers and local market like your team. Your blog can reflect these values in a way the big box, e-retailers and Amazon never can.
Action Item – Start Writing
Step out of your comfort zone and put your thoughts and expertise on your website. If writing isn’t your strong suit, team up with a member of your staff. You provide the expertise and they provide the writing service.
Popularizing a blog is a process. It takes time for the search engines to find your articles. It takes time to build a reader base among your consumers. The sooner you begin establishing your expertise online the quicker you can reap the results.