Practical Ecommerce

Blogs: Starting Point for Effective Communication

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing Today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving Practical Ecommerce as the successor.

Recently, I wrote about four content ideas to help improve your local SEO, one of which dealt with adding a blog to your website. After the article had published, a question came from a reader about whether or not Facebook counts as a blog.

In my response, which you can read here, I advised that it would still be a good idea to set up a blog on his website, and then distribute the posts to Facebook and other social media. Let’s address that issue here as well, in greater detail.

Blogging Basics

Generally speaking, adding a blog involves incorporating a section into your website where you can regularly publish relevant posts about your business. Most content management systems contain a blog component, so “adding” may equate to little more than clicking a button to turn it on.

A post could consist of a how-to tip, a feature about a customer’s experience with your services or products, or a news item related to your business. You could also highlight a particular service, function, or department from time to time.

When I think of the blog post itself, what comes to mind is an article with a snappy headline, written on a topic of interest to readers, accompanied by a few photos or images, to illustrate the central point.

Don’t Fret Over Technical Issues

At this stage, don’t worry too much about the technical issues involved in adding a blog to your site. Doing so raises all sorts of questions, such as:

  • How will I add the blog to my website?
  • Do I need to hire a developer to set it up?
  • Will people even bother to read the articles?
  • What will I post?
  • Do I need to hire a professional writer?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How to I find the time?
  • What’s the ROI?
  • Can I just copy and paste articles from other sites?
  • Is there a way to “auto-post” so I don’t even have to write them?

These questions may constitute the very reasons why you haven’t already added a blog to your site. But even if you have thought about them — and they are all valid questions that will need to be answered — in focusing on the technical aspects, you’re missing the real point.

It’s not just about adding a blog in the technical sense that’s most important but finding an effective way to communicate with customers and prospects…

It’s not just about adding a blog in the technical sense that’s most important but finding an effective way to communicate with customers and prospects so that when you have something to say, you have a means by which to say it — and a blog can be a very useful vehicle for communication.

Example: Mother’s Day Promotion

For the sake of illustration, let’s say you own a restaurant and Mother’s Day is approaching. You need to get the word out that your restaurant is hosting a special promotion: Bring mom to eat with you on Mother’s Day and she eats free.

How can you use a blog as a starting point for communicating the promotion with customers and prospects? Consider these ideas:

  • Write about it in a blog post. In the post, explain the details and say something about its popularity in the past, perhaps including photos of last year’s event. When published, a unique URL (called a permalink) will be created;
  • Share the URL on social media. Share the link on your social profiles, along with a description of the promotion. Consider sponsoring the post on Facebook as an ad that targets users located in your city. Also, create an image-based ad for use on Instagram and Twitter, and include targeting there as well (create a hashtag associated with the event, too);
  • Send an email announcing the promotion to your subscribers that includes the link and post summary;
  • Set up a Google AdWords campaign specifically targeting keywords related to the holiday, restricting it to users within your geographic location.

The concept here is that you use the blog post as a starting point for marketing the promotion. Not only will search engines crawl and index the post, but it provides content to share on social media, send to newsletter subscribers, and advertise on search engines and social networks.

You don’t need to wait for a holiday or special event to benefit from a blog; you can begin anytime. If an effective way to communicate with customers and prospects is what you’re looking for, start with a blog.

Bill Hartzer
Bill Hartzer
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