There are a lot of advantages to having a blog for your store, as long as you are consistently updating it with quality and helpful content. Blogging shows you’re an expert, with content that highlights tips, trends and advice. It helps build relationships with customers, makes you stand out from your competitors, builds brand exposure and can help your site optimization with fresh content that is keyword-rich. However, it takes time to effectively manage and maintain.
Note: To learn more about if blogging is right for your store, best blog platforms, how to save time, blog topic ideas and how to market your blog, consider joining Social Edge. Visit www.crystalmedia.co/members-only/blogging-for-retailers-training-overview/ to learn more about the ‘Blogging for Retailers’ training course inside of Social Edge.
There are other ways you can participate in the blogging world without having your own blog. You may find that these ways to market produce better results more quickly than starting your own blog and consistently writing great content. Here are four ways to market your store through others’ blogs.
1. Leave comments and engage. A great way to get in front of potential customers is to find blogs that they frequently read. Do some research and Google keywords that would help you reach bloggers who target the audience you’d like to target. Before doing this, you must truly know your customer. Do a customer profile to understand what she looks like and what type of content she’d read online. For local brick-and-mortar stores, you’ll want to find the local bloggers and websites that your audience reads, which might even be the local newspaper.
After finding 3-5 of these websites, sign up to get notified when they publish a new post, or bookmark them and schedule on your calendar to visit them once a week. Then, read the most recent posts and leave comments when appropriate. This should only be when you truly have something to add to the article or post.
2. Partner up. One of the best ways to gain a significant amount of attention and exposure for either your store or the products you sell is by partnering up with an already established blogger to host a giveaway or write a review. Here’s how you do it:
Again, do your research to find the most popular blogs that your perfect customer reads. Next, contact the blogger to see if they’d be interested in doing a giveaway where you supply the products. Send them a link to your website or a Facebook album so they can see the kinds of items you sell to ensure the blogger that their audience would be interested. The best ways to reach these bloggers is via e-mail or through their social media sites like messaging via Facebook or sending a tweet.
If it’s a blog that gets a lot of traffic and has a large online following, there will most likely be a fee associated to the giveaway in addition to giving products. These fees range from $25-$1,000+ depending on the size of the blog.
Try to make this exciting for the blogger by telling them you’ll promote her blog and the giveaway to your e-mail list, in-store and on your social media sites. Bloggers like when you want to promote them, too. It’s not a one-way street, they work hard to build blogger readership.
I’d also suggest letting the blogger pick the products. You might give some suggestions based on what’s been popular, but she knows her audience best and would know what will get the most attention and amount of people to enter to win.
The giveaway rules will vary, but typically the blogger will announce the giveaway on their blog on an agreed upon day and run it for about a week. To enter to win, readers typically need to leave a comment on the blog post. They may also need to:
- Follow the blogger on social media
- Follow you, the jeweler, on social media
- Give their e-mail address
- Share the contest (typically to get additional entries)
Often product giveaways like this include the blogger giving a review of the item(s) so you might send one set to the blogger to have, and another for the winner. Otherwise the blogger will try out the item(s) first, and then send the item(s) to the winner after the giveaway.
You can also just offer sending items to a predetermined blogger(s) and ask them to review the items and link to your site. Again, the larger blogs will charge a fee for product reviews.
Note: If you don’t sell online and you need to get in front of a local audience and you’re having a hard time finding a blogger or magazine in the area that shares your audience, this might not make sense for you. Instead, you could find products or trends you sell in-store that have been reviewed on top blogging sites and share with your audience that you sell those products locally.
3. Guest blog. Are you an expert at jewelry design, diamonds and stones or fashion? Do you have suggestions on the best anniversary gift or creative wedding proposal ideas? Do your friends always tell you you’re so trendy and that you should write about style or trends? If the answer is yes, you could craft a blog post and send it to a predetermined blogger to share with their audience.
Bloggers always need content. And if you have something to write about that would add value to the blogger’s readers, you could make a blogger’s day by giving them the post to use on their platform. The key here is it needs to be unique content, meaning it hasn’t been published anywhere else. Duplicate content online actually hurts from a search engine optimization (SEO) standpoint. Plus, bloggers like publishing content people can’t find anywhere else.
The advantages to guest blogging are that you get in front of an already established audience, it builds credibility, it helps build web traffic because the post should link to your website and or social media profiles and gives you something to share to your online networks, again building credibility. Plus, when you add value to a blogger by giving them content to use, you start furthering the relationship with that blogger to where she might want to feature you without charging a fee in the future.
4. Advertise. Probably the least time consuming way to market your store through bloggers is through advertising, but this can also be the most expensive. A majority of established blogs make a living from their advertisers. If you go down this road, you’ll again want to do your research and find the right blogs who have your audience as readers. Next, go to their social media profiles to see how big their networks are and how engaged the audience is. If there are a lot of comments, shares, conversations and followers, this could be a great blogger to work with.
Some bloggers have a media kit/rate card on their website so you can easily learn how much web traffic they get and what their ad rates are based on ad sizes and placement (ex: ads that are placed on homepages are usually the most expensive). But if you’re having a hard time finding an “Advertise” section, go to the Contact page and send an e-mail or submit a form asking about ad rates, web traffic and blog readership.
Crystal Vilkaitis is the owner of Crystal Media; a company dedicated to helping retailers integrate proven social media, mobile and e-mail marketing strategies into their businesses. Crystal started Social Edge, an online membership group exclusive to retailers and jewelers looking to gain an edge over competition using social media. Crystal Media has partnered with RDI Diamonds to offer a special discount on Social Edge for jewelers. For more information visit www.crystalmedia.co/rdidiamonds.
RDI Diamond’s marketing and social media experts have worked with thousands of independent retailers nationally and are dedicated to driving traffic into their doors. Connect with RDI Diamonds at www.facebook.com/rdidiamonds and sign up for their e-mail list to continue to receive marketing tips designed specifically for independent jewelers.