Blogging Your Way to a Stronger Brand
Do you have a business blog? Have you considered it, but thought it would take too much of your time? Once you have a blog built, it is fairly easy to maintain and if you are simply using it to help build your brand, you can post as few as 1-2 times per week, however, you may find that you enjoy it so much that you choose to connect with your readers more often. While this article does not cover the mechanics of setting up a blog, there is a tremendous amount of free information available to help you out. One of my favorite resources is the website http://bloggingyourpassion.com/. The founders have set up and operate many blogs and they offer sound advice for blogging beginners.
A blog can be a fantastic way to build your brand, increase your exposure and connect with clients. There is really no better platform for you to express your ideas, share your passion and vision, and allow your customers and potential customers to get to know you. Think about it…your store is an amazing vehicle for brand building, but it is static. You work hard to create a beautiful visual identity and to ensure that all of your visuals, copy, pictures, and descriptions align with your brand, but here is little space to express more and expand on your brand values.
Shoppers love to know about the companies they are purchasing from, they like to learn about the designer, how you go about creating your products, as well as a little about your interests and inspirations. There is no better place to do this than a blog. You have endless white space to communicate..
As I mentioned, blogging for brand building does not have to take endless amounts of time. Post only a few times a week as long as you consistently adhere to that schedule. As you gain a readership, they come to expect a certain amount of content from you and if you disappear for extended time they may lose interest.
What information should you include on your blog? Well, people do not want to hear you only promote your products. That’s not to say you can’t discuss your products at all, simply space out your posts about them and share the information in a creative way. Working on a new, special piece? People love to hear about your process, so writing a post with lots of ‘in progress’ pictures with detailed description is always a hit. Sharing teasers about upcoming products and collections is also fun. An occasional special sale, discount or giveaway is a nice way to reward your readers if it is possible to do so. A link to your Etsy store in the sidebar is also great with a few images of your latest designs.
What else should you feature? It’s nice to share things that inspire you in your work. It can be as simple as posting a story of how you visited a store, museum, garden, etc. that got you excited to creates something new. Instagram (instagr.am) is a great free app for your smart phone that allows you to beautifully enhance pictures that you take with your phone. Use these to add interest to your story. Consider featuring other artisans that you admire. Not only do you help promote the handmade movement, but you build your credibility as a leader. Read and comment on other blogs that you enjoy. Not only will you build great relationships, you also have great potential to add new members to your community. One thing to know about the blogosphere is that it is very conducive to sharing and helping one another out.
Feel free to share other brand relevant topics. Do you have an eco friendly product? Write about other natural or sustainable products you like or movements that you are involved in. Sharing information reinforces your dedication to a certain attribute of your brand.
Use a comfortable, friendly tone in your writing. There are many types of blogs where conflict is expected (i.e. business, political and news blogs), but a small creative business blog is not one of them. Keep it positive. How personal should you get? Readers like to learn more about you as a person, so feel free to include some background information and light personal stories. The rule I use to determine what is appropriate: If you wouldn’t be comfortable getting up in an auditorium and telling the story to your peers and clients, avoid it.
If you can spare the time, I highly recommend having a Twitter account and Facebook business page (for me the jury is still out on Google+). You can promote your posts on each platform and cross pollinate information. You only increase the chances that you will gain readership. Without them, it will simply take longer to build a reader base. Don’t forget to include a link to your blog in your profile in your Etsy store. Promote it wherever you can and where it makes sense.
If you choose to blog, you will likely see many benefits. I certainly have. I built my blog from scratch, The Sparkle in her Eye and I find the process of bloggin very rewarding. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below and I will be happy to answer them.