Canada's business magazine for traditional natural health retailers

4 minutes reading time (857 words)

Writing your first blog

writing your first blogBlogging is successful when it’s done right.  It drives traffic, influences people, and develops that odd cult-like following. You’ve probably wondered if a blog could work for your store or maybe you’ve already decided that starting a blog is exactly what you need to do to grow your store’s business and customer loyalty.

 

Blogging is successful when it’s done right.  It drives traffic, influences people, and develops that odd cult-like following. You’ve probably wondered if a blog could work for your store or maybe you’ve already decided that starting a blog is exactly what you need to do to grow your store’s business and customer loyalty.

But, you’ve got mixed feelings. On one hand, you may feel rather euphoric – think of the sales you could increase and the people you can reach! On the other hand, there is the fear and confusion that comes with blogging. What if you get stuck? What if no one reads it? No need to panic, I’ve been here before too. And you can learn from my mistakes to create a path to carefree blogging.

Step 1: What should you write about?

You need lots of ideas and you need a way to keep track of these ideas. I like to use Evernote or Trello to keep track of my ideas but something else may work for you. You should spend an hour or so brainstorming what you want to tell people. Do you have a theme? What topics are your customers interested in? 

In case you’re really stuck, below are five ideas to get you going.

 

  1. Dispel some food or supplement myth by matching the myth to actual facts.
  2. Create an “Ultimate Guide” post on a topic you know really well. You know more than you think you do!
  3. Is there a holiday around the corner? Give the gift of recipes or share something that is a tradition in your store or neighbourhood.
  4. Tell people how to do something better and faster.
  5. Describe one of the most common problems facing your customers (price perception anyone?) and suggest a way to solve it or work around it.

Step 2: Organize your brainstorm

Remember that the first goal  is to help your target audience. When you start to go through your list of brilliant ideas, try to put them through the “are my customers interested in this?” filter. Come up with your top three post ideas and ask for some feedback from your marketing team, other staff or colleagues.  After you have their feedback, pick your top choice and run with it.

Step 3: Check out the competition

Just like in your retail sales, your competitors can be a great resource for your blog. Once you have your topic chosen, Google your competitors and see if they have anything written on your topic. What if they do? Great! Make sure your blog answers other questions or answers them better than your competitor. Keep track of your research results and follow the blogs you find – they’ll be invaluable as you plan your content in the future.

Step 4: Make friends!

I’ll be honest, this is one of the most important steps to making your blog successful. You need to connect with other experts, bloggers and professionals who can help you with your online marketing of your blog and your brand. So follow them, make useful comments on their posts and re-post on your social media platforms. You can tag them in posts and they can tag you back. You can reach their customers and they can reach yours. Win win!

Step 5: Keywords

One of the most common mistakes among amateur bloggers is they don’t know how to use keywords to further their visibility on search engines. When you’re starting off, the best thing you can do is check your potential keywords on Google Keyword Planner and check out your competitors’ most viewed blog posts – the primary keyword is normally used in the first 200 words. ‘Natural foods’, ‘grocery store,’ and others may be a good place to start.

Step 6: Outline

Once you have your topic and the associated keywords you want to include, it’s time to start your first blog outline – yay!  Here is the basic structure you should start with:

 

  1. Title ideas: write them all down so you can choose when you’re ready.
  2. Introduction: why should customers read your post?
  3. What is the problem?
  4. The agitation?
  5. The solution?
  6. Basic content: it’s best to subdivide the content into sections.
  7. Conclusion: always have a call to action! It can be to share, request more information, send in your comments, whatever. Get people to engage!

Note: keep track of your keywords and the links you’re going to include in your blog. Make sure your keywords are used and your links are to authoritative sources.

Step 7: Post away!

Now you’re ready to post your very first blog. Keep in mind that this is a science that you can master but you must be diligent and stay informed. Reach out to other bloggers, promote your blog like nuts on social media and network, network, network. Good luck, blogger!

 

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Contact:  Katherine Stevens:  kstevens@cnhr.ca   647/975-3370         Contact:  Candace Sicari:  candace@cnhr.ca   705/209-9280

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