One of the best strategies for an ecommerce site is to create a company blog. You present a human face to what may otherwise seem little more than a business operation. But a blog enables more than one-way communication, it’s a place where your customers can interact. And where people mix, ideas mix too so your blog could become an incubator for your best business ideas.
There are also important SEO benefits to having an ecommerce blog. Your brand is shared across social media and there are more opportunities to rank in Google for relevant keywords.
The case for having a blog is clear. Often the only problem is what to write about to keep the conversation flowing. If you struggle to come up with good blogging topics keep this list handy. Among the 37 post types there’s sure to be at least one to inspire you.
Your products are blogging topics
- Top of the list of blogging topics must be a detailed presentation of current products or services. A blog post lets you provide more information than a product description can contain. Deal with all the points you would cover in a verbal sales pitch – who needs the product, unknown benefits, what features to look for, what to avoid…
- Promote new products or services. When you highlight the availability of something new you give people the sense that your site is fresh and they feel ahead of the curve. Provide links to the products in your store and encourage people to visit. Consider including a blog-exclusive promotional code as an extra incentive.
- Tease readers with products coming soon. You can begin posting about new products before they’re even ready to go online. Let your customers know that new stock is on its way by showing a new delivery in a post composed of simple candid photos or video. Regular posts like this give your store an up-to-date feeling. If you’re unsure of your camera skills for blogging topics like these you may prefer a tighter schedule using final imagery.
- Write about gift bundles and ideas for seasonal celebrations and family occasions. These blogging topics will always have an audience searching for them in Google.
- Run a product test on one of your products or something of interest to your customers. An in-depth review is popular with consumers as it covers more information than a short product description. It’s particularly useful when it compares alternatives against a benchmark. Reviews are also good in terms of SEO as they attract new traffic from ‘product review’ keywords. You could create a separate category for reviews or make them a regular feature to drive new visitors, like the technology reviews on CNET.
- Staff picks enable you to present a product in terms of what is useful to a real person. Words spoken by your staff always seem more credible than anything that appears a company promotion.
- A post composed of customer reviews adds another level of credibility for an ecommerce blog. You could choose to share one particularly good review, perhaps contacting the customer for further details. Another approach is to track brand mentions across social media and combine these into one post about customer satisfaction.
- Create a how-to post or tutorial to show people what they can do with your products. Perhaps you could expand on conventional uses, focus on a novel application or offer a round-up such as ’10 things you can do with a shovel (or whatever your product may be)’. These blogging topics are often ideal for sharing on sites such as Instructables.com.
- Promote events and sales. I’ll include this item here but it’s probably something you’d do automatically anyway. An important angle is one of the blogging topics readers most look forward to – special events or discount days solely for blog followers. This is one of the best blogging topics to increase followers and keep readers engaged.
Focus on your customers
- Create a post to ask your customers a question or conduct a poll. This is perhaps the easiest option to involve social media. Come up with a good question to increase engagement and generate material for a future post.
- Solve a customer problem in a question and answer format. Rather than just respond via email turn the conversation into a blog post. Nicole Dean has an excellent suggestion to expand this technique – don’t address just queries but dissatisfaction such as refund requests. In this way you can avoid the same problem for future customers.Choose a question that other customers may find useful, especially if you can solve the problem with your own products. You could gather all these posts in a FAQ category, which would provide a useful link for other areas of the site. You can encourage questions by holding a TwitterChat or look at other sources for industry questions such as forums or Quora.
- Feature loyal customers and fans. Showcase the products they love and how they use them. You can base these posts on testimonials, case studies or interviews. This provides future customers with validation for their purchase choices.
- Give readers a list of potential blogging topics and let them decide what they’d like to read. Treat this as market research to find out what your customers like. In a similar way you could use your blog to share an ailing product idea and ask your readers if they can fix it (bearing in mind that your competitors may be reading about it too…).
Spread the word about your company
- News about company developments, store openings, changes of personnel. By definition, news is one of the blogging topics guaranteed to keep your blog fresh. Anything new is News and a blog lets you talk about it in terms of your story rather than cold strategy.
- Work in progress with no immediate financial benefit to you, such as unpacking new stock, manufacturing a product or preparing gift bundles. Work in progress keeps readers engaged with things you write about further down the production line. Blogging topics such as these highlight transparency. They dispel any image of your blog as just a sale window for your products.
- Tie in your Pinterest account or other social media platforms. Collect a selection of your favourite Tweets, Pins or comments and combine them into a blog post. A single Tweet or status update may also spark off an idea for a whole new post. As well as creating something new for your blog this cross-promotes your content to engage new followers on other media.
- Cross-promotion on other social media channels ties in with the concept of re-purposing content. This involves re-using past articles or excerpts, combining short posts and repackaging for a new audience. It’s a quick way to create new content and keep it relevant.
- Promote your newsletter in a blog post and include a sign-up form. The sidebar on the front page of your blog is also a good spot for a permanent sign-up form.
- Describe other services that you offer, such as gift-wrapping or digital vouchers. This throws a light on services that some customers may be unaware of. These sorts of blogging topics would make good links for your order form or elsewhere on your site.
- The history of your company (especially if it has mushroomed from the tiniest idea). The longer the time period the more entertaining it is to look back. The key interest in a retrospective is the amount things have changed so relevant areas to look at may be technology, the style of your products or cultural changes in advertising.
- Describe how your product is made or consider inviting your supplier to contribute to a post. Perhaps document a factory visit, stressing environmental values or whatever is important in your niche.
- Shoot a fly-on-the-wall video of behind-the-scene activities. The subject could be anything from staff doing their jobs, a birthday celebration or office chat. The key here is ‘fly-on-the-wall’ which is instantly more credible than a polished production created for a traditional campaign. If you prefer something a little more organised try a video of staff discussing a particular product using set questions.
- Write about your staff. You may focus on one particular department such as shipping but the angle of interest here is the people doing the job rather than the overall function of the department. There’s probably little difference in the running of your shipping department compared to any other company, but each employee has the makings of a unique human interest story. Encourage personal contributions, such as children’s achievements, a favourite pet or timely anecdote. You can also use the post to show why you appreciate your staff, which so many companies describe as their greatest asset.
Resources people want to know about
- Giveaways and contests are a useful way of promoting new products or events and increase engagement too. You can always ask for something in return, such as an email address, a comment or mention on social media. If you offer an attractive prize these are the blogging topics that earn the most shares on social media.
- A book review is one of the blogging topics that work in almost every niche. Pick a book relevant to your industry, read it and write down your thoughts.
- With such a huge amount of information on the internet customers appreciate curated links. Try to annotate links to make your link roundup a go-to reference area.
- Promote offline resources too – your customers don’t exist on the web alone. Consider useful courses, tax incentives and community initiatives.
General interest stories about your industry or other trending topics
- Don’t just write about your products and your company. Immediate financial gain makes for a dull conversation. Choose blogging topics simply because they are the interests of your target audience. This balanced approach will help you become a trusted resource your customers can turn to when they have a problem that your business can solve. And you’ll attract potential customers at an earlier stage of the purchase cycle before your formal marketing material is of any interest.
- A way to freshen up your company image is to highlight industry styles and trends. When you talk about what’s happening ‘on the catwalk’ you’re telling your customers that you have a finger on the pulse. It makes your product offering seem more dynamic and worth a revisit. In a similar way you’ll give your blog a savvy edge if you participate from time to time in a blog meme. A global meme connects you to the rest of the blogging community and makes your blog appear open and outward-looking.
- Write a post to demonstrate your expertise – choose an area that shows you have unique knowledge. This topic isn’t about answering customer problems, it’s about showing you’re a thought leader in your industry. Perhaps your company has data from a case study or you can comment on research that someone else has done? This is particularly powerful if you can tie it in with a conference you’ve attended. These blogging topics are guaranteed to enhance the trust of your customers.
- Interesting facts relevant to your niche can make a good post, e.g. ‘Everything you didn’t know about the sausages we sell’. To make your post more shareable present the information in the form of an infographic with social share buttons. Consider this topic as more of an in-depth description in contrast to the next item on this list…
- Lists are popping up all over the internet, not just on social media. A list is a convenient and concise way for people to absorb information. It’s easy to scan and easy to share. You can create top ten lists or ‘best ofs’ tailored to individual categories that you sell and customer segments, e.g. ‘The top ten washing machines for single parents’.
- Fun posts aren’t just for Facebook – remember that the people who read your blog are human too so connect with them by throwing in a funny picture or animation from time to time. A short burst of emotion varies the pace and breathes life into a predictable blog.
- One of the blogging topics you can prepare well in advance is an account of famous people in your industry, whether past or present. Relate how their activities contribute to your own success or the success of your industry as a whole.
- A blog is a great place to interview an expert in your niche. To create an even more engaging post plan ahead to collect questions from your followers, drawing in people from across social media. This is one of the blogging topics that you can deliver in many different formats – Stacey Corrin examines all the formats open to you such as podcasts, webinars or video. Each format opens the content to different types of followers.
- Interview representative people that could be of interest to your customers. You could include suppliers, an inspiring personality or even your customers. The aim here is to provide a range of ‘voices of the people’ rather than the authoritative answer from an expert interview as in the previous suggestion.
- One of the best blogging topics to generate engagement is a post expressing a controversial opinion. Choose a topic of interest to your customers and make a strong case that invites others to join in too.
- If you run out of blogging topics invite another blogger to write a guest post. Hand over the task to a customer, an industry expert or one of your suppliers.
You need a long list of blogging topics to keep customers engaged in an ecommerce blog. Vary the pace and tone and you’re more likely to surprise and engage. I’ve organised blogging topics into separate categories but you can combine them as you please for an infinite variety of posts, e.g. a video of staff picks of their top three favourite blog posts. Aim to throw in lots of topics for a well-rounded story that keeps the conversation flowing.
If you don’t know which topic to start with pick a number from the list at random and make that your next post…