Marketing

To blog or not to blog? An age-old question for DTC brands

March 19, 2022

Tina Donati

Contributing Writer

There’s no doubt about it: blogging takes time, and it’s never an immediate payoff. 

But if you play the long game and have a solid content strategy, you can drive so much traffic to your ecom store. 💸

Look no further than The Farmer’s Dog, who generates almost 180,000 new visitors a month on the Farmer’s Dog Digest.

“I think any brand can benefit from having a blog. You're considered an expert no matter what field of work you’re in. Tell people what you know, educate them, and share your story,” said Jessica Fried, Founder of Dainty Diamond.

 

The inspiration behind Dainty Diamond’s blog

Before launching Dainty Diamond, Jessica’s background was in content marketing and SEO, writing long-form content for all sorts of brands. She already knew how much power there is in blogging. 

“Besides having this previous knowledge and experience, writing blogs was always a passion of mine, so it was definitely something I knew I was going to include on my website either way,” she explained.

While Jessica has successfully driven new traffic to her website through blogging, should all DTC brands be doing it? 🤔

🚨 Survey says: most brands should be blogging 🚨

We turned to Twitter to find out what the DTC community thinks about starting a blog. The response we got was a massive yes…

But! Only if your blog:

  • Has a clear goal ✅
  • Adds value to readers ✅
  • Has a strategy that you’re consistent with ✅

“Education for newer product categories (or innovated existing ones) + establishing brand trust lose their effectiveness on platforms with copy + character limits [like social media],” said Jessi Sanfilippo, VP of Marketing at House of Wise.

Killer tips for starting your ecommerce store’s blog 👇

Now that you know why you should start a blog, let’s talk about how to manage it properly.

1️⃣ Set yourself clear goals

Every marketing strategy starts with a goal, and blogging is no different.  

Ask yourself questions like: 

  • Do you expect increased website traffic? 
  • More conversions? 
  • More email sign-ups? 
  • How much of an increase do you want? 
  • When do you expect this increase to happen?

Outline the results you expect from your blog before diving into your strategies and tactics. And keep your goal realistic! Remember, you may not see results from blogging for 6+ months.

2️⃣ Make sure your website is optimized technically

A whole lotta people don’t realize that there are two main parts to SEO: technical and on-page. 

The technical side comes down to how your website is built, structured, the code you use, and other back-end factors.  According to Tyler Macke, Founder of SendAFriend, your website has to be optimized for technical SEO before you start blogging.  Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.

“It might not make sense to start a blog if your website isn’t set up well from a technical perspective or if the main conversion pages of your site are not optimized for SEO. This includes your meta titles, descriptions, and H1s,” he said.

3️⃣ Drive blog traffic to lower-funnel pages

Here’s a common mistake ecom brands make with their blog: promoting it in their navigation bar. 

Why? Jon MacDonald, Founder of The Good, explains it here: 

So rather than drive potential customers back up the funnel, make sure your blogs are working as a tool to drive people to the decision stage by ranking in organic listings.. 

“Throughout the blogs, I direct users to product pages and email signup forms that incentivize users to sign up for a coupon code. I’ve definitely noticed an increase in email sign-ups from blogging that often lead to sales,” said Jessica.

4️⃣ Hire a dedicated editor or an agency

Consistency is key in content strategy. As a founder, it’s difficult to do that, especially if you have no experience with content marketing.

In Tyler’s situation, it made sense to bring on an agency partner with years of proven content experience. 

He did this right from the beginning to avoid wasting time and money. He wanted his content strategy to be solid from day one.

“Making my blog successful came down to one core business principle: delegating the skills I don’t have. Blogging, writing, and SEO are beyond my skillset and experience. So, I sought a partner to help me execute a proper strategy. When I understood I was not going to see the results of blogging for months, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t wasting time chasing an ineffective strategy”

 

5️⃣ Provide value by getting in your customer’s shoes

As the expert of your niche, it can be easy to forget that your customers simply don’t know as much as you about your products. 

I mean, that’s the whole point of blogging anyway—to educate! 

This is why Jessica recommends “Putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. While there are common things you as the expert may know, to the everyday person they may not. So my best advice would be to consider what questions your customers would ask or what they would want to know and write about that. Try to always provide value in some kind of way!”

6️⃣ Research and audit content regularly

Ask any veteran content marketer, and they’ll tell you that research takes the majority of their time.

Topic research, keyword research, statistical research… the list goes on. 

But aside from researching, you should audit your published content often. Is the information still accurate? Are the stats up to date? Does it still speak to the right audience? 

Content becomes outdated, as do keyword opportunities. So audit your strategy and published content at least once a year and make updates.

7️⃣ Go for the long-term game

Remember, blogging isn’t something that’s going to drive you instant results, but if done correctly it can be a constant source of ongoing traffic in the future.

If you’re going to do it, make sure you’re ready to invest in it for a long time.

“It’s very difficult to judge the success of your blog right away. Contrary to paid social or email marketing, you will not be able to immediately see your return. Give your blogging strategy about 3-6 months before evaluating its success,” shared Tyler.

So when shouldn’t you have one then?

As we’ve said, most brands can benefit from blogging. 

But, we did hear from founders that you shouldn’t blog if you’re planning to have it be

  • Too salesy (self-serving and not valuable)
  • Unintentional and random (AKA no clear strategy)
  • If you’re in a space where competing will be too difficult

In summary

If you have time and resources to put into a blog, it can be a huge value bomb for your customers and a great way to increase your funnel.

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