I talk to a lot of retailers and I find many grind to a complete halt when it comes to their blog. They simply don’t have the time or desire to write their articles. I also find I need to change their philosophy and approach to blog writing. Many business owners think they need to do all the writing in order for their blog to be successful. This is simply not true.
Let’s face it, you’re probably too busy running your store to constantly be writing blog articles and unfortunately, for a blog to be effective you need to write a lot. We tell our customers that you need to write at least 3 new articles a week for your blog to be successful. Luckily you’re not alone and you have a huge base of people to draw on to help you keep your blog up to date: your employees and customers!
To begin with you should definitely ask your employees to help out with your store’s blog. When asking your employees, I would encourage you to cast a very wide net, asking everyone from your store managers to the people stocking your products. I believe if you take this approach, you’ll find some unexpected gems because some people have a hidden passion to write. You may also find that some employees are already blogging and would be thrilled to write about fashion, trends, new products, etc. Finally, getting your employees involved may help strengthen your team and moral because I sincerely believe most people want to be involved and contributing to your success.
After you’ve tapped your employees to help you write on your blog, the next group of people you should ask to help is your customers. That cute, fashionable girl that you constantly see in your store may be your perfect blog writer and all you need to do is ask. If she’s a starving college student, maybe you can help her out as well by trading her blogging services for some in-store credit. A simple flyer near your cash register or dressing room will typically yield more than enough interest in a very short time. Again, cast a wide net here and strike up a conversation with everyone about your blog. I believe you’ll find the stay-at-home mom, fashionista, artist, skateboarder and even business executive who would love to do a little writing for you and show the world their creativity. Again, it always helps if you can sweeten the deal by offering them some in-store credit.
We’ve followed this approach with many retailers with some very good success and sometimes unexpected results. One client in particular resonates with me because the co-owner used to be a police detective and was very apprehensive about letting his customers write on his blog. He thought he wouldn’t be able to control everyone and was uncomfortable with the idea because he thought people might write about inappropriate subjects. Luckily, a blog by definition is a place where you can be a little free and write about a variety of subjects. Of course, if you can focus your writers on a few set topics and categories, that’s better; but I believe it’s always better to get going and not stifle someone’s creativity.
This advice did not go over so well with the ex-police office, so instead I suggested we put together a simple contract for all his blog writers. This contract stated what was expected from each writer and included some simple policies around appropriate subject materials. It also stated how often blog articles should be written and guidelines on the length and tone of their blogs. It also included what the writer would receive in store credit if they followed these rules. Finally, everyone was asked to sign it.
What happened next was truly amazing. What started out as a couple of customers writing a few articles a week turned into dozens of people blogging daily. The store got even more more bloggers by incorporating and promoting it on their website, and the list of people wanting to participate and contribute was endless. People from all over the world started blogging for him and it truly took on a life of it’s own.
The ex-police officer relinquished all control over the blog and stood back, relishing in what he helped create. Are you ready to do the same?