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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tell Me Why a Retailer Would Want to Blog Again!

Marketers often say the customer must hear a message seven times before they're reading to buy. Retailers are much the same way about blogging. So I hope this is the seventh time someone has told you to blog.

I’m serious. You have something to say that your customers will want to hear. You have experience and expertise and product. And, please note that I put product last. Without the first two items on a blog, no one will come. Or at least no one will come back again. Readers want valuable information and if you think about what they want and then give it to them, you've got a winning reason to start a blog. So, below you'll find eight very good reasons to have some fun with blogging.

You Can Blog Free

There aren't many things you can do to attract customers and increase your store's image that are FREE. Blogging is one of them.

Blogs Are User Friendly

Blogs are really easy to set up. Especially at Blogger, owned by You probably have a Google account (they're free, too!). If you don't, open one, Click on the "Blogger" link (it's orange) and user-friendly windows will take you through the basic blogging process. Don't worry about details about blogging at first. Just get going.

You Can Write Your Own Blog

Even if you aren't a writer, you can write your own blog. Just write like you talk and let the best grammarian in your family look it over errors (but don't let them edit out your colloquialisms!). If you need someone to get you started, contact Joyce Faulkner at She can ghost blog your entries until you get the hang of it. Before you start, be clear about your niche--how it relates to your store and how you fit into the picture. Probably the best name for your blog will be your store's name but it might be something more generic. Something like "" Generally, the narrower the niche you choose, the better.

Your Blog Becomes Part of Your Branding Campaign

Once you’ve created a blog, you can link it to your Web site, to your social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn. Use it on your stationery (it positions your store as the go-to place for expert information!), on you business cards, in your paid advertising.

That You Blog Can Be News That Interests Your Local Media

Write up a media (press) release about your blog. Try to get your local feature editor or business editor interested. You may be the only retailer in town to do this!

Your Blog Can Keep Working When You're Out of Town or Otherwise Too Busy

The more you post to your blog, the more traffic you’ll get because the search engines will pick up your titles and keywords. Post at least once a week. If you can’t or don’t want to blog that often, write several entries at once and postdate them to space out their publication. In Blogger or Blogspot, here’s how to postdate entries:

1. While you're in either the "Compose" or "Edit Html" mode of Blogger, click on "Post Options" at the bottom left of your screen.

2. In the "Post Date" and "Time" blanks, you'll find window to fill in whatever date and time you'd like your post to appear.

3. Now click on the "Publish Post" button. Your post will not be published until the date and time you've specified.

You Can Involve Your Customers and Your Employees

Blogs are all about interacting. Your customers can leave you comments or suggestions on you blog and that is invaluable. You could run "Why I love Cozy Corner Stationery" as a contest with the winner's entry posted as a guest blog. You can run contests on you blog. You can propel customers from your blog to your Web site and back again by using links that entice visitors to know more. And yes, let your employees have a go at ideas for blogs or act as guest bloggers. They'll love it.

You Grow With Each New Thing You Try

That's the conventional wisdom. When you grow, you stay motivated. If you're feeling a bit down or bored with your business, blogging may be just the ticket.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a veteran of the retail industry with more than 30 years founding and operating a small chain of stores from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, from home d├ęcor to the souvenir shop at the Santa Anita Race Track. She is also an award winning novelist and poet and has written articles for assorted retail trade magazines from Gift and Decorative Accessories to the LA Mar Beat. She speaks nationwide, acts and has served on gift show boards of directors. Her newest book for retailers is Your Business, Your Blog: The Frugal Retailer's Guide to Getting Customer Loyalty and Sales, Both In-Store and Online (

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center. Because she is the author of the multi award-winning how-to books for writers,The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, retailers will also find essentials of writing for blogs, Web sites, and newsletters on this blog. She is the author of an award-winning novel, This Is the Place; and other fiction and poetry. She blogs on better writing at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. Find her tweeting for retailers at @frugalretailing . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use this little green widget to let them know about it:

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