Goodbye newspaper ads. For many retailers blogging has become the new way to reach consumers. And for good reason. Companies who blog receive 97 percent more links to their websites, according to Hubspot. Blogs have also been rated as the fifth most trusted source for accurate information and (with quality content) help extend a store’s brand with a personal touch.
Here are some tips from two of our favorite blogs: The Chopping Block in Chicago and The Culinary Apple in Chelan, Wash.
The Chopping Block
Who writes the blogs? “For the Chopping Block blogs are written by a team of about 20 employees, from chefs to class assistants to sommeliers to retail associates to managers,” says Andrea Miller, marketing manager for the retailer.
There is no shortage of content. “Our employees share their favorite recipes, gourmet products, restaurant experiences, cooking techniques, personal stories, travel triumphs in the kitchen and much more,” she adds.
How often is it updated? “The Chopping Block posts each Monday through Friday, with the exception of holidays,” says Miller. The Chopping Block also uses the blog, first launched in 2010, to offer cooking tips and recipes, which help promote the retailer’s cooking classes.
“Our main goal of the blog is to create a conversation with our customers and provide them relevant, informative content to help them become better home cooks,” Miller says.
What is customer reaction? “We have 2,375 subscribers who get The Chopping Block blog into their email inbox every day,” Miller says. “We regularly get feedback that people enjoy reading our blog because of the diversity of subjects and cooking information it provides. It’s never the same information and people love that!”
The Culinary Apple
The Culinary Apple currently runs three blogs, according to manager JoAnne Strandberg, who does most of the blogging for the retailer. The blogs were launched in 2014, as part of a website relaunch.
While at first Strandberg said the blog was going to be a group effort, unlike The Chopping Block’s experience “it really didn’t turn out that way,” she says. “Not everyone is a blogger.”
The retailer looked into hiring someone to write the blogs but found it to be “cost prohibitive,” Strandberg said, adding, “We also don’t want to lose our own voice when communicating with current and potential customers.”
Why maintain three blogs? “We try to write one exclusively about apples since we are in the heart of apple country and that is one of our niches,” Strandberg says, noting she writes that one. “Its focus is recipes and gadgets that deal with apples.”
There is also a blog devoted to fudge, she adds, “since we make our own homemade fudge at the store.” That blog is team effort. The last blog covers “everything else,” which Strandberg also writes.
Strandberg has recently started working with Acorn for its email newsletters. “Those newspapers have great recipes and pictures that I plan to incorporate into our blogs as well. We’ve had a lot of great feedback from our customers about these recipes.”
Having someone oversee the three blogs is key, she says. “No matter who writes the blog, I try to edit them for the keywords we’re trying to highlight so we show up in search results.”
How often do the blogs come out? “The goal is to update the blogs once per month,” she says. “If you follow our blogs you know we don’t always hit that goal.”