Guest post from Daniel Gordon
Daniel is not only a business blogger. He is a Headway users too. We want to feature Headway users who are using Headway to promote and market their businesses. If you are interested in guest posting on the official Headway Themes blog, please let me know.
When done right, blogging can be a powerful tool for a business. I have blogged for Samuel Gordon Jewelers since Decemeber of 2006. At first, before WordPress became a mainstream CMS for many websites, a blog was a just a tool that allowed me to publish content without the need for a developer. I knew that once I could update and post myself, my intimate knowledge and passion for our business would allow me to create interesting content for our existing and potential customers.
A lot has changed for me over the years in the blogosphere. I have recently refocused the direction of our blog to help achieve the best results possible. There was a lot of trial and error, so hopefully I can share some of what I’ve learned along the way.
Helping People Helps You
Let’s be blunt, as a retailer, I am selling people stuff. At first, I tried to use my blog to do this. Post a picture of jewelry and hope it sold. It was not a very successful tactic. It doesn’t matter if you are selling a product or service, you have to use a blog to help the customer more than you have to sell them. One thing I see all too often (and it is a mistake I’ve made many times myself), is that businesses do not use their blog as an educational tool. I have recently starting writing articles that are geared towards giving out useful information based on the questions my customers have asked over the years. They don’t want to know what I am selling as much as they want to know why I carry a specific product or how they can buy jewelry wisely. I have 15 years experience waiting on my customers. That’s 15 years of questions I’ve been asked. So, it makes perfect sense to write blog content answering as many of those as I can. It’s spiked our traffic and also great for our SEO.
Invite Guest Posts
I’ve formed many relationships within my industry and decided to leverage this network to try a little experiment. I contacted people from jewelry educational institutions, editors from industry publications and even that designers that I carry to do various guest posts. It lends credibility to the business and the products we sell while keeping things interesting and diverse for our customers. It offers jewelry consumers a deeper look, beyond our business and into our industry. So far, the traffic has mainly been driven by my industry, but we are starting to see new customers who were looking for information that really didn’t exist. Most often, these kinds of blog posts are written by themselves, for themselves. Going beyond our own interest has helped us make our content more interesting. It adds value to customers and in the long run will bring them back to our business. It’s a win-win for everyone and it all started once we stopped trying to use the blog to sell actively. As hard as it may be to hear, you aren’t selling here, the opportunity lies in informing and entertaining.
Be more sharable
I cannot stress enough how important it is to optimize your blog or site, for social sharing. You need to make it easy for people to spread your content. As simple as it seems, so many blogs I read have such killer articles, but lack the ability to share the link. One of the main audiences you hope to attract are people like me, those who love to share. You also want to make it easy for me to take that step and share your great content with my network. Hands down, Social Media has been one of the best tools that our company has tapped into when looking to get our content in front of our customers eyes. A big reason for this, is we quickly made it easy for absolutely anyone to help us spread the word. Encouraging and enabling our customers to share anything they found useful has really helped us to get the word out there about our business.
Talking To Google
You need to talk to Google as much as you can, believe it or not blogging is one of the very best ways to accomplish that. I try to update my blog at least more than once a week. I try to post useful content that pertains to my industry and my customers, but I also make sure to target good solid keywords. You want to talk to Google, but be careful not to write for it. If a post is written specifically to talk to Google, or any other search for that matter, people will know it and tune you out faster that you can think up a new idea for next week’s post. So, just ask yourself what questions your customers want answered, but also keep a little voice in the back of your mind that reminds you that Google is listening. A great way to balance this is to write the post and then go back and edit (only slightly) for search engines. You also may want to check out tools like Scribe to help you see how Google sees your content. Well, that’s about it. A few of the things I have learned over the years, from doing it all wrong, to getting lucky and finally starting to figure things out after making a ton of mistakes. I hope you find these tips helpful and encourager you to reach out on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN, as well as our corporate blog at SGJ.COM. I also use Headway on my personal blog, DanGordon.me, where I write a new post approximately once a month. Thanks and i would love to hear any feedback, comments or questions any might have.
Daniel Gordon, 37, is a fourth generation jeweler and President of Samuel Gordon Jewelers in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Born in Oklahoma City, and raised there for most of his life, Daniel attended John Marshall High School and the University of Central Oklahoma. In addition, Daniel holds his Diamond Certificate from the Gemological Institute of America.
Now in his 15th year with the firm, Daniel has made many important changes for Samuel Gordon Jewelers: he’s virtually changed its’ entire business model and corporate culture, thereby insuring the continuation of the firms’ reputation as a leader in both the jewelry industry and the Oklahoma City market.
Some of Daniel’s many initiatives include: changes in product mixes & buying techniques; major changes in personnel (both in sales and administrative staff); vision for the firm’s website and a massive change in the firm’s marketing strategies, and the implementation of revolutionary & creative usage of social media/networking websites in which thousands of people are communicated with constantly. Daniel has created over 20 different corporate presences on the Internet including: Facebook, Twitter,Youtube, plus a highly viewed personal blog, all of which have been recognized as cutting edge by every major jewelry trade magazine in the industry. His hard work, dedication and passion for his business has landed him on BNET, American Express Open Forum, Mashable and MSN.COM. All this, plus Daniel writes a book of business for the store in the 7 figure range; his first love is interacting with customers. He currently serves on the Executive Board of Gen-Next Jewelers, AMAOKC Board, and Associate Board of The Oklahoma City Philharmonic and speaks frequently at industry trade conferences and symposiums all over the country. You can connect with him here on Twitter, and on Facebook.