Felicia Lo of Sweet Georgia Yarns.
Photo courtesy of Sweet Georgia Yarns
For years marketers advised businesses to write a blog. Blogging was touted as an effective and affordable marketing tool allowing even very small businesses to reach a wide audience without having to pay for costly advertising. In the last year or two, though, the popularity and accessibility of social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook has led some marketers and small business owners to feel that blogging is no longer worth the effort.
Don’t believe the hype. Blogging isn’t dead. In fact, it’s more alive and relevant now than it’s ever been.
As social media becomes more noisy there’s ever increasing competition for consumer attention. Facebook’s announcement last week that the platform will be prioritizing content from friends and family over content from businesses is evidence that the days of using social media alone to promote your business are waning. Marketplaces are becoming crowded, too. Etsy sellers are expressing increasing frustration that the handmade marketplace has become saturated making it very difficult to stand out and get noticed. With 1.9 million sellers craft businesses that don’t have the advertising budget to pay for Etsy’s search ads fade into the background. This new media landscape has led many crafters who started out with a blog years ago to return to it as a way to stand out from the crowd. Others who were hesitant to dive into blogging full force are now seeing the value in blogging.
Here are six compelling reasons why craft businesses consider blogging as a marketing tool.
You have control over your domain and platform
“A blog post doesn’t have an expiration date so even when it’s no longer current it’s still there for people to read. It transcends the short life span of a social media post,” says Jennifer Tepper Heverly of Spirit Trail Fiberworks. Your profile on social media platforms is not under your control. At any moment, your account could get shut down or compromised or negatively affected by a new algorithm. A blog also allows you to write longer, in-depth posts that include multiple photos and tutorials that can be read at any time, giving them longevity.
A blog gives you a place to collect names for your mailing list
Your mailing list is invaluable to your business, and a blog can be a great list-building tool. One way is to pin your best evergreen content on Pinterest, which will bring in site traffic, and use a popup or an appropriate lead magnet to encourage visitors to subscribe.
Carla Hanson of Purple Lamb Fiber Arts explains, “I can make it easy for people to sign up for my newsletters through my blog so I can tell customers and potential customers about sales and new products by email.” The people on your email list subscribe because they want to receive emails from you. If you only post announcements and updates on social media, inevitably there will be a portion of your target audience who will not see them. Receiving updates from you via email makes the chance of potential sales much higher.
Blogs build customer trust
Customers like to know about the artisan they’re purchasing from – it personalizes the experience. Sharing pictures of your process, your studio, and what inspires you places your product or service in context beyond dollar amounts. Melanie Cheripka of Baad Mom Yarns likes to use her blog to give her customers ideas and tips on how to use and knit with hand-dyed yarn. She includes color inspiration, pictures of her studio, and pattern suggestions. “All of this builds my credibility with customers and they are more likely to buy.” Knowing the story behind the product can reassure a customer that they are buying a quality product.
Your blog makes your website a known destination and resource
Offer value in your content so that your blog becomes an invaluable resource for those in your niche. Hanson started her blog for the purpose of offering tutorials on different aspects of fiber arts. Her blog has expanded to showcase yarn combinations and interviews with knitting and crochet designers. Felicia Lo of Sweet Georgia Yarns says, “We are digging in deeper and working on creating more focused, detailed, well-written, and helpful content for knitters.” Tutorials and pattern suggestions give customers a reason to make a purchase.
Blogs can foster community
Lo provides great content on Sweet Georgia’s blog because she believes it’s an integral part of creating, as she says, “a loyal tribe of like-minded fiber friends.” Blogs can also work with social media to foster a sense of community. Karen Templer of Fringe Association hosts Slow Fashion October and several annual knit-alongs that have ever-growing participation.
“I can propose something on my blog and provide all the information for the event, while the bulk of the actual activity and conversation takes place on Instagram among the community, tethered by a hashtag,” Templer says.
Your blog helps your brand rank higher in search engines
The more attention your blog receives, the higher it will rank in search engines, allowing new readers and customers to find you. Search engines like Google have an algorithm that pushes fresh, relevant content to the top of rankings for many searches. Consistently blogging great content will help keep you steadily visible.
Blogs are far from being obsolete. There will always be headlines proclaiming that blogging is dead, the reality is that a blog can be one of the best tools in your marketing toolbox to get your business attention in a saturated, noisy market.
Skeins from Carla Hanson.
Skeins from Melanie Cheripka.
Skeins from Jennifer Tepper Heverly.
Krista McCurdy has been in the handdyed yarn and fiber world for over a decade, dyeing yarn and fiber under the name Pigeonroof Studios. She dyes yarn, makes art, and teaches rehabilitation Pilates in Portland, Oregon. In 2017 she launched the blog From The Studio, which provides information and resources for beginning indie dyers and those who want to be one.