Thursday, November 24, 2011

What to write about

As I’m teaching people how to do an ecommerce blog, one of the biggest challenges for most is: “What do I write about?”  It’s bad enough that most folks I work with are already intimidated by writing in the first place.  It’s especially daunting for those that are blogging as a tool to promote an ecommerce website.  Think of it.  Just how much can you say about children’s bedding, or diamond tennis bracelets?

Once you get past the fact that a decent ecommerce blog should be more than just product reviews that are really not much more than thinly veiled ads, what is there to write about?  Here are some thoughts:

In an ecommerce blog, don’t write about your products, write about experiences

First, take a step back from your products.  Ask yourself, “What experience do these products provide?”  If your website is selling tents, sleeping bags, and camp stoves, then the experience behind them is enjoying the outdoors.  If you’re selling nutritional supplements, barbells, and yoga mats, then your experience is getting healthy.

When you get past the products and onto the experience, you’ll find there are lots of things to write about.

Get ideas for your ecommerce blog from the world around you.

As you go about your daily life, your mind is constantly going.  You think of things and you get ideas, many of which relate to your website’s niche topic.  At the end of the day, you look back and you might get the idea that you didn’t think of anything at all that day that relates, but in reality, you probably did, and you probably encountered a lot of things that relate to your topic.

The problem was that you weren’t in a position to jot it down, and so you forgot it a few minutes later.  Or, you shut yourself down by telling yourself it was a bad idea.  Maybe both.

The first problem is easy to fix.  Carry a notepad to jot down your ideas when you get them, or use a notepad function of your cell phone.  Use something you’ll always have with you. Then, when it’s time to blog, you can look through your ideas, pick the best one, and start writing.

The second problem is pretty easy to fix as well.  Simply jot down EVERYTHING.  Sort out the good ideas later.

Do the thing you’re promoting

I once worked with a lady who had decided, because of her extensive research, that paintball guns would be a great thing to sell.  She built her site and input her products, and then when she got to me and I told her it was time to start creating content she went into a tizzy.

Why?  She had never even held a paintball gun, never shot one, and had definitely never been in a game.  She had absolutely NO idea what to write about, or what to say in her ecommerce blog.

Go and do.  Then come back and write.

Don’t be an Expert

This leads me to a final point.  When writing, don’t worry about being an expert.  When I first started my Dutch oven cooking blog, I hardly even knew how to cook.  Now, I’ve got a four-book deal with a publisher to write cookbooks for the Dutch oven.  The key is that I never CLAIMED to be an expert.  My approach was simple:  I’m learning how to do this, and I’m going to share what I learn.  You can come a long for the ride, and we can learn together.  Before long, readers will naturally trust your opinions and they’ll treat you like an expert.

You have plenty to say in your ecommerce blog, and you can share it with people who want to read it.  These will be the same people who will eventually buy it from you.  It all comes down to credibility and comfort.  Be real, be human, share your life as it relates to your topic.  Get personal!  You’ll have plenty to say!


Mark is currently in the curriculum Department of an internet and SEO training company.

Mark also has other sites and blogs, including Mark's Black Pot - Dutch Oven Recipes, and his MoBoy blog.