The short answer is yes; blogging for handmade business’ can totally be a way to help get sales! The long answer to “does blogging help your handmade business” is that it is not entirely straight forward. However there’s nothing difficult about blogging and it’s something everyone can do as part of their business!
I’m not going to tell you how to set up a blog here (although I do suggest you go with WordPress as a platform). There are hundreds of people on the internet who will teach you to put together a WordPress site better than I could. However I am going to tell you the kind of things you want to write and how they will boost your handmade business through blogging.
Identify Your Ideal Customer
I’ve said it on other posts about running your handmade business, but it is always worth saying it again. Especially here. Identify who your ideal customer is. Once you know who they are you can start to work out what kind of blogs they like to read (if they like to read them at all!). Knowing where your customer hangs out online and what they like doing is key to marketing to them.
Assuming your ideal customer is a blog reader you want to work out what kind of content they’ll stop and spend time reading. For example if you make kids accessories then a parenting blog might be your ideal customers thing. They might like to read about your story and your kids, and about the tips on how you’ve brought up great, well rounded, mini versions of you.
I make costume accessories for live action roleplaying. This means my ideal customers are the people who do the hobby and who need costume. Although I link to my shop frequently on this blog I never make sales from the leads I make here. However I do make lots of sales from a related website that I run. Several years ago I started up a community website that deals with all aspects of playing roleplaying games. Because I chat with lots of my customers I’ve found that lots of them come specifically from an article I wrote on how to put a great costume together for LARP.
Once You Figure It Out, Keep Writing!
Once I figured out the kind of content that was sending customers to me I immediately started planning new articles. In my case I identified that the costumes I’d taken drew people in from Facebook and Pinterest, but the content of the article was what made it sharable on social media (and indeed sent it vital within the community).
Essentially the articles that I was writing allowed my products to solve a problem that my visitor had. The question that my visitors were asking was “how do I put together a great costume for my character?” My article never directly says “buy my products” but they do provide pretty pictures and a link which then encourages customers to take a look around the shop. There’s also a small call to action near the bottom suggesting that if people would like a similar outfit they can head on over to my Etsy shop! I don’t enjoy doing the hard sell; I’d rather people came to me because they really, really wanted something that I make.
Communicating Your Brand Values
Blogging is unique in that it can communicate alot about you and your business in a very informal way. When considering blogging for handmade business you really do need to make sure that your brand values are absolutely clear in your mind and that every post you make helps to reinforce them.
Although it can seem daunting to reveal lots of information about yourself on the internet don’t be too worried. Try to avoid giving out information that would make you vulnerable (such as your address and your holiday dates) but remember that people love to see the person behind the business when you’re a small handmade company.
Stick To A Schedule
It is the hardest part of blogging. And I should know, I’ve been blogging for over a decade now! Start with twice a month, or if you’re feeling on top of your game once a week. The most successful blogs get updated frequently with great content and a couple of times a week would be a great thing to aim for.
Remember to think outside the box when you’re writing posts. For instance if you make gorgeous tote bags then a day out would provide you with the opportunity to shoot lifestyle images. You can blog about what you did for the day (it could be anything from a trip to the city to a trip to the seaside) and include the photos in your blog post. Don’t forget to link to where your readers can buy the product!
Remember that the more content you produce the more readers will come back to read it.
Collect Email Addresses
As soon as you set your blog up you should get a mailing list set up too. Who you decide to use to host your mailing list is something for another post, but make sure you get collecting those email addresses ASAP!
Why? Because it means that Etsy and Facebook aren’t in control of me contacting my customers. You never know when a service might either close its doors or charge you to be in touch with the people who want to hear from you. On Etsy you also can’t send messages out to everyone interested in your shop so a mailing list really is essential for you to keep in touch with your customers.
I offer in my shop a 10% discount when you sign up to my mailing list. It is always good to offer an incentive, it much increases the chance that readers will give you their email address if they think they’re getting something in return. That could be some digital downloads, a percentage coupon, or even a monetary coupon. Whatever works for you and your business – and that’ll be different for everyone.
Blogging For Handmade Business
So with all that in mind, hopefully you’ll consider starting your blog and writing about your product. The traction you can get if a blog post goes viral on social media is incredible and it could end up making or breaking your shop. It’s all about creating content that is beautiful, useful, and also on brand for your business.