Retailers should definitely learn the value of running a decent blog, or ‘online magazine’ as many like to refer to it.
A blog gives your audience a reason to come back.
Writing articles that are relevant to your audience’s interests, gives you something to share and can help underpin much of your social media strategy.
A regularly refreshed blog can help improve your SEO, build your brand, develop your tone of voice, invite feedback, increase traffic, increase backlinks, generate leads, drive referrals and also improve the variety of your email marketing.
The cynical among you may question why anyone would visit a fashion retailer to read an article when there are plenty of independent fashion blogs out there that aren’t driven by commercial interests, and perhaps a few years ago you would be correct.
However as transparency, trust and personality become the key differentiators in business, retailers have become a lot more invested in creating quality, independent content for their blogs that shies away from the hard sell.
And frankly its somewhat naïve to think that independent bloggers who write about products aren’t developing their own partnerships and relationships with brands both big and small.
So now that you’re thoroughly up to speed on the business case for blogging, all you need is some inspiration…
The T-shirt retailer’s blog is given prominence at the top of the homepage, clearly its editorial is as valued as its community.
The blog itself is a great mix of pop culture articles that appeal to its audience, themed lists of its best t-shirts, competitions and artist spotlights.
The Texas based purveyor of cult posters, soundtracks and toys offers a ‘News’ section that contains live blogs from the conventions it attends as well as breaking news and relevant announcements.
The best feature of the blog is its commitment to incredibly high quality photography, giving readers a hugely detailed view of its limited edition products.
The upmarket men’s attire shop Mr Porter has been bridging the gap between blogging and regularly scheduled publishing with its weekly ‘The Journal’.
Every Tuesday, approximately eight brand new exclusively commissioned articles on a particular theme are collected and published on the site. Last week’s edition was called ‘The Out of Office Issue’.
Each article is a nice lengthy piece, full of beautiful photography that would happily exist in a non-ecommerce publication.
As part of its regularly updated blog, Amtrak has a writer’s residency program where 24 professional writers and bloggers are given the chance to work on their own projects in the unique workspace of its long-distance trains. Their experiences are published as journal entries on the blog.
Zady has an excellent blog that feeds into its ethos about sustainability and caring for the planet, but as David Moth explianed in his storytelling brands post, as this is a fashion and homeware site there’s also a lot of lifestyle content, mainly relating to travel, interior design and food.
There are frequent interviews with clothes makers and designers, essays on sustainable living, inspiration for healthy eating, and profiles of attractive travel destinations.
Hardly any of the posts try to sell something, it’s all about associating the Zady brand with a sustainable yet glamorous lifestyle that its customers might aspire to.
Topshop’s blog has the classic look and feel of an independent blog, it’s all courier fonts and drag and dropped elements on the page as if it was built on a free WordPress template, and frankly it’s all the better for it. Inside Out is full of unique, interesting and trustworthy content.
This example is different from the rest as rather than running a separate blog, Lush’s ecommerce site is basically one giant online magazine, where the editorial pieces take precedence over the products.
Refreshingly Lush also isn’t afraid to have an opinion.
The Australian women’s fashion retailer offers an exceptional user-focused ecommerce experience, and its blog Too Many Tights! is a brilliant, entertaining and honest read full of wit and personality.
The outdoor pursuits brands has suitably awe-inspiring journal, full of adventure and daring-do. The Expedition Journal, is very attractive, well-laid out, contains some fascinating information and, as you’d expect, some great photography.
The US retailer has learnt the value of ‘repeatable formats’, publishing articles that are part of a regular themed series means you won’t have to struggle for inspiration and your audience will know when and what to expect from you.
For more on editorial in retail, check out our best practice guide Fashion Ecommerce and Content Marketing, which acts as an industry audit of fashion ecommerce, specifically the way fashion retailers have invested in online content.