Much like in sales, writing is all about working with your audience like you would with your customers. It’s about a mission, attitude, demand, marketing, and goal achievemnet.
Sticking to your Mission Statement…
My original intent in starting this blog as most know is to promote my book series that I’m intending to self publish on achieving success in retail sales. I want this to be an accompaniment to the books, a place for my readers to connect with one another and discover further resources. I was concerned that I would be white noise compared to the millions of retail help blogs there must be, but even to this day the actual positive and inspiring (human) retail blogs are few and far between.
If you don’t have anything nice to comment then…
Most retail employees prefer to read and write what “idiots” or “assholes” their customers are. They brag of their great conquests to mock the customer, speak sarcastically to them, and piss them off to the point that the associate actually hopes this customer fulfills the promise to never return. (Excuse me you are not the shop owner, you don’t have that right to make that call.)
Bad publicity is not something I want out there, and the hormones in this eighth month of pregnancy makes it so incredibly difficult not to type out, “Are you a total moron, your job is to make them happy?! Don’t you see you are coming off as the bigger “asshole” or “idiot”?! ” But then I would be the same as them in the blogger world. So I read my part, hit the like button so they know I stopped by (well sometimes I hit the like button) and then move onto the next crabby associate blog, with just as much original content as the first.
Selling what’s in Demand: write what they want to read…
I was going to start this blog as a place to provide training advice that would work for both management level and associate level employees. I also wanted to focus on the current news and stocks in retail to show other retailers how to utilize this information to influence their own schedules and careers. But sometimes you have to really take the time to study your shopper’s trends and preferences and reconsider your store’s layout and line of product.
When I first started my husband set me up with a month or two of google ads, and it seemed my visitors were all looking for jobs. So I shifted my blog focus on lay offs, firing, and job opportunities. When google ads ended my husband updated my wordpress to premium only to find that we had to have business pro level to utilize google analytics, and because Word Press’s version of search terms never actually offers the search terms I no longer know why my daily wayward cyber seekers find their way to my blog.
That led me to depend on observing my traffic. I found that the more personal blogs, the ones that were more memoir focused and less technical focused created the most foot traffic, so lately I have really gone off my original path and focused more on just my Confessions of a Shopgirl department for my readers. But now, through some new marketing strategies I have decided to start seeking the balance of all my departments.
Networking Vs. Marketing…
I had once worked at a mall that had been destroyed by a hurricane, and when it was rebuilt, CBL Management refused to market that we had reopened. The mall was the deadest mall I have ever worked. Just the same will happen with your blog if you don’t put yourself out there.
Just like visiting other shops often, and building a repertoire with your fellow mall employees will bring you business, so will commenting and getting involved with your blog community. But this method is a tiring one, and one that will rarely reach out past the realm of the circle that you have created. It is also, I have learned, a quite unforgiving method if you so choose to take time to spend with your family. In the one week that I was at WDW with my family my blog views dropped more than 70% from day one; despite the fact that I had new blogs scheduled and posting each day.
So to find a more sustainable and steady way to reach out, it is best to use other forms of media. I wrote a post on the things to consider before hopping into Direct Sales, and I found a Google+ Community full of Stay at Home Mom’s who were working from home, I posted a link to my blog and gave a short introduction. In a month that blog post acquired 42 views, from members of the Google community that would not have otherwise found my blog.
After my husband’s urging, last week I finally posted my first blog post on the site Reddit, and in one day my post view shot up to 368 views! I did my research before posting, I spent a morning reading posts in various categories that fit my blog and sought out the most common questions. I posted my blog specifically to cater to the number one question in the section, and Voila!
Goal Setting and Achievement…
Each day I walked into my shop I checked what my earning goal would be for that individual day. I would break down the goal into chunks, like what would that mean I would have to earn per hour?
With blogging I do the same thing. I set goals each month of how many views I would like compared to the last months’ numbers. I look at my growing trends and figure I’m going to at least grow equally as much as my consistent growth, and then I push myself to go higher. What does that mean for me daily? How much should I reach out, market, post? What habits really help me to achieve my goals?
How do you make your blog successful? How do you measure success?