Monday, February 21, 2011
SUCCESSFUL BLOGGING: FROM ONE OF OUR MEMBERS
Blogging about your craft can be another way to get the word out about your Etsy shop, but it also a wonderful way to make connections with other crafters, get feedback, and receive (the occasionally necessary) moral support. Blogging is free and relatively easy.
I’ve been blogging about my daily painting for two years. (You can see my blog at http://carolynfinnell.blogspot.com/ ) I now have 299 followers and close to 100 subscribers. And I have learned a few things about making a blog successful. There are two things you need to do to have a successful blog. 1. Get traffic to your blog for a first visit and 2. Get them to come back again. Sounds easy when you put it that way doesn’t it.
At least 2 times a week, 3 is better. I know many people who will not return to a blog if there are not any recent posts.
MAKE YOUR CONTENT INTERESTING AND PERSONAL.
Write about your process, why you do what you do, what you like about your creations. Write about the experiment that failed as well as the ones that succeed. You can, and should, sometimes write about the things that are going on in your life, but remember the focus should be on your craft. Include pictures, and if the item is for sale in your Etsy store, a link to that item. Reading other crafters blogs will help you get a feel for what sort of things you might want to write about. Whatever you do write, it should be in your “voice”, people want to connect with you as a person, not just as a crafter/salesperson.
USE A PHOTO OF YOURSELF ON YOUR BLOG PROFILE.
This is not Etsy. Your primary goal is not to sell but to connect with other people and those other people want to know what you look like. Having your photo there makes you a real person to them, and that makes you much more interesting. People are much more likely to want to buy from someone they like, and feel they have a connection to. (I know I’m saying “connect” a lot, but it’s really the key.)
THINK OF YOUR POSTS AS A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR READER.
Don’t think of it as writing, think of it as talking, and not to – with - your readers. Invite active participation from them. Ask questions (but not just “do you like this”). Ask them about their experiences, or how they do things. For instance, when I had trouble mixing just the right vibrant pink, I asked how other painters mixed that color. I’ve occasionally asked my readers to suggest a title for the painting I’ve posted. (And gotten some fabulous suggestions.)
KEEP YOUR POSTS RELATIVELY SHORT.
Three or four paragraphs is about the limit anyone will read. Two paragraphs is even better.
TELL YOUR FACEBOOK FRIENDS AND YOUR EMAIL LIST ABOUT YOUR BLOG.
Get the word out to people who are already familiar with you. Don’t forget to email those people who have bought from you.
LINK UP WITH OTHER BLOGGERS.
Make a link list on your sidebar and ask other craft bloggers if they will exchange links with you. The more links the better. You will get most of your traffic from these links, especially at first.
VISIT OTHER CRAFTER’S BLOGS AND LEAVE COMMENTS.
Make sure your comments are interesting and specific. Not just “I like this” but “I like this because . . . “ And do NOT include a link to your blog in your comment. Most bloggers consider this sort of self-promotion spammy and will delete your comment. If they like your comment, and if their readers like it, they will click on your profile and visit your blog without your asking. Make your comments positive. Negative comments, even constructive criticism, is best communicated in an email. When I first started blogging I made it my practice to comment on at least 10 blogs every day.
RESPOND TO THE COMMENTS ON YOUR BLOG.
Blogger will email you every comment by default. If it includes a return email (instead of noreply-comment [!at] blogger.com) you can respond directly by email. Otherwise leave a responding comment on your blog. Remember, this is about making connections and having a conversation.
CONSIDER A GIVAWAY.
I know bloggers who occasionally will give a painting to one of their followers/subscribers. They will mention it in their blogs for several weeks before it happens. This can encourage people to follow or subscribe. I’ve done it myself with moderate success, but I figure if someone wants to follow/subscribe they will do it without any incentive.
AND FINALLY - BE PATIENT.
Creating a successful blog takes time and commitment. There are no overnight successes in blogville.
Good luck and good blogging.
Carolyn Finnell – aka BayouGirlPaintings