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Make Your Business Blog Work For You

Are blogs still a thing?

In business, blogs are still relevant and they can be high income earners if you know how to utilize them correctly.

Returning to co-host this episode is Restonic‘s Julie Rosien to discuss how blogs are adapting to changing consumers, challenges small businesses may face (and how to overcome them) in successful blog development, and the ever changing search engine optimization. Plus, she gives us an inside scoop into her own travel blog GoGirlfriend.com.

Go Deeper: If you don’t have a blog, start one! It doesn’t have to be fancy. If you’re a retailer carrying major brands, borrow content from their PR announcements or articles and make them your own (pro tip: just always site back to your original source)!

Episode segments

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Mark Kinsley: Business blogs. Is that an expensive hobby or a magnet for more sales? Our co-host today is Julie Rosen. She’s here to help you create a blogging strategy that connects with consumers and drives business. The fan marketing show starts right now.

Welcome to the fan marketing Show Strategies, tips, and ideas to help retailers and brands grow their furniture, appliances, and mattress business. Julia Ro is our co-host today. Back again. How’s it going, Julia? Love me. . All right, so you, we always love it when you come by. You’re, you’re back from Ireland.

You got a little bit of, bro, you can share with us. No, keeping

Julie Rosien: it all to myself. , . Ah, you’re just gonna have to

Adrienne Woods: go to Ireland to figure it out, people.

Julie Rosien: That’s right. ,

Mark Kinsley: maybe you got some good pub recommendations or some hikes we should take that. We, we’ll get to that. But speaking of your travels, you are an experienced blogger.

You’ve had, uh, this media property effectively that’s, you know, kind of geared toward, uh, women in travel for a long time. So you’re an. In writing and storytelling and blogging, and we’re gonna get to your thoughts on how businesses can be better bloggers and it still is a relevant part to your business if you are strategic with it.

But before we go there, we gotta get to our trivia. Question four today. Yo Adrian.

Adrienne Woods: Oh, and I didn’t even realize when I picked this trivia question how appropriate it would be. So here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna do a motto or a tagline, and you gotta tell me which business that you think it’s for.

Whose tagline is Belong Anywhere?

Mark Kinsley: Belong Anywhere. Belong anywhere. Okay. So if you gave us a little bit of a hint, Okay, So go over to fam.news. Text us on our podium number in the bottom. And of course, in the meantime, we are going to reveal the answer here at the end of the show. Julia, get your guest ready.

I’ll get my guest ready. I may have actually accidentally seen the answer, so I won’t have my guest

Julie Rosien: ready. ,

Adrienne Woods: Mark, I, this is the only problem. We share a document and so therefore he sees everything that I put in it.

Mark Kinsley: Uh, sorry, but, but you know, we’re gonna see, you know, the, the, the person that we just mentioned has this travel blog is really connected to that world.

What’s, we’ll see where this goes. Okay. Julie, first of all, before we get to, before we get to business blogging, talk to us about your experience running this media property, how that all started, what you do. And, and, and just give us some insights into that cause it’s kind of a cool

Julie Rosien: story. Oh, well thank you.

It it’s an older property now in terms of the, uh, the web. It’s launched it in 20. 2007, so 15 years old. So I worked for a web company that, uh, was building vertical channels, uh, on travel, all different things. And I’ll spare you the gory details of all the, um, the layoffs that went through when they were doing a little thing called arbitrage back in the day.

But, uh, Go Girlfriend was born out of that and it was based on. Capturing, uh, women who were traveling and even in 2007, women who traveled by themselves was still a relatively new concept. So providing information for these women who were traveling to different destinations and information they really needed on, you know, what, uh, what they needed to know about the hotels or the restaurants in the area.

And, and then how to travel safely as a solo woman traveler, which is something I’ve done for a long time in my career. And it’s still amazing to me how many people I meet. Then they. Not in our business world because we travel a lot, but uh, other women my age or even younger than me, they’re like, Oh, I could never travel by myself to another country.

I’m like, Yeah, you could. It’s not really that big of a deal, but that fear of travel is still pretty, it’s still prevalent in a lot of people, especially women.

Adrienne Woods: Do you think that’s because of a safety issue or do you think that’s because of a, They just won’t, they can’t figure out, It’s not that they can’t, that they won’t figure out how to navigate different forms of transportation, or is it the language barrier, or do you think it’s a combination of

Julie Rosien: everything?

I think it’s a combination of everything. I do think that the idea of women traveling alone and being fearful of that is a dying idea, I think. Okay, good. Younger women probably a lot more empowered than when I was, when I was 20 years old. So, you know, Fair. But it’s still, it’s still a group of women who, uh, and that’s what Go Girlfriend serves is all the different travel destinations and places to go and, So it’s a, it’s a fun property.

You keep it on the side and it, uh, you know, during the pandemic it was a little, you know, it died like everything else. sure. It’s coming back

Adrienne Woods: to life again. , right? You said it was called Go-Go friend. Go. Go? Is that what you said? Go girlfriend. Yeah, go girlfriend. Yeah. So I will say I used to travel in my previous life for business and I ended up having to go to Brazil one time and we went into like the inner parts of Brazil.

And for some reason my boss, who was a male and I were traveling together, but I had to travel back before him and I had to navigate my way through an entirely Portuguese airport and I made it back to the United States alive. And I feel like my stock as a travel partner went up. I’m like, I didn’t speak the language and yet I figured it out.

So, Go girlfriend. Everybody just go. You can do it.

Julie Rosien: There you go. You can do a girlfriend and you can do a

Mark Kinsley: girlfriend. Going out and traveling and, and, and living a life that’s rich and full. It gives you so much material to write about, whether it’s in your personal blog or in your business blog. And that’s what people I think, you know, want to hear about.

They want to hear those authentic experiences. They want to hear about overcoming your fears and facing the unknown and coming back through the Portuguese airport and getting back to the USA Alive. And when we think about this from a personal standpoint, we kind of get it because, you know, at least I think us in this group understand.

It’s a great way to share your experiences and, and we understand what a, a story well told looks like, but in the business world, sometimes people think, Oh, I need to do a business blog and it’s a box. I just need to, to check. Um, and it, and it’s gonna do something for my site. But that in this day and age is really underdeveloped.

Just just to get us started, talk about Yale appliances. Mm-hmm. , Yale Appliances does a phenomenal job with their business blog, and they don’t do it like everybody else.

Julie Rosien: No, they don’t. They don’t. They take it, They, so they start with looking at what their consumer needs and what their consumer wants from them.

And when it comes to buying an appliance, for example, you wanna know which appliances are, which ones are returned, which ones have the most service issues, which manufacturers are better at delivering on those service issues. So you appliance gets. They get right down and dirty in the weeds. This particular manufacturer services their appliances really well, or this one has a lot of recalls or a lot of problems, or, and then they, and they talk about what, what each one of those appliance is good for and what they’re not good for.

It’s no different than when you’re traveling. If I’m gonna write about a resort in Cancun and it’s got a great night. You’ve gotta be honest about that nightlife, because not everybody wants a nightlife. Just like when you’re buying an appliance. Not everybody wants the automatic ice dispenser. So if you’re gonna pay an extra couple hundred bucks for that, you gotta make sure you want it.

So Yale Appliance takes, I think they take a bit of the emotion out of it, and they give the, the, you know, the nitty gritty. Granular details that a consumer really wants on what that appliance will give them, and if that’s what they want. And if it’s not, then they can move over to the next one. So they’ve been doing it quite a lot.

HubSpot has featured them a few times at different conventions that I’ve been at, and I’ve met, I can’t remember the gentleman’s name who write, who started the blog, but really innovative in terms of a business blog and, and why he does what he does. But even stepping back from that, because business blog has to serve two purposes.

It’s gotta serve the consumer. Absolutely a hundred percent. But it’s also gotta conser, It’s also gotta serve the Google guides. So it has to have a good keyword strategy, a good deep linking strategy, a good understanding of what the SEO looks like as a whole on the website and why it fits in there. So, So you absolutely have to have a copywriter that understand.

Both those sides of the equation because if you’re just serving one side, the other one’s not gonna be happy and your business blog is not gonna deliver traffic and it’s not gonna deliver results for you.

Mark Kinsley: Talk about from, uh, you know, those are some of the things in the technical hierarchy that you have to put into place, you know, in the beginning with site optimization and then with strategy around, uh, what are some of those technical features that need to be in the copy.

And how to structure those things. There’s a lot that goes into that. Let’s, let’s put that, put a pin in that for a moment and go over to the content side of things. Mm-hmm. and, and help people understand how to strategically develop content that is gonna work for the business and work for the consumer.

And you, you talked about Yale and you talked about how, uh, they get really down into the nitty gritty of. in their, in their field of view and works and doesn’t work. Mm-hmm. , What about, um, a, a retailer who’s, who’s maybe blogged a little bit and they’ve got some of that on their site, but they haven’t been real strategic with it.

How would you think about your content framework if you were just kind of doing a reset here?

Julie Rosien: So it’s definitely a challenge for a smaller retail because you’ve gotta be good at writing and, you know, having a good copywriter is, is a challenge. It’s a, it’s a, it’s a resource that many retailers don’t have.

But I think you can step back a little bit and say, as a business, you know, in my community, what could I write about my blog and where can I deliver value to my consumer? So maybe I hold events in my store. And I can put pictures up about those events and talk about those events. Maybe they’re sustainable events, which makes it even a better story to tell.

But, uh, you could do that. You could, you could talk about product launches. You could take your iPhone through your store and you could show the Disney product that you have and why you’re excited about it and show the features and benefits of it. And you put the video up and that’s part of your, you know, a video blog.

So I think there are a lot of ways for retailers to get around not having a, a content strategist on site. But one thing that retailers don’t understand, especially small retailers, is that Google gives them an advantage locally over a bigger company. So Restonic is a national brand. So I have a blog up on restonic, and I’m trying to get traffic based on keywords, based on what I know my consumer wants.

But a dealer that’s carrying Restonic in a local community is going to get preferential treatment from Google because they know that if somebody’s searching those keywords, They’re possibly in shopping mode, which means they’re in research mode, they’re looking for information, and this store in their community can solve that problem for them.

So regardless of whether or not you have a content strategist on site, you already have an advantage. So, You can, you can do some of the things that I suggested, or you can reach out to your manufacturers and get content from them. You can pool together with other, uh, businesses in, in your local community.

You could create a local business blog that serves all of you together, a collective, so to speak, so that you could all be contributing to it and then have links back to your site, which then serves that more technical side of it that, you know, we were talking about earlier. There’s a lot of ways to get around it, but it’s about you have to be open to thinking different ways to market using storytelling as your main driver, which is unusual for a lot, especially in the mattress industry.

We’re highly promotional. We’re always talking about sales, but before that person gets to the point of sale, they’re in research mode. So how do you grab them at the top of the funnel when they’re in that research?

Mark Kinsley: And so much of the buying decision today is made before anybody steps inside the store.

Mm-hmm. . So, you know, look at what are the questions, especially like you said, people in your local market are gonna have about buying a mattress. Mm-hmm. , that you can answer. You know, I talk a lot about how problems own sleep. What are the problems we can help people solve. Yeah. It’s a really good pause point also, Julia, when you talk about preferential treatment from Google.

For the content you produce, even if it has national brands mentioned or something that may be very competitive from a keyword standpoint. Uh, you know, I think a lot of people look at it and say, Well, I’m never gonna rank, I can never compete, so I’m not even gonna gonna do anything with it. But, you know, somebody, you know, in, in, in, in a business blog can write about these national brands that they carry.

Mm-hmm. and. Good signals from Google that, hey, if somebody’s in your, in your area within a certain radius, you’re the one that’s gonna pop up. That’s powerful. That’s right. I didn’t, I didn’t realize that’s how it worked. And I think even just pausing on that and saying like, how did these algorithms work is a, is a big deal.

So this is a good reminder that it’s not, it’s not hopeless. You can compete.

Julie Rosien: You can compete, and it doesn’t have to be original content. If you’re carrying multiple national brands, you can grab content from the National Brands website and add it to your business blog, maybe put your commentary around it.

So you’ve got some unique content in there. But, uh, the duplicate content issue from years ago is no longer a thing with Google. You can, you can take content from another site, put it on your site, and not be blackballed by Google. So the opportunities for local retailers, They just don’t, I think that they don’t realize how much opportunity there is that it’s, that’s just being left on the table.

That they’re not, they’re not leveraging and that they could be leveraging to, to reach these consumers. But, you know, I’m a storyteller by heart, so to me it comes down to how can I tell my story and there’s all the channels that I can tell them at. The great thing about digital is now I can measure.

It’s not like putting a commercial out there. Once the funds dry up, that’s it. There’s no, no more. Story lives on your site forever that can continue to talk to new customers.

Mark Kinsley: That’s, uh, I didn’t realize that also that the duplicate content issue was not no longer a bad signal cuz you know, back in the day if you were just a rape and you know, ra rake and scrape content over to your page that was published somewhere else, then Google would say, Hey, this want to use bad a bad actor here, And they would.

Devalue that content in search ranking. So, gosh, so much to keep up on. How, how do you, how do you recommend that somebody stay on top of this and just get started in, in 20 seconds here?

Julie Rosien: 20 seconds. Go to the story I wrote for the fam, because there’s a lot of great content in that story of how to get started and, you know, follow some other content strategist.

The best place to get started is to look at your cohorts, what they’re doing, so other mattress retailers. Find out what they’re doing, see how you can make it fit into your own story. Rock and roll. That’s awesome. You know, that’s awesome. Rock and roll and,

Mark Kinsley: and I would recommend to take everything you do and try to repurpose it in as many places as possible.

Break it apart into social little snackable content, Maybe do some videos. If you’re into podcasting, you do a little podcast off of it. Julia, thanks so much. These are great tips. And who would’ve thought business blogging could be? Fascinating and ever changing, just like all the things in the marketing universe.

Adrian, our, our trivia question was, whose tagline is

Julie Rosien: belong anywhere?

Adrienne Woods: Julia, do you have a guess since Mark cheated?

Julie Rosien: Yeah, I have a guess. It’s not gonna be right cuz I don’t, I don’t recognize the tagline, but I’m gonna say Lonely planet. Okay,

Adrienne Woods: so it is really good guess. Actually, that is a great guess. It’s actually Airbnb, which is why it’s so fitting since you just got back from your travels.

So their tagline actually used to be travel like a human, and then in 2014 they underwent a rebrand and it is now Belong anywhere.

Julie Rosien: Belong and I use Airbnb in Ireland. So let me tell you. There you go. But I didn’t tagline. So

Mark Kinsley: now you know. And from what I hear, being in Ireland, you feel like you belong cuz people are so friendly.

Julie Rosien: That’s right. The I love country. Hey,

Mark Kinsley: I wanna say to everybody, it’s not our tagline, but here at the fam, you are part of the fam, so you belong here. And we are so thankful that you are part of the show, part of The Fam You You’re tuning in. Julia, we’re thankful for you. Thanks for bringing your knowledge and wisdom.

Always insightful. Thank you so much.

Julie Rosien: Thanks for having me. It’s always fun to be with you

Mark Kinsley: too. Hey, and do you have a marketing tip that’s worked for you? Text us on our podium number. Go to fam.news. You can text from our website. Yeah. And be sure to subscribe and never miss an idea, Adrian. That could make you

Julie Rosien: a business blogger.

Mark Kinsley: Business blogger. And join a seat week as we bring you more fam marketing magic.

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