This is a Guest Post by Mike Anderson
If you're looking for a way to separate your online store from the competition you should consider writing a blog aimed at the type of customer that you're selling products to.
I've spent the last four years building a content driven website called The Resurgence. Our online store portion of the site is bult on Shopify and we currently sell books, DVDs and music. It started out small and now regularly gets more than 30,000 visits in a day. We've won the trust of a lot of folks because of our content—and it actually becomes more fun and fulfilling to create products and services for the people in your newly created tribe than it is to just find customers.
1. Great Content Builds TrustIt was once location, location, location. It's now trust, trust, trust. People love brands they trust. They'll pay more money to get shoes from Zappos or Nordstrom because they trust that if they have a problem it'll get taken care of. Small online boutiques on Shopify can earn the same amount of trust! Great writing in an online store allows a customer to interact with you and get to know your values. If you can write articles that are helpful, entertaining, or emotionally compelling to your customers you will gain trust.
2. Great Content Invites Readers into the TribeConsider Jeffrey Zeldman's A List Apart. Over the years they've published hundreds of helpful articles and in the process created a tribe of people who identify with their brand. Recently they created a publishing line with a Shopify online store—every web developer I know seems to have at least one of the A Book Apart books sitting next to their desk. A List Apart has used content to build a tribe, and now they have a large group of people just waiting to buy whatever great new book they come out with.
3. Great Content gets SharedIf you write something great that would appeal to your customers they're going to share it with their friends. For a hundred years Macy's has put up elaborate Christmas displays in the windows after Thanksgiving. They do this to get people near their cash registers and to get people to talk about them—it seems to work pretty well. Content is similar. You will benefit when you can get people on to your domain and talking about you.
4. Great Content gets FoundWhen you write content for your readers you end up using words that they'd be searching for if they're looking for your product. If it's really good content people are linking to it, sharing it, and reading it—Google pays attention, and they send folks who search for terms similar to what's in your content to your site. Just think about how much Adwords costs—a good content strategy can sometimes pay off just by displacing your dependance on paid search advertising.