The most important element in any blog is a sense of authenticity and discovery. You might think that it’s hard to find at a sporting goods store, but that’s not true. People run the store and visit it and people are always curious about other people.
We can’t help it. It’s part of our simian nature. We are a social species.
On the Internet, this has taken some strange and odd turns. At one time, in the earlier days, a bold young woman started something called JenniCam. This was when bandwidth limited you to still pictures. So she put cameras all over her house and they took pictures of her doing whatever she was doing.
So when she slept you saw her in bed. When her boyfriend stayed over you saw them both sleeping, and occasionally more.
This was an early sensation, and young men around the world were glued to her page, hoping for a brief site of…well, something interesting, let’s say.
With modern bandwidth, much more is possible, but a storecam (note to company: do not name it after the store itself. You will quickly come to regret it) would be boring.
What wouldn’t be boring would be blog entries about the store and a sense of the people who work there.
Anecdotes about favorite customers, looks at problems you solved for them, insights into your products and how useful they are…. Those sorts of things are really acceptable and at times quite liked.
And remember this: when people find themselves on the news, what do they do?
They tell everyone they know.
Same here. If you feature everyday people, they’ll tell their friends. It’s worth your time to do that.
Secondly, for all its faults, social media will tell you very quickly when there’s a problem you need to know about.
For instance, I once had trouble getting a refund for a summer camp program. I called repeatedly and got no call-back.
When I went looking for the company though, I found their Facebook page. So I let them have it – and my refund was in hand that afternoon.
It wasn’t something they wanted, so they took care of it immediately, which was good for me and for them.
With a sporting goods company, you’d like to see your equipment in action, and today’s technology allows innovative ways to do that.
You can post videos, which are useful, but today you can also employ GoPro cameras to get up close and personal. You can see how this might be great for water sports or cycling or even cross-country. You can get a real visceral sense of what’s going on.
In general, there’s no business that can’t profit from connecting to customers and to spotting potentially troublesome issues early.
Needless to say, you’d want to tie it to merchandise as well. If someone wants to buy a GoPro, you should help them. And as Amazon proved brilliantly, allowing people to review products – or even blog posts – allows for interaction, debate and most importantly traction.
Because whatever else, you want people to come back, and while they’ll come back to look at things they’d like to buy, catalogs are not inherently fascinating.
A blog can fascinate, provoke, anger and inspire. All of these can be useful to any business.
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