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Ep. 22 - Does My Shopify Store Need a Blog? with Kaleigh Moore

Kaleigh Moore is a world-class freelance writer who creates blog content for ecommerce platforms and the software that integrates with them. She also contributes to publications like Glossy and Fast Company and is the co-teacher of the Creative Class (a course on the business side of freelancing) with Paul Jarvis.

Today, she gives us a little insight into the process of creating blog content for eCommerce platforms and how the practice has evolved over the past five years.

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • [2:00] Are blogs still worth it in 2019?
  • [4:10] How to start blogging
  • [6:00] Is guest blogging still relevant?
  • [7:10] The two types of content that perform best
  • [10:45] What budget do you need to hire a copywriter?
  • [12:40] How to maximize the value of your content
  • [15:15] Where to find freelance writers
  • [21:20] Kaleigh’s insight on ReCharge and subscriptions
  • [23:40] How to make your writing sell stuff

Resources:

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    If you’re enjoying the show, we’d love it if you left Honest eCommerce a review on Apple Podcasts. It makes a huge impact on the success of the podcast, and we love reading every one of your reviews!

     

    Transcript:

    Annette Grant

    Welcome to Honest eCommerce where we are dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners.

     

    Chase Clymer

    I'm your host, Chase Clymer

     

    Annette Grant

    And I'm your host, Annette Grant.

     

    Chase Clymer

    And we believe running an online business does not have to be complicated or a guessing game.

     

    Annette Grant

    If you're struggling to scale your sales, Electric Eye is here to help. To apply to work with us. visit electriceye.io/connect to learn more.

     

    Chase Clymer

    And let's get on with the show.

     

    Annette Grant

    In this episode of Honest eCommerce, we welcome Kaleigh Moore. She's a freelance writer that creates blog content for eCommerce platforms and stores.

     

    Chase Clymer

    Welcome back to yet another episode of Honest eCommerce, I am your host, Chase Clymer. Welcomed by... Wait, not welcome. Joined by...

     

    Annette Grant

    (laughs)

     

    Chase Clymer

    (laughs) Annette Grant. And today we are bringing to this show a great, separate perspective. This is a new one, everybody. Today we welcome the show, Kaleigh Moore. Kaleigh Moore is a world-class copywriter.

     

    She's worked with some amazing brands and I'm gonna let her kind of give her own intro and let you know who she's worked with and why her expertise is so cool.

     

    Annette Grant

    Welcome, Kaleigh.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Thank you, guys. It's so nice to be here chatting with you. So I'm Kaleigh Moore like you've said. I've been a freelance writer for about five and a half years now. And I mostly work on blog content. I've done a little... A few different types of writing, but that's where my focus is. And I work with folks like Shopify, Bigcommerce, Bigcartel and then I also write for eCommerce industry blogs. So places like A Better Lemonade Stand and Copyhackers and Conversion XL. So lots of blog content, lots of research, lots of writing.

     

    Annette Grant

    Question. Right before the show, I was working on a blog and I'm like, is this freaking even worth it anymore in 2019?

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    (laughs)

     

    Annette Grant

    So, can you help me with that? Because social media is everywhere. I'm still doing these blogs and tagging it and is that still worth it?

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Yeah, so that's a big question. But the short answer is yes. Of course, I'm a little biased because (of) the work that I do so I see the value in it definitely very clearly. But I think that the short answer to that question is, it's still a great way to teach and educate on what you know.

     

    It's a great way to build authority and ethos. And it also helps with your SEO and your PPC efforts. So if that's something you're working on, it's still very much helpful in regards to those efforts.

     

    So it does a lot of things but I think the primary value in creating blog content in 2019 --so right now-- is that it's a platform for you to share what you know and to tell stories and to connect with your audience in a way that you can't really on social media or maybe in an email newsletter or things like that. It's a different place for different types of context and it's... I think it's still really valuable.

     

    Annette Grant

    Good. Now I feel better about the time.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Yeah, yeah.

     

    That was time well spent.

     

    Chase Clymer

    Oh, absolutely. We put out a blog, one blog a week --we try to-- here at Electric Eye but it's a little bit easier for us to come up with that plan and that strategy because we're... Our customer avatar is pretty well-defined and we know what they're looking for on the internet. It's essentially tips and tricks and essentially everything that's found in this podcast is what they're looking for.

    So from a store owner’s perspective, --and they're selling physical goods-- do you have any tips to help them curate their content strategy and how to come up with stuff that will be engaging for their customers? Because I always feel like that is such a hard concept to direct... I'm gonna use a terrible example now. A shoe company, they're selling...

     

    Annette Grant

    I was waiting for the shoe company. Chase uses the shoe company pretty much on every episode. (laughs)

     

    Chase Clymer

    I'm not reinventing the wheel. I'm lazy. Alright.

     

    Annette Grant

    (laughs) It's a theme. I like it.

     

    Chase Clymer

    Cool. So I've got this shoe company. We sell shoes. How do I start blogging?

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Yeah. So I think the first thing always is to do --the best companies and the smartest companies that I work with do this well-- is they go to their target audience and they ask them directly. Like, "What do you want to read from us on our blog. Give us ideas." And so crowdsourcing content ideas that way is a really brilliant way to jumpstart your ideas on what you should write about because you're going right to the people you care about most and asking them what they want to learn from you.

     

    You can also study what your competitors are doing. You can think about it from a keyword perspective. If you're trying to rank for certain types of shoes or different types of customers who are shopping for shoes, you can take that angle. Or you could also talk about what's happening behind the scenes at your company and use it as a way to kind of break down the virtual walls between you and your customer.

     

    So I feel like sometimes it's hard when you have an online store to get people to really understand who you are and what you do as the person behind the brand. And a lot of companies do a really great job of using the blogs as an illustration of their company culture, of a day in the life, what it's like to come up with the idea for a product, to get it from point A to point B...

     

    There are a lot of different directions you could take with those things. But I think the big thing is to make sure that it's story-based and make sure that it's relevant to the target audience and that they are actively giving you feedback on what they want to read from you.

     

    So that you're not just winging it or guessing at what people want to read from you, you're always making a data-informed decision as far as strategy goes when it comes to the things that you write about.

     

    Chase Clymer

    Well, that's it. We can stop right now. That was the best answer I've ever heard about how to come up with that strategy. I thank you so much. Go back and listen to that again, anyone that listening to this podcast. Hit that 15-second rewind thing a few times and listen to that again.

     

    Annette Grant

    That was chock full of value for sure.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Thank you.

     

    Annette Grant

    I do have a question about guest blogging, is that still something that's relevant also? Asking other people to provide content?

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    I think so. Yeah.

     

    Annette Grant

    Okay.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Because your own blog is like your company megaphone, right? You can blast out content there all day, but it's a little bit one-sided sometimes. So you're usually talking to the same group of people day after day.

     

    But when you guest post, you get that opportunity to get in front of a new demographic, a new set of eyes, who could potentially share that and then you get shares that way, you get new eyeballs that way.

     

    So I think that again, from a link perspective as far as increasing your SEO and helping those things, --which I'm not an expert on, by the way. I just know enough to be dangerous-- but I know enough to know that guest posting is good for increasing your quality score, as far as Google is concerned. And (it) helps you also get in front of new audiences. So I think it's good for both of those things.

     

    Chase Clymer

    Yeah, Google likes those backlinks.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Mm-hmm.

     

    Chase Clymer

    Awesome. So I think this is a good time to get into how that content looks. So what are you finding these days... What's the best performing content that you're helping people create for their blogs.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    So there's two main categories. Number one is the super long-form, in-depth evergreen content that takes a million years to write. It's full of research. It's got tons of examples and screenshots. And it's just really valuable for anyone who takes the time to sit down and read it. It's usually a lot more expensive to create or to outsource or to even write yourself.

     

    It takes a lot of connecting the dots, I guess, and finding interesting things to say, maybe, that hasn’t been said before as far as data is concerned or as far as making new points about how to do things or illustrating concepts or "how-to's". How to optimize a landing page or how to perfect your product page or something like that.

     

    So that's the first category and those do really well because they're just really valuable. They're extremely interesting. They're really well done. And people end up sharing them a lot because they are so great.

     

    The other type of content that I've seen really do really well as kind of the other end of the spectrum. And that's content that's kind of fun and silly. It's usually short-form. It's usually full of jest and memes. It's very pop culture-centric. And those can do really well too, because people connect with them and it makes them feel like the company gets them or the brand gets them.

     

    It's hard to nail. You definitely have to have a specific type of brand voice to be able to do those so it's not for everyone. But if companies do this well and can be really engaging with a conversational tone in these types of posts, I've seen those be really successful.

     

    Chase Clymer

    You hit something there that I want to talk on again, --I preach this all the time, especially when I'm talking live-- There's two ways to create content. It's either going to take you time or it's gonna take you money.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Mm-hmm.

     

    Chase Clymer

    There's no other way about it. It's you're either investing that time to make something awesome, --and even with any marketing strategy, honestly-- you're either learning that skill yourself or you're paying someone that has that skill already to help you accomplish your goal.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Right. That's so true.

     

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    Annette Grant

    I'm going to ask a question and hopefully, you'll be brutally honest about it. From a store owner’s perspective, if I'm going to go out and hire a freelance copywriter to help me with some blog posts, what type of budget do I need to have in the bank before I even ask them to help me out? What do you think the baseline is for the starting of a blog post?

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    That's really difficult to quantify for a couple of reasons.

     

    Annette Grant

    Okay.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Number one, it depends on the type of content you want. If you want the super in-depth, expert-level post, --number one I just talked about-- that's going to be quite a bit more expensive. And those are typically, I would say, going to cost you anywhere from $500 to $2500 apiece.

     

    And that really just depends on the expert level of the writer that you're hiring, how much time is required, the length of both the research needed, all those types of things. If you're looking for a shorter form, and you're on a tight budget, I would say you could get a writer with a little bit less experience --maybe 1-3 years-- for anywhere from $100 to $350 per post.

     

    So I think that those are pretty safe ballpark ranges as far as what to expect when it comes to those two types of posts, it varies a lot. And rates are always changing based on the writers' experience level and the results that they produce, the value that they can bring to the relationship. So it's hard to say for sure what it would cost. But I think from my perspective, those are pretty realistic ranges.

     

    Annette Grant

    No. We appreciate that because I think it's something that store owners get bogged down in the day to day and if we can at least give them a starting point, that's helpful. Like, "Wait a second. What's their time worth versus hiring a professional to help them with an amazing post?"

     

    Chase Clymer

    Yeah. And obviously, that's an investment. Do you have any tips or tricks or just ways that you see people that maximize the value out of this content that they have now curated with a trusted partner? I get this blog content back. Other than just slapping it on my blog, what should I be doing with this?

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Yeah, so I think that there are a couple of different things you should do. Number one, if you have an email newsletter, you should definitely be sharing that content with them, with your subscribers. Their inbox is still a pretty sacred place. So if you have this really great, helpful piece of content, definitely share it there.

     

    Of course, you have your social channels. You also have an opportunity with social advertising maybe to get that content in front of the right customers for you and educate them in a new and interesting way.

     

    You can also use it to start positioning yourself as a thought leader. So if you're looking to get bylines with bigger publications or industry type blogs, that's a piece of work that you can showcase. It's like, "Here's what we've been doing. We'd love to collaborate with you on a future project. Take a look at this and see if this kind of aligns with what you guys are doing."

     

    And so when you have those really great pieces of content that you can put in a portfolio, I think it ups the success rate on those opportunities quite a bit too. So it's long term and short term outcomes as far as how to share it or where to share it. But I think you can also use those as a springboard for future opportunities as well.

     

    Annette Grant

    Another place I think it would be interesting to use too is if it's that long-form blogs is if you could break that down into some individual YouTube videos that go along with the brand, too. I think it would be an interesting place.

     

    Chase Clymer

    I mean, when you have a well-written piece of content, it's a script for a video, essentially. You just got to change the verbiage. I don't know. I'm a terrible writer.

     

    Annette Grant

    Or, if it is long-form, I mean, you could dice it up into 10 different YouTube videos and then 10 different email blasts depending on how involved... Especially if you're making a large investment in it for sure.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Or an ebook or a full course. I mean, there are a lot of things that you could do to repackage that content. And I think that that's a really great way to get extra mileage out of those.

     

    Chase Clymer

    Yeah, I've been trying to find it in the show notes and that reminds me. So there's an awesome piece of content by Gary Vee. And it talks about how he takes his keynote, --he calls it “keynote content” which is essentially his daily blog or when he speaks-- and he turns it into 12 other forms of content. It's a really cool way to show you how to take a good piece of content and then create other content from it and get the maximum value out of it.

     

    Annette Grant

    Absolutely. So where can I find these freelance writers that would be a fit for me? I'm actually going to be honest. I don't even think I've hired any yet. I've just been interviewing them. And it's all been word of mouth. But where else can I go with it? What's a crowdsourcing site for freelance writers?

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    So I am pretty anti sites like Upwork or Fiverr or places like that because that's where you get the people who are really hungry for work. They're very new to whatever it is that they're doing. Those aren't going to be your subject matter experts, most of the time. There are exceptions to that rule, but a lot of the time, it's kind of a race to the bottom for who will do it the cheapest and the fastest.

     

    So if you want to really great quality writer, I would say, go to your community that you're part of and start asking for a referral. Maybe go to the industry blogs that you really admire and see who has byline there and maybe poach writers from those sites (laughs) if that's what you're wanting to do. I think that happens quite a bit. But I don't see a lot of people talking about it.

     

    Poach is kind of a dirty word. But it's a great way to find writers who already do great work and that you know you like and that align with what you're trying to do. And then the other thing is, just look at people who are doing great work within your industry or with other merchants that you admire or maybe even your competitors and see who are their writers and what are they doing?

     

    Are there people that you can connect with who would have good ideas for linking you up with really high-quality writers who are a good match for your type of business and have the right subject matter expertise. But always remember that those writers for hire sites, like I said, they're a scary, dangerous place to go.

     

    Because what happens sometimes is when you hire those writers that just want the cheap and fast work, you get these outcomes that you're not happy with. And so you end up paying somebody else to do it over again or you're frustrated by the quality and you put it up and it's just kind of lackluster results. So just something to keep in mind.

     

    Like I said, there are exceptions to that rule. But referrals I think, are always the best way to get recommendations for writers.

     

    Chase Clymer

    As someone who does work with a network of freelancers, you need to be very honest and receptive to their feedback. You need to tell them what you want, They're not mind-readers. They don't know what's going on in your head.

     

    You can't just go, "I want to blog about shoes." You got to be like, "I want this type. Here's five examples. Here's what I like about them. Here's what I don't like about them. Our tone of voice is this. This is how we like to do X, Y, and Z. You can get even as specific as, "We don't use apostrophes. We don't shorten words. It's going to be would not. It's not wouldn't.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Yeah.

     

    Chase Clymer

    You gotta let people know how you want your content to look or you're gonna have a terrible time.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    For sure. I think that it's a major red flag if you don't have those things in place for the freelance writer that you're hiring. So yes, it's always good to include as much direction and as much specific detail about the writing project that you can, so that you are sure you and your freelancer are on the same page.

     

    Chase Clymer

    I think our brief document for writers is like two pages long.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    That's great.

     

    Yeah. I love that.

     

    Chase Clymer

    Well, we're trying to do good stuff over here.

     

    Annette Grant

    (laughs)

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    It sounds like it's going well. That's, that's great to hear.

     

    Chase Clymer

    It is.

     

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    Chase Clymer

    So in regards to content and blogging for the eCommerce store owner, do you have anything that you'd like to share before we pivot to this other topic that you had here at the bottom about subscriptions?

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    I think it's a great opportunity --if it aligns with your brand-- to really have that personality that I talked about a little bit earlier and to have a very conversational tone. eCommerce store owners as independent business owners have this great opportunity to really showcase a unique brand voice.

     

    And so to miss out on that opportunity is kind of a shame. If you have the company culture or it's part of your brand voice to speak in a fun, pop culture-centric way, I say do that because I still don't see a lot of brands doing it. I feel like there's a big opportunity there as far as capturing attention and really connecting with audiences.

     

    Like I said, to break down those barriers that are so common in the eCommerce environment.

     

    Chase Clymer

    Yeah, I mean I just... One last note there is like, people want to buy from people. They want another real human on the other end of that transaction and that they're not just giving their money to a faceless entity, one of those bigger box stores. You're helping the little guy. It's a small business. Everyone enjoys that.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Yes. For sure. That's a great way to connect with potential customers and to just really stand out in a lot of noise to be that unique brand with that unique personality.

     

    Chase Clymer

    Awesome. So Kaleigh, now it's bonus material. She's got some insights into subscriptions. One of your clients is finding success with Recharge. What do you have to share about that?

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Yeah. So I feel like there's such a huge opportunity with subscriptions right now. Even companies that I would not think have a subscription opportunity are finding them. And what's so great about that is the sustainable revenue for the business. Monthly recurring revenue, it's a great way to increase customer loyalty.

     

    It's a great way to get customers hooked on products. I'm just constantly amazed by how much is possible when it comes to subscriptions. And like I said, Recharge is a platform that integrates with Shopify and I'm seeing a lot of companies use it, and finding, "Oh my gosh.

     

    There's this huge window here that we're tapping into where, now we're not only selling one time products, but we're getting subscriptions where people are buying in for six months at a time or three months at a time."

     

    And in doing that, you can upsell on, here's what would make your subscription better. You can do interesting things like, allowing some flexibility so people can customize their subscriptions which boosts retention for long term efforts.

     

    There are just a lot of interesting things that open the door to as far as revenue goes and customer retention goes. And I think if anybody is interested in subscriptions, definitely look into that. I think that that's something we're not going to see go away. I think that's going to continue to grow as a trend.

     

    Chase Clymer

    Absolutely. We actually had Rob from Recharge on not too long ago and it was an amazing episode. Very insightful. Just the one thing about subscriptions... And it's gonna... It always goes back to making sure you know what you want. You got an outline like what that subscription looks like for your business. And it's a lot more than like people can get this thing more often. There's a lot more that goes into it.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Right. Right. (laughs) Yeah, there has to be a bit of functionality and need for a recurring order of whatever your thing is. It can't just be, "Hey, buy this thing every month." You know, there has to be a bigger value equation in there.

     

    Chase Clymer

    Yeah. And then we start talking about bundles. It's like, "Oh, my gosh, what's going on here? Is the first shipment free? Is it not? What about free shipping? How would that work?" There's so much to consider there. Cool. So in the pre-show, you spoke about an awesome piece of content that you want to share with our audience that can help people out with beginning this journey.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Yes. So, it's very basic but I think it's gonna be really helpful for a lot of people potentially listening to this podcast. It's called How to Make Your Writing Sell Stuff.

     

    And so you can use the tactics that I'm talking about in this blog post on anything from product pages, to email marketing, to your blog posts. It just has some good ideas for writing content that converts, that gets you more sales and get you more customers for your business.

     

    Chase Clymer

    That's awesome. We'll make sure to link to that in the show notes.

     

    Annette Grant

    Yes, Should I just send out emails that say, "Buy my stuff."? (laughs)

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    (laughs) Wouldn't that be great?

     

    Annette Grant

    Right. Just keep firing out, buy button, buy button, buy button on the email?

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Yeah. (laughs)

     

    Annette Grant

    Well, no. Thank you, Kaleigh, for being on the show. I'm excited. I'm gonna check out the blog post, immediately following. We will make sure to link to that and we thank you for your time.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Thank you, guys.

     

    Chase Clymer

    You were a fantastic guest. Thank you so much.

     

    Kaleigh Moore

    Thanks.

     

    Chase Clymer

    We can't thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing the truth. links and more will be available in the show notes. If you found any actionable advice in this podcast that you'd like to apply to your business, please reach out at electriceye.io/connect.

     

    Annette Grant

    Please make sure to subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your podcast app of choice.