Your Recipe to Blog Success

The holiday season is upon us. And I don’t know about you, but even with Thanksgiving over, I’m still hungry. Hungry for cookies, treats, pies, and… great content. Yes, you read right – great content.

Yet, this hunger is year-round. And blogs are just what my appetite has in mind.

Blogs are everywhere, but not all are appealing. What makes a great blog… great? Well, as with all things, there are vital elements one needs to consider and, just like any culinary dish, having a great recipe to start from is key.

So where does one begin? How does one effectively create the main content course? Is there a ‘secret sauce’ to this marketing mix?

Blogging is one way to engage your audience, especially if you utilize some of these tasty ingredients (quick hints) from these successful bloggers.

Fill Your Heart and Mind

Heartwarming, informal stories can create lasting blogosphere fans. Anticipate what your audience wants to read about, much like you would tailor your dinner party to the guests you are hosting. Then, tie the message you want to convey via an easy-to-follow story as if the reader were right there with you. Zircon in the Real World readers are entertained while also receiving how-to tips through an informative, yet light-hearted blog series. Learning while also having fun? It can’t get any more engaging than that!

shutterstock_135988217What’s in a Name?

You’ve probably heard (and used) the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover,” but does that also hold true with blog titles? Titles should be captivating, relevant to the blog content, and compelling. Titles should give a quick glimpse into what the blog will be about in the two seconds it takes for a person to read it because let’s face it… we’re all short on time and nobody wants to invest time in something, only to feel misled and cheated because it was exactly not what he/she was looking for.

Preparation and Cooking Time

More modern culinary recipes note the time it will take to prepare the dish – even breaking it down to prep and cook time. And like we said before about time… it’s a luxury not all of us has. So while prep/research time for a blog can be unlimited, the actual cook/read time for a blog should follow a basic rule of thumb. If it’s not necessary to the reader, don’t include it. Less is definitely more!

Presentation – Tantalize with Key Product Attributes

A dish may taste good, but you also want it to look good! Never underestimate formatting. Make it easy to read and follow. Some prime examples are Amy Wax’s Color911 blog which focuses on color accenting, painting, and beautifying the home while seamlessly tying in the color911 mobile app. Zircon’s Pro Expert blog also shares in-depth ways to use Zircon’s stud finders in an easy-to-understand, step-by-step fashion.

Don’t Forget the Dressing – Photos of the Finished Product

Entice avid readers by including images, videos, and graphics that add interest, depth, and something to aspire to. Combining ‘before’ and ‘after’ photography and works-in-progress are some of the hallmarks of success for Riggins Construction’s blog. Likewise, Avente Tile’s blog effectively includes photos that produce a more impactful blog series while Home and Stone’s content informs and engages its audience with stylish imagery and functionality.

Variations

And as with any recipe, don’t be afraid to have fun with it and substitute ingredients to make a traditional blog your own. Giving your blog a slightly different taste of the same recipe will surely make your blog stand out from the crowd.

For hands on tips, please join our “Gifts” #diytrends Twitter Chat on Thurs, 12/18 at 11 am PST. Get insights on this gift giving season.

Please also check out these blogs from some of our #diytrends professionals:

@aecdaily@organized82@usspecproducts@kitchens4living@rangehoodsinc@pstldesigns,

@kitchen_sync@artofpowr@pegasuslighting@tradewindsimp@ronfeir@homeadvisor@improvecenter

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics.  Sharon image

Flooring it! Stand out Merchandising Tips for Your Brand

Within the retail setting, companies are challenged on how to stand out among the competition. Marketers need to differentiate their brand from dozens of other products that line retailers’ shelves.

Companies only have a few seconds to grab the customer’s attention. In addition to aesthetically appealing, functional and informative packaging (please click here for our “It’s All in the Packaging” blog), what entices a customer to pick up and purchase a product? In-store merchandising is an effective vehicle to engage the customer to help make the purchase decision. As an accompaniment to packaging, merchandising works hand-in-hand at the point-of-sale (POS) to elevate a company’s brand presence and sales.

Zircon Merchandiser

Vibrant graphics and consistent messaging on this Zircon merchandiser entice customers while reinforcing the brand.

Retail merchandising activities encompass in-store displays, shelf talkers, and product demonstrations just to name a few. A focused and engaging point-of-sale display that delivers on the key benefits of the product can increase the number of packages sold. Ever notice how the home center floors are covered with displays during the back-to-school or holiday seasons? Manufacturers and retailers alike understand that a stand-out display practically beckons you to take a closer look, pick up the product, and ultimately, make the purchase.

At Zircon, a point-of-sale display is often part of promoting their brand new stud finders and scanners into the marketplace and to distinguish their unique product advantages. Informational display graphics are integrated with colorful packaging visuals to compel the customer during the pivotal buying process. Merchandising is an effective marketing tool for Zircon and other companies. As products technologically advance, increased education from the manufacturer to the customer will be pertinent, further emphasizing merchandising’s focal role as part of the marketer’s plans.

And even after the sale is made, customers continue their quests for information, advice, and instructions on how best to use their new products. Companies have an opportunity to deepen their customer relationships by providing thorough how-to’s and stellar customer service. Excellent tips on how to meet after market service needs can be found in the blog, “Buy Today, Gone Tomorrow“.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics.

Sharon imageFor more info, follow us on Facebook or tweet us @zircontools.

It’s All in the Packaging

Marketing imageThe next time you’re in your home center or local hardware store, go to the nearest aisle and pick up a product that catches your eye. Ask yourself, “Why did I select this particular product? Is it because of the graphics or maybe the shape or type of the packaging?” Then take a closer look at the package as a whole. What message does the packaging convey? Does the packaging complement the product?SS HD25 frnt

Retail packaging is an art and, when skillfully done, serves multiple purposes. In its most practical sense, packaging houses and protects a product. However, with adequate thought and design, it can also be functional.

Packaging materials can range anything from plastic, cardboard, aluminum, or glass and are often combined for improved functionality, reduced costs, theft prevention, durability, and increased store shelf appeal. In the home improvement market, you may notice more rugged, durable materials, such as hard steel cases or clamshell embodied packaging that completely encase the product, are used.

A marketer’s goal is to design an aesthetically appealing, yet informational, package that can entice the shopper to pick out, learn about, then buy, their product at the point of sale. Differentiation is key! In the couple seconds a consumer decides if the product is viable, the packaging must quickly and clearly convey what the product is, how their tool is better, and why the shopper needs it. As packaging real estate is often very limited, style design and determining what product information is most pertinent can be a challenging, if not daunting, task.

At Zircon, we continuously look for ways to effectively and concisely communicate our product’s story via our packaging. Incorporating technological advances such as QR codes, that when scanned with your smartphone, can link to additional product information and videos, take minimal space, and yet allows us to supplement our product’s message so our customers can still make an informed buying decision.

While our packaging has evolved over the years, changing size, shape, color, and words, our overall commitment remains the same – design a package that not only engages the consumer, but provides an unwritten bond between Zircon and our end user as he/she purchased a tool they understood, valued and needed.

To optimize the usefulness of your Zircon tool, make sure to view our blog, “How is Your Battery?” for key insights.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Sharon image