How merchandise can monetise your blog
A guest post by Michael Johannes.
Content doesn’t have to be only online.
Successful bloggers know all about the online mix of text quality, great pictures, new topics and angles. These enhance an online presence and prevent boredom in their readers.
They also know about building loyalty by generating new and interesting content brings regularly people back. This encourages them to spend more time on the blog and interact with each visit.
But what is this content could be taken offline to the real world? What if it could help monetise your blog?
Every considered using merchandise?
The same rules apply: varied and interesting content, but this time your fans can wear or use it offline too. And it’s risk free.
Gone are the days of bulk ordering T-shirts with your logo and then being left with XS and XXL sizes. An ecommerce platform like Spreadshirt uses print-on-demand technology.
We hold the stock and only ship when an order is made. We also deal with all the financials, real-time analytics and returns. You set up a shop, add your designs, market them via your blog and other channels and wait for the commission to arrive!
Here are three key steps how merchandise can resonate with your fans and fly off the virtual shelves!
Designs and your shop
I expect you know who your readers are, their demographic and the places they spend time online.
This information is vital when it comes to knowing which merchandise would most likely resonate with them, and create ideas that will develop in the future.
Put together some initial designs you think will appeal. These can be quite straight-forward to start things off.
Now find a service which offers free merchandising shops, such as Spreadshirt. All that is needed is your time and some ideas. Fit it in with your site’s branding and include it in your blog as a white-label shop.
Shout it loud
Your readers need to know where they can find your merchandise. Even if some of your readers have already asked for a T-shirt, you will still need to remind them.
If you are promoting your merchandise on social media, remember to engage before you link to your shop or a certain product. You need to actively entice your readers to buy, not force it on them.
Wear your merchandise in your photography and videos, and team up with colleagues to wear each other’s design merchandise as a means of cross-promotion.
If you’re really canny, see if you can get an influential person to model your merchandise. Images of them could go viral on social media!
And remember to link to the shop from all your channels. The best social media success is when your fans talk about you – rather than just you talking to them. Use merchandise to get them talking!
Never stop exploring
A mug and a T-shirt is a good place to start. However, since merchandise is seasonal, there are always opportunities to create something new for your fan base.
Original designs, competitions, freebies, new products, limited editions, all these can keep readers coming back to see what’s going on.
Promotions are also a great way to upsell merchandise. Check out your plans for the coming year – what key events are coming up you can use as merchandising springboards?
Technology can take away the headache of merchandising by allowing you to concentrate on being creative. Your efforts are more likely to succeed and be sustainable over time without you being distracted from everything else you need to do.
Could your blog use merchandise for extra publicity?
Offering merchandise can be an amazing addition to your blog. It’s a new creative outlet, can help grow your fan base, encourage their loyalty and bring in revenue that can fuel your next great idea. Go on, give it a go! What have you got to lose?
About the author
Michael Johannes is Commercial Director Merchandising Services at Spreadshirt. This self-expression e-commerce company empowers people worldwide to express themselves through creating, discovering, and selling clothing and accessories with messages they want the world to hear.