The first rule of blogging is: don’t write to sell. I can hear your confusion—isn’t the headline of this post something about driving sales through blogging?

Ultimately, your blogging will lead to sales. Or appointments. Or commissions. Whatever you want it to do, your blog will be a huge help. But only if you manage it correctly. And treating your blog as a sales vehicle is one way for it to become a quiet, dead spot on the Internet. And no one will send flowers.

So, what should a good blog do, anyway?

A good blog offers information to your customer that helps their daily life be easier, more inspired, more educated or more informed. Depending on your field, you may want to position yourself as an authority, so a blog can do that, too.

Most of all, your blog should entice readers to return again and again (or to sign up for posts delivered via email). That’s why your blog shouldn’t be treated as a sales vehicle. You are endeavoring to create a relationship of trust with your readers.

Do the hard work of blogging and sales will happen.

Make sure to follow these four tips for blog success that leads to an increase in your bottom line.

1. Use original photography. Show us your latest fishing trip or vacation photos. Share a snippet of your day as a business owner: a coffee meeting or stacks of boxes to open. Sharing product photos is fine, as long as it’s not all you do.

OK: “Here’s a cute picture of Andie, our assistant manager, modeling the new infinity scarves that were just shipped in from the Brooklyn Women’s Craft Collective.”
Not OK: “We have new scarves. Come get them! SALE! Buuuuy them!”

2. Create your ideal customer. Who shops at your business? Jot down a few sentence about your ideal customer and then craft content for him or her. What do they want to know? How can you help them? What insights do you have that would benefit this customer? When you create content that matters, the customer grows to trust you.

3. Post email opt-in forms on your website, blog page, below each post and on your About page. Having customer information is a gold mine. Use it well. Platforms such as Squarespace can feed these email addresses right into a third-party service like MailChimp.

4. Showcase your best blog posts. Click over to your blog analytics. Select three posts that have the most hits; received the most email signups; the most clickthroughs; or some other metric that matters to your business. Make sure to feature those three posts on your website’s About page; in a Facebook status update; and in an email you send to customers.

We’ll post more sizzle tips soon to help write blog content that will drive sales. Until then, happy blogging!

Olga is a Senior Manager in Sales and Marketing Operations at Connectivity.