I’ve been following the DC Goodwill Fashion blog for over a year. I’m what we’d call in the online world a ‘lurker’ on this blog, meaning I never leave comments but totally read and enjoy it. Here’s a few reasons why this blog is a great marketing tool.

Even with a free Blogspot blog, you too can make a marketing impact. Really!

Genius Idea #1: The blog has a consistent (and actually interesting) voice.

The DC Goodwill Fashionista Em Hall (the blog’s author) is someone you want to be friends with. She’s fun, upbeat, and intelligent. Corporate blogs can feel stuffy, but this one never does.

Here is how Em explains the DC Goodwill Fashion blog (from an interview with Righteous (re)Style):

“The DC Goodwill Fashion Blog is all about vintage and contemporary fashion with a Goodwill twist. The blog emphasizes mixing high and low, old and new in attempt to help every reader discover his or her own personal style. And, at the end of the day, all money raised through the blog and shopgoodwill.com help to support Goodwill’s mission of training and employment for people with disadvantages and disabilities. In that way, one can look good and do good.”

If your business or organization is going to do a blog, decide on a mission and a tone and have one person maintain it. If multiple authors are definitely going to write it, have the blog software show the author’s name above every post. You’ll find that some of your readers like certain writing styles or authors more than others and having them be able to tell initially who wrote the post is helpful. Otherwise, the blog will seem disjointed. If you want examples of how one blog deals successfully with multiple authors, check out Wisebread or Cheap Healthy Good.

Genius Idea #2: The DC Goodwill blog is a champion of the fashion industry, including other stores and designers.

It would be easy for a blog like this to talk about the stuffiness of fashion and otherwise be exclusionary. It would, however, give the blog a negative vibe. While rant-y blogs (and rant-y people) are fun in small doses, regular readers in general appreciate a positive voice.

Em is not afraid to talk about runway trends she likes and who’s doing them. (I love it when she finds a Goodwill equivalent as well!) She is openly lusts after a new dress and anticipates collections. By becoming a champion of fashion, she draws positive attention to the DC Goodwill Fashion Blog and gains positive credibility for the brand.

And on a more selfish note, it’s no doubt that this generates some inbound links to the blog. As in “Hey friends, check out how the DC Fashion blog highlighted my new collection! link-inserted-here-for-everyone-to-click-on-here”). More inbound links means more traffic to the site. Not a bad side effect for being a champion of others!

DC Goodwill Fashion Blog's Good Buy of the Week drives major traffic to their site and gives readers something to look forward to.

Genius Idea #3: The DC Goodwill blog has a schedule.

Every Tuesday is the Goodwill Good Buy of the Week. Readers anticipate this and traffic spikes on Tuesday. (A similar thing happens on this blog for Too Cute Tuesday.)

People, no matter how fun and adventureous they are, enjoy on some level knowing what to expect and when to expect it. Blog readers are no exception.

And besides building anticipation with blog readers, the DC Goodwill Blog seems to be a consistent brand, doing what it says it’ll do when it says it will do it. And customers definitely like a brand they can trust.

Genius Idea #4: The DC Goodwill blog monitors its traffic and let’s its analytics inform its writing.

It’s amazing how many people have website statistics but don’t use them to inform their web choices. The DC Goodwill blog is aware of what posts are the most popular as well as how many readers click through to shop after reading the blog (approximately one in 11).

Not only does keeping track of stats help keep blog writers going those times where it feel like no one is reading the blog, but also it allows business owners (or in this case the Marketing department of Goodwill) to justify the time and energy spent on blogging. Just like any other part of marketing efforts, time spent blogging should have a good return on investment (after a little time to get things started, of course).

Genius Idea #5: The corporate website links to the blog and vice versa.

You’d be surprised at the number of businesses that have blogs that don’t link to the business site and vice versa. It only makes sense that the two connect, if only for easy navigation.

Genius Idea #6: There is ecommerce on the site but it’s subtle.

There is nothing I dislike more then being constantly told on a website that I should buy something now. While you can buy articles off the Goodwill site, I have never felt pressured to. And that is no doubt something a lot of the readers appreciate about this blog: it feels like information first, promotion second. Oddly, this makes me feel much more like buying something off a website!

All in all, the DC Goodwill Fashion Blog allows readers within or outside the DC area to keep up on fashion trends and, if they want to, buy articles of clothing off their website. This idea of an informative blog on a topic could be used by most any kind of business or non-profit with success if it’s done correctly.

Want more about the DC Goodwill Blog? Check out this video on the Simple Marketing Blog.

Know a company that’s promoting itself in a fun or unusual way? New Breaking Even regular will be Marketing Mondays, highlighting businesses doing cool things. Let BE know about what you’ve seen and you too can be featured on the BE blog!

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