Forget Paid Search; Toasters Can Make Your Keywords “Pop Up”

Last year at a trade event, I had the pleasure of meeting an interactive marketing leader from Williams-Sonoma. We had a long talk about how the kitchen and home goods merchant could be using corporate blogging to magnify its search engine optimization.

“You could build an entire strategy just talking about toasters,” I said.

Retail blogging strategy should focus on stories. Retailers should talk about their amazing products, loyal customers who buy those products and why.

Marketers should use the employees who source and purchase products for the retailer as well as the people who deal directly with the customers to tell these stories. I explained to my companion that she could fill blogs and win searches by discussing even the simplest of products, even toasters.

The other day, my wife tells me a story about a stop at Williams-Sonoma with a friend who wanted to return a three-year-old toaster. It’s a great story; well worth a blog post. In the midst of the holiday rush this customer was treated politely and attentively, there were no questions or scowls about the exchange.

Naturally, while in the store, both my wife and her friend bought a few other items. This never would have happened if there had been an expectation that they would encounter grief when returning the old toaster. If they hadn’t gone to the store, they wouldn’t have made these other purchases.

This is just an example of many potentially great stories about a toaster and a happy customer that I’m sure happens 100 times a week at least. Not to mention all the other entertaining stories about the things people toast, the buying trips to Europe to evaluate toasters, recipes, pictures of toasters in beautiful kitchens and so on.

After our conversation, I did a simple test in Google AdWords, which quickly identified 150 keywords and more than 3 million monthly searches that include the term toaster.

It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, people are out there searching. Content drives search ranking and conversions. Multichannel marketing is no longer about advertising but about storytelling. Success comes from creating lots of great stories on very narrow topics.

A lot of people come to me and say they don’t know what to blog about. Look at your keywords. Keyword research tells you what your customer is looking for. Just tell stories about those keywords, and watch your search traffic soar.

Chris Baggott ( is CEO/cofounder of Indianapolis-based Compendium Blogware.