11 Ideas to Make your ECommerce Blog Look Like a Magazine
For fashion and beauty ecommerce sellers, a blog can help you attract your target market. To do that, aim for the style and standards of magazines.
Thinking of sprucing up your ecommerce website? A blog is a great way to do that while also capturing the attention of your target market. And when it comes to the fashion and beauty segments, magazines are the ultimate benchmark.
There are a few reasons an ecommerce blog is a good investment for online sellers like you. For one, quality content is a major factor in Google search engine rankings.
And Filipino online shoppers like to Google. In fact, one-third of web visits to ecommerce sites in the Philippines came from organic search, according to Price, which means search engine optimization is crucial.
If done well, a blog can also help strengthen your brand. See the graph above? Almost half of ecommerce website visits in the Philippines came from direct searches — meaning people typed in the URL, instead of product keywords. So it’s important for your name to be recognized on the market.
Lastly, a blog can help you build a community, just as magazine readers used to mail requests for advice and letters to the editor. If you want to establish your brand voice through your ecommerce site blog, take time to study how publications tackle issues relevant to their audiences. For example, blog about skincare and self-care if you’re selling beauty or wellness products.
Overall, your blog is a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy.
How to give your ecommerce blog a magazine feel
It sounds daunting to try to achieve the looks and standards of magazines. To help you get started, we’ve broken it down into 11 tips and ideas that you can easily apply to your fashion or beauty business blog.
1. Have an editorial calendar
Magazines have an editorial calendar that sets the theme for every issue. This lets you plan your content in cycles so you don’t suddenly run out of topics to write about.
With an editorial calendar, you can also map your content to relevant seasons and events. For example, you might have a summer theme in May, festive in December and runway during the Paris Fashion Week.
Here’s an example from Vogue Hong Kong:
Simple enough, right?
What’s great about having an editorial calendar is that it helps you plan your resources and production schedule in advance.
Planning an athletic theme? Come up with story ideas for this theme, and identify any of your products that you can take photos of to illustrate the stories. List down the types of media you’ll need for each story — copy, graphic design, photos, videos — and the team and items that will be involved in producing each piece of content.
If you like to do content partnerships, include that in your planning, too. For example, if you’re a beauty brand, you might want to work with a skincare expert or beauty influencer to produce content on protecting the skin while training for a swim competition.
Or if you’re an online clothing boutique, you might want to tie up with a local sports equipment retailer to produce a photo shoot.
Last year, for example, H&M teamed up with British cult brand Vampire’s Wife to create “mysterious and carefully designed statement pieces” made from sustainably sourced materials. You can bet it was no coincidence that they published this collaboration on their blog just a few weeks before Halloween.
2. Have an aesthetic style guide
Each magazine has an aesthetic that defines it. When coming up with a signature look for your blog, think of it as a personality that reflects your brand as well. It must also resonate with your target audience.
So if you’re hip, go with bright colors and fun layouts. If you’re classy, opt for a more subdued color palette and more white space.
Once you decide on an aesthetic, make sure you reflect this in your blog design, post templates, photography and graphics.
Take a look at these story banners from InStyle:
See a common theme? The magazine traces people’s silhouettes with subtly colored lines. While they don’t do this for every story, they do so for most of their articles that feature celebrities.
3. Divide your content into sections
Any magazine reader knows they come with sections. The key here is to identify your target market’s areas of interest and how they align with your brand.
It’s also important to clearly define the content of each section from the start, so you can assess story ideas based on whether or not they fit in.
Here’s how Preview describes its sections:
You can create sections by segment to match your products (e.g., lifestyle, beauty, fashion) or by topical themes (e.g., trends, personalities, hot topics). Your decision hinges on what resonates with your target audience — which means you need to do thorough consumer research, if you haven’t done so yet.
4. Tell stories about people, not just products and trends
You might be tempted to treat your blog like a product catalog or a marketing brochure, but don’t — you have your online shop and social media accounts for that.
After all, there’s a reason Filipino brands invest so much in tear-jerking ads (#Hugot wars, anyone?). It’s because they harness the power of storytelling to draw in audiences.
And that’s exactly what you want to achieve with your blog. You want to draw people to your site. Once they’re on your blog, you can pique their interest with more stories and helpful articles, and nudge them further on the buyer’s journey until they make a purchase.
That doesn’t mean you should forget all about selling. You can incorporate your products seamlessly into your stories instead of making them the main topic. In other words, show, don’t tell.
For one, you can use your products in photo shoots — magazines do that all the time.
You can also make your product mentions more organic by telling the stories that inspired them. Here’s an example from the blog of Anthropologie, a US-based clothing retailer:
This article tells the story behind the handcrafted masks made by designer Roopa Pemmaraju in collaboration with Anthropologie. It describes how the “pivot to mask-making has helped to spare Roopa’s community in Bengaluru from some of the pandemic’s worst ripple effects.”
Another idea is to dig into the history of certain fashion trends, especially if they’re making a comeback and you’re selling those styles. See, for instance, Esquire’s tale of the history of Pinoy men’s fashion:
5. Have well-curated images per story
Each story should have a unified look, and images play a huge part in achieving that.
In its story on Loewe, a Spanish leather-goods brand, GQ Style uses images from various photographers and sources. The editors and layout artists, though, chose the images so well that they seem to have been shot as a photo series.
GQ Style placed images with similar color palettes and backgrounds right next to each other. The result is a cohesive look that reflects how much thought and care the magazine put into image selection.
6. Use beautiful typography
Fashion magazines use beautiful typography for the body copy, as well as overlaid images. Harper’s Bazaar is a great example of a publication that uses typography for maximum visual effect:
Decide early on what the typeface for story headlines will be, as well as for the main text. Designers recommend using both Serif and Sans Serif on a page to avoid a bland effect. Sans Serif fonts are generally considered to be more readable, so they’re often used for body copy.
Check out how Vanity Fair uses typefaces:
For the headline of its main story, Vanity Fair uses a typeface that’s similar to its Serif-styled logo. It’s immediately followed by a blurb written in Sans Serif typeface.
This is followed by another section that shows featured stories. While this features all Sans Serif typefaces, Vanity Fair uses different font colors and varied letter-spacing widths to avoid a monotonous look.
7. Feature user-generated content
Remember the days when teens would send letters to Candy or Cosmopolitan, hoping to be featured and to have their questions answered? The internet makes that much easier now with user-generated content (UGC).
Harness the power of social media by running campaigns with hashtags for users to contribute their content. You can then feature the tagged content on your blog.
Here’s how Clozette features UGC on its publication:
They feature readers’ Instagram posts and link directly to them. What makes their UGC section brilliant is they’ve tagged each user post according to a theme. For example, if you click on “minimalist”, you’ll see users’ posts that Clozette has classified as such.
8. Use columns for your blog’s homepage
Magazines write in columns. While that’s neither practical nor desirable for blog articles, you can do this on your blog’s homepage, making it look like an online publication.
9. Break up text with pull quotes
Some blogs use pull quotes and some don’t, but they’re a must for magazines.
A pull quote is your chance to attract readers’ attention to a story. Think of it as a breadcrumb trail — it should drop hints to draw the audience in, but retain enough mystery to convince them they have to read the article.
GQ Style’s feature on actor Cilian Murphy is a masterclass on how to use pull quotes:
It chooses a surprising quote — who wouldn’t want to read why Murphy thinks James Bond should be a woman? It uses white space before and after the quote. It also uses a gold bar and a different font style to set the quote apart from the main text.
10. If placing ads, make them part of the eye candy
Part of the pleasure of browsing through fashion and beauty magazines is gorgeous ads. So if you plan to place promos and ads of your products on your ecommerce blog, try to make them visually appealing.
This isn’t simply for the sake of beauty — it’s a way to enhance the user experience on your blog. Too many websites bombard their readers with distracting pop-up ads. Your audience will thank you for making ads a seamless part of their browsing experience instead.
You can’t miss Business of Fashion’s subscription ad when you click on any of its articles. But that doesn’t make it obtrusive. With subtle colors, a clean layout, and a style that matches the magazine’s overall aesthetic, the ad looks like it belongs on the page.
Plus, you can clearly see the “X” button on the top right corner of the banner, where most readers expect it to be. There’s no visual trickery involved to make it difficult to close the ad.
11. Put in the hard work by doing interviews
Magazines do interviews to breathe life into their stories. You don’t have to do this for every single article — that’s impractical and expensive. You can limit interviews to your most important story of the month and to personality profiles.
It doesn’t have to be a known personality, too. You can harness engagement by featuring your own customers by turning their testimonials into a story. Let the world know how your products made someone happy!
For a multimedia approach, you can also publish short video or audio clips of the interviews alongside your written content.
SCMP Style chooses to tell some stories as videos, letting the interviewee speak and supplementing it with on-screen narrative captions. This gives readers the opportunity to take a break from the publication’s long-form written content.
Try these ideas and find a good fit
If all these examples seem overwhelming, remember not to be too hard on yourself. Magazines take a ton of work, as anyone who’s seen The Devil Wears Prada would know. And no brand is built in a day.
Look through these ideas and figure out which ones you can start applying now.
As you build your ecommerce site’s blog, you can turn to your favorite fashion and beauty magazines for inspiration, and look back at these tips to see what else you can implement. At the same time, you must have confidence in charting your own course as an ecommerce brand.