“Content is the reason search began in the first place.” – Lee Odden, CEO and Co-Founder of TopRank Marketing
Content is the alpha and omega of the online world. Content is the bedrock from which the entirety of the internet (arguably the most important creation of modern technology) sprang.
Before social media, PPC advertising, email marketing and the rest, there was SEO – a marketing modality founded upon content. However, today’s content marketing is far from the same animal that it used to be.
In years prior, business owners could generate traffic and sales from lazily cranking out and publishing 500-word blogs on a periodic basis. Today, this type of behavior will only harm a site’s performance.
For content to effectively build awareness, traffic, authority and sales in today’s digital environment, it must be remarkable – materials that are supremely informative, in-depth, entertaining and comprehensive. Of course, this is no small feat, which is why so many brands struggle with the discipline, particularly in the eCommerce sector.
While B2B and B2C brands have done an excellent job adopting content marketing, eCommerce is behind the curve in including the practice into its overarching strategy.
However, any merchant who runs an online store should be producing and promoting preeminent content to boost their business’s profile.
Ready to learn how to create content that cultivates significant results? Here’s what you need to know about content production and promotion.
Truth be told, most of the content production process is merely preparing to create. This stage is essential as it will dictate just about everything else to come.
To prepare effectively means that eCommerce merchants must establish a few things:
What is Great Content?
This concept is vital to uncover early on. After all, you can’t hit a target if you don’t know where you’re aiming.
Great content, boiled to its essence, must:
- Understand audience wants/needs
- Be highly sharable
- Articulate a message clearly and comprehensively
- Be incredibly useful to readers
- Understand how to drive a desired behavior and serve business objectives (e.g., increase traffic, authority, awareness, sales, etc.)
What Kind of Content to Create?
Will your brand craft blogs? Quizzes? Videos? How-to guides? Lookbooks?
There are tons of different types of eCommerce content. Conduct some research to establish which forms will work best for your niche and will appeal most to your audience.
Additionally, it is necessary to brainstorm valuable topics. To help uncover these, retailers can use resources like:
- Google Trends
These destinations will help retailers uncover subjects that are meaningful to consumers.
Who Will Create the Content and What Is the Tone?
Is your brand going to produce the content in-house? Will you hire an agency to handle it for you? Do you plan on hiring freelance ghostwriters?
Equally important is figuring out the content’s tone as this must resonate with an audience while still speaking to a brand’s identity.
Retailers must determine the purpose for a piece to fulfill. The goal could be to:
- Help audiences with actionable information
- Further thought leadership goals
- Drive visitors to take an action
- Provide viewers with a resource
- Boost SEO
- Highlight affiliate links
- Highlight a product, its features, benefits and uses
Conduct Keyword Research
While keyword research is still important, it has quickly been losing power to content’s utility as determined by page visits, time on page and other SEO markers.
That said, keywords should be used to optimize a piece’s technical elements (title, tags, etc.) as opposed to guiding the content’s creation.
Attention spans are short. For this reason, retailers must make content easily consumable. Consider how you will achieve this goal. Will you create bite-sized videos? Will you implement infographics? Will your blogs feature Tweetable quotes?
After laying this groundwork, eCommerce brands can dive into researching a topic and creating assets. From there, it’s all about promotion.
Content promotion is where the bulk of a brand’s efforts will be focused, believe it or not.
Before beginning promotional efforts, it is wise to build a content calendar to establish, manage and maintain a system of promotion. This calendar will guide the promotional method used for every single piece of content generated.
Know Your Channels
For an eCommerce purveyor to get their content in front of qualified viewers, it is necessary to understand which channels of promotion are available. Moreover, the more channels a business promotes through, the more exposure the content will receive and the more discoverable it will become.
Some of the more common channels include:
- Email: Send post notifications to your email subscribers.
- Social: Post (and/or pin) content to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn profiles.
- Reddit: Post content to relevant subreddits (without breaking the community’s rules).
- Quora: Answer questions that are related to your content by summarizing the post and including a link to the piece.
- PPC Ads: Leverage Facebook Ads to reach new consumers by targeting lookalike audiences.
- Syndication: Utilize platforms like Medium to spread content to new readers.
- Network: Reach out to influencers, businesses and other potential connections who may be interested in sharing the piece because of its topic or because they have been linked or otherwise featured in the content.
Of course, there are numerous other channels that eCommerce brands can use to promote their content. However, this is a great starting place from which to build.
Metrics to Measure
During a piece of content’s promotional lifecycle, it is vital to track its performance to establish which forms of content perform best, which types of topics resonate most and which channels are most effective. Doing this is how brands can optimize their content strategy as they proceed forward.
Some of the metrics that eCommerce owners will want to monitor include:
- Engagement (likes, comments, shares)
- Email open and click-through rates
- Email subscribers gained
- Inbound links earned
- Leads generated
- Sales garnered
By measuring how content performs, eCommerce retailers can begin to shape a more fruitful content marketing blueprint that will continue to feed an organization’s needs.
Utilize this information to help build a profitable eCommerce content marketing strategy. Doing so can help boost a brand’s awareness among consumers, ranking in the SERPs, authority within its niche, leads to pursue and its bottom line.