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If you run an eCommerce site, you just want more people to buy more of your stuff. It sounds simple except for the fact that most eCommerce markets are saturated and hypercompetitive. And it’s getting tougher and tougher to stand out.
But savvy online retailers are adapting and the ones who can stand out from the crowd are thriving.
They have realised that in order to sell more they need to engage more with their target audience and the best way to achieve that is through the use of Content Marketing.
eCommerce Content Marketing is the sweet spot where SEO, blogging, link building, social media & paid search all meet.
But eCommerce Content Marketing is not just about filling up the funnel, it’s about increasing conversions too.
But it’s not just the preserve of large, established national or international brands. If you approach it methodically and consistently you will be amazed at what you can achieve.
And here are the rules of the game…
Ladies and Gentlemen, Pickaweb is proud to present
Our Definitive Guide to eCommerce Content Marketing is a handpicked selection of the best examples of content for traffic as well as for increased conversion. We’ll take you right through from the basics with some tried and tested content frameworks. It’s all you need to create a long term eCommerce Content Marketing Strategy that delivers real results.
A few ground rules so that you understand what eCommerce Content Marketing is (and what it isn’t)
If the thought of strategy or a 50 page ‘plan’ sounds scary, then relax. We’ve got a fast and easy way to create a powerful Content Plan
If it’s traffic you’re after then we’ll show you the best Content Frameworks for this goal
Traffic is nice but it doesn’t pay the bills. We show you how to create Content that will increase Conversions and get the tills ringing
If you want your content to stand out you need to consider the visual aspects and we share with you the most popular formats for this
Your content is ready to go live. But don’t hit the publish button just yet. You still have to promote it and we explain exactly what needs to be done for maximum effect
Some world class examples to inspire you
Come on then, let's get started…
The basics of eCommerce are pretty simple.
You just want to sell more stuff to more people.
So your home page is covered with your best sellers, just like all of your competitors.
Isn’t that what eCommerce websites always look like? -heavy on the products, light on the content.
But that is sooooo 2005.
The thing is that savvy eCommerce store owners are moving away from ‘in your face’ product heavy home pages towards a more editorial and content focused format.
And it’s not just to make their websites look pretty.
Smart eCommerce marketers recognize that great content can attract and engage both new and existing customers alike.
Now if you’re thinking 50 page Content Strategies, expensive Digital Agencies, Researchers, Copywriters, Content Designers, Outreach Services and Social Media Managers, etc.. think again.
If you run an eCommerce site (and you’re not a brand) and you want a long term strategy that gets traffic, increases conversions, positions you as the authority in your field and doesn’t cost the earth then eCommerce Content Marketing could be perfect for you.
And here’s why…
Simply put, Content Marketing is the sweet spot where your
expertise meets the interests of your customers.
It’s also the point where SEO, blogging, link building, social media & even paid search converge.
It’s going to get you more engagement, build your authority, get links naturally and ethically as well as amplifying your reach through social media.
We all know that getting links to product pages is time consuming, so rather than focusing on the product, Content Marketing allows you to create a deeper relationship with your audience and potential customers by focusing on their needs.
Instead of taking visitors directly to the end of the funnel and asking them to get their credit card out (level of difficulty: hard), you can get them into the wider opening of the sales funnel by focusing on intent (level of difficulty: easier).
Great content allows you to to shine a light on the needs of your customers. It allows you to show that you anticipate their needs and position yourself as the trusted expert.
You’re no longer a hawker of goods. You’re a safe pair of hands.
But it doesn’t stop there. Content Marketing has a long afterlife. Great content can deliver new visitors to you for many years to come.
Repurposing it also means it can be a really effective way of reaching out to new audiences based on their browsing preferences.
And despite what you may think it can also be cheap and it gives you the opportunity to outsmart bigger competitors and create a strategy that they will find hard to copy.
Finally, it allows you to build relationships with bloggers and industry influencers and to position you as the authority in your field.
Before we get stuck in, a few ground rules for you so that you understand what
eCommerce Content Marketing is and what it isn’t:
It’s not an opportunity to just talk about you & your products - it’s about your audience
It’s not an opportunity to publish loads of thin, lightweight content - it’s about quality & authority
It’s not an opportunity to just write for traffic - conversions & authority are even more valuable considerations
It’s not an opportunity to create a bunch of keyword loaded blog posts - again, traffic is nice but conversions are nicer
It’s not about taking visitors straight to the end of the funnel - it’s about inviting them in
It’s not an opportunity to create jargon rich content for your peers - they aren’t going to buy from you
It’s not an opportunity to create a ton of content for a month or so - it’s commitment that lasts as long as your desire to be in business
It’s not a chance to outsource it all to an outsider - it about your voice
It’s not the fad of the week to get the intern or your front line staff to do stuff when things aren’t busy - they can participate and bring enthusiasm, but they are not the leaders
It’s not about product features your product pages can do that - it’s about the people who use your products or services
It’s not a format (lists, infographics) - it’s ideas, it’s about angles, it’s storytelling, it’s humour, it’s making associations, it’s about being interesting, it’s about making friends and developing relationships
“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
Now we all know people who love to plan. They are great at planning plans and creating 50 page documents with all sorts of charts and industry trends and gobbledygook.
The trouble is that these types of plan seem to sit on the shelf or in the nether reaches of your hard drive gathering dust.
Now if you’re one of these types then far be it from me to stop you creating that plan, it’s just that I prefer a bit more of an action-oriented plan.
The point is that you do need to plan your content strategy but it’s just a question of what type of plan.
So as a minimum this is what your plan needs to consist of:
Start with the end in mind. What is the engagement objective (e.g. buy your product, sign up to your email list, get a backlink, etc.)? Define your content goals upfront so you can measure progress.
You’re going to need to identify Influencers who can help with the heavy lifting for you in terms of sharing and backlinking.
A Buyer Persona is a fictional character who you will create and who encapsulates a potential buyer of your products or services. This covers quantifiable characteristics (age, gender, salary, job, etc.) as well as emotional triggers. Buyer Personas will be used to enable you to understand potential buyers so you can create content that directly responds to their needs. Do not limit yourself to one persona you may require multiple personas depending on your niche.
A Buyer’s Journey is simply the set of steps that a buyer goes through before they purchase a product or service. Typically it starts with an understanding that they have a problem or they need a solution (Awareness), passing through researching solutions (Consideration) before finally narrowing down the options and making a purchase (Decision). Now, it sounds simple, but this is rarely a linear, step by step process but your Buyer Journey should also include the way that your visitors like to consume content.
You need to commit to this stuff and it is going to take up time. Best to be aware up front and make creating content part of your schedule.
If links and shares form part of your of your Content Goals (and they should for some of your content) then you need to have a plan for distributing your content whether it is owned, earned or paid for.
Repurposing content means you don’t have to worry about creating new, original content all the time. Repurposing is a great way to breathe new life into your best content. It also takes account of your visitors browsing habits and presents it to them on a platform and in a format that they prefer.
Regardless of whether you are creating content for backlinks, shares or authority, every piece of content that you generate should be optimised.
OK, so you’re all ready to go. But before you can really get stuck in, you
need to think about the purpose of your content because it can serve
a variety of purposes.
It can be tempting to think that all you need to do is focus on is getting more people through the door, but that would be a huge mistake.
Simply because 10,000 uninterested visitors is not the same as 1,000 motivated, informed buyers.
Sure, Content Marketing can be great for traffic, but it is also great for increasing conversion rates, maintaining interest (and reduce bounce rate making it doubly good for SEO) and for positioning you as an authority.
If it’s traffic that you’re after then you need to start with the end in mind.
Basically you want two things links and shares.
For this type of content you probably need to spend more time on planning your outreach and promotion it than you do on creating the content in the first place.
But done right, the benefits can be huge.
There are some proven content frameworks for this type of content and the name of the game here isn’t necessarily to come up with anything incredibly original, revolutionary or groundbreaking.
The trick is to bear in mind what you want the end result to be links and shares. Following on from this you need to identify who is going to give you what you want.
Think about it - of the following who is more likely to give you Links & Shares?
Your potential customer who has several social media accounts but no online presence (i.e. a blog)
Influencers, bloggers and experts in your niche who have a blog and an engaged audience on social media
Of course, the answer is clear.
If you want traffic then your target audience are the bloggers and experts so your content needs to be built for them.
You’re probably familiar with this format and you may have referred to them. Heavyweight and authoritative long form content (5,000 to 20,000 words), they are powerful tools for getting links, shares and to establish authority on an area of interest to your audience.
As well as being Content for Traffic this is Content for Authority.
Of course you’ll need to do your homework but there is a repeatable formula that you can use to create them.
In terms of the subject, avoid the temptation to go too wide as it may just be too broad to be covered in one Guide. For example, if you sell jewellery, rather than the ‘Definitive Guide to Jewellery’ you should focus on a more narrow subject such as the ‘Definitive Guide to Engagement Rings’.
The beauty of this approach is that you can then extend this to other sub niches such as choosing a diamond.
Try to resist the temptation to focus purely on product either. Leave that to your product pages.
Instead, use your Buyer Persona and Buyer’s Journey to understand areas of interest to your audience and create your guides around these subjects.
Also, don’t just create one ‘Definitive Guide’. This is your chance to claim authority in your niche.
Someone needs to be an authority and it might as well be you. So think around the subject, identify which content gets the backlinks and gets the social shares and look for inspiration.
But don’t think it has to be your voice with 100% unique and groundbreaking insights and opinions. Part of your strategy involves reaching out to experts, quoting them and linking to great content.
A good example is to think about your favourite museums and art galleries. Did they create the great works on display? Of course not. Their role is to be great curators.
You need to think of your Definitive Guides in the same way you are curating great content and bringing it together to support your opinions and insights.
They involve quite a few hours of effort to research, create and promote but they will work for you tirelessly over the coming months and even years to bring qualified traffic to your site.
Is it alive? Is it dead?
That’s the question that seems to hover over guest blogging. It’s just one of the latest episodes in the SEO arms race between Google and a determined SEO community.
Who knows for sure? Except....
One thing is for sure.
Google wants good content and they are not about to start punishing you for creating it whether on your blog or someone else’s.
The key lies in choosing your guest blogging targets and developing relationships. Inclusion on a respected, authority blog that is well curated and has an active audience is worth all of the effort involved.
It’s going to be much, much easier if you follow some simple, straightforward steps suggested by Ramit Sethi. Here is a summary of his guidelines:
Your blog pitch must not be a product pitch
Think of the blog audience write for them, not about you
Your opinion is important but where appropriate provide data to back up any claims
Longer posts stand a better chance they have more room to investigate an issue
Pitch before you post
Check previous guest posts to understand the preferred style and feel
Provide previous examples of your work
Don’t just link to your work
Don’t submit thin, lightweight content
Don’t make it all about your opinion no one really cares
Good content takes time to write don’t set aside an hour or so
Include the right links to your website
Send ready to publish content make it copy and paste easy
List based content continues to be some of the most popular content year in year out.
It seems we just can’t get enough of them. Easy to digest, fast paced, fun and with engaging headlines they are easy to share and deliver exactly what they say they will.
Whilst it would be a mistake to write them off as being too lightweight, you probably shouldn’t go to the other extreme and build your entire content strategy around them.
There’s also a really important reason that list based content is here to stay and that is because we all love a good headline. It’s just wired into us and that is not going to change any time soon.
So starting with your headline you have the chance to really grab your audience’ attention. Even if you are not an expert copywriter there are several tried and tested list-based headline techniques that you can employ.
Likewise building up your list based content is pretty straightforward and does not require you to be a great writer. The important point is to choose the right subject and headline and the rest will flow from there.
You can have a ton of fun playing around with different lists and finding a particular angle to view the world from. These can be incredibly engaging and share worthy.
A close relation to the Definitive Guide, Crowdsourced Content is a piece of content built around expert opinions from influential bloggers or industry experts.
The beauty of Crowdsourced Content is that you are able to reach a new audience, make connections and build authority.
As with list based content though, it should play a role in your overall strategy rather than being the central pillar. If overdone, your experts could get fed up with being ‘hit on’ too often and there is always the danger that your own voice could get drowned out.
Everyone loves to be recognised, even the influencers and top bloggers. So what better way than by creating a really useful piece of content as well as getting on their radar than by giving them some extra recognition.
OK, this approach does comes with a warning because it runs a fine line between admiration and sycophancy.
It’s probably wise to choose this approach once you have a more established online presence in your niche.
What’s best iPhone or Android? Windows or Linux? People love this type of comparison and usually each one has their own fanbase supporting them.
This type of content allows you to position yourself as a neutral judge presenting the case and allowing people to either make their own minds up, or use it to determine which is the best option for them.
Another point is that you can compare several options at once using questions to guide people to the right answer.
When done well a great infographic presents complex data or tells a complex story in a simple manner.
Considered by some to be a bit dated these days, infographics still have a role to play in generating links and shares as long as you follow certain rules.
When done badly it just comes across as a jungle of facts, figures and images.
In some ways infographics have become victims of their own success and it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd but it can still be done.
Of course, things never stand still and if you want to stand out in a crowded field then you might want to consider a Parallax Infographic. It’s a technique that can be applied across an entire website or adapted for a single infographic. If you’re considering going down this route then you will find it to be significantly more expensive than a traditional infographic.
Let’s face it, creating content takes time, effort and money. So one way to get a ton of great content is by using a contest to encourage users to come up with that content for you.
Obviously you need to keep your side of the bargain and offer a prize and other incentives, but contests can be great fun, they can engage your clients and their friends on social media and really spread the word about your business.
Content for Conversion is focused at providing proof to your visitors
that you are a safe pair of hands.
It’s about setting the benchmark against which your competitors are measured.
The beauty of it is that you can hit the deck running because much of it is either in your head or somewhere on your hard drive or your outbox.
The trick is to get it from ‘up there’ to ‘out there’.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that Content for Conversion is some kind of poor relation to it’s sexier cousin Content for Traffic.
Content for Conversion is perfect for answering those questions that your prospects have in their minds as well as providing you with an almost never ending opportunity to create keyword rich content.
This type of content actually has a foot in the Traffic camp and a foot in the conversion camp. Easy to create and evergreen, ‘How to’ Guides give you the opportunity to target long tail search terms whilst helping you identify visitors who have intent.
They also position you as a helpful expert and with the use of video they allow you to create more media rich and shareable content.
If you are getting started with Content Marketing and you are scratching your head then this is as good a place as any to start.
Similar to ‘How to Guides’, the Buyers Guide is a conversion goldmine for ecommerce sites who take the time to pull them together. This is because they are perfect for busy prospects who don’t have the time to research all of the options.
By putting everything together in one handy place you are educating them on the key points to be aware of when purchasing. This education based approach positions your products as the benchmark in their minds when comparing to competitors.
Even better, Buyer’s Guides are sooooo easy to create. Just think how many phone calls, emails or live chats you have had with customers where you explain the same thing from a standing start. Just think back to any one of these and you’ll have a solid basis to build your Buyers Guide.
The points you would cover in a sales phone call are all you need. In a sales call you would first establish what they need it for, what problem they have. You’d cover the benefits and the features of each. You would cover the different options available and maybe guarantees or financing options.
If you want to increase conversions by up to 80% then you need to get video onto your product pages.
Apart from the fact that Google owns YouTube and video can be an excellent source of traffic in itself, video can significantly increase conversions, increase time spent on site and reduce product returns.
If you’re stuck for a video strategy and you have boxed product sitting around and available then get your camera out and start your Unboxing channel on YouTube.
Whilst they make look straightforward you need to prepare for your videos and not leave it to chance, but in terms of resources and difficulty, this is going to be one of the most straightforward types of content you can create.
Of course, creating the video is just the first stage. Once it’s ready you can transcribe your video into a blog post and embed your video.
Next you can use the video on your product page.
Case Studies are an increasingly popular format to demonstrate that you can deliver what you say you will deliver as well as being increasingly trusted format by prospective clients.
By putting your customers in the spotlight you give them the opportunity to describe their experience of using your product or service.
Again, there are some simple rules to follow when creating your case studies. The focus is on ensuring that you describe your client’s situation before, during and after using your company.
It gives you the opportunity to tell a story that is genuine and where appropriate is backed up by data.
Of course if your products do not involve data then focus on the outcome using the emotions of your clients.
Wherever possible include specific action points or highlight those features that really made a difference.
The real beauty of case studies is that they help you to draw out the language of your clients.
Rarely will this be the same language that you or a copywriter would use to describe what it is that you do. This type of language is pure sold gold when it comes to increasing conversions because it resonates strongly with prospective clients because it is genuine and hard to fake.
When it comes to the nuts and bolts the process for creating a Case Study is set into three distinct phases:
Identify potential clients for your case studies. These will usually be your top clients. Maybe you know who they are by name. If not, run a Pareto analysis to identify your top 20% of clients and start there.
The focus is what your client wanted to achieve, what life was like before they used you, what was it like working with you and what were the results they experienced. Keep it simple and let them find their voice. Where appropriate you can ask them how they came to the decision to use you and what are the benefits they have encountered.
Try to keep a consistent approach to your case studies. You don’t need a 15 page epic the aim of case studies is to convert, not bore. People want to skim read and get to the key points which affect their decision making. Introduce your client, explain their situation and the challenge they faced, identify how they came to a decision to use you, how you helped them and any results with data to back this up if necessary. Of course, this is about social proof so include their logo if a business and maybe a photo plus any supporting graphics. Either html or pdf (or both) will be fine.
Finally, remember that your Case Studies are a Conversion Tool
to help you sell more of your stuff to more of your people.
In order to do this you need to really frame the problem of the person you interview or who completes the questionnaire using compelling copywriting. Remember that you are in control of what appears in the Case Study so don’t miss that chance.
User Generated Content (UGC) is becoming a vital part of the marketing
mix and whilst most commonly associated with big brands, but even
smaller businesses can benefit from this type of content.
Examples of UGC can range from social signals (Tweets, likes), through guest posts, testimonials or product reviews on your site and third party sites.
The beauty of UGC is that it encourages real engagement, builds loyalty, has a huge (potential) reach, can be very cost effective and can deliver real business results.
But UGC can be a double edged sword especially for larger brands and any campaigns that you plan should be under your control as much as possible.
Let’s have a look at a few examples specific to eCommerce:
Video Testimonials - We’ve all known that testimonials are great for increasing conversions, but honestly, do you really believe them all?
The problem is especially acute with written testimonials, you know the type along the lines of:
“ Amazing product. Thanks. I’ll recommend you to my friends!
Dave, London, UK ”.
Now if you have to start somewhere then written testimonials are great, but try to only use the ones that speak about the problems you solved.
But even testimonials with a photo that look genuine can’t compare with a video testimonial.
The simple truth is that a genuine video testimonial, spoken in the language of your customer is testimonial Nirvana and they don’t have to be difficult to obtain you just need to ask and make it easy to get them.
The upside is that your website becomes alive with the language your client’s speak not what you think they want to hear. Sure, there are some risks involved and you may need to exercise some discretion in your choice of video but overall the benefits are huge.
One final point on video testimonials is that sure, it’s not easy. But if you focus on it and start with your top clients you will get them. And it is precisely because it is difficult that you can bet your bottom dollar that your competitors won’t be doing it. That’s reason enough to get started.
There is little doubt about the importance of reviews for eCommerce
websites. They are no longer a nice to have they are absolutely essential.
There is evidence that reviews can give you a boost in your rankings so there is some SEO benefit, but reviews come into their own for a much more important conversion reason: social proof = higher conversion rate = more sales.
Incredibly, even bad reviews can improve overall conversions.
In an perfect world your customers would be offering you reviews that are unsolicited, heartfelt and include personal stories.
But let’s face facts; we don’t live in a perfect world and your customers are not falling over themselves to give you reviews so you need to grease the skids a bit.
You just need to make a commitment to make asking for reviews part of your daily activity.
First, plan where you want to get reviews. Obviously there are some tried and tested review sites, but also consider industry specific review sites.
Once you’ve compiled your list you just need to set in motion a review gathering program that you commit to day-in, day-out.
If you use LiveChat for example (you are using LiveChat aren’t you?) then you are possibly speaking to people all day long who would be more than happy to give you a great review. Obviously you can choose who to invite, but a gentle prod in the right direction is usually all that is required. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can get some great reviews this way.
Do you have a support desk? When you solve someone’s problem you are 90% of the way there. Now you just need to ask for the review and give them a link to the review page.
During onboarding of new clients. Do you have welcome emails, welcome packs or automated email sequences? These are all perfect timing at the start of the relationship to ask for a review. Just remember to give them clear instructions in terms of where to go.
Of course, you are not 100% in control of the process and bad reviews do happen. The way you respond to bad reviews can be just as important as getting straight A’s from everyone else.
A final note on reviews. I know you wouldn’t ever consider doing it, but fake reviews - don’t even consider it. Please.
Great, you’ve completed that really impressive Buyer’s Guide. Just slap
your logo on the top, convert to pdf and upload to your website, right?
The visual aspect of your content is not something you can just bolt on as an afterthought. Visuals are an essential piece of the content marketing jigsaw.
This applies whether you are producing purely visual content like infographics or written content. The key take away here is that you are not finished until you have added a visual element to it.
There are a number of reasons for this but consider the headlines on visual content:
So it’s no longer a question of whether you bother to add visuals to your content it’s a must.
But if you’re not a graphic designer or expert photographer don’t worry, there are loads of ways to make your content more appealing.
Whether you use your own images, use screenshots and embed them in your blog posts or create slideshares there are loads of ways to enhance your content using visuals and an ever expanding universe of image related tools to help you.
You’ve put in a load of work creating your content. Maybe you’ve created a really authoritative blog post that you know will go down well with your audience.
But what if your audience prefers more visual content, like slides or maybe video?
Or maybe they want a pdf version they can save to their hard drive for reference later.
Or audio even people listen to podcasts on their smartphones.
You can get so much more from your content by repurposing it.
Here are the headlines:
One piece of content covers multiple audiences with different content preferences
Repurposing speeds up the content creation process because you’re not starting from scratch
Repurposing improves SEO. By spreading your content further you will get immediate links but also increase the chance of secondary linking when a new audience finds your content
It brings static content to life
It breaths new life into old content
Shorter pieces can be compiled into long form content for even more Authority
Here are some repurposing options to consider:
Slideshare is to Slides what Youtube is to video. Slideshare gets a TON of traffic and content from Slideshare often appears high in Google’s organic search results so SlideShare can get YOU a TON of traffic too.
It can deliver targeted traffic to your site as well as adding another visual element to your content so repurposing your content as slides is a quick win.
In terms of traffic you need to optimize your presentations when they are uploaded in much the same way you would with your blog posts. Things like Titles, Tags, Descriptions and URLs.
When it comes to conversion, good design and use of attractive fonts and images is important. Try to avoid just having lists of bullet points too and avoid waffling on for hundreds of points or you’ll bore your audience.
But once you’ve got your presentation up there make sure you can add it to your blog posts as well as adding your slideshare content to your LinkedIn profile too.
PDFs do have limited SEO value, but their strengths lie more in their role as a conversion and authority building tool.
To optimise your PDFs just run through the basics as you would any blog post paying attention to the metadata, file name, headings, links to your website in the copy, etc..
It’s also incredibly easy to convert your blog posts into PDF format. Once you’ve got them there are loads of places to upload your PDFs to.
One way to help build trust and engagement is by creating a Content Hub which features your PDFs as a way to help your audience navigate to more in depth areas of interest to them.
Whether you’ve written a 10,000 word Definitive Guide a 2,500 word Buyer's Guide or a 1,000 word blog post you have an opportunity to create a video to compliment your written content.
It could be as quick and easy as using your webcam to shoot yourself talking or you can do screen recording of your slideshare presentation.
Now they might not be for everyone, but another option for you is a Webinar. If hosting a webinar sounds terrifying or complex or expensive then relax it doesn’t have to be.
Now you’ve got extra channels to distribute to such as YouTube as well as some valuable extra content to add to your blog post.
OK, we’re looking at visual content but don’t forget that some people love to consume audio content too. Let’s face it not everyone likes to read or watch videos.
But instead of reading your blog posts word for word, just cover the highlights like a management summary. Say what the post is about, what are the key points, what are the takeaways and what are the next steps. Ideally include a call to action, whether or not that is to subscribe, buy something or check out more content.
We’ve already covered Infographics, but often content can be repurposed graphically for a supporting Infographic.
Taking your blog post, work out a skeleton with different sections that flow together, find some designs that inspire you and you can even build your own infographics if you are on a low budget.
Creating content is just the first phase. It’s a bit like a band taking their latest work
on a tour. You need to do the same get your content out there and in front of the
eyeballs that matter; your customers and industry influencers.
In terms of promoting your content you have 3 main distribution channels available to you:
Owned - these are under your control your blog, your website, your social media accounts, your email list, newsletter, etc..
Earned - these are external sites the influencers, media sites
Paid - paid placement, remarketing, sponsored ads, paid social
The first two (Owned and Earned) are a bit like SEO you have Onsite content (easy, under your control) and Offsite content (more difficult, not under your control).
Let’s have a look at each in turn.
The word ‘Owned’ means that these channels are under your control and
therefore you have a high degree of control over anything that you publish
whether to your blog, social media channels or email subscriber list.
So assuming that you are now publishing content on your blog there are a checklist of items that need to be optimised for EVERY post:
You need to get these right every time you post. We’re talking Keywords, Metatags, URL, Headings, Internal and External Linking, use of images, etc..
Visuals encourage sharing. Make sure that you add the right visuals to enhance your content
You’ll get more visibility and more engagement if you get the basics right Share buttons, mobile ready, tweetable content, scheduling, etc..
When you post your content matters. Don’t leave it to pot luck make sure you know the best time to post your content for maximum effect
You need to make sure your emails hit the spot so that you maximise opens and click rates
You can get much more reach by adapting your content to different formats. Think of Slides, videos, audio, pdf, infographics, webinars, etc..
If it’s traffic you’re after then this is where you are going to be spending a lot of
your time and effort getting your content out on its roadshow.
If you have an SEO mindset this is similar to off page optimization you’re looking for links and social mentions.
You’ll see this referred to as influencer outreach or blogger outreach and there are several distinct phases for this type of content:
Find popular content that gets links and shares and which is relevant to your niche or industry
Build on this content and improve it whether in terms of quality, design or interpretation (ideally all 3 of these)
Wherever possible refer (i.e. link within your content) to the work of the influencers you have identified
Promote, interact with and reach out to your influencers and share your content with them for comments and ideas before publishing it
Launch your content to your audience via email and social media
Encourage your influencers to share your content
Periodically remind your email list and social media followers about your content
It seems a little calculated doesn’t it on first reading? But it isn’t really.
What you are doing here is adding value by improving something that is already popular and then giving credit to anyone who has provided expertise.
It’s a bit like academic research. They are full of footnotes referring to previous work. They are just giving credit where credit is due and so are you.
Nothing wrong with that.
Maybe you are already using Pay Per Click (PPC) for your products pages.
But if you are committed to creating great content then you might want to consider Paid advertising for your content.
You’ll find that you are not competing head to head for expensive product terms and you are targeting people in the early stages of the funnel where they are researching the options available to them.
Here are some options for you:
By now you should be convinced by the merits of eCommerce Content
Marketing. But maybe you need some inspiration. Look no further than
Before you go, a final word…
It can be tempting to think that all you need to do is focus on is getting more people through the door, but that would be a huge mistake.
Because in the coming years good (as opposed to mediocre or poor) content marketing is going to play an increasingly important role in your business.
It is your chance to stand out from the crowd and build trust with your audience.
But you need to be prepared to invest time, money and effort. You also need to be realistic because this approach takes time to get right.
But the flipside is that it will serve you well for many years.
The important point is to get started as soon as you can and make a commitment.
If you are completely stuck then start with Content for Conversion. That way you are working with what you have, i.e. your existing traffic. Things like Buyers Guides, How to Guides and product videos are perfect starting points and you probably have most of the info that you need on your hard drive, in your outbox or up in your head.
But be persistent.
Talk to your clients, understand their needs and create content for them.
Identify the movers and shakers in your niche. Reach out to them, develop relationships and help each other out.
But above all, don’t give up!
Good luck and let us have your thoughts below.