Content is what builds trust, proves brand quality and tells your story. So how do you build a plan around it?
Have you ever found yourself Googling whether or not you can own a pet raccoon and reading a blog post about the pros, and cons, only to find yourself clicking on that lifestyle blog’s homepage and being directed to a delicious recipe of chili-spike edamame, but then being tempted to read about a century of Danish chair design on the same site? No, just me then?
“Content” is everywhere and content marketing refers to using any combination of text, images, videos and animations to get the attention and trust of a viewer.
According to Demand Metric, 82% of consumers feel more positively about a company after reading custom content, and 70% feel a closer connection as a result of content marketing.
A content strategy is an implementable plan that your business can use to say the right things to the right audience at the right time. While content marketing means using your content to be found on search engines and win the hearts of your customers, a content strategy involves planning out what you aim to achieve with that content marketing.
Are you content with your content?
It’s pretty simple. Sites that don’t focus on content marketing have a significantly harder time winning over customers and increasing conversion rates. Content marketing makes a huge difference, because it is your chance to build trust with your audience, inform them about your products, and pitch why they should buy more - some of the main things that increase the likelihood a viewer will become a customer.
But for people less comfortable with developing content, it can be easy to say “oh yeah lets just throw some keywords in there and a video and we’re done”. Content that wins customers needs to be crafted, thoughtful and systematic.
Stand out in a saturated market
Content marketing is what helps your business differentiate itself from your competitors. If you and everyone else around you are selling pretty much the same thing, it’s the story and brand you are telling through your articles, videos and copy that makes people notice.
A content strategy involves choosing where your marketing channels are. This can help you generate leads by finding multiple audiences and crafting content they are interested in seeing.
Having a strategy for your content can help you make sure you are telling your audience everything they want to know to make a purchasing decision. Because individuals need repetition and multiple levels of information before trusting a brand, having a content strategy can help you make sure they get it in the right way.
Let’s make it happen
You know you need your content. You know it’s helpful for your business. How do you create a strategy? Here is an example walkthrough of a content strategy development.
1. Who is your audience, and how do they consume content?
It’s not impossible to create content without knowing your audience (and you might have to in the beginning before you have enough data), but it certainly helps. The first step in a good strategy is creating several rough outlines of who they are, including:
- Age, general location
- Salary and financial choices
- Shopping goals and motivations (Do they hate shopping but need a gift once in awhile? Is shopping their therapy and they are always look ing for the next thing? Do they only order things online when they’re drunk and accidentally watched too many episodes of Rick and Morty?)
- Shopping frustrations - what turns them off? What makes them choose not to check out online?
Next it’s important to think about how your different personas consume content. Following blogs by email? Liking pages on Facebook? YouTube heartthrobs? Podcast nerds? Newspapers? Strictly word of mouth? Ads on the bus? Most people get their media from a mix of content, but trends vary by age, location and other factors.
2. What kind of content are you capable of producing, and who on your team can make it?
Part of strategising well means understanding what resources you currently have and which you can access. Sure you might love to create a Game of Thrones parody with full costumes and set to promote your new line of winter coats, but do you have the budget, skills, equipment and time?
There are many content categories you can use in marketing, including:
- Blog posts and informational guides
- How-to videos
- Animations, gifs, and short videos
- Long videos or episodes
- Photos and images
- Tweets, Facebook posts, Tumblr posts and other short-form writing
When it comes to content creation, you can create content yourself, pay someone else to do it, or have users generate content. They all have different purposes and advantages.
Creating content in-house means you have complete control over the end product, and is usually the preferred way to go for things related to your company history and core copy.
Paying someone else can generally mean influencer marketing and affiliate marketing, in which you use someone who already has an audience to help co-produce content that works for you both. These kinds of content marketing tactics are great for building brand awareness and generating leads.
User-generated content is extremely effective at getting more people to convert and increasing average order value. It means utilising your customers’ experiences with your products to show off to new potential customers, and it’s a pretty big deal for modern eCommerce companies. Find out how to get UGC here.
3. Walk with me, here
Next you should walk through a few customer scenarios based on your customer personas and point out what kinds of content they’re looking at and where. For example:
- Alex the young Melbourne socialite is looking for an elegant coffee maker and mugs to put in her flat that she would be proud of serving espresso in to guests.
- She searches through lifestyle blogs, Pinterest and Instagram looking for inspiration for both a coffee machine and a mug set.
- Alex comes across an Instagrammer drinking coffee from a gorgeous mug, and finds that it’s been featured as an influencer post. She goes to the link and starts browsing the store.
- On that store’s website, her attention is drawn to a blog post about the trade history of coffee. After reading it she feels like she knows the brand better and learned something new. The side bar of the article includes links to the company’s collection of mugs and french presses.
- Deciding the price is manageable and the return policies are reasonable, she decides to make the purchase.
Walking through a customer journey can tell us some insight about what content influences their conversion. In the case above, Alex was influenced by a lifestyle blog, a company-written blog, an influencer-made Instagram post.
A content strategy is just one piece of it
Running an e-commerce business means looking for new ways to find and win over customers - and generating great content is one piece of that. Elkfox can help you develop a content strategy and optimise your website to perform better.