Developing content for promoting your eCommerce site is a crucial aspect of building brand awareness and drawing in new customers. Rather than directly advertising your store and products, content marketing involves sharing valuable information with your target audience. This approach aims to connect with them, offer helpful tips and expert knowledge, establish a relationship, and, in the end, boost sales.
Content marketing strategies often revolve around one or more of the following:
- On-site materials such as blogs, guides, and infographics
- Informative and educational video content
- Lead magnets, including eBooks and checklists
However, before embarking on content creation, it’s crucial to establish a robust content strategy to maximize the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. This post delves into how to achieve that, ensuring enduring results, including increased sales, from this widely adopted marketing strategy.
What is content strategy?
A content strategy is a well-defined plan outlining the objectives you aim to achieve through your content and the methods you intend to employ to reach those goals. Typically, it specifies the types of content you wish to create, the overarching topics you aim to address, the SEO keywords you plan to optimize, and the target audience you seek to engage.
A robust content strategy should always incorporate specific action items that outline how you will optimize your content to achieve your goals and consider reaching users at every stage of the sales funnel.
For instance, if you aim to enhance on-site traffic, an action item might involve crafting blogs that target specific SEO keywords. This approach helps your site surface on Google when customers search for topics related to your market.
Content strategies play a crucial role in providing direction to your blog posts, videos, and lead magnets, serving as an essential step in brand building.
When devising a strategy for your online store, strike a balance between subtle promotion, relationship building, and education. The latter two are pivotal and should take precedence, as they contribute to keeping users engaged for longer periods.
Primarily, people engage with blogs, videos, downloadable ebooks, and webinars for information rather than what feels like a sales pitch.
Here are seven simple steps to formulate the content strategy for your online store:
Document your content objectives.
Establish actionable tasks.
Identify your target audience.
Delve into competitor analysis.
Initiate topic and keyword research.
Develop a content calendar.
Evaluate, track, and refine for optimization.
1. Outline your content objectives
It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the purpose of your content before you commence. This decision will impact your optimization strategy, the specific audience you target, and the subjects you choose to address.
Document both your overarching business objectives for your content marketing endeavors, such as enhancing sales or elevating brand visibility, and the incremental milestones necessary to achieve these goals.
Some common objectives include:
- Augmented website traffic
- Enhanced visibility on search engine results (SEO)
- Improved domain authority for your site
- Amplified social media shares
- Establishment of brand credibility and thought leadership
- Generation of email sign-ups or other lead generation activities
- Upturn in sales and heightened product knowledge or awareness
2. Establish actionable tasks
Once you’ve identified your objectives, outline a set of specific tactics for each goal. It’s important to recognize that not every piece of content will fulfill every objective, and that’s perfectly acceptable. Strategic planning involves optimizing content for specific outcomes.
Consider the following examples of actionable tasks:
- Enhance organic site traffic via SEO: Craft blog posts tailored to target high-traffic SEO keywords. Optimize these posts by incorporating keywords into titles and meta descriptions, and include two inbound and two outbound links in each article.
- Generate email marketing sign-ups and leads: Develop lead magnets such as ebooks and webinars designed to capture lead information upon subscription.
- Increase site visibility: Amplify the reach of your blogs to generate more backlinks. Achieve this by creating more valuable resources than your competitors, penning guest blogs that link back to your site, and strategically employing anchor text to link to your own posts.
- Build thought leadership and credibility: Conduct expert interviews, share high-value guides and resources, incorporate at least three reputable statistics and sources in each post, and present new case studies with original data. Create videos featuring key team members sharing valuable insights.
- Boost social shares: Integrate “social share” buttons at the top and bottom of each post. Add “click to tweet” calls-to-action around noteworthy content. Promote your content on social media, tagging influencers quoted or interviewed.
- Drive sales: While avoiding overly salesy language, subtly mention products in your posts or create video tutorials showcasing the value of your products.
3. Identify your audience
When crafting content, comprehending your target audience is crucial.
Who comprises the readers of your blogs and eBooks, viewers of your videos, participants in your webinars, and analyzers of your infographics? What knowledge are they seeking, and how can you deliver it effectively?
Constructing buyer personas is an effective method to delve into the mindset of your consumers. Deliberate on your audience’s demographics, interests, income levels, life stage, consumer behavior, needs, and critical pain points. Subsequently, engage in content mapping to fashion content tailored expressly for them.
Take into account your existing audience and any additional audiences you aspire to reach.
4. Conduct thorough competitor research
Competitor research is a frequently underestimated aspect of crafting a content strategy, but it should not be.
Examine the actions of both direct and indirect competitors, drawing inspiration from their content. Strive to go beyond and add a unique touch. Adopt their most effective strategies and customize them to suit your brand.
For an advanced approach, leverage tools such as BuzzSumo and SEMrush to pinpoint top competitors in your niche, particularly those ranking for SEO keywords or topics you aim to dominate.
Utilize SEMrush’s Domain Overview tool to assess your competitors’ websites. Identify the content types drawing the most traffic, along with considerations for length, style, and formatting. Analyze the subjects they cover and the keywords they target.
BuzzSumo proves beneficial in discovering competitors for specific topics you plan to address, showcasing the highest-performing content in terms of social engagement.
5. Initiate topic and keyword research
Having delved into your eCommerce goals, audience, and competitors, it’s time to translate that knowledge into actionable topics.
Adopt a two-tiered research methodology for topic and keyword selection:
- Market-driven topics: Commence by jotting down topics that align with your market and cater to your audience’s interests. Draw inspiration from your competitor research or address frequently asked questions from your customers. For instance, if inquiries about “what can I do with matcha” are prevalent on social media or search engines, consider crafting a blog post titled “Ten Recipes You Can Make with Matcha.”
- Optimizing for search engines: Ensure your content is discoverable on Google by utilizing tools like Moz or SEMrush for SEO keyword research. Identify the most effective keywords to optimize your post, expanding its reach to a broad spectrum of potential customers or enthusiasts.
Pro tip: Ensure that your keyword research is set to the specific country you are targeting.
Select a topic guided by SEO keywords
Utilize tools such as SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool (depicted below) to explore broad, generic terms associated with your market. For instance, use terms like “matcha” or “vegetarian diet” rather than specific phrases like “organic matcha powder.” This search often yields a compilation of long-tailed keywords, which are highly specific, such as “what is matcha?” Crafting content around these precise queries makes it easier to provide exactly what users are seeking.
Examine the content that ranks on Google for these keywords, ensuring your content aligns with their style and intent. This not only guarantees satisfied readers and reduced bounce rates but also sparks ideas that might not have occurred to you otherwise.
Throughout your topic creation and keyword research, prioritize your audience. Irrelevant topics won’t resonate. For instance, if your target audience is Gen Z customers interested in graphic tees, they may not engage with content like “How Cotton Shirts are Manufactured,” even if it’s pertinent to your business. Instead, they might prefer topics like “The Top 5 Trends for Graphic Tees in 2020” or “How to Style a V-Neck for Any Occasion.”
Organize your topics based on their ability to achieve specific goals and their appeal to the top, middle, or bottom of the digital sales funnel. Diversifying your content ensures continual engagement, creating touch points for a broad spectrum of potential customers.
6. Develop a content timetable
Your topics are primed for creation, and now it’s time to organize everything effectively. When it comes to publication, timing is crucial for sustaining a diverse and engaging content schedule.
Initially, establish the frequency of your postings. If time and budget constraints are factors, a weekly blog post is a solid starting point. Scaling up to daily posts is an admirable goal if resources allow. Hiring freelancers can facilitate content scaling without compromising quality.
For lead magnets such as webinars or ebooks, consider a consistent release schedule, whether monthly or quarterly, aligning with what you can reliably manage. Aim for at least one video upload per week for an optimal content mix.
Next, strategize the topics you plan to cover and their publication timeline. Use an editorial calendar at the start of each month to map out your schedule. This approach provides ample time for research and accommodates special events. For instance, you might time a blog post to coincide with a new product release or prepare holiday-themed content weeks in advance. Additionally, avoid publishing similar content consecutively unless it’s part of an intentional series.
7. Evaluate, track & refine
As your content strategy takes shape, closely monitor your progress to ensure adaptability. Understand that witnessing tangible results may take several months or even longer—success is a journey that builds momentum.
Keep a vigilant eye on your key performance indicators (KPIs). Positive signs of effective content should manifest as low bounce rates, extended average time spent on a page, increased visitor numbers, and significant in-post clicks. Utilize Google Analytics to track these metrics effectively.
Monitoring social shares and engagement is an added benefit. However, recognize that high-quality content may not always garner extensive social interaction. Focus on critical metrics like click-through rates and time spent on the page for a more accurate assessment.
Identify the content that performs well and what doesn’t. Check if you’re ranking for your targeted keywords and assess the view completion rates of webinars and videos. Optimize your content and strategy accordingly. Update previous posts with fresh, relevant information—AI content generators can aid in this process. If certain formats prove more effective than others, such as finding that infographics outperform short videos, adjust your content production accordingly.
Content creation is akin to the holy grail of marketing for businesses, provided it’s executed strategically. For eCommerce websites, investing time in crafting a tailored content strategy designed specifically for the target audience is essential. This strategic approach distinguishes your business from the competition, fostering scalability and sustained growth.