You see the same advice everywhere:
“Content is the most important way to market your business online!”
And it’s true.
However, it’s not immediately obvious as to what your content strategy can be, especially in the eCommerce world.
But that’s where this post comes in!
Let’s go over how to come up with a content strategy for your eCommerce business to really drive growth, traffic, and most importantly sales.
Forming Your Content Strategy
Build Your Content Growth Engine
The most important aspect of your content strategy is deciding how you’re going to grow through content, and then going all in on that.
That means deciding the type of content you want to make, where you mainly want to have it live, and then start pumping out the highest quality content to gain readers, viewers, subscribers, followers, or whatever metric builds your audience to eventually lead to sales.
Content Strategy Pitfalls
When creating your content, there are a few places where if you’re lacking, your content will never net you the following you’re seeking.
If you decide content is the way you want to grow your eCommerce business, avoid these common pitfalls:
- Not producing top quality content. Whether you’re writing blog posts, producing YouTube videos, or creating images for Instagram, they have to be informative, beautiful, entertaining, and better than what others are producing.
- Spreading yourself too thin. You’re likely not a startup with a marketing team, so don’t try to act like one. Pick a platform that matches your products, your customers, and really drill down on it. Trying to make a blog, run a YouTube, make an Instagram account, start a Facebook community, all at the same time will have you spinning your tires with no results.
- Not making content people are looking for. If you make blog posts, then they have to be based on keywords people are already searching for on Google. If you’re focusing on images, it has to be funny, informative, or visually appealing, because people aren’t browsing Instagram to look for ugly, uninteresting, unshareable, and unfunny posts.
Essentially, anything that makes your content unfocused and unappealing should be avoided.
People only want to see the best stuff and have their questions answered perfectly, so doing anything other than that will not benefit your business in the long run.
So now that we know it’s all about building the best content and choosing the right platform for it to live on, we can expand on those two ideas.
How to come up with ideas
Coming up with topics for content, especially for eCommerce businesses, can be difficult.
No matter what product you sell, there will always be content you can build around your products that will bring in potential customers and boost the SEO strength of your site, and your brand power.
Your best weapon here? Keyword data.
There are many ways you can utilize keyword data to come up with near-unlimited ideas for content to produce.
What are some good ways to gather keyword data?
Using tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, and Moz, you can collect keyword data that will serve at the base for blog posts to make (or videos if you’re doing YouTube).
A few ways to gather keywords:
- Type keywords within the scope of your product catalog and note keyword variations and keyword ideas produced by the search tool.
- Input competitor sites into search tools and see what keywords they rank for, and what kind of blog posts they are making around them
- Go “up the funnel” and think of other topics your audience would also be interested in to spur ideas for more topics to write about.
The magic of high performing content starts with keywords.
If you can make content that perfectly matches the intent behind a keyword, then you are on your way to success.
How to Determine What “The Best” Content is
Now that you have a list of ideas that you can always add to for posts and videos to create, it’s time to create the best content available so that your content eventually ranks higher than what currently exists on Google, or YouTube, or wherever you’re placing your content.
But how do we determine what is best?
There’s actually a process to figuring out what content is “better” than what currently exists, and it’s pretty straightforward:
- Find a keyword you would like to rank for
- Look at the top results for what currently exists for that keyword
- Take a look at each piece of content, and make notes as to what they write about, what they do well, and what the content’s weaknesses are
- When drafting your content, include everything good that the other content uses for their articles, fix and include whatever is weak about their content, and add anything else that would help make the content more comprehensive and a better experience to read.
With those steps, you will easily be able to know what it takes to make “better” content than what currently exists, and if you consistently publish content through this method, eventually your content will outrank and outperform what’s currently out there.
Other ways to create content that has value
If you’re still having trouble coming up with ideas for content, and traditional methods of keyword research aren’t getting you far, there are different ways to approach content that don’t strictly follow the inbound marketing playbook:
- Create a podcast. A podcast can be about a topic closely related to the products you sell, and you can make episodes around entertaining and insightful topics.
- Visual content. This is the play for places like Instagram and TikTok. Make content that is visually pleasing and entertaining, put your unique spin on it, and you can gather a lot of followers.
- Vlogging and Lifestyle content. If you live a unique lifestyle and it involves the products you sell, you can create content around that.
- Leverage anything you can. That means utilize your passion for your products, your expertise in your industry, any unique knowledge you have, you can even make content by leveraging your personality.
If you’re going to approach a non-traditional way to make content, remember that you have to stick with it and it could take a long time to get any traction.
We’ll go over some examples of unique content in the next section.
Where Your Content Lives
Where you decide to place your content actually has many implications as to the type of outcome you’re looking for, and the type of content you create.
Let’s go over a few popular platforms and places to make content and how that will affect your content strategy.
Your website (A blog)
If you decide that you want your content to live on your website, this is the traditional keyword based, SEO focused inbound marketing strategy that will bring in people using search engines.
Benefits to making content on your website
- Successful content contributes to your site in more ways than just bringing in visitors. Great content leads to links pointing to your site, giving your site more authority in the eyes of search engines, allowing your products and product category pages to rise in rank.
- One of the best ways to build an email list. There’s so much power in an email list for an eCommerce site, and content is a way to get potential subscribers that you can eventually promote products to.
- A way to bring in customers beyond product pages. You can have the best product landing pages in the world, but you’ll always be limited to the volume of the keywords around those products, and there’s no guarantee you will rank for those keywords anyway. Content allows you more ways to get potential customers to your site.
- Solidify your brand. A great content library will go a long way in establishing your brand. If you are the de facto authority on topics around your product category, then people will naturally gravitate towards you being a market leader and authority in the space.
- Content Marketing is a clear-cut process at this point. Content marketing has been around for many years at this point. There are a ton of SEO tools to help with keyword research and to see how your site is performing, and a lot of content on how to best go about creating content for your blog. While you still need to be creative, how to structure your blog and find keywords is not a mysterious process these days.
Drawbacks of making content on your site
- It’s very competitive. Keywords mean money, so companies fight hard to rank well. You simply might not have the ability to match some of the content quality other companies are pushing out.
- Content can be VERY slow to catch on. If you’re not in it for the long haul using blog posts as your main growth driver, then you should quit before you start. It can take as long as 6 months to start seeing your blog perform and rise in ranks, or even up to 12 months to begin seeing some traction. The more competitive your topics and keywords are, the longer it will take to rank.
YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, so the potential to reach a lot of people here is huge.
YouTube is for creating
Benefits of YouTube
- You can get creative with the type of content you deliver. You can take the same strategy as a blog and focus on inbound keywords to create informative content, but you can also make other types of video that don’t necessarily fit in that mold. Homewood Stoves, a cast iron oven company, for example has over 11 million views for their videos that feature well-shot recipe videos and lifestyle homesteading blog videos.
- Large, engaged user base. YouTube visitors are always seeking out great videos, and if your videos prove to be valuable and entertaining, then the potential for them to be shared and get views is very high.
- Potential for faster growth than written content. Great videos get views fast on YouTube, so while it can still take a long time to build a subscriber base like with a blog, a viral video can get a lot of views in a short amount of time.
Drawbacks of YouTube
- Video is not simple to make. You need scripts, editing, cameras, microphones, a nice setting that has good lighting, etc. While you don’t have to have the production value of a cable news station, professional looking production and editing can go a long way.
- Your videos might never catch on. It’s possible you can run a YouTube account for years and never gain traction, never make significant gains in subscriber count, and it goes nowhere. Still, this is a risk with any kind of content production, but it still needs to be said.
Huge eCommerce businesses have been built on Instagram.
If you can make beautiful pictures around your products, you WILL get a following, and it will lead to sales.
Not all products can be made into effective Instagram accounts, so make sure your business is a good match for the platform.
Benefits of Instagram
- You can get a sizable following. Really popular Instagram accounts can have hundreds of thousands to millions of followers. If you can capture people’s attention, you can potentially sell them on your products as well.
- The Instagram audience doesn’t mind being sold. Users of the platform are used to posts that talk about sales and discounts and eCommerce in general. In fact, a lot of people use Instagram for product discovery!
- Content can be simple. What’s more simple than product photos and quick video clips all shot from your phone? Blogs usually require research, editing, and a lot of writing. Videos on YouTube can be very difficult to produce. Instagram, for the most part, is point and click.
Drawbacks of Instagram
- It’s not for every eCommerce business. While every eCommerce company utilizes product photos, it doesn’t mean every company type is a match for Instagram.
- Ever-changing platform could hurt your business. Instagram is constantly changing. You’re one update from your impressions being cut in half, crippling your account. This is why Facebook is barely as effective as it used to be, and Facebook owns Instagram.
The new kid on the block, TikTok has huge potential with a very fast growing and young audience.
With TikTok being so new, not many have “cracked the code” as to how you can successfully promote your eCommerce business on the platform.
One good example of an eCommerce based TikTok account that has seen success is MorrisonMade Leather. He creates ASMR style videos of himself making leather wallets and accessories by hand. He’s garnered 6.9 million likes on TikTok and has close to half a million followers.
Bonus as well, with the rise of YouTube Shorts (effectively identical to TikTok in many ways), he also has netted close to 1 million subscribers on YouTube.
That’s effective content, and it’s just one minute videos of him making wallets and belts!
Benefits of TikTok
- Large user base that grows every day. TikTok is seeing intense growth, and it’s branching out far and wide beyond dancing videos. Anything creative can be successful.
- Audience is fine with simplicity. All videos on the platform are shot with smartphones and aren’t meant to be high quality productions.
- Repurpose your content to other platforms. With YouTube Shorts and Instagram Stories, you can easily put all of your TikTok content on these 2 sites.
Drawbacks of TikTok
- Being a new platform, the audience numbers aren’t as big as other places. Google and YouTube are obviously giants,
- It’s hard to figure out how to make popular content. One type of video, for example, that the TikTok audience likes is anything with a “payoff” of some kind, like a satisfying reveal at the end of a video.
With the information in this guide, you should now know that your potential areas to explore for making content are actually quite wide and far reaching.
The most important part of your content is that it resonates with your audience. If you can hook people in through whatever style of content you make, then it just becomes a matter of building a library of content around that theme.
Content, when built up, is a massive boost to your brand and will generate an increase sales more than any other way, so if you’re looking to make a long lasting business that has the sales to match, consider a strong content strategy and stick with it.