Faced with the thought of starting a blog, e-commerce owners might justly wonder what advantages it will bring, how often they should post, and indeed, what they should write about in the first place! With so many concerns, it’s no wonder that so few businesses take full advantage of the benefits that come with placing content at the centre of their e-commerce marketing efforts. To demystify the process, we’re going to show you how easy it can be to think up some blog topics, categorise and integrate a content hub into your operations, work out a frequency of delivery, before finally distributing the content as part of your marketing strategy.
For illustration purposes, let’s create a fictitious brand called HandyPutt, a go-getting start-up that makes extra-grippy golf gloves. To kick things off, we’re going to brainstorm some content ideas for their new blog:
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Well, that wasn’t so hard. 5 minutes of random thought and it looks like there might be some interesting stories to tell. But what’s even more exciting is that there appear to be several themes emerging with which we could begin to categorise our ideas. In no specific order, our content seems to fall into the following categories:
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This is the part that tends to temper the excitement: how often should you blog? If you haven’t yet started a blog, aim for once a week. A quality post once a week is reasonable and will help to test out your distribution plan (more of that later). Alternatively, you could post five times a week with crappy content, just like everybody else (if you do that, we’re not talking to you again).
We’re going to assume you want to go the quality route. Good. How’s that once a week schedule working out for you? If you’re seeing the benefits and want to up the regularity, give it a whirl. And, if you find yourself struggling, drop us a line, or browse our copywriting services – we’ll become actual golf experts in the time it takes you to polish your nine iron. See?
”How often should you blog? Initially, aim for once a week. A single quality post per week is reasonable and will help to test out your distribution plan. Alternatively, you could post 5 times a week with crappy content just like everybody else (if you do that, we're not talking to you again).
With a working title of ‘The Eagle’, we’re going to embed HappyPutt’s blog into the very fabric of the store. Typical areas to present the content and blog branding include the home page, product pages and category pages. Adding a stylish link in the header is also a good idea, as is promoting the blog across transactional emails, and on your site’s footer email signup area.
The idea of branding the blog is fundamental. In essence, your blog can become a powerful sub-brand, and if successful, as we will see later on, its best-performing articles could even warrant a print run posted out to your top customers. With a strong name, your customers may start to think of your blog as a magazine.
Before we get carried away with print, let’s examine the flow of content from your blog to the various channels and mediums on the internet:
It’s only as good as your content (witness why 99% of accounts are so dreadful), and well-crafted blog posts will give your social channels some much-needed pep and vigour.
Brazenly pushing product on every email is exceedingly tiresome. Instead, blend product with content – lead with an article and use handpicked product selections underneath. Content and commerce? Yes, please!
As a publisher, you are well within your rights to seed your content out to other blogs and established publications. Perhaps they would like to syndicate a particular article, quote, or just refer to it on social media? As part of broader efforts to promote your content, collaborative exercises like this can drive results.
Your loyal partners are the foot soldiers for this particular outreach blitz. Create a workflow that informs and instructs ambassadors on when and how to seed out your content to their audience. Within reason, control the message (but don’t stifle individual tone of voice or expression) and do all you can to create the conditions for a virtuous circle of content deployment and consumption.
Let’s recap for a moment. We’ve had some starter ideas that show potential, sorted them into themes and begun work to integrate the blog into the heart of the e-commerce experience. Some thought has been put towards distributing the content, enabling ambassadors and focusing on the blog as the primary driver of marketing efforts. That’s a lot of great work, but as the content schedule kicks in, what advantages do we hope to see over the next few months?
- Organic rankings improvement – great content gets results, fact. If you’ve been smart and kept an eye on weaving in SEO considerations, prepare for a welcome uplift in your rankings once the content has had time to proliferate. How long? Be patient; it could take six months to realise the full benefits.
- Authenticity – everyone wants to have it, we all seek it. In a crowded marketplace, informative and entertaining content will set your store apart, fundamentally pivoting a customer’s perception of your brand as a result.
- Ownership – no matter the topic, when you begin to engage and understand it, on some level you take ownership of the narrative. Drive that home, and your store (and blog) stand to become the arbiters of taste, quality and validation within your industry.
Just why is e-commerce website marketing narrowly viewed as solely digital marketing? If we were cynical, we might say it’s because everyone and their paraquet is a digital marketing ‘expert’ these days, and print doesn’t get clicks!
If you remember the delight of thumbing through a well-designed A5 catalogue, then so will your customers. Online, you’re a machine – neither real nor unreal. But arrive in the mail, and suddenly your website exists! From thank you postcards to brand stickers, once you make it into the house, even your best-performing email will seem ineffective by comparison.
Tracking Print Campaigns
You can’t – get over it. Here’s an idea: why not stop quantifying everything and trust in quality? Combine great design with emotive copy and photography to delight your customers. Promote something sensible, upcoming or well-stocked and trial a little paper marketing. Oh and if your finance guys say no, fire them. You can’t measure brand affinity or that ephemeral thing that is a customer’s perception of your store. Trust your instincts, change your way of thinking and do something different. As long as you don’t bet the farm, nothing bad is going to happen.