In the first of my blogging for ecommerce sites posts I looked at the blogs for the top ranking sites for the phrase “mens clothing” and investigated some of the tactics they were engaging with in their blogging strategies. In this second post I want to look at the all-important topic of content and look at what they are blogging about!
The first thing that is noticeable from these fashion blogs, and bear in mind that they all want to sell, is that they are not filling their blogs with product links and trying to sell something in every paragraph. These fashion blogs have understood that great blog content involves creating posts that share information, tips and news just as much as content that promotes products and their online shop.
They have looked to achieve a balance between engagement and information with the commercial goals of their websites. These fashion blogs are looking to build up a readership who visits the site for information and news as much as they do to buy something. The chances are if you build up an enthusiastic readership that enjoys visiting your site that they will visit you when they do want to buy as you have previously offered them something of value. Can your content make your blog and brand standout from all the others blogging in your niche?
Help them find an image of Yoda Pug on their first visit and they may pop back to buy an engraved dog tag when they want to shop (image: ScreenCrush)
Why am I investing time and resources into content? Great content can offer a number of advantages to an ecommerce website:
- Create a new source of traffic to the site – direct visits to read more, referrals from sites who love your blog and additional search traffic
- Enhance your brand’s online position – establish yourself as an expert and source of information that is valued
- Get shared across social profiles – readers value great content and if you produce something of interest to somebody there’s a good chance they will share it
- Some links would be nice – another potential reward for your blog if you get the content right are some inbound links from external sites
Time and investment into a content strategy for a website can result in an improved online presence and brand relations, additional traffic and developed social and link metrics for your website.
How can I make my ecommerce blog content engaging? The first thing I would recommend is to remember that “you don’t need to sell something on a visitor’s first visit”. If your site interests a visitor and they achieve the goal of their visit to your blog (they learnt something or answered a question) you have provided them with a good online experience and presented your brand and website in a positive light.
The fashion blogs stood out by creating content relevant to a lifestyle and were not afraid to blog about topics outside the immediate area of their products and categories.
This is a short but sweet post from the Republic blog that is not worried about selling a product but focuses on introducing the team behind Republic – through a quick post with some great photos they are selling the brand and using this to sell future products. In this instance the photos say more than words, so don’t worry about writing hundreds of words each time (yes, I am doing this!) but plan how best to convey your message.
There are a number of ways to present your information: text, videos, images, graphs and infographics to name a few – the key is to choose the appropriate methods for your post. An infographic for the sake of having an infographic is not the best way to utilise time or budgets.
What do my readers want to know about? The answer will differ for each brand and industry but this needs to be a key question when planning any content strategy for an ecommerce blog. Try to understand your target readers and plan content that you feel will be of value to them and most importantly that they will want to read! The linking and sharing comes afterwards – that’s your reward for answering the question correctly and delivering a great answer!
The fashion blogs frequently blog the following type of content:
- Fashion tips and style guides
- New trends
- Top 10s, top 5s – people like lists!
- Interviews – ASOS interview Professor Green
- Music videos and video games news – engaging with the wider lifestyle around fashion; the brands have questioned what their fashion conscious readers are interested in beyond clothes and delivered content that is relevant
- Follow up competitions with news about the winners
- “How to” content
They’ve also remembered to achieve a balance though so there is also content that:
- Promotes new products and season lines
- Highlights promotions and in-store events
- Outfit of the week (as seen on the Burton Blog) that promotes their own products
What can I do that’s different? Research into your content strategy is important and an analysis of what your competitors are blogging about and the type of content they are adding is crucial; of equal importance though is identifying what you can do that is different and make your content stand out within your niche. Ask yourself “what can I produce for my readers that nobody is already doing”.
Creating something that sets you apart from your competitors can also establish your brand as a leader in this area and also create something that is more link-worthy and share-worthy than competitors’ content.
The Oki-Ni website have put time and resources into a mix series where recognised names from the music industry produce musical mixes for the brand. This was something initially that was unique to Oki-Ni and the page on their site has had a number of links directed to it that would not have been built through any other means and the page has very strong social media metrics. This is inventive content for the website that has enhanced the reach of the brand and helped strengthen the domain – and it’s not all about text!
Page metrics for the Oki-Ni mix series page showing the value of investing in unique content ideas
Where do I put this great content? The blogging platforms provide a great way to add the content but you should also think about how you are going to categorise your content and collect relevant posts into themes across the blog. Take advantage of categories and tags to create strings of relevant content that can be grouped together to provide libraries of content for readers and also target some identified phrases in the search engines. You can use your categories to target phrases that the product and category pages of your ecommerce store cannot easily target such as “reviews” related content.
The importance of a blogging and content strategy for an ecommerce website has risen recently and the possible benefits of a well implemented and delivered strategy can see a number of benefits for an online brand. Hopefully there are a few ideas here to start a plan to get blogging and remember to check out what your competitors are up to and then think what can we do that is better!
Thanks for reading, I’m Ben Pethullis and write about SEO and digital marketing for ecommerce websites here at The Distance. Watch out for a future post about blogging options for Magento ecommerce websites and how you can create the platform to host all the brilliant content you are planning to write.