Let’s face it. Most online stores – with the exception of a select few – are boring, and sometimes downright frustrating!
How many times have you shopped around for something and just couldn’t find what you wanted, or just couldn’t make sense of all of the options available?
Just this morning, I was looking around for a keypad lock, and was browsing through a couple of sites. Neither site had a shipping information page! If stores are still lagging with shipping info, what about other information? Product descriptions are usually copy/pasted from the manufacturer, and those guys aren’t the best copywriters.
Luckily, in this giant shortcoming on the part of most stores lies an opportunity. An opportunity for you and I to create something so good, so awesome, that people will be completely blown away.
To set yourself apart, you need to create “content assets” for your store. These can be in many shapes and sizes: blog posts, resource pages, informational pages, infographics, videos, slideshows, anything.
The only thing that you need to make sure of is that your content is unparalleled. Amazing. Mind-blowing. Life-altering.
As Corbett Barr put it so eloquently, you need to write epic shit.
This kind of content becomes evergreen – its life transcends that of a simple blog post that is forgotten by the time the next one comes a-knocking. It turns into something that brings you steady traffic for months and years, getting you leads and sales. It turns into something that sets the benchmark in your industry – this is what everyone strives to live up to!
You can follow a simple 5 step plan to develop content assets:
Decide on a topic. Aim to fill a hole in your industry. Maybe no one has written an ultimate buyers guide. Or if someone has, it sucks. Maybe you can write a history of the product, how it came into existence, and how it has evolved. Maybe you can do a list post of 50 ways you didn’t know your product could be used. You can also go to industry forums and blogs and see which topics/posts have the most comments and views. For more ideas, see this post on Search Engine Watch. Another method of finding ideas that you can easily rank for is to go through Webmaster Tools and seeing what you are ranking closely for, but not at the very top.
Do some keyword research around your chosen topic and choose a good keyword to optimize your content asset for.
Start your research and write your content. Look at existing content, and aim to fill the holes left by what’s already there. You can use Brian Dean’s SkyScraper technique.
Promote your content – Share it with influencers in your industry, and ask them to share it with their followers. Email your customer list about it. Generate some buzz. Build some links to your new page.
Developing content assets have to be an integral part of your marketing strategy. In an infographic that I published recently about ecommerce marketing, I’ve given content marketing the top spot – because it is long term and high ROI.
At the very least, try and create one content asset per month. This is a lot of time, but you may need it – especially since you want to give 110% every single time. Whatever schedule you choose to follow, it should be as regular as possible. The more regular you are, the easier it will be for you, your customers, and Google. It’s a win-win situation.
Embrace repurposing. Repurposing is when you take an existing piece of content and reframe it into a different type. A blog post can become an infographic, or a slideshow. A slideshow can turn into a video. A buying guide can be split up into a number of blog posts. A bunch of blog posts can be clubbed together in an ebook. As you repurpose, take advantage of the sharing mechanisms available for each piece of content – video sites, slide sharing sites, infographic sites, and so on.
When you repurpose, you can extend the life of one piece of content over a long span of time. Ideally, you’d want to diversify a little bit in your topics before you start repurposing, because how viral your content gets may be hit or miss.
Even if a content asset does not rank #1 for the targeted keyword, a well written(or developed), well promoted piece of content should still get tons of traffic through long tail keywords.
Content assets give your online store intrinsic value. Before content assets, you were just another store listing products and enabling people to buy. If you resell other people’s stuff, there is no value in the store itself – it’s just a medium, like hundreds of other stores.
When you have valuable, helpful content, the content itself has value – and your website(store) too, by proxy, since now you aren’t just a guy reselling products, you are an expert that provides solid information in your industry/field.
If a future should arise where Amazon has eaten every retailer, sites with content will still rule – if not for the products, then for the content.