E-commerce content marketing #1: Content is King

Content Marketing could be said to have originated with the invention of the Gutenberg printing press - from which pamphlets could be mass produced and circulated widely. Since the first spam email in 1978, content for web-based marketing has had some highs and lows - spam, clickbait and content purely to drive search engine optimisation (SEO) have featured in those troughs.

The name ‘Spam’ comes from Spam luncheon meat by way of a Monty Python sketch in which Spam is ubiquitous, unavoidable, and repetitive. The first blog - or web log - is credited to a Swarthmore College student named Justin Hall, who in 1994 created the site Links.net. As time has progressed Marketeers have grown to understand that rich, relevant, quality content is the only content worth producing. To quote the entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk in 2018: "Content is King, but context is God" From the rise of video, social sharing and SEO, content on the web and content marketing have been through some major changes. Below you will find some key facts and figures providing insights into these changes:  

  • Sessions and page-views, conversion rate, and time on page make up the five most popular metrics with 60 percent, 47 percent, and 39 percent respectively (Obelero.com 2020)
  • The most popular forms of content include videos (72%), blog posts (69%) and research and original data (60%) (com 2020)
  • More is being invested to create & distribute content - 33% increase in spending via new hires and 29% increase in marketing/web agency resources (Source: Hubspot.com 2018)
  • Blogging remains the most effective technique for content marketing (75%) followed by e-newsletters (66%), infographics (60%) and long-form content (50%). (Source: Hubspot.com 2018)
  • “Only 55% of bloggers update old posts. Those who do are 74% more likely to get strong results” – Orbit Media 2018
  • “61% of consumers are influenced by custom content.” – Dragon Search Marketing 2018
  • Content marketing was rated the top marketing technique based on commercial impact on incremental leads and sales by 21% of marketeers (Source: Hubspot.com 2018)
  • 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day. (Source: eMarketer 2017)
  • Content marketing costs 62% less than sales marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. (Source: DemandMetric 2017)

Content Marketing SEO 

One way to improve search engine visibility is to include a list of ‘SEO snippets’. These could appear beneath the result on search engines such as Google in order to reach as large an audience as possible. You do need to get into the top ten search results for your desired keywords to have a chance of getting your snippets listed. Below are some examples of SEO snippets:  

Key objectives when creating marketing content for e-commerce sites:

  • Be relevant, useful and inspire trust
  • Integrate product call-to-actions
  • Connect with other lines of communication and in-store experience
  • Be mobile friendly
  • Produce data-driven, personalised content

Approaches to building content:

  • Become an authority on solving a challenge
  • Become a community organiser
  • Show off customer case studies
  • Provide help guides, how-to-guides or competitions
  • Join forces with influencers and encourage user generated content
  • Use infographics
  • Consider the SEO impact

What to expect

In a short series of articles, I will be covering different areas of content creation and provision. The snippets above summarise the topics that will be covered. SEO impact will be discussed together with how relevant content, within proper context and limited to specific topics and challenges, is integral to good SEO. I’ll also consider case studies to help both clients and service providers and cover how content can be presented - and made easy to digest - together with techniques used to integrate products and services - instant click to buy, live streaming, videos with ‘stitched in’ links and chatbots. The articles will also look at how organisations are connecting with other content - product pages, blogs, social sharing, video, email and in-store experience, together with the different channels involved: social media, curated content, keeping content fresh, live streaming, social commerce, reviews, videos, emails and brick and mortar stores.  

Next instalments

Throughout this series of articles, I will include references to research and examples of good practice. Each article will also contain some key figures, statistics and research to back up the advice. Thanks for reading and I hope you have been enticed by this introduction and return for the follow-on sections arriving soon.