How to identify content opportunities for your retail website
Many people start by just writing and then publishing. The problem we find is that’s where it starts and stops. Creating content without any thought or strategy behind it won’t make an impact – unless you get lucky.
A content marketing strategy is important if you want to build your website performance through content. It’s important though, to understand the type of content you should be producing, especially if you have a retail/eCommerce website.
There are many different factors that will lead to the decision of what type of content you’re going to produce, and what that content is going to be about. With the help of our guide, you’ll have a much better understanding of where you should start and when you can stop (or not, but we’ll get to that later).
Why do you need a content marketing strategy for your retail website?
Having a content marketing strategy for your website is really important for your business, but this is especially so for eCommerce retail websites.
Essentially, a content marketing strategy is the art of creating content to target a specific audience. This could be based on their interests and/or pain points. You’re creating content that provides valuable information to the user to encourage engagement and eventually conversions.
A well-implemented content marketing strategy will do the following:
- Drive new traffic to your site – your content will be attracting relevant traffic to your website that it may not have had the visibility for previously.
- Shows that you know what you’re talking about – by showing that you’re an expert in your industry, you’ll build trust with your target audience.
- Increases engagement with your brand – this could be on the website or through social platforms (we’ll get into this more later).
- Increases conversions on your website – this will be because the user journey has been considered whilst the content creation process has taken place.
How should my retail website content strategy differ from a service-based content strategy?
“What’s the difference?” you ask. Well, if you were creating content for your service-based website, you’d be considering an entirely different user journey. A service-based website would be attracting traffic to then take them through the different service offerings. This is with the intent of having the user make an enquiry – this would be your conversion.
However, for an eCommerce website, the aim is to have someone purchase an item/product from your website. Because of this, the content you create needs to be tailored to that user journey.
For example, as an eCommerce company selling products of all different colours, shapes, sizes and even brands, your audience would likely follow this user journey/sales funnel.
The top of your funnel is where your target audience is in discovery mode. At this point, your content should be tailored to their pain points. Understanding your audience’s problem areas/pain points will help you identify what content you can create to target those users.
It’s actually very simple. Identify the problem your audience may have, and create content that not only addresses the problem but provides a solution. This content shouldn’t be a hard sell though, you’re simply educating the user on what could help with their problem.
You then have the consideration stage. You’ve shown that you understand your audience’s pain points and that you provide a solution. Now it’s time to build trust with the user. This can be done through useful guides, comparison features, and case studies. These are the best types of content to produce. It’s at this point that you would start to direct the user to your products. They already know you understand their problems, they know that you are an expert and have shown them what they need. Now is the time to showcase that you can be the one to offer it.
Once your users have reached the bottom of the funnel, you’re going to want to direct them to specific product pages. This is where you’ll see your conversions.
Different types of effective content marketing in retail.
There are a range of content types that could be great for your content marketing strategy. Here are some that we have seen work really well:
- Blog content
- The nucleus of search engine optimised content, these are great for not only positioning yourself as an expert in your industry but building customer engagement and interaction.
- Video content
- We have seen that the use of video content within your content marketing strategy can dramatically improve your user’s on-page experience.
- Guides are a great type of content, especially for eCommerce websites. You’ll drive more traffic to your site as people typically search for information about the products they want to purchase.
The steps to take when creating a content marketing strategy
Here are the typical steps you’ll need to take when creating a content marketing strategy for your eCommerce website. Realistically, this order will change, you’ll find different opportunities, in different ways as you go. But this will give you a good idea of where you should start and help you along the way.
- Identify who you want to target?
- Identify what type of content that audience will want to read
- Do research into content opportunities
- Create your content
- Think about your user journey
- Promote your content
- Maintain your content
Number 1 – who are you trying to target with your content? It’s extremely important that you understand this before you start creating your content. It’s also important to know that there may not only be one answer to this question. If you sell a variety of products then you’re going to need to ask this question for all of them. You can do this by using the existing data you already have to identify your audience persona, which you can then refine depending on which stage of the buyer’s funnel they are at.
If you can answer these questions, you’ll be on the right track.
- What demographics are they in? Age, gender, location etc.
- Buyer personality
- What are they looking for? Is it information or are they ready to buy?
- Why do they need your products? What are their pain points?
Now that you know who you’re targeting with your content, you should be thinking about what type of content they want to read. Think about those pain points you have already identified and think about what content you need to create to provide support in avoiding them or even better – providing a solution.
What expert information can you provide to help your users? Guides are a great way to offer ‘best on the web’ resources that will not only increase your online visibility but will encourage users to come back for references.
Do you need to create video content to give people a visual overview of your products and how they work? Or perhaps an infographic would be a great asset to include in your content.
So how do we actually identify what opportunities there are? And better yet, how do we know if it’s a worthwhile opportunity or not?
There are many tools out there that can help you, but here are a few of our favourites and how we use them.
Google’s search results is the first place you should be looking! The easiest way to utilise SERPs is to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. What questions would you be asking? Google’s results will be an endless list of content ideas that you could use to create valuable resources for your users.
Understanding your existing data to make content decisions is really important. Using tools like Google Search Console will show you what you’re currently getting visibility for. This means Google has deemed your existing content relevant for this topic. You can then use this existing content to build on and create more authoritative content.
Semrush is a great tool for identifying popular search terms. Using features like Semrush’s keyword magic tool will not only show you how much search volume a keyword is getting, but it will also provide you with other keyword ideas as inspiration. Semrush can also give you your existing search data for your website.
Similar to Semrush, Ahrefs can give you keyword search data and ideas around specific topics. You can also use Ahrefs to see how your website is already performing, giving you a good idea of what opportunity there is to build on what you already have.
This is a great tool to identify not only what other publishers/websites are writing about, but more importantly, what people are interacting with. Buzzsumo allows you to aggregate content about specific topics and sort by shares, links and interactions.
Your customer feedback
So simple, but so effective. Understanding your customer’s feedback, questions they have, issues they find or even recommendations they give can all lead to great content ideas. Often you’ll find trends in what your customers are saying, meaning many people are likely to be asking the same thing.
When creating your content, you’ll need to really think about the following:
What keywords are you targeting with this piece of content? Now that you’ve identified them, make sure you’re utilising them.
Where does it make sense to add internal links within the content? This one is pretty simple, if you have a resource/page that will help the user, then link to it!
Is there an opportunity to outreach to other websites or publications that would be interested in linking to the content you’ve created? Having a Digital PR strategy will really help with this.
Think about your audience’s user journey. Where would they find that piece of content most useful? Having content sit on the blog is fine, but ensuring that helpful links are placed throughout the website, guiding users to the content is what will help increase traffic to that URL.
You also need to think about your content clusters. Understanding which content cluster your new piece of content fits within will help you optimise for internal links. Is your new piece of content linking internally to existing pieces that would be helpful to the user? Are your existing pieces of content linking to your new piece of content? All of these steps are important when implementing a content marketing strategy.
So often we find that content is researched, created, optimised and implemented, but that’s where it stops. You’ve done all of this hard work, but aren’t reaping the benefits that the content could provide. If you’ve created content that is useful and could help your target audience (which having gone through this process you should have) then you need to shout about it!
Share it on your social media platforms, and encourage others to do the same. By increasing the awareness of the new content, you’re going to get more direct traffic to it, and if it’s optimised well, that traffic could continue throughout the rest of the website and even turn into conversions.
If you’ve created content that you think is unique, or has something to offer that journalists may be interested in then you should be doing outreach for Digital PR. Having a Digital PR strategy is really important for your content marketing strategy, and can really amplify the success of the content you’re creating.
Why not check out our guide on What makes an ‘Evergreen’ link?
When you create content you need to ensure it stays up to date, and relevant. This could involve going in and adding more information/knowledge if and when it’s available. It could also involve doing an entire content upgrade if that is what is needed. This is something you’ll need to be aware of and decide on when you’re auditing your existing content.
You should make sure that the content you have on the website is the best resource you can offer. So, if that means adding new sections, changing the information to accurately advise on how things are currently, or even consolidating content that would make more sense to exist as one piece, then that’s what you need to do.
Each time you create a new piece of content, you need to ensure all of your internal links are up to date and relevant. I know we’ve covered this a couple of times now – but that’s because it’s important.
Internal links show google how things relate and connect to each other. They’ll also be really helpful to your user.
How can you measure the success of your content?
Now that you’ve researched, created and implemented your ongoing content strategy, how can you measure its success?
Using data tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics is a great way to track the success of content. By adding a note in Google Analytics you’ll be able to see clearly whether any changes in data trends have been caused by changes to your content. You could also set up goals to track conversions on specific pages of content.
Now is the time to go and do your research! Have fun finding content opportunities for your website and see for yourself how a thought out content marketing strategy can impact your website.