chapter 8

Content Marketing | Create Compelling Content That Moves the Needle for Your Client

With the increase in adoption of ecommerce stores, merchants feel the pressure to stand out in the marketplace. And one of the best ways to promote products and services is through content marketing.

The goal is to build your client’s overall brand image. Full-stack content marketers possess a working knowledge of multiple disciplines, including growth strategy, content development, and social media.

Your content marketing skills will attract and engage your client’s customers. The key is to transform their expertise into various written and visual content forms.

From my personal experience, I’ve learned that clients desire a clear content marketing strategy, coupled with unique content creation. But to be a full-stack content marketer, I also recommend offering results-driven promotion services with content maintenance.

Here’s how to approach an ecommerce owner seeking content marketing support.

Content marketing strategy

Strategy is the backbone of great content marketing. It gives merchants the foundation to craft their personalized message.

You want to build a framework that not only delivers content, but also changes audience behavior. And it’s not enough to tell your client, “Oh, we can do X.” That won’t help their ecommerce business. Rather, strive to set objectives, dictate metrics, and determine specific channels. Build a plan that lays out quarterly, monthly, and weekly tactics. Show merchants how the details fit into their long-term strategy.

Content audits

Some ecommerce stores don’t know what type of content to include on their websites, or they don’t know exactly which content works well.

Conduct a content audit for your client. Assess their content strengths and weaknesses. Give them a roadmap for future marketing activities. Start by creating a spreadsheet of all their content assets. Then, collect data points such as word count, number of social shares, and calls-to- action. The following resources can help:

Analyze the data for trends; draw substantive conclusions that can offer your client a recommended course of action.

Editorial calendars

Sometimes, your clients may need assistance organizing their content. Realize that just assigning dates on a calendar isn’t the objective. An effective editorial calendar strategically maps out content based on the audience, customer buying cycle, and the channel. In other words, distributing tweets to buyers at the consideration stage may not produce conversions.

Follow these tips:

  • Consolidate all your client’s content into one editorial calendar 
  • Add key dates, including product launches 
  • Correlate topics to create a monthly universal theme 
  • Post content at optimal times

Content creation

Relevant content doesn’t begin when you write—it should start at the research phase. To unearth new topics, dive deep into your audience’s mind.

Discover the reader’s likes, pain points, and unanswered questions. Here are a few places you can look to for insight:

  • Quora: Sift through questions pertaining to specific topics 
  • Sales team: Ask sales reps what customers love and fear about products 
  • Reviews: Read comments to dig up customer concerns

Your research should uncover the readers’ preferences. What will spark their curiosity? How can you debunk their assumptions? Are you adding value or just producing more content noise? When researching, use a variety of sources. Websites, books, and magazines will spice up the monotony people usually expect.

The writing stage is all about creating compelling content that tells a story. People will stay engaged if they find your content easy to read and enjoyable. No one wants to feel like they are reading a dissertation. To combat boredom, experiment with different writing styles: conversational, humorous, or persuasive. And stay away from the 20-sentence paragraphs that could leave the reader lost. Aim for concise paragraphs that offer value quickly.

Break up text with visuals that add context to the story. So, insert funny gifs, infographics with statistics, or short video clips. That way, your ideas can transition smoothly.

In the editing process, seek to not only correct grammatical errors but also to add flavor to your content. That means crafting a new attention- getting headline, adding quotes from influencers, or uploading more images. Fuel your ideation with research, writing, and editing.

Content promotion

Promoting content is a major part of content marketing. Merchants want their content to reach as many people as possible. Paid promotion can be effective in grabbing a customer’s attention. Facebook enables marketers to create social media ads that target specific audiences. For example, you can A/B test social ads that advertise to Boston football fans, or people who enjoy knitting.

Take the paid search route. Paid listings can direct traffic to premium content. Try this:

  • Build your keyword list 
  • Decide whether to run an exact match or broad match 
  • Write actionable ad copy that’s click-worthy 
  • Direct searchers to relevant content

As part of your content promotion package, gain earned media for your clients. This involves interacting with a community of influencers, including bloggers, subject matter experts, and industry leaders. Influencer outreach rests on developing relationships, not selling. Create a strategy that contributes to a particular ideal, instead of a brand name.

Here are a few tools to connect with influencers:

Guest posting is another method to promote ecommerce businesses. Identify blogs that match your client’s needs. Are they seeking to engage new audiences? Or do they desire backlinks? Once you define the goal, determine which blogs match the criteria. Then, read their editorial guidelines. If none exist, contact the blog manager. And remember, guest posting isn’t centered around your client. The guest post must benefit the publisher, too. So, follow their rules and impress their readers.

Content maintenance

Content marketing is a continuous process. What’s relevant today probably won’t hold value tomorrow. Offer your clients content maintenance services that will keep their content ahead of the times.

Repurposing content is one solution. It gives your client the opportunity to transform one content asset into several formats. For instance, convert their topic-related blog posts into an ebook. The ebook can now serve as a lead magnet to boost email subscriptions.

If you have a pleasant voice, explore audio. Reinvigorate text by creating a podcast. Your client will connect with customers who may not have the time to read an article. Make sure you end with a call-to-action, like signing up for a newsletter.

Proactive social media engagement takes time. Support your client by spreading their brand personality across social networks. Be sure to define what social success looks like for your client: more followers, more interaction, or more traffic? Select two to three social platforms. Then, chart a path to reach the measurable goal. For example, if your client wants more social interaction, manage their Twitter account. Retweet interesting tidbits, reply to followers’ comments, and like tweets that align with the brand. 

This kind of ongoing maintenance can help ensure your client’s success, and can be a valuable revenue driver for you long after your initial contract is up.

Final thoughts

Content marketing is about more than just creating blog posts and videos. To be a better content marketer, it’s important to diversify your content marketing services.

You can drive more results when you contribute to the whole content marketing machine, instead of one piece of the puzzle. So, offer your clients strategy sessions, social media outreach, and content repurposing. By doing that, you establish yourself as an expert in the field. And with expertise comes the opportunity to secure repeat business, possibly at higher rates. Market yourself by speaking at events, sharing useful content, and always bringing value to conversations.

Be bold. Be a full-stack content marketer.

About the author

Shayla Price has learned everything she needs to know in life from Jack Bauer. She's helped organizations with marketing, strategic planning, and professional development during her freelance career.

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