Q. What kind of content should I publish on my ecommerce store’s blog?
A. There’s no silver bullet when it comes to publishing content on your blog. What works well for one business might fall flat for another. That’s why you need to consider your market, your target audience, and your brand.
Keep these six factors in mind as you plan your content calendar, and you’ll quickly find what works best for your ecommerce business. You might even be surprised by what you learn.
- Stage of the sales funnel
- Target audience
Whether you’re writing your own blog posts, hiring someone else to do it, or using Matcha’s licensed content written by professional publishers, you should keep these six factors in mind. Read on to learn more.
1. Stage of the Sales Funnel
Every piece of content you publish has a job to do. What works to bring someone to your website won’t necessarily motivate them to make a purchase. That’s why creating content for every stage of the funnel is so important.
The basic sales funnel is made up of four stages: awareness, consideration, conversion, and retention. When you’re publishing blog content, consider which stage of the funnel it supports.
- Awareness: Attract the right audiences and build brand awareness with blog posts geared toward your audience’s interests, not your products.
- Consideration: Build a relationship, create trust, and get your audience interested in your products.
- Conversion: Deliver a winning offer to convert your audience from visitor to customer. This is where the content on your product pages comes in.
- Retention: Use content to continue nurturing customer relationships to retain customers and increase their lifetime value.
As a marketer, your job is to move people down the funnel, keeping them interested until they’re ready to make a purchase, and then keep them coming back for more.
2. Target Audience/Buyer Personas
You’ll also need to consider your target audience. The awareness content you publish to get people in the door should be completely audience-centric. In other words, it’s about them, not you. And to really connect with your audience, you need to know them well.
If you haven’t defined your target audience and your buyer personas, now’s the time to do it. Interview current customers, read research about your niche, and really get to know the ins and outs of the people who buy your products.
What do they like to do in their spare time? What gives them the most anxiety? Who do they see themselves as, and who do they want to become? However philosophical some of these questions might seem, they’re important. Especially when it comes to deciding what content to publish on your blog.
3. Content Topics
The topic of an article is arguably the most important thing to consider when you publish new content. This is where the work you did to define your target audience(s) comes in handy.
A common mistake ecommerce businesses make when they’re publishing blog posts is sticking to a narrow set of topics. If they sell nail polish, for example, all their blog posts might be about nail art and nail care. That’s a huge missed opportunity!
Think about topics your audience cares about that are tangential to your brand and your products. For a nail polish brand, this might be makeup or skincare. Just make sure you don’t stray too far into left field. A nail polish brand probably shouldn’t be posting about hunting and fishing, for example. The topics just don’t jibe.
4. Content Type/Format
The types of blog post you publish can have an impact on how readers feel about your brand and how they engage with your website.
Matcha’s analysis of 10,000+ articles published in 2018 shows that listicles are top-performers when it comes to engagement rate and promotional efficiency. That means they bring more people to your website for less money, and those people are more likely to stick around.
Meanwhile, long-form articles keep people on your blog longer than any other type of content.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the content types you might consider publishing on your blog.
|Type of Content||Purpose||Example|
|Listicles||Give readers information they’re looking for in a snappy, skimmable format that drives a lot of low-cost traffic||10 Free Summer Activities to Do with Your Kids|
|Guides||Educate your readers with useful how-to resources||How to Change Your Oil in Under 30 Minutes|
|Long-form articles||Tell a story that piques your readers’ interest and keeps them on your site longer||How Crested Butte’s Best Mountain Bike Trails Came to Be|
|Profiles||Profile an interesting person, like a public figure your target audience admires, to attract a niche audience||This Ex-MMA Fighter Shows Therapy Isn’t Just For Those In Crisis|
|Photo essays||Give your audience a break from reading with aspirational photos that whisk them away to a different time or place||New York City in the 90s: A Photo Essay|
|Recipes||Share mouthwatering recipes that fit your audience’s lifestyle and diet||3 High-Protein Vegan Recipes to Make This Week|
Even if you’re not a local business, you can still use content targeted to different geographic locations to grow and engage your audience. Here are three ways to do it.
Celebrate your roots.
If your product or brand story has local roots, consider shining a light on that through your content. Austin-based watch company DuFrane Watches does this really well. Their brand embodies the Texas gentleman archetype — ruggedly modern and refined — and they publish Texas-specific content to reflect that.
Double down in your most profitable markets
If you know that a significant portion of your sales come from specific cities or regions, you can publish content geared toward those locations. Then, promote the content using geographic targeting on social media to reach new shoppers in those markets.
Uncover new geographic markets.
You can also use content targeted to specific locales that you think could be hot markets for you. If you sell skiing and snowboarding gear, for example, you can publish and promote content geared toward different regions where winter sports are popular. You might be surprised by which location targeting on your ads brings in the most affordable site traffic and customers.
Below, you can see a collection of licensed articles about skiing and snowboarding in Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and West Virginia. This type of content would work well for outdoor brands whether they’re based in one of these locations, they sell a lot of products there, or they think these are potentially good markets to target.
You should also consider seasonality when you’re planning your blog editorial calendar. It’s no surprise that people are more likely to read Christmas articles in December and beach-themed posts in the summer. Why not capitalize on that?
You can even create buying guides or listicles of the best products for each holiday, like Beardbrand did in the example below. This type of content is perfect for attracting shoppers who are in the consideration stage of the sales funnel (see #1 above). In other words, they’re thinking about buying something in the near future.
Finally…don’t overthink it!
You don’t have to get it perfect on day one. If an article doesn’t resonate with your audience, that’s okay. It’s a lesson learned, and now it’s easier to hone in on what they will respond well to.
Content ads are nearly 90% cheaper than product ads on Facebook, so you won’t blow your budget promoting an article that doesn’t work for your brand. And if you used licensed content, you can publish a lot of articles quickly to test what works, what doesn’t, and where you should double down to create your own custom content.
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Feature image provided by Amador Loureiro