You've heard it once, you've heard it twice: content is king. But what is an ecommerce all-star (that's you) to do when content creation is a hamster wheel with no exit? Despair no more; we're here to help.
Content helps you build your brand and create ways for customers to find you, love you, and never leave you. Ok, that sounds great. But again… the time, the resources, the hamster wheel…
Right, right. Here's the secret every content marketing expert knows: never make content for one-time use or one channel. Your content can be an engine that drives all of your marketing channels forward in tandem, and this approach makes content marketing much more efficient and effective.
We'll show you how, let's go!
First, be customer first.
Ecommerce brands, and all businesses, win when they put customers first. If you want to nail product-market fit and build a business that people love, be customer first.
When it comes to making content, this is even more true. Via your content, you want to provide answers and solutions to your customers' challenges, interests, and needs while establishing your brand as an expert and thought leader.
Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is your guide for every content brainstorm session you do from now until the end of time. It will allow you to identify strong content topics more easily and improve your content.
Find your happy place.
Here is another secret that content experts know to be true: brands win at the channels they love and sink in the ones they don't. Said another way: you don't need to be on every channel, just your best ones. <-- #hottakealert
Your best channel is the one where your customers like to spend their time (refer back to your ICP) and the place where you, your team, and your product are at their best. Identify the channel that is your favorite and strongest and focus on creating your core content pieces with this channel in mind. Then clarify your supporting channels, which are those you want to have a presence on because they align with your customers and support your overall brand building and business efforts.
If you love video, aim to dominate those video-forward channels and deliver that content directly with a savvy opt-in form strategy on your online store. Blog and email are your sweet spot if you have a strong writing team. Twitter fanatic? Lean into that and your SMS strategy, too.
Whatever you do, don't succumb to FOMO and hop on a channel because it's the hot new thing if 1. your customers aren't there, and 2. you don't have the desire nor the content machine to make it pay off.
Email & SMS: your content (and customer) BFF.
When you've made something great, your nearest and dearest should be the first to know. The people on your email and SMS subscriber lists are your most important relationships, and giving them the scoop on your content shows them they're the inner circle, and you're glad to have them there.
Even more importantly, email and SMS are the channels that you "own" instead of rent. No matter what happens on other channels (i.e., rule changes, cost spikes, algorithm chaos, and outages), you have a direct line of communication to your community via email and SMS.
When you own a house, you are equally as concerned about its foundation and structural integrity as you are about making it comfortable, warm, pleasant, and inviting inside and out. When you rent, you want things to be comfortable and inviting, but knowing you're at the whim of your landlord means you might eventually want or need to leave.
If content is king, email & SMS are most certainly queen.
Create your core content.
Now, onto content creation!
First, create a topic list by looking at your ICP and thinking up all the different things in the realm of your brand's expertise that you can talk about to satisfy your customer interests, needs, and challenges.
Then, clarify your current business goals, such as growing your email and SMS subscriber lists or moving inventory of a specific product.
Finally, find the crossover between the topics that satisfy your customers and your current business priorities. Turn this into a topic list and et voilà - you've got a content creation plan.
This list will become the core content pieces that act as the pillar of your cross-channel content strategy. You can think of these pillars as the trunk of a tree, and the branches are all of the cross-channel off-shoot content moments that will sprout.
Now, turn that list into fully fleshed-out assets optimized for the channel you have deemed your strongest. We get into the magic of cross-channel content usage next.
Pull micro-content moments.
The beautiful thing about having robust parent content is that you have a library to pull micro-content. You can pull anecdotes, quotes, statistics, key points, examples, data, images, and more as micro-content for various channels. Whether a blog, video, e-book, podcast, guide, or something else, each is full of engaging info that can stand alone and make an impact.
When you make content for cross-channel use, one good piece of long-form content fuels your captions, subject lines, SMS sends, tweets, scripts, email copy, and more.
When you pull micro-content to share on a different channel, you want to adapt it for sharing on that channel. That might be slightly changing the tone (more formal, casual, visual, etc.) and creatively using the channel's features. The algorithm behind each channel loves creators who use their features, especially when they are first released. Being an early adopter or frequent user of channel features will help get the algorithm on your side and get more eyes on your shares. Use the quiz, poll, sticker, video, live, reels, stories, groups, and other special features, especially when adding fresh energy to your platform presence or strategizing solutions to dips in engagement or views.
Now, let's look at an example so you can see the magic in action:
Content Type: long-form blog article
Publish on your online store's blog.
Drive traffic to it with paid ads.
Schedule Twitter posts with punchy lines, notable stats, key points, and anecdotes pulled from the article.
Write Instagram captions by isolating key points throughout the article, and distill those down to caption copy supporting visuals.
Create Instagram posts with quote graphics, infographics, or multi-slide text tiles to highlight notable stats and points from the article.
Determine why the article sets you apart as a business and brand and how it aligns with your overall ethos as a company. Share those findings on LinkedIn alongside the article link. Alternatively, share key points from the article as micro-posts that inherently illustrate your business differentiators.
Create a script from the article that highlights and summarizes it, then create a video to post on Youtube. Embed that video link into your original blog post.
Write SMS messages with copy such as "did you know" to highlight key article points, then include a link to learn more.
Split the article into sections focused on one point, use those sections to drive separate email sends tied to how they are helpful to your customer and relevant to your product.
One content piece can do ALL that, and that's only scratching the surface. The point is, you don't need to reinvent the wheel each time when you have strong core content pieces. Instead, it's a launchpad and library that you can pull from time and again.
Syncing up your messaging matters.
Congrats, you now have more time, better content, and synchronized brand messaging across all your channels. Oh, that last part? Yes, that's a big deal.
While you aimed to streamline your content creation process, you also set yourself up to ace a marketing essential: synchronized brand messaging.
When you are talking about similar topics across all your channels, the cohesion reinforces your message and establishes you as a dependable and expert thought leader in your space. That's how you build trust and reputability with customers, and THAT is how you increase your CLTV and watch your list of VIPs get longer and longer.
When you create content for cross-channel use, you've got a tank full of fuel to drive your marketing toward success.
First stop? Always your email & SMS strategy, so when you're ready to ride, talk with an expert about our solutions.