6 Content Types Retailers Need to Be Producing
Retailers stand to benefit enormously from content marketing. When implemented successfully, content marketing can be used as a tool to attract more traffic to your site, build brand visibility and reputation, and even influence more conversions among your visitors. However, certain types of content are more valuable to retailers than others, and knowing how to prioritize your efforts can make or break your strategy.
The Most Important Content for Retailers
So, what types of content are most important for retailers to provide? Consider the following six:
1. Standards and regulations: First, if there are any standards and regulations that apply to your industry, or to your customers, it’s good to have a guide on the subject. For example, most sports equipment (including balls, equipment and protective gear) must meet certain regulations to be used in a legal game. Providing your customers with this information, and whether your products meet those regulations, is essential if your customers are going to make an informed decision.
2. Discovery content for early stages of the buying cycle: Most consumers are clueless about what to look for in a given product when buying it for the first time. For example, when buying your first car, you may not know what to look for. This is where discovery content comes in; this is content specifically written for consumers in the early stages of the buying cycle, who aren’t sure what they’re looking for and who need more information before they’re sure they want to buy. For example, an introductory guide on what types of bicycles exist could help someone unfamiliar with bikes, but interested, in getting started.
3. Product descriptions: Obviously, if you’re selling products online, you need to have sufficient descriptions for those products. You should include at least several hundred words of content per page, describing the most important features of products as articulately as possible. This helps your customers by giving them more information they can use to make a decision, and optimizes your site so it’s more easily found in search engines.
4. Product comparisons and buying guides: For complex decisions or to help customers with products that are hard to distinguish from one another, it’s useful to create a product comparison or buying guide. A guide on how to find the best smartphone, for example, could compare and contrast different phone models that offer distinct advantages and disadvantages. This type of content is useful for establishing authority, and helping guide your customers toward the buying decisions that are most appropriate for them.
5. Maintenance and care for long-term customers: If you sell products that require ongoing maintenance, care or eventual replacement, it’s useful to have a guide on that long-term care. For example, you could write an article on how to lubricate a treadmill belt to help your customers maintain their machines for a longer period of time. This has several benefits; not only will you help your customers get a longer lifespan out of their products (thereby making them more satisfied), you’ll also establish yourself as the authority they seek when making buying decisions in the future.
6. Help and FAQ content: Finally, consider producing help and FAQ content that instructs users on how to handle problems with the products they’ve bought. This can help remedy potential customer problems proactively, allowing you to repair your customer relationships simply by having the right content available to the right people. The more thorough your guides are here, the better — if your knowledge base is robust enough, it could partially or fully replace your customer service department.
How to Make the Most of Your Content
No matter what types of content comprise your overall strategy, you’ll need to employ the following tactics to make that content effective:
- Optimize for your main goal. Content serves many different functions, so optimize your content for your main goal. For example, optimizing for search engines requires a slightly different strategy than optimizing purely for conversions.
- Choose the right tone. Your tone should reflect your brand personality, and differentiate your company from its competitors.
- Target a specific audience. Don’t write content that appeals to everyone; doing so will make you sound generic and irrelevant. Instead, hyperfocus your content to target one specific audience.
- Get feedback. Collect feedback from your customers to improve your content over time. Use surveys to find out what works and what doesn’t.
- Promote your best work. If you’ve written something spectacular, share it on social media, and consider paying to advertise it. It won’t get popular without a little push.
Content marketing is one of the best ways for retailers to improve both customer acquisition and retention, so long as you employ the right strategies. Content is a long-term strategy, so invest early and work hard to perfect your approach over time.
Larry Alton is a freelance writer, whose work regularly appears in Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Inc. and Adweek.