Follow Netflix to Build Your E-Commerce Product Content Machine
The topic of product content — and how to build a sustainable engine for creating and delivering that content — is consistently among the top priorities for major consumer brands.
Several of them stand out for developing efficient workflows to produce high-quality, platform-specific product content for a broad set of retail and social media platforms. Here’s how they do it.
The Content Engine
Decades-old marketing wisdom says that brands should focus on brand integrity by having an identical image everywhere. As a result, when it comes to digital marketing, brands frequently make the mistake of putting the same content everywhere.
Many of these brands now recognize that one size no longer fits all. They know they should be delivering customized content. Their biggest challenges are time, resources, and the operational challenges of maintaining and distributing multiple versions of product content.
Leading brands that have built strong product content engines have employed a few core tactics:
- aggressively recruited and trained e-commerce and digital marketing talent in their organizations;
- developed long-term expertise around digital media, digital content and online search; and
- put in place technology platforms to optimize complex e-commerce workflows like item setup, content syndication and search engine optimization so they can focus on unique content creation and distribution.
Put another way, these leading brands are applying many of the same principles that internet entertainment juggernaut Netflix successfully used in developing its highly successful product content strategy.
Social Media: The Next Product Content Frontier
Much of the product content effort to date has focused on delivering optimized content to retailer web sites like Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com. But the story doesn’t end there.
Teens spend up to nine hours a day on social media, and some 30 percent of all online time is spent interacting on social media. As a result, merchants and the brands whose products they sell are taking a hint from social media. They’re updating their designs to be more social and integrating user-generated and social media content. Target, for example, now includes feeds from Instagram on its product pages.
Optimizing for Social Media
Last month, we learned about Instagram’s class in New York that hosted executives from a number of millennial brands. One thing that stood out: teenaged amateur influencers are killing brands in the content department. With 1 billion users now on Instagram, and all the time spent both there and on other social media platforms, delivering unique, compelling product content on social media is the next frontier for brands and merchants.
In executing their social product content strategies, leading brands are doing the following:
- Focusing on images, videos and organic content. Social media platforms are a lot more visual than retailer websites have historically been (although that’s starting to change). On social media you’ll find much less of the traditional staged brand content that's the norm on retailer sites, and a lot more user-generated and organic content.
- Engaging in the social functionality available on retailer websites, such as reviews, comments and questions. They’re answering shopper questions directly and addressing negative reviews quickly.
- Partnering with established social media influencers. They’re bringing relevant products and content to these influencers, who then share the material with their existing base of followers — which frequently reach into the tens of millions.
Of course, to make the sale, it’s paramount that brands have great product content on retailer sites. For now, at least, that’s where the vast majority of online purchases still take place, as opposed to directly on social media platforms.
That means that when it comes to product content, it’s not a question of social media or retail website — it’s about being present across all these platforms in a compelling yet scalable way. That, of course, is where the right software can really help, because brands can’t afford to go it alone anymore and risk falling behind in the ever-changing e-commerce race.
Related story: Why Monitor Product Content if You Can’t Fix it?