How do you solve a problem like content? Top UK brands weigh in
We recently hosted an intimate dinner with some of the UK’s leading ecommerce retailers to discuss a question that preoccupies digital marketers everywhere: how do you solve a problem like content?
The evening brought together senior ecommerce and marketing figures from brands including Waitrose, Mothercare, eBay, Mountain Warehouse, La Perla and Molton Brown, to discuss the role of content in 2017 and beyond – and debate some of the common issues faced by online retailers in a rapidly-shifting ecommerce landscape.
Here’s a summary of our favourite nuggets of wisdom from the evening.
On the role of content
“For us, content helps us to engage with the imagination and lifestyle of our customers. It’s something that allows you to bring someone into your ‘world’ – and once they’re in your world, they become part of what you’re doing, and therefore keep wanting to come back and buy from you.”
“Because travel is such a saturated market – everyone travels, Instagrams and tweets – there’s so much noise out there that big hero campaigns tend to get lost in the ether. So, we’re focusing more on the day-to-day, hygiene content and getting this content slick and standardised across multiple sites. We find that this delivers a much better uptick than spending huge amounts of money on a one-off campaign.”
On bridging the gap between the offline and online experience
“The store experience at the moment is very different to online, and there’s a massive disconnect. It’s so easy to go in-store and understand what the brand is about as you can touch the fabrics and speak to the amazing store staff – and you’re basically sold. But online, although you do have the imagery, trying to show someone how amazing a silk feels without them being able to see it is so difficult.”
On the tensions between a brand- vs. consumer-led approach
“Brands – especially big brands that have been around for a long time – tend to get really lost in what their brand means, rather than thinking about the customer. Working in performance, producing a lot of content for ecommerce within our team – rather than it coming from the brand team – we always have the customer at the focal point, we’re always thinking about the brand USP, the USP for the specific product, why the customer needs that product – and how to make the customer feel that they really need it. You’ve got to keep changing with the customer.”
On maintaining SEO performance in the face of Google’s moving goalposts
“It starts with the bare bones: you’ve got to get your meta tags, H1s and H2s in place first. You’ve just got to walk before you can run – that on its own, just getting the basics right, will make a huge amount of difference, before you’ve even done any content.”
“Really simple stuff has worked on some of my brands – making sure that every category has a category description, with a lengthy optimised paragraph, placed at the bottom of the page so that it’s not intrusive to the user. There are some easy wins to be had before you even start to do anything ‘fancy’.”
On maximising the ROI from content
“The number one thing I always try and get out of content is elongating its lifespan. For example, when creating a video, it makes sense to make it stop-motion and then gather all the hi-res JPGs, which can then be used in print and point-of-sale assets, as well as scaled down for use as GIFs on social media later on. I always have this in mind, so it’s never just one piece of content – you’ve got to make sure it’s scalable.”
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