Practical Ecommerce

3 Ideas for Generating Unique Content for Your Ecommerce Business

Unique and entertaining content can help engage customers, encourage site traffic and earn your brand top-of-mind recognition. But sometimes, ecommerce entrepreneurs and marketers struggle to find new content ideas.

This demand for fresh and one-of-a-kind content may be even more imperative since Google improved its search algorithm in February so that search results now favor higher quality, less redundant content. I addressed these latest changes here, in “Google’s ‘Farmer’ Algorithm and What It Means for Ecommerce SEO.”

Overall, Google’s initiative does seem to be working, as many sites known to copy or republish content have vanished and some data suggests that users are getting better results. Unfortunately, these changes have also reduced traffic to good ecommerce sites that simply don’t have a lot of unique, “value-adding” content.

In this article, you’ll find three ideas for generating content.

Discuss Products from the Insider’s Perspective

It is a mistake to think that the only time you can discuss products is in a “formal” description or that you need to maintain a wall or curtain behind which you hide your purchasing decisions or operations.

Rather, describing the product selection, acquisition, and receiving processes in a series of blog posts is an excellent way to connect with customers from your own site and in the social sphere. And it will help you create unique content.

An example may help demonstrate how discussing what you do on a daily basis could drive a lot of good content.

Imagine a series of blog posts centered on a new product that a running-shoe retailer is adding to its inventory. Here are some potential blog titles and the beginning of the associated posts.

  • “You Had Me at Breathability” – This morning we made the decision to add Nike’s new Desert Running Ultra-Breathable shoes. We’ve been looking for a good, hot weather runner for some time…

  • “Desert Running Soon” – The Nike Desert Running Ultra-Breathables arrived this morning. When FedEx dropped off the boxes it felt a little like Christmas in the warehouse. Here are some pictures of the unwrapping…

  • “Now Available, Nike Desert Running Shoes” – We have the new Nike Desert Running Ultra-Breathables up on the site, and we’ve decided to give away the first five pairs ordered for free. Get your orders in fast…

  • “Jim, Jane, Jack, Jill, and Joe” – We had five happy customers this morning…

Each of these posts would have presumably been tweeted, mentioned on Facebook, included in email newsletters and, of course, posted on the store blog. When the product was listed, these posts could be linked.

So your ecommerce business’s operations can be a great source of unique site content — just talk about what you’re doing and why. If you covered just five products in this manner each year, you could be creating 20 or more unique posts.

Video for Everything

Videos can be an excellent way to communicate with shoppers. It’s a relatively easy way to generate unique content that can both entertain and engage your potential customers.

Promotional videos can vary greatly. Some videos will have amazing production quality. For example, Zacuto, a filmmaking accessories retailer, produced a cinema-quality trailer for its “The Great Camera Shootout 2010”. In fact, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences gave Zacuto an Emmy.

Penguin Magic, an online retailer of magic-related products, has many videos that are informative, entertaining, and descriptive, but required little more than a camcorder to make. Often the company’s marketers just record a magic trick being performed.

Maker Shed, which sells hobby kits and other items for do-it-yourself fans, shot a product demonstration video on someone’s kitchen table. The video has had more than 22,000 views on YouTube. The lesson — depending on your brand — is that you may be able to add a lot of unique video content with relatively little effort.

If you produced just one simple product video each month, and added a blog post about making the video each month, you would add 24 new content items (12 videos and 12 blog posts) to your site annually.

Encourage Product Reviews

Product reviews are an excellent source of one-of-a-kind content for your site, and there is a significant amount of research suggesting that customers tend to trust consumer reviews more than nearly any other form of product description.

What’s more, since product reviews are customer generated, you have very little “actual” content creation to do.

To encourage customer reviews, consider doing three things.

  1. Post reviews prominently on your site;

  2. Follow up via email with recent customers asking them for reviews; and

  3. Reward customers with discounts, prizes, or loyalty points for posting reviews.

To see an example of a site that uses customer reviews well, check out Newegg, which might have hundreds of reviews for a single product. The company even solicits consumer video reviews via contests.

If you managed to get ten new product reviews each week, you’d be adding 520 unique items to your site each year.

Summing Up

Content is what engages customers, encourages them to make a purchase, and keeps them coming back.

In this article, you have read three suggestions for generating “value-adding” content. Collectively, each could generate hundreds of pieces of content every year with relatively little effort.

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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Comments ( 3 )

  1. James March 25, 2011 Reply

    Hi there

    Informative post.

    I’m currently planning on incorporating video into my site, although we sell a service so its not as simple as products, but still looking forward to testing it out.

    I’ll admit, though, constantly having to generate new content to keep your site fresh can be tricky at times. Thing you have to make sure is that you’re not just creating content for the sake of it!

    Keep up the good posts.

  2. Christina Pappas March 25, 2011 Reply

    Google’s Farmer (Panda) algorithim is good and bad. On the good side, SEO white hatters are excited that Google is cracking down on people that post the same content, or worse yet, copy content from site to site. However, as a few articles have mentioned, ecommerce is being effected. A Nike sneaker is a Nike sneaker. Not much else to say, modify, add or change. I wrote a post on this recently and cited some examples thta you have here: add videos and user generated content like reviews. These will be unique (unless your audience goes around copy pasting the same review on all sites). Another thing you can do is add social networking capabilities. Let shoppers ‘like’ your items and share with their network.

    Here is the link to the blog:
    http://www.zmags.com/blog/google-farmer-panda

  3. StrikeHawk eCommerce, Inc. March 27, 2011 Reply

    Holidays and cultural events related to a product or service can be an immense help to the consumer. A jewelry store could start articles related to many gift giving ideas around holidays and special occasions. Consumer education about what you have to offer to meet a specific need can also be useful. A boat accessory store could teach how to catch a bigger fish using one of their products. State specifically in terms related to your customer’s knowledge of fishing and how this product or service could enhance their abilities.