Halloween costume suggestions, list-based articles, content roundups, how-to videos, and even product tips and tricks will all make for good, useful content in October 2015.
Content marketing — which relies on creating, publishing, and distributing content to attract, engage, and retain customers — can be a cost-effective way for small and mid-sized business. But what sort of content should you produce to get the best results?
What follows are five content marketing suggestions to use in your ecommerce business.
1. Offer Halloween Costumes Ideas
Halloween is one of the most important American holidays for the retail industry. Shoppers in the U.S. spent nearly $7.4 billion on costumes, candy, decorations, and other Halloween items in 2014, according to the National Retail Federation.
Last month, I recommended that you create Halloween content, even if the products your store sells are not traditional Halloween items. For October, it may be time to be more specific and publish an article, video, or informational graphic (infographic) suggesting Halloween costume ideas.
HalloweenCostumes.com, which is admittedly very focused on Halloween, recently published a helpful costume guide for Star Wars fans. This infographic describes the different costumes that key Star Wars characters wore at various points in the original movie trilogy.
For your own October content marketing, try to publish Halloween costume suggestions for do-it-yourself costume makers and include products that you sell.
2. Write a List Article
In 2011, Econsultancy’s Chris Lake wrote that “humans appear to be hardwired to tune into lists.” Often list articles are some of the most read and shared content that you can publish. In fact, the article you are reading is a list.
According to Lake, list posts are successful because they are:
- Easy to read;
- Easy to skim;
- Based on opinions;
- Worthy of sharing.
In October, try to write and publish at least one list-based article or post that is related to the industry or segment that your business serves.
For inspiration, here are a few examples of list articles from the site Listverse, which only publishes top ten lists.
- “10 Obscure Historical Events that Would Make Amazing Movies“
- “10 Strange And Intriguing Conspiracy Theories About Crimes“
- “10 Things To Know About Rastafari Beliefs“
- “10 Heroic Cats Who Could Teach Lassie A Thing Or Two“
- “10 Robots That Are Learning Scary New Skills“
3. Create a Content Roundup
In the content marketing and journalism contexts, a roundup is an article or video that summarizes some set of news stories or events. Roundups are a powerful option for ecommerce content marketing. Here are a few examples.
- An online retailer specializing in fishing gear might create a roundup about trends in reel technology or the results of recent fishing competitions.
- A women’s clothing store could produce a roundup for Paris Fashion Week, which runs through the first week of October this year, describing trends in fabrics, colors, and even layering. (Hint: Primary colors may be all the rage this season.)
- A site that sells sports memorabilia could produce a “This Week in Sports” roundup describing events from sports history.
- An online store selling woodworking equipment and tools could post a roundup featuring popular woodworking videos on YouTube.
Roundup articles and videos are often easy to produce. Consider, for example, the woodworking video roundup mentioned above. For this post, the store’s marketer would simply need to search YouTube for a handful of interesting woodworking videos focused on some common theme and write a short description of each video. The roundup post might even have the videos embedded.
Finally, roundups may also summarize content you have already produced. A post that summarizes your most popular articles for the month is a good example.
4. Make a Winter How-to Video
Although winter will not officially arrive in North America until December 22 this year, October is a good time to start publishing winter-related how-to videos on your site, on YouTube, and on social media sites.
How-to content can be the highest form of content marketing. It is specifically aimed at helping your customers achieve some specific tasks, and it employs a powerful, social psychology trigger called reciprocity.
Reciprocity is the idea that people tend to respond to your business and its actions in a matching, equivalent, or, if you will, reciprocal way. So if your business does something nice for someone, that person will likely try to do something nice for your business. If you give someone useful and free content, that person, in an effort to reciprocate, is, perhaps, more likely to buy from your store.
As an example, the video below is from eReplacementParts.com, showing you how to winterize a pressure washer. The video, which was posted three years ago, has had more than 60,000 views.
5. Offer Tips and Tricks for Using Your Products
In few months ago, Hootsuite blog author Olsy Sorokina noted that integrated retailer American Apparel had done a good job of providing product-specific tips related to its Le Sac Dress. The video mentioned shows ladies how to get a “Grecian” look.
American Apparel actually published several similar videos in a series demonstrating a number of possible looks for the Le Sac Dress.
Many of these American Apparel videos have tens of thousands of views on YouTube. It is also worth mentioning that this sort of content is effective as long as you sell a product. The American Apparel videos, for example, were published six years ago. But they are still working.