Content is the driving force of businesses online, and it results in likes, shares and sales. But if you want content to drive buying behavior, you need a content strategy for e-commerce.
A website provides thought leadership and gives people the information they need to make decisions, when designed properly. Many cutting-edge websites are structured around pretty designs, which can enhance the user experience under the right conditions. But, sometimes, it seems like adding product information was a developmental afterthought.
A lot of web content management systems (WCMSes) encourage this behavior. There is a heavy focus on displaying large chunks of content and figuring out how every page can be interactive and dynamic, but not enough WCMSes put content organization first. Headless CMS vendors are offering options to make content creation the focus.
Why content matters
Content can make or break your online sales. Consider what you sell and how all those items relate together.
Think of your last online buying experience. You likely performed a search, saw a list of results and opened a few of the top-ranked choices.
What was some of the content that caught your eye?
- Quality images. Photos should capture both an overall view of the product and detailed views of distinguishing details. In your search, for example, you may have zoomed in or looked at the item from many different perspectives, even if the site didn't have zoomed-in photos.
- Engaging titles. These are necessary to describe a product. Placing keywords in titles helps items appear in search results and assists people in understanding what that item is. The combination of the image and title, as well as the price, can help you narrow down options to find exactly what you want.
- Detailed product descriptions. Search results may include a few sentences describing the product. But this short paragraph is critical, because it answers questions that the title and image have not answered before now. Sites often have a details page where you can find a longer, more detailed description for those looking for in-depth information. This page serves to reinforce what was shared on the first page.
For every item you sell, you only need one version of each of these content components. Even if you sell consulting services, your site needs a title, tagline, elevator pitch and a detailed description of the product or service. You can use some -- or all -- of these components throughout your online properties to maintain the interest of potential buyers.
But how do you manage this cleanly?
The headless CMS
A trend in the CMS industry is for vendors to store content in one repository and have dedicated systems to present information for e-ecommerce. A content strategy for e-commerce is a necessity for businesses that seek to better manage content in discrete chunks and push the same content out to multiple content channels at once.
A headless CMS enables you to store content in a more structured manner than traditional systems. Whether you push the content to your website, a partner or to a print queue, the headless CMS maintains the content in a central location. It organizes important metadata and maps out the relationships between linked content. And it collects, structures and distributes content by providing APIs that help websites consume the data.
Once a headless CMS is in place, you can leave the front-end developers in charge of making the content look pretty. At this point, updating and adding new products to your site is easy, designs are more functional and customers are happier.
Of course, there is more to this than simply dividing responsibilities between systems.
You content is strategic
If you sell online, you need a content strategy for e-commerce. You need to understand how, and why, people buy what you are selling. If you sell products on other vendors' platforms, such as Amazon, you need to understand what content they need and map it to what you are already creating. Once you map out everything, you can collect and create templates for your site.
You can use templates, such as Word templates or digital forms within a CMS, to standardize your organization's content. A template provides clear guidelines for content creators to structure their content to be conducive to the goals of your content strategy. Want certain searchable keywords in your stories? Add them to your template, and writers will know to include it.
Making the templates is the easy part. You must also teach content creators how to best sell the products. Here are some questions to consider when designing templates:
- How long does each content chunk need to be? More importantly, how long is too long?
- What are the key points they need to make at each level of detail?
- Is the content specific? If someone looked at any level of detail, would they be able to distinguish the product or offering from your other products or from your competitors' products?
Creating this content takes time, and headless CMS will not magically do it for you. You need to work with content creators to understand your mutual goals and how you plan to meet them. Help them understand that, by doing this once, they can save time later. Remind them that every time the company adds a new channel, they won't have to create a whole new write-up. More importantly, they won't have to update multiple systems when they have a product update.