Every online store understands the need to create content on a regular basis – it’s what drives conversions, populates social media, inform scustomers about products and services and drives links, likes and rankings.However, creating effective contentand becoming a skilled content creator able to craft compelling, meaningful andvalue-add pieces on a regular basis is another task entirely, especially in aspace as competitive and cutthroat as ecommerce.

Why does meaningful content matter?

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of pushing out content every day because you have a newsletter quota to fill, social media channels to keep updated and search engine rankings to protect. But, this only gets you so far – the modern consumer expects more.

The latest Meaningful Brands data found that over half of consumers (60%) consider most brand-created content to be clutter. It’s thought of as poor quality, irrelevant and fails to deliver. 75% of us expect the brands we buy from to produce content that makes a contribution to our wellbeing, yet most are falling far short. Becoming an effective content creator can bridge that gap. What’s more, the rewards for the extra effort are reflected in the bottom line, with meaningfulness resulting in 9x more share of wallet plus greater brand advocacy, sales, repeat business and repurchasing.

Maria Garrido, Global Chief Insights & Analytics Officer, at Havas Media Group which conducts the Meaningful Brands study sums it up saying, “…the data demonstrates an alarming ineffectiveness of existing brand content. Our expectations for the role or the types of content are simply not being met.”

Changing this impression means committing to becoming a more effective content creator, able to consistently deliver content that makes a difference to readers.

Habits to incorporate into your content routine

If you’re charged with creating content for an ecommerce brand, try these steps to up your retail content game.

  1. Commit to scouring industry news daily

Successful content creators know their industry and keep abreast of trends, news and important events as they happen. Make a habit of scouring news for your sector each day. Effective content creation starts with great research and this is the first step towards that goal. You’ll not only gain a keen understanding of your space, your brand’s position in it and customer sentiment, you’ll also be able to keep abreast of competitor activity and generate a multitude of content ideas en-route.

In addition to news that affects your industry directly, be sure to add blogs, newspapers and magazines that your customers frequent to your list. This plugs you into the same mindset and will again give you a keen insight as to what matters to those readers.

  • Develop a consistent tone of voice and use it each day

In such a competitive marketplace, brands with personality stand out, often over and above the products themselves. If you’re a multi-product retailer stocking brands that can easily be found elsewhere, developing a unique tone of voice is even more important as you can’t stand out on your product offering alone.

If you think about brands like Ben & Jerry’s, it isn’t necessarily the product itself that engages customers with the brand. It’s the very clever content creation based on a distinct personality that resonates with consumers.

  • Study your audience

One of the key tenants of effective content creation is knowing your audience. In order to serve content that makes a meaningful connection with them and produce pieces that serve to add value to their day-to-day lives, you must know them at a very granular level.

You may well already have buyer personas to work from, which will tell you the basics such as age, gender, budget, hobbies and pain points. To go deeper, you need to dig up data that will help you match your content production to things your customer actually wants, needs and expects from you. To do that, use analytic data from previous content published as well as tools such as Google Trends to understand what works and what doesn’t. What questions are shoppers asking in search and of your team? Which pieces of content perform best? Which content format is the best received? 

  • Experiment with content types regularly

Creating effective content isn’t limited to one format, such as a whitepaper or an article. In the age of the mobile internet, consumers are increasingly expecting brands to serve up more digestible pieces to satisfy their needs while on the go, backed up by longer form and more in-depth pieces. 

Video is the most shared content format on mobile and Facebook has said it’s the most popular type of update on its platform. Working video into your mix may take you away from your content comfort zone but could increase your content effectiveness, simply by transitioning into a format that customers can more readily and conveniently engage in.