How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy for your Brand

Corey Grigg

March 31, 2021

Whether you are a well-known fashion brand or smaller niche ecommerce business, having good, well optimised and written content is just as important as ever. Content marketing is still a crucial means of communication to your current and potential future customers, especially for ecommerce brands and can help to build brand awareness, generate leads, promote a business’ values and much more.

Discover how to write effective content for ecommerce sites with the steps below.

What is content marketing for ecommerce businesses?

As the name suggests, content marketing involves the strategic creation of content to assist in the promotion of a brand or its products. The content that is created needs to be relevant, attractive and engaging to the target audience for it to succeed. Examples of modern forms of content marketing for ecommerce businesses include:

  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Interactive maps, charts and diagrams
  • Blog articles

While there is a near-endless variety of content types, the main focus still for many businesses is blog articles. Not only do they typically offer a lower production cost compared to other content types (such as videos or podcasts), but their potential outreach through online channels such as SEO is immense.

That being said, putting pen to paper as a brand requires strategic planning for the blog article to succeed. There are many factors to consider when writing content for an ecommerce site. From generating ideas to tracking the final outcome, we share our strategy on writing effective blog articles for any ecommerce brand or retailer.

Stage 1: Research & Planning

To give your content the best possible chance at success, a thorough level of research and planning needs to occur before you start anything. Like a classic ‘conversion funnel’, we want to take the same approach when it comes to planning content—start with a wide net to capture ideas, which we then funnel down into one final blog article concept during the process.

How to research blog article ideas

Instinctually, many ecommerce businesses will start by using digital marketing tools to generate content ideas. While using keyword research to form the basis of your blog article is key, it’s also important to marry this planning with additional research to fully flesh out other ideas.

Ultimately, the content is going to be engaged with by your target audience, so getting a complete picture of their content needs is essential. Consider using the following methods to further research topic ideas and your reader’s needs:

  • Using customer interviews, reviews and focus groups
  • Mapping out the customer journey and analysing pain-points within it
  • Viewing customer enquiries to answer common questions
  • Completing competitor research to uncover content gaps
  • Researching customer forums and online communities
  • Utilising recent trends to pair the brand with
  • Analysing top-selling products or product categories
  • Measuring previous high-performing content on social media channels
  • By pairing customer-focused research with keyword planning, your content will have the framework to succeed online and with the target audience.

Evergreen vs. Seasonal Content Marketing

Blog article topics can be typically divided between two categories, Evergreen and Seasonal. By choosing which category your content falls into will help plan when is the best time of year to publish it.

  • Evergreen: Content that is relevant to the audience all year round.
  • Seasonal: Content that is relevant to the audience at a specific time or period during the year.

An example of Evergreen content could be a Product Buying Checklist (such as a ‘Buyer's Guide to Football Boots’), while a Seasonal content example could be a Gifting Guide (such as a ‘Father’s Day Gift Guide’).

However, depending on your chosen topic, the choice between Evergreen or Seasonal is predetermined which makes this step easier.

How to plan your blog article

With a topic decided, it’s time to decide on the content of the article:

  • What do you want to include in it? Write down all the sections you want within the article and any notes based on your research. It is also worth deciding what you don’t want to speak about in the article. Doing this will help keep you focused on the topic at hand and not get sidetracked while writing.
  • What is the core message you want the audience to receive? Are you using this article to create brand awareness, generate leads, sell a product or something else? Deciding on the core message will help track the success of the article once it’s published.
  • What media do you have access to which will complement the content? How will any images, videos, graphs, maps or other media be accessed or created for the blog article? If you plan on using statistics or quotes in the content, also start collecting sources for those too.
  • How will the content be amplified once published? Other than being posted on the blog, will the article be shared on social media channels, influencers, eDMs, downloaded as a white paper or any other means?
  • Is there a deadline the article needs to be written by? Particularly in the case of Seasonal content or an article that has been written off the back of a current trend.

Ideally, an article brief can be created before writing content to ensure the article is well researched and optimised. It will also allow the writer to easily see what will be featured in the content and any information needed to create it.

Stage 2: Writing & Content Creation

If you’ve followed the process so far, you will now have a highly detailed plan for your article. All that is left to do is create it.

Before writing a blog article

  • Who is writing the content? Will it be created by an internal team such as marketing? Or will you be using an external asset such as an agency or guest poster?
  • Does the brand have a tone of voice document? Read the tone of voice document to understand how the business wants to be portrayed through the copy before starting.

Writing for user experience

While your blog article must feature the keywords you want to rank for, it’s equally important that the article is primarily written for a real-life audience, not Google. The customer is king when it comes to content, but what does this mean in practice?

  • Keep keywords natural: While it may feel obvious, the language and choice of words you use needs to be natural. Don’t inject blatant keywords into a sentence—instead, phrase them naturally and let them blend into the sentence.
  • Speak to your audience: Use language your readers can engage with. Fun, casual brands may prefer to use slang and abbreviations, while a more corporate business could have an audience that prefers technical terms and more direct phrases.
  • Use bullet points, numbers and tables: Instead of large walls of text, make it as easy as possible for your readers to consume your content. Bullet points, numbering and tables help make information easily readable to both your audience and search engine crawlers.
  • Internal linking best practice: Whether you’re linking to a product, service or another piece of content, internal linking also needs to be authentic, relevant and natural. Ideally, the anchor text needs to be similar to the page you are linking to. Don’t use the word ‘here’ or ‘now’ to link to other pages, as it’s not good for a reader’s experience.
  • Heading hierarchy: Clear and concise headings that use long-tail keyword phrases allow the reader to easily differentiate the sections of your content. Search engine crawlers also use your headings to understand content and rank it for those queries.

Completing a first draft

Whenever possible, always create a draft of your article before publishing it. This allows time for another person within or outside of your team to proofread and sense check the content. In particular for more technical topics, having someone outside of your team read through the article will help ensure it can be understood by people of different knowledge levels if that is a goal for the content.

When an article is ready to go live, ensure that it has had a spelling and grammar check, and that all links work correctly.

Stage 3: Tracking & Optimisation

To further enhance your ecommerce content marketing strategy, blog articles need to be tracked and optimised in the future. Not only is it important to ensure the content engages your target audience, but it also allows you to adapt your strategy based on what did and didn’t work.

Tracking & measuring your content marketing

If you had created a goal as part of your article brief in the planning stage, it is simple to use that objective as your main way of measuring the success of your content. That being said, content can serve many purposes, which the goal should reflect. Here are a few objectives that you can measure your content by:

  • Reporting traffic, new users, keyword rankings and other metrics through Google Analytics or SEO tools
  • Acquiring reader feedback through surveys or comments
  • Counting email sign-ups or leads
  • Analysing conversion metrics such as revenue or click-through rate
  • Measuring social shares, likes and clicks
  • Creating brand awareness and reviewing unlinked mentions on other sites
  • Manually checking rankings for keywords

How to optimise content in the future

Updating and optimising your article breathes new life into your content—help setting it up for long-term SEO success. Both your audience and search engines benefit from content optimisation, making it an important factor that needs to be included in the blog article’s lifecycle. These are many ways to update and optimise your content, some of which include:

  • New information based on the topic
  • New content based on current trends or styles
  • Updating statistics or quotes
  • Updating imagery
  • Updating tone of voice
  • Adding videos, infographics or other rich media
  • The audience gains new information that will help inform their decision, while search engines are able to rank the article for additional keywords based on the new content.

The importance of content for ecommerce sites

It’s no secret that content marketing needs to be part of your wider ecommerce strategy. Its longevity, low cost to produce and ability to grow online authority makes it highly attractive to ecommerce businesses. Other key benefits for content marketing include:

  • Builds brand awareness
  • Builds domain authority
  • Can target long-tail keywords that category and product pages typically don’t rank for
  • Can achieve a number of non-direct revenue-driving goals (such as lead generation)
  • Educates the customer through information and expertise
  • Produces additional opportunities to gain new users and traffic
  • Increases positive user signals such as pages per session and time on site
  • Complements other online channels such as social, paid search, CRM and affiliate marketing
  • Allows your site to rank for additional rich snippets and universal search results

Throughout all the stages of creating content—planning and research, writing and creating content, and tracking and optimisation—the customer needs to always be the primary focus. The content is going to be read, consumed and ultimately actioned upon by them.

For more information about building an ecommerce content marketing strategy, contact Pattern Australia now.

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1P vs 3P
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Amazon 1P vs. 3P: Pros & Cons Brands Need to Know

Whether you’ve been selling your products on Amazon for years or you’re just starting out, you’ve probably wondered if 1P or 3P is the best selling model for your brand. As the top ecommerce accelerator, and 3P seller, with deep experience on Amazon, we know there’s no “best way” to sell on Amazon—it depends on your products, long-term goals, and  capabilities. 

In a 1P, or first-party relationship, Amazon buys your product wholesale and handles most of the selling details. In a 3P, or third-party relationship, you’re an independent seller on Amazon’s marketplace, which gives you both more control over your brand and more responsibility for logistics.

Deciding between 1P and 3P requires weighing the various pros and cons for your business. Brands should consider several factors before choosing which strategy makes sense. Here is more information about the pros and cons of both 1P and 3P so you can make the best decision for your brand.

1P Pros and Cons 

Pros:

  • Amazon is a well-trusted brand and consumers may trust your brand more if it is sold by Amazon.

  • Your products are automatically eligible for Amazon Prime and two-day shipping.

  • Amazon handles all the logistics: taxes, ASIN, optimization, and customer service.

  • Amazon gives exclusive benefits, such as placement priority and advanced analytics tools, to 1P sellers.

  • Selling your products through Amazon 1P could be the most price efficient option for your brand.

  • You are basically free of inventory risk.

Cons:

  • Amazon has the control to sell your product at any price they see fit, even if it’s below your established Minimum Advertising Price (MAP).

  • You may lose profit margins.

  • Amazon will pay you less frequently than a 3P relationship.

  • You will have little control over availability of inventory on Amazon at any given time.

  • Amazon can drop you as a 1P seller at any time.

Many brands choose to sell on Amazon in a 1P relationship so they do not have to manage most of the logistics and simply prefer Amazon to do it.. In addition, having  a well-trusted brand sell your product is another top consideration in a 1P seller relationship.. 

3P Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Gives you more flexibility and control in every aspect of the selling process.

  • Strengthens your brand presence.

  • Helps you gain better access to data.

  • Provides more control in the selling process (pricing, inventory, and product listings).

  • Offers complete control over how much inventory to list.

  • You can share inventory across marketplaces, when necessary.

  • Creative control to  develop listings with better optimized content to tell your brand story.

Cons:

  • Inventory risks.

  • Responsible to create purchase orders and handling inventory logistics.

  • You are responsible for your own customer service.

  • Brand must pay additional fees to Amazon for being a 3P seller.

  • Can be subject to account suspension.

Selling on Amazon in a 3P relationship  is an increasingly popular option for brands, and it’s easy to see why. Even though becoming a 3P seller may seem like more work upfront, it ultimately gives you more flexibility and control, a stronger brand presence, and better data access.

How Do I Become an Amazon 1P or 3P Seller?

You can only become a 1P seller through a direct invitation from Amazon. To become a 3P seller, the first step is setting up a Seller Central account. You’ll then provide relevant information and verifications before getting your account approved and finally listing and shipping your products. 

3P Partners and Other Selling Model Strategies

While deciding between a 1P or 3P relationship is a solid start, selling model strategy is a bit more complicated than that. In fact, there are 7 common selling models brands may consider. Two of these models are the basic 1P and 3P models we’ve already discussed. 

Other models include the following:

  • 3P Unmanaged: no active management of your brand

  • 2P: Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) model

  • Hybrid: leverages both 1P and 3P strategies

  • 3P Network: you create a network of authorized sellers

  • 3P Partner: you partner with one exclusive ecommerce seller

Pattern Proves the 3P Partner Model Works for Brands

In our experience, the ecommerce executives benefit most from a 3P partner model because it provides the most freedom and marketplace control on Amazon, without having to worry about complex logistics. Pattern executes  a 3P exclusive seller model because it gives our partners  the freedom and control unavailable through a 1P relationship, while also taking on the stock, management, and risks that make 3P selling intimidating.

With Pattern as your authorized wholesale partner, we buy your stock and resell the products on Amazon as an authorized seller. Once we buy your product, we’re responsible for all inventory risk, and help you optimize your content and advertising while maximizing your brand protection and brand global distribution. Our sophisticated inventory forecasting, fulfillment, and logistics systems help us predict and manage your inventory, and our experienced teams handle everything from taxes to customer service.

Unlike a 1P Amazon seller relationship, we’re eager to involve your brand every step of the way, including when it comes to branding, promotion, channel strategy, and new product launches. We respect your brand by following all brand pricing guidelines and committing to never drop below MAP policies.

Interested in increasing your margins by transitioning to a 3P relationship and partnering with Pattern? Get in touch today.

Amazon's Sponsored Product ads
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What Are Amazon’s Advertising Products? Sponsored Product, Brand, & Display Ads

What Are Amazon’s Advertising Products? Sponsored Product, Brand, & Display Ads

Utilizing Amazon sponsored ads can be a smart way for a brand to drive greater traffic to a product listing and start increasing sales. While many brands still struggle to manage their advertising strategies, 30% of Amazon brand sellers increased their advertising budgets in 2022. As ecommerce executives (or even on the nose with VPs of ecommerce?)  approve their 2023 advertising budgets, it may be worth it to take a look at Amazon’s advertising products and the benefit they may have on increasing conversions. 

​​Pattern is the premier ecommerce accelerator with all of the expertise, data-driven insights, and technology brands need to gain control on Amazon and maintain their competitive niche. We know the high value of and how to utilize Amazon’s advertising products to drive the most traffic and conversions to benefit and accelerate your brand.

Here are Amazon’s three main advertising products you should know about in order to drive listing traffic to your products and increase conversions: 

For a brand executive who is selling their product on Amazon, you may not already know the differences between campaign type, so we will walk you through the differences and uses for each of these three ad campaigns.

Sponsored Product Ads

Sponsored Products are a mid-funnel advertising strategy that gives visibility to products above the top organic listings (see example below). This strategy uses custom keywords to get products in front of the consumers who are searching for them, however it can be used to capture new audiences as well.These cost-per-click (CPC) ads require no additional copy or images, but usually receive the most interaction of the campaigns and need to be monitored closely.

As you can see, these ads look just like an organic listing, however they say, “Sponsored,” on them. These types of ads can be especially effective forms of advertising because they tend to blend in with the organic results around them. With Sponsored Products, you can get your products in front of qualified customers who are searching for your product in such a way that doesn’t make them feel like they are being served an advertisement.

Sponsored Brand Ads

Sponsored Brand Ads are a top-of-funnel brand awareness tool and function on keywords. This ad format helps show a customer what they may be in need of and where to get it.  Commonly used to promote product lines or best sellers, a Sponsored Brand ad shows up as a banner above the search results (see example below). This type of ad requires that the brand showcase at least three separate products.

Unlike other campaigns used on the Amazon platform, Sponsored Brand ads require ad copy and a unique logo. These ads also can take customers to a custom landing page, or a page on the brand store, that way they get a clear and overall picture about who your brand is, what other products you sell, and why they can trust your brand

Sponsored Display Ads

Sponsored Display ads can be a tactic for top, middle, or bottom of the advertising funnel due to its varying targeting abilities. Although most commonly found under the bullet points of a detail page, these ads can also show in emails, newsletters, and even more locations off platform.

Unlike the previous ad campaigns discussed, sponsored display ads can target shopping behaviors, like repeat purchasers, similar product purchasers, and even people who viewed the detail page but did not buy. Sponsored Display ads help customers discover your brand, drive awareness, and create loyalty. 

The example above shows just one of the many placements Sponsored Display has.

Accelerate Your Sponsored Products With Pattern 

Rather than competing with each other, each of the three sponsored ad products focus on a different section of the sales funnel, allowing you to target your customers and hit your sales numbers, all while edging out possible competitors. When brands use these advertising campaigns, they can better optimize their ad budget to improve ROAS and build revenue. 

At Pattern, we have all the resources to help your brand build successful advertising and digital marketing campaigns on Amazon so you can increase traffic and conversions, which will in turn increase your revenue

How Pricing Changes on Walmart.com Affect Your Brand
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How Pricing Changes on Walmart.com Affect Your Brand

Walmart.com has announced important changes regarding the “Was Price” and promotions on the digital marketplace. These updates make it more important than ever to optimize your price through implementing proper strategies, controlling your distribution channels, and being intentional about your pricing strategy.

And, as with all digital marketplaces, succeeding on Walmart.com requires performing well in all areas of The Ecommerce Equation. Which means as you optimize your listings’ pricing, as well as traffic, conversions, and availability, your revenue increases.

Pattern has the resources ecommerce brands need to optimize on marketplaces for each factor in the ecommerce equation. We have the technology and strategists to help you improve your traffic, the brand dedication and passion to help you achieve greater conversions, connections to econtrol specialists who help brands regain marketplace control, and the data you need to be able to make smart forecasting decisions for better product availability.

Below, we’ll cover how Walmart.com’s recent platform changes impact ecommerce brands’ ability to drive traffic and conversions for their products and how to strategize around them to work best in your brand’s favor. But first, let’s go over the changes themselves.

Walmart.com’s “Was Price” and Promotional Changes

Walmart.com’s newest changes reflect their mission to be the leader in low, everyday pricing. Therefore, Walmart’s customers come to the platform and expect low prices no matter what. Overall, these updates give consumers more visibility into the value they’re experiencing and hold brands more accountable in the pricing information they display.

Promotional Policy Changes

  • Due to Walmart’s updates, in order for your products to qualify for a strikethrough and show “Reduced Price” or “Clearance” flags on Walmart.com, your product’s promotion must be at least 10% off the “Was Price.” (Note: “Reduced Price” is the most common type of badging. Your teams can request this badge when filling out promotion upload files.) 

  • To specifically qualify for “Clearance,” the product needs to be discontinued and no longer replenished after selling through the remaining inventory.

  • Although “Rollback” is sometimes seen on site, it is a form of 1P-only badging.

  • Walmart now prohibits promotions lasting longer than 365 days.

“Was Price” Changes

  • Walmart’s “Was Price” was previously loosely defined and manually inputted on Walmart.com as an MSRP. Now, stricter rules are in place with regulations in the broader market to encourage enforcement and protect consumers. 

  • The “Was Price” is now defined by these terms on Walmart:

    • Either the 90-day median price paid by customers for the item on Walmart.com (excluding special promotions like holiday campaigns, limited time deals, rollbacks, and clearance);

    • Or the median price offered by Walmart or Marketplace sellers for the item on Walmart.com for at least 28 out of the last 90 days (excluding special promotions like holiday campaigns, limited time deals, rollbacks, and clearance).

How to Strategize for Success

1. Plan for Promotions Well in Advance

To protect your “Was Price” from price erosion, be intentional when planning promotions. To be most effective in your promotion, you’ll want to be able to give your customers a large enough discount to qualify for the slash-through and reduced price badging. 

Without the right pricing strategy in place, your products are in danger of falling into deeper and deeper discounting as you chase the ability to achieve slash-throughs and proper badging. Without the slash-throughs and badging, you’ll lose the ability to easily communicate the increased value of your product and the traffic and conversions you’re trying to earn by running the promotion in the first place. 

2. Keep Pricing Consistent

It’s important to keep your products’ prices as steady as possible to protect your promotion periods. As you prevent high-low price fluctuations, you’ll be able to use slash-through prices and promotional badges like “Reduced Price” and “Clearance” to your advantage in driving better traffic and conversions for your listings.

Without the ability to display badging, a promotion falls flat even if the price has been dropped. With steady pricing over time, you’ll be able to keep a stable “Was Price” and ultimately enjoy more rewarding promotional periods long-term.

3. Establish Excellent Brand Control

It’s important to remember that the “Was Price” policy also applies to 1P and other 3P sellers representing your products on Walmart.com. Unfortunately, your other strategies will be ineffective if other sellers are breaking your MAP policy or playing the high-low price game. So, it’s more important than ever for brands to be conscious of their distribution channels and keep rogue and unauthorized sellers in check.

Find Marketplace Confidence with Pattern

By allowing Pattern to be the authorized seller of your brand’s products and working with Vorys eControl law firm to eliminate rogue sellers, you can be confident in creating and executing a powerful  selling strategy on Walmart.com and other digital marketplaces. As a 3P seller partner, Pattern is truly invested in our partners’ success, we’ll help you to create and execute a strategy that truly prioritizes the long-term performance of your products on digital marketplaces.

Contact us today to learn more about the changes on Walmart.com and how you can optimize your performance.