#ecomchat – Content for Ecommerce – October 15th 2012

October 21, 2012

#ecomchat is a weekly hour-long session on Twitter where anyone & everyone is welcome to chat about ecommerce. (more details on the ‘what’s this about?‘ page)

Here is the log of the session on ‘Content for Ecommerce’, from October 15th 2012. There are 100+ tweets here that we’ve tried to put into some sort of order.

Do drop in any Monday, on Twitter, at 5.30pm UK (12.30 Eastern US).

#ecomchat – 2012 – October 15

Here’s the storify of the first #ecomchat. Join in each Monday at 5.30pm UK time, 12.30 Eastern US.

Storified by dan barker · Sun, Oct 21 2012 15:58:50

Ok – who’s around for #ecomchat ? We’ll get going in a couple of minutes. #ecommercedan barker
We will ask 5 questions as loose topic starters using ‘Q1’ (etc), all with the hashtag #ecomchat .dan barker
Anyone feel free to chip in with ‘A1. (your answer)’ including the #ecomchat hashtag so that anyone/everyone can follow the streamdan barker
#ecomchat is open for business! Welcome to the first session on ‘content for e-commerce’ – @danbarker care to kick off with a question?James Gurd
Ok – let’s get started with Question 1 – do answer/chip in. Follow on #ecomchat, and @JamesGurd & I will RT/nudge as best we can.dan barker
Hi everyone, just joined in. #ecomchatHelenMoore
@JamesGurd @danbarker — I’m listening #ecomchatColin McFarland
Hi all – Adam here – arriving a little late to this first ever #ecomchatWeb Managers Group
@danbarker I think content needs to be more focused on outlining a proposition for the user #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@danbarker I also think that ecom content needs to be targeted to users at different stages of the buying process, where possible. #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@paulnrogers interesting point – so do you mean solution orientated, or problem solving, or both and more? #ecomchatJames Gurd
@JamesGurd I think it needs to be more focused on the solution and the issues that a given problem solves. #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@paulnrogers Also, content on ecom quite often needs to be technical. Many websites hide the tech stuff behind soft summaries #ecomchatIan Miller
#EcomChat A1. Everything up to and including Product Descriptions – Dont just copy the manufacturer!Russell McAthy
.@therustybear good answer. I guess #ecommerce always has a natural set of ‘core’ content around product itself. #ecomchatdan barker
@therustybear do you include alt tags on images as content? Or is content more about information and signposting? #ecomchatJames Gurd
@danbarker there are deffo differences between product desc. info blogs. email content. info pages. sizes and specs etc #EcomChat #ecommerceswifty7
My view is content is information that helps customers to make decisions and/or provides them with something interesting/relevant #ecomchatJames Gurd
@JamesGurd #ecomchat theres product, editorial, informational & user gen. Diff sites have varying amounts of each depending on audience.Cranberry Panda
A1. Content should also set the ‘tone of voice’ of the product #ecomchatHelenMoore
@helenmoore yes I agree – tone of voice, personality, brand values etc are all important considerations for content #ecomchatJames Gurd
@danbarker – a1) A1: Always have an end goal for your user. What should they ‘feel’ first then do after reading every paragraph. #EcomChatAlex Blaney
I guess a good extension of this question is what is the purpose of content in your opinion? #ecomchatJames Gurd
@JamesGurd — persuasive content is the focus, includes copy, video, rich media. #ecomchatColin McFarland
@JamesGurd I think that the purpose of content on ecommerce sites is to add value and outline the benefits to the user #ecomchatPaul Rogers
RT @hitono: A1: Always have an end goal for your user. What should they ‘feel’ first then do after reading every paragraph. #EcomChatJames Gurd
@JamesGurd I think the value is in the specific benefits to the user, often this has to be related to common issues #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@paulnrogers sounds logical, so how do you define value? how would you tie that down to something tangible? #ecomchatJames Gurd
@JamesGurd I think researching and understanding your demographic is a huge part of ecommerce content #ecomchatPaul Rogers
Very true RT @dannydenhard #EcomChat Content has to be targeted,compelling,unique,dedicated – content has many purposes its HOW it is usedCaliber i
@danbarker A1: For me, the battle is between Product related content and Solution/Value proposition content. #ecomchatMichael Hann
@danbarker blogs can be fantastic if they are written well – so much out there, but interesting and funny stuff will get read #ecomchatHelenMoore
#EcomChat Q1 – most useful "content" is contextual brand voice presented around product. it’s how people start relationships with items.Ruben Lightfoot
A1 Purpose of content is help people go through the buying cycle. Match content to specific stages and users needs. #ecomchatPritesh Patel
@priteshpatel9 so would you define content that aims to keep people in touch as part of the buying cycle, even if not direct? #ecomchatJames Gurd
One nice angle to content in relation to selling is to think about educating the customer or prospective customer. #ecomchatWeb Managers Group
Content for entertainment must capture something of the brand’s values. Eg Red Bull’s ‘space jump’ yesterday. #ecomchatWeb Managers Group
At @BRANDiD we use content as a means to engage users with our brand. not necessrly to sell them a specific products #ecomchatankush
@JamesGurd #EcomChat A1: alt_tags are to image content what H1’s are to text based contentRussell McAthy
@therustybear I agree, including (especially) off-site content such as ad copy, vids, banners. Ecom all too often disjointed – A1 #ecomchatIan Miller
@millerian #EcomChat A1: its about a joined up Customer Experiance, Content can be offsite too – give them the same no matter where or howRussell McAthy
@HelenMoore Agreed. #ecomchatankush
@4nkush engagement is all important and good content will help with that enormously #ecomchatHelenMoore
@HelenMoore the difficult part is converting engagement into £ #ecomchatankush
@danbarker – That’s about consistency of thought leadership as it builds trust. Meaningful conversion/response will follow later. #ecomchatAlex Blaney
#ecomchat Q1 Ecom content can be many different things with different purposes > call to action, informational, show expertise, build trust.Nick Walker
Ok so let’s move on to the next question which is "Do you think of ‘content’ as a separate thing?" #ecomchatJames Gurd
By that we mean should it be managed separately or as part of other projects & processes? #ecomchatJames Gurd
@JamesGurd – yep. Not everyone is ready to buy now – lag could be 2-4 weeks (e.g next pay day). How do you keep at the forefront? #ecomchatPritesh Patel
@JamesGurd No, I think that content is part of building and maintaining an ecommerce site – just like design #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@hitono @danbarker can’t *expect* conv to follow. need to provide innovative means move through the funnel. Content is the start #ecomchatankush
Is this a good definition of content: something that can be interacted with, whether reading, viewing, listening, clicking etc #ecomchatJames Gurd
A2 – a lot of people will say ‘integrated’ but probably don’t coz content is bloody hard work. #ecomchatPritesh Patel
RT @priteshpatel9: A2 – a lot of people will say integrated but probably dont coz content is bloody hard work. #ecomchatWeb Managers Group
This. RT @paulnrogers @JamesGurd No, I think that content is part of building & maintaining an ecommerce site – just like design #ecomchatankush
@paulnrogers Yes I agree. However, some people look at content as a separate project to be initiated, not integrated. #ecomchatJames Gurd
I’m with @paulnrogers – content is an integral part of e-commerce planning and the user journey – can’t be thought of separately #ecomchatJames Gurd
‘Content’ is not one thing, so it’s likely that many individuals, teams, projects, programmes, etc, will be involved. #ecomchatWeb Managers Group
Nothing in any business should ever be ‘separate’, so it’s just a case of creating the right strategy, structures and processes. #ecomchatWeb Managers Group
#EcomChat A2: Content needs to be monitored – not managed, Tailored not Limited, Transcending not Silo’dRussell McAthy
@therustybear have you got your thesaurus with you again mate? #ecomchatJames Gurd
#ecomchat A2. My take: fine to manage content as part of projects & processes, but try to plan, measure & optimise across the whole too.dan barker
RT @danbarker: fine to manage content as part of projects & processes, but try to plan, measure & optimise across the whole too. #ecomchatWeb Managers Group
Doing 3D/real life shopping whilst trying to keep up with #EcomChatTracy Hildreth
#ecomchat A2 There has to be a reason for any content to exist, but the most compelling content can come when given freedom to be creativeNick Walker
@walkerama Yes good point – provided that freedom is related back to a purpose and goals – otherwise content for content’s sake #ecomchatJames Gurd
#ecomchat – would love to stick around but I’ve got a cheese and potato pie to consume. Enjoy all.Pritesh Patel
Content is important, and need to blend with whole experience, it should be the focus of a dedicated team & seamless to journey #ecomchatCrisp interactive
@JamesGurd I also think content needs to be tested the same as design – especially given the resources available to be these days #ecomchatPaul Rogers
@RichardJohn @paulnrogers @JamesGurd Sure, its the side of an ecom site that replicates a salesperson in real life: personality #ecomchatankush
#ecomchat is there anything that isn’t content?Richard Fergie
@RichardFergie #ecomchat Infrastructure? Inventory?Dan Coleman
RT @DanielMColeman: @RichardFergie #ecomchat Infrastructure? Inventory? << yep agreedRichard Fergie
Pricing, ‘design’, service and functionality? RT @RichardFergie: is there anything that isnt content? #ecomchatWeb Managers Group
A2 Content needs to be treated the same as any part of the ecom experience – design, build, test, measure, iterate. #ecomchatankush
@dergal but isn’t that part of an overall plan with clear goals – you can’t produce good content if you don’t know what it’s for #ecomchatJames Gurd
@danbarker going to have to dive out of #ecomchat, thanks to you and @jamesgurd for organising.Ian Miller
Really enjoying #ecomchat – great work from @danbarker and @JamesGurd!! :)Paul Rogers
Lurking in #ecomchat because my access is so slow that I can’t join in. Sorry.Tim Leighton-Boyce
30 mins into #ecomchat already. Some v good answers. We’ll try and write all up afterward & gather ideas for next time.dan barker
Let’s move on to question 3. #ecomchatdan barker
#EcomChat Q3. ‘Content Marketing’ has become a hot topic. Should #ecommerce change anything in the way we use content for marketing?dan barker
@danbarker A3 I think the fundamentals remain the same, however integrating rich media and making content ‘shareable’ is important #ecomchatPaul Rogers
A3) How about a clear definition of what people mean by content marketing? Is it off site only, and on site is merchandising? #ecomchatJames Gurd
v good blogpost from @justinrbriggs on using content for retargetting #ecomchat https://justinbriggs.org/content-based-retargeting-strategyankush
One way to think about ‘content marketing’ is that content is another product a brand can give to its customers and prospects… #ecomchatWeb Managers Group
…in return the brand may want (hope for) data, sharing, awareness, improved SEO, improved reputation… #ecomchatWeb Managers Group
@webmgrs that would encourage a focus on quality and value, not just mass production. And content marketing has a cost. #ecomchatJames Gurd
#ecomchat A3: For retailers selling widely available commoditised products, good content can be the value add/differentiatorNick Walker
#ecomchat A3. nice tactical tip from @4nkush: use content to find your audience; retargeting to help convert.dan barker
@danbarker @4nkush I think retargeting to product level can make a big difference! #ecomchatPaul Rogers
Going on to Q4) Editorial calendars, audience research, analytics etc – Which techniques should people use to manage content? #ecomchatJames Gurd
@JamesGurd I think split testing is really important! #EcomChatPaul Rogers
A4) For retail, aligning content with the trading plan is important, with the freedom to innovate around that (tactical targets) #ecomchatJames Gurd
A4. I think people often underestimate product pages. Content improvements there often have bigger effects than elsewhere. #ecomchatdan barker
@danbarker I also like the use of VoC to identify useful content – need to validate and rationalise response but good insight #ecomchatJames Gurd
@JamesGurd I think seasonal content is important is especially around reassurance for peak times. #EcomChatPaul Rogers
@paulnrogers yes agreed – tactical content supports the overall content approach but has shorter shelf life #ecomchatJames Gurd
A4. Analysing other sites’ content another very useful technique. Tools like Crawlytics make it really easy too. #ecomchatdan barker
First it’s vital to find the people who have the skills to create content that will achieve results for your org/company. #ecomchatWeb Managers Group
A4. Again – good content is shareable -> acq. Measuring ‘social’ impact of content can help you produce more good stuff, less shit #ecomchatankush
Some good answers to Q4, lots around measurement, so let’s move on to the last Q. If you haven’t chipped in, please do 🙂 #ecomchatdan barker
#EcomChat Q5: Measuring Content: What should people measure to allow them to improve? If you could measure only 2 things what would they be?dan barker
aight gotta run. enjoyed that. well done guys @danbarker @JamesGurd #ecomchatankush
RT @robwatts A5. goal attainment and source #ecomchatdan barker
A5) Number of visitors who come to site via content as 1st click who go on to make a purchase + by content format #ecomchatJames Gurd
I think it’s important to know what type of content works for each customer type, learn to optimise content targeting #ecomchatJames Gurd
Going to have to run and leave you in @danbarker capable hands to wrap up – thanks all for taking part and bringing #ecomchat to lifeJames Gurd
Ok – we’ve done an hour on #ecomchat so best wrap up. Thanks a lot for everyone’s contributions.dan barker
Next #ecomchat will be next Monday 5.30pm UK time, 12.30pm EDT. Any/all feedback welcome, along with suggestions for main topic.dan barker
(negative feedback/criticism/particular suggestions all very welcome. Thanks for chipping in & have a great night! #ecomchat)dan barker
@JamesGurd @danbarker missed it! #ecomchatGaz Copeland
Just been reading through the #ecomchat tag. Some interesting thoughts will get involved next week cc @danbarkerDaniel Bianchini

Thanks to the following people for joining in or speaking about it before / after:

@3dcart, @4nkush, @ayaan_mohamud, @caliberi, @crispinteract, @danielmcoleman, @dannydenhard, @dergal, @futuretracy, @helenmoore, @jamesgurd, @kevin_galway, @lisasanner, @mcfrl, @pjwilkinson, @pxl8it_pro, @richardfergie, @sarahtheodorou, @stokedseo, @armyangus, @brandbillie, @cranberrypanda, @danbarker, @danielbianchini, @esellermedia, @from_user, @gcharlton, @greenwellys, @hitono, @millerian, @paulnrogers, @priteshpatel9, @robeasson, @rocamike, @rubenlightfoot, @swifty7, @teminamoledina, @therustybear, @timlb, @walkerama, @webmgrs

Do join us next Monday, 5.30pm UK (12.30 Eastern US) on #ecomchat

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