For many store owners and other online sellers, the thought of creating content for their WooCommerce site can send a shudder down their spine, or is at the least something that lingers on their to-do list.
It’s understandable. Their focus on their products, and rightly so: on the mechanics of their site, on making the sales conversions. But although content plays a huge role in your products alone, it actually goes beyond that. It is one of the major players in your marketing and sales.
But where the heck do you start? What do you do now?
This post aims to get you started with a new site or get moving again with an existing site. To get into the fine details would require more than a single post, so I would like to give youth big picture: a way to wrap your brain around your content strategy— and resources to help you along the way.
Discover Your Content’s Focus
You sell certain products or services. I assume that is your focus. If you sell cosmetics, you talk about cosmetics. You have a firehose of information that you can share with customers and audience. Typically, this includes the answer to the question, what’s in it for them, the benefits.
Although you will have your large focused determined, as you move into your strategy deeper, you need to base it also on three factors:
- Are you a large known brand?
- Do you have a unique product?
- Or are you selling what everyone else is selling.
Each one of these will determine the direction you go with your focus. For example, if you are selling the same products as everyone else, you have much more competition. As a result, you will need to focus more on your UPS (unique selling proposition) vs. the actual products.
The Deeper Focus
It’s a crazy content world out there. All the mediums that are available to share it with new and existing customers. But before you choose those mediums, you need to revisit your focus.
Y0ur product is going to drive a substantial amount of this focus. Some products are just crying for how-to or instructional information. Others, not so much. Let’s look at a few ways to narrow that focus down.
Obviously this works better in some mediums than others. It gives you the chance to bring out the major features that your product has. And depending on the medium, it allows you to offer a 360-degree visualization of your product.
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Instructional content will never fail you. Think of how many times you have gone to YouTube to figure out how to do something. But, at the same time, does this work for your product? There is a fine line between helping someone put together or use something when it’s a bit more challenging and glossing over those challenges, making it seem too easy.
Customer reviews are the lifeline of your store. Of all the information you offer your visitors, they will likely be interested in what others are saying about you. So why not use this in other ways? Customer reviews can be turned into customer stories.
Since the days of the cavemen and their drawings on the walls, storytelling has been one of the best ways to communicate. Creating narratives around your products puts a different light on what you offer. Getting creative and turning what might have been viewed as an ad into a short film can go a long way.
Multi-Media and Your Online Store
With the four areas I shared regarding the focus on your content, there are many ways to create this content and present it to your customers. Finding what works best for your audience and for your product takes careful planning. And although it means more work, the more forms of media you can add to your content, the more accessible your site will be.
Text – No matter how much video and audio are growing, never neglect the power of the written word. Text is still the foundation of your WooCommerce product pages and you expand to other media from there. And although other mediums are exploding, the ability to scan text is still a benefit it has over all the others.
Photos – What would an online store be without photos? And the quality of those photos can make or break a sale. Using images is a standard with any online store and there is not wiggle room there. One of the most important requirements of photos for online stores is to offer enough angles of each product so that nothing is left to the customer’s imagination.
Video – Where do I start? Video has been growing over the last few years and it’s predicted that this growth won’t be stopping anytime soon. Every area that I shared for your focus is ripe for video. And though there are things to consider when you are using video for your product, you cannot go wrong if you do it right.
Audio – Podcasting has also grown over the last few years. And the traditional audio- only approach has to be seriously considered, how that would work with the type of products or services you sell.
More Mediums to Consider
With predictions of what we will see emerging into the eCommerce space, WooCommerce store owners need to keep open minds about how they can use them in their content strategy.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Though most consumers are using online shopping more, the immersion in the shopping experience a physical store provides is still missing. It’s taken a while to creep into the mainstream, but this will become a powerful force as time goes on.
Chatbots are amazingly helpful with support for your online store. But the crossover from support to sharing your content via conversations with your customers will grow as more store owners start finding creative ways to implement chatbots on their WooCommerce sites.
Beyond Your WooCommerce Store Content
When creating your content strategy, the other element that plays into the bigger picture is social media and the various platforms to extend and share your content. As with the previous options for your site, this is a huge piece of your content strategy.
Without going too in-depth, here are a few things to consider.
Find that Sweet Spot
Not all sharing platforms are created equal and you need to find where your audience is active. For example, I have heard from many shop owners that Twitter works best for PR and customer support. Whereas Facebook might work better when sharing your content: stories, posts, etc. Test to discover what works for you.
Ads in Disguise
There are obvious platforms that are powerful for sharing video, such as YouTube. The key is not only the platform itself, but what drives it. Take YouTube. It’s a mix of everything in the world. But when you look at LinkedIn, posts on new innovations and products are more abundant and directed at an audience with a different perspective than say, Facebook.
These videos are really ads for your products, but the way they are presented makes them interesting, fascinating and unique. I would suggest you watch some of these on LinkedIn to get a good idea of what is pulling in the views.
The Power of Visualizations
Although video is growing, images can be eye candy for a prospective customer. Instagram has shown how many companies are using the platform for building their product’s brands. And although we are becoming more skeptical of influencers, they are still working constantly to attract the eyes of consumers.
Social Isn’t the Means to the End Beyond Your WooCommerce Store
Of course social platforms are not the only options you have.
- Building partnerships with other brands and influences gives you the potential for a huge reach.
- Guest posting and sponsored content, if done right, helps you reach different customers and helps with you with linkbacks.
- Texting, although not a new tech, can help you bring content to your customers in a technology that almost everyone uses.
The key here is to dig deep into the opportunities out there and find unique and creative ways to extend your content reach.
As you develop this focus on content, it’s important to understand what you need to create, what medium or format works best and where to reach out beyond your WooCommerce store.
More on social media and multi-media on your WooCommerce store.
Blogging Without Blogging on Your WooCommerce Store
With any content strategy on your WooCommerce site, your thoughts will turn to blogging.
The fact is, Woocommerce runs on WordPress. In the past, the word blog came to mind when WordPress was mentioned. It still does.
We think of blogging: scheduling a blog, scheduling posts, writing and more writing. We end up having this fear of blogging.
The strength in WordPress still lies in fresh content. And that is what blog posts adhere to . But you can use this power without blogging. It’s just a matter of using it in a way that works for you. Posts can be a mix of media and content.
Selling organic food on your WooCommerce site? Share recipes via your blog.
Selling outdoor equipment? Post video testimonials of customers out in the wild using your products.
You see where I’m going here? There are a ton of ways you can use the power of blogging on your WooCommerce store without feeling like you have to blog.
More to read about blogging on your online store:
- Does Your WooCommerce Online Store Really Need a Blog?
- 6 Tips to Help You With Blogging on Your Online Store
- WooCommerce Store Owners: 5 Ways to Use Your Blog without ‘Blogging’
- How Often Should You Blog On Your Online Store?
- Confronting Fear: Online Store Bloggers and the Elephant in the Room
- Tips for Marketing Your Brick-and-Mortar Store Blog
Managing Your WooCommerce Online Store Content
As you create your strategy, the other element you want to have in place is how are you going to manage the creation of this content, let alone the content itself.
Whether you are a solo store owner or have a team of employees or outsourced individuals to help you, you need a system in place. There are going to be several tasks along the way that you will need to have organized no matter how many people are involved. Some of these will be outside the scope of your WordPress site, while others will be within your dashboard, or easily integrated into your WooCommerce store.
Editorial Calendars and Content Management
An editorial calendar gives you a way to schedule and visually conceptualize the content that needs to be done, what is being worked on, and what has been published. Whether you are working solo or with a team, they are invaluable. There are a lot of options for WordPress out there, but because of the additional tools it offers, I personally recommend Publish Press. We have a post that goes over all of the features, but I would like to highlight four of them here..
PublishPress Editorial Calendar
The calendar gives you a birds-eye view of it all. Each post has options for editing, etc. and you can easily drag-and-drop any post to another date. In addition, there are plenty of filters to choose from for viewing your calendar.
This feature allows you to assign a post to any standard or custom status before it is published. For teams this is great because you can pass it to certain individuals for adding more content, editing, or signing off. As an individual running the store, this can help you remember you which posts are at what stage.
For example, I have a status called Add audio/podcast. I often get the posts all ready before my audio is finalized, so it helps me to remember to upload the file as a last step before I schedule to publish. You could consider having a status on your store that reminds you, or someone else to add a video to your product page.
PublishPress Notification Workflows
Working with the statuses, notifications can be configured to email the right person as the right time. Again, very powerful for a team or even just two people. And to be honest, I use this as a couple different reminders and to let me know when a post was actually published. For example, if a post is changed from any six specific statuses down to one, it will send a custom notification to all the recipients you have chosen.
PublishPress Editorial Comments
On the post pages, there is the option to add editorial content. Again, a huge time saver. Think of all the times you have been in a post and thought of something someone should do. Often you have to make a list and send it off to them. Here you can add it conveniently in the post. You are also able to set up notifications that specific users will be sent an email with the editorial comment.
And as a single user, I will often use these for reminders for myself.
Learn more: Post on PublishPress.
The last feature is a checklist that shows on your post of things to do before publication. And PublishPress has checklists specific for your WooCommerce store, such as number of product categories, number of words in the product description, product images, etc. You can either show an alert if they are fulfilled or you can hide the publish button entirely until they are.
You can also create custom checklist items that need to be toggled done.
Managing Your WooCommerce Product Pages and Media
A WooCommerce store can end up with a lot of product pages and of course, product images. Managing all of those can be a headache if you are using the default listings of products and media library. Again, here is our personal favorite.
Wicked Folders Plugin
The big advantage of using a plugin like this is that it allows you to create folders for your media, posts and pages that help organize you content and find what you need to easier.
Wicked Folders Content Management
Besides your posts and pages, you will be able to organize your product pages, orders and coupons. And, for example, if you are using the Subscriptions extension, you can organize subscriptions.
Wicked Folders Media Management
The ability to organize your media will certainly make your life better. With the plugin, you will see all the media folders you have created in your media library, so you can easily drag and drop media into them. And when uploading any media, you have the opportunity to assign it to any folder.
In addition it has dynamic folders that are instantly created for authors, dates and media extensions.
Lastly, access to all your product folders is available when you visit your Products page.
Video and Audio
On the technical side of things, not only will there be technical aspects behind the creation of each one, but in the management as well. You will likely not be hosting the files on your WordPress site, so you might use a video service like Vimeo or a hosting like Castos for your podcast.
In addition, you might decide to add transcripts to either the videos or podcasts, and they will also need to be organized on your site.
Social Media Sharing
Maintaining Your WooCommerce Online Store Content
Often when it comes to maintaining our WooCommerce sites, we think of backups, updates and other fixes and issues that come up. You depend on tools like BackupBuddy or Vault Press or your hosting solution to keep everything timely backed up. You may use plugins like iThemes Sync to be able to keep everything updated from one central spot.
WooCommerce Store Content Needs Some Care, Too
But with the importance of good content comes maintaining it. Often, this is ignored, overlooked, or put on the back-burner.
Here are a few things to consider as you maintain your content.
Keeping Your Content Updated
This is one of the toughest things to keep up on. When it comes to updating your content, depending on how much you need to update, it may lead into actually repurposing that content.
Make good use of those times you are on a post or product page.
There are numerous times when you or a team member lands on a product page, page or post. Often we are in a hurry to do the one thing that we went there for. But take a few minutes while you are there. Go through the page or post and see if anything sticks out that needs to be changed or updated.
If it’s something you can do then, make an editorial note that it was done.
If you cannot do it, make an editorial note of what needs to be done and whoever is responsible can get the email and add it to their to-do list.
It’s not a foolproof way of catching all of your content that needs to be updated, but it will do a decent job, once you get into the habit of doing it.
Repurposing Your Content
This is one of my favorite subject. It’s something I do and have done over the life of my blog. This is a great way to revive existing content or generate new content for your site and to use across other platforms and media.
Consider all that you can do when repurposing your content:
- Creating more content with your media through written text, videos and audio.
- Getting more out of your videos by finding specific content that can be repurposed to audio.
- Expanding your posts and extracting content from existing posts to build out of and create new content.
- Using social media to find ways to repurpose your content that goes beyond sharing.
- Make use of content that use to be behind a paywall.
Look at all the ways you can repurpose content:
- Online Courses
- Membership Sites
Pay Attention to Your Analytics
You likely have some kind of analytics in place. There are options such as Metorik that not only give you real-time analytics, but also have a ton of tools to help you with conversion. Or perhaps, you are focused on cart abandonment and are using tools like Jilt.
The point is that you are likely watching things on the shop side of your WooCommerce site: sales, conversions, etc. All very important.
But to help you maintain your content strategy, you also need to watch your content. Who is reading what? What posts are high-ranking? Which content is evolving into your cornerstone content?
There are lots of options out there for this, but we prefer to use Google Analytics. It’s something I have used for years.
But you you find diving into your Google Analytics dashboard overwhelming and at times, almost impossible to find what you are looking for, you might want to check out our post on Analytify. It really breaks down the numbers and gives you an easy-to-read Google Analytics dashboard right on your WooCommerce site.
Plus it gives you some cool reports such as what is happening when users come to your site. You can view specific posts and pages, see the number of entrances and exist, and get a percentage comparison of both.
Google Search Console – Webmaster Tools
This shows you the results when Google crawls your site with the Googlebot and discovers new and updated pages that will be added to the Google Index. This gives you information about how Google is interacting with your site.
If you use the plugin Yoast SEO, it has excellent integration with the Search Console. If you want to learn more about it, I would suggest you check out this post on Yoast.
Broken Links and Redirects
There is nothing more irritating than broken links and 404 page not found errors on your site. Often people take it to somewhere like Twitter to let you know when they have found one, and, in the process, letting the world know..
As I mentioned, ‘404 pages not found’ errors are something you want to avoid. It’s not good for your visitors or for your Google ranking. There are ways to keep on top of this.
First, you can use your Google Webmaster Tools to track any 404 errors. You can use a plugin like Redirection to set up any redirects needed.
If you have Yoast SEO Premium, not only can you set up these redirects, but it has a redirect manage that will make your life easier. For example, if you trash a post or page, it will automatically ask you to set up a redirect to a new URL or assign it another redirect. Again, if you want to learn more about this I would check out this post on redirections on Yoast.
Another frustration for both your users and Google. You can get better control by using the free plugin, Broken Link Checker.
Socia Media Sharing
Maintaining your content means keeping an eye on it. Another strategy is to have a social media plan in place for making sure you are keeping your content in front of the right eyes.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, if done right, social sharing can be a great tool for your WooCommerce online store. There are several options out there for successfully scheduling your share, but I highly recommend the plugin Social Web Suites, as we use this ourselves.
Social Web Suites
As I have done previously, I won’t go into the details of the plugin here but will share a link to a post we have on Social Web Suites. But there are two features I’d like to point out.
The thing with automated sharing is that I see most people doing it wrong. They create a post title and share it over and over again. Social Web Suites gives you the option of adding custom shares that it rotate through when scheduled. This way you can pull eyes to certain aspects of the posts that might attract specific readers.
Categories for Sharing
This is one of the features that I love most about this plugin. You can either import existing categories from your WordPress site or create custom categories, which are called stacks. In both cases, you can add these categories to your social schedule.
For example, if you add the category, it will rotate through the posts as they are scheduled on your calendar. And to top it off, it works with your WooCommerce categories and as well as your custom post types.
Mobile and Accessibility
Returning a bit to the tech side of things, your content, no matter how high quality will suffer if you site is not mobile-friendly and accessible. That is a fact we should all know.
There are so many elements to the equation here that I cannot possibly even touch the surface. But we do know for a fact that consumers have been increasingly using mobile over the last few years to do their online shopping.
Think about this. In 2018:
- 79% of customers ordered via mobile
- 40% of Black Friday sales were via mobile
- 10% of all retail sales are eCommerce
- 100 million plus own a tablet
- 230 million Americans own a smartphone
Take the Time to Create a Solid Content Strategy
So there you have it. As you can see, running a WooCommerce store has a lot of working parts. And content is one area that should never be avoided.
These tips will help you as you are growing your store. And if you have an established site, consider having a content audit done and use this post as a guide along the way.
The final words. Digest what you have read, take some time to find your deep focus and then start to put your plan into place. Everyone, even Google, likes good content.