Does the improvement of your product content need to be triaged? Certain habits are hard-wired as solutions, no matter how large or small a business may be: if there’s a problem, we typically feel that the right way is to start at the beginning. When we notice an issue as business owners or service providers (e.g. lagging sales), we want to go back to the roots and pull it up like a weed, working our way from the oldest instance to the newest instance. In many cases, that’s a smart way to proceed – but if there’s only “gas pedal” and no “steering” behind that motivation, you’re just as likely to crash into a telephone pole as you are to make good time down the marketing highway.
In other words, your content strategy is what will ultimately decide how much ground you cover, and how substantial your ROI will be. Here’s how to design and implement an order of operations for product-oriented content improvement – one that works smarter, not harder. Use these tips like a funnel, with each layer helping to filter out bad content:
Get a Firm Idea of Scope
You likely know how many products your company offers, but does every one of your clients or customers have access to the same catalog? Are you planning on dropping or changing any products in the near future? The last thing you want to do is to pour a bunch of effort into an item destined for the circular file, or one that’s positioned as a non-customer-facing add-on. If your customers are unlikely to read or research a given product, you don’t need to prioritize that content over the products they will be considering for purchase.
Once you’ve figured out the amount of useful, active products that need a helping hand, your next step will be determining speed. How many products can your content professional or team improve in a day? Test them – you’ll need this number to understand how long improvements will realistically take. This will also help with as figuring out how much you’re spending – either internally or via freelancers – to bring your content up to date.
Make Sure You’re Getting Traction
Even if you write stellar new content or articles to refresh your content strategy, if it’s not gaining any ground, you’re simply wasting time and effort. View your products on all the sites that carry them, and take special note of where descriptions are “cut off” by a site layout. You can “game” this feature by instructing your content creators to end a sentence below that character limit for maximum shopper coherency, or even to purposefully leave it open-ended to invite exploration.
Either way, your descriptions shouldn’t be cut off mid-word, as it looks unprofessional in an eCommerce setting. Double-check for grammar and spelling while you have your eyes on each product as well: it’s easy to build in continuous improvement behaviors when you’re already combing through your catalog of offerings. Check out how your content appears on various devices, as well: monitors both large and small, laptop screens, tablets, and, of course, mobile phones.
Take Out Outdated References
Marketing moves at the speed of culture, which could honestly give light a run for its money in today’s world. If your clothing description tosses a tongue-in-cheek mention of “the dress“, it might have been fresh and interesting at the time, but it would likely puzzle shoppers today. Even now, a scant year since the meteoric rise and fall of the infamous fidget spinner, a mention of the free-spinning hand toys that spread like wildfire would already make your products seem fad-like and dated.
Even seasonal nods in non-seasonal products can make that item seem old and tired – who wants to buy something that mentions the Easter Bunny when preparation is underway for Thanksgiving? Ideally, your content should be what the content community refers to as evergreen: as suitable for consumption in spring this year as it will be in winter five years from now.
Take Out All Duplicate Content
Even the same bullet points can earn a baleful glance from Google’s indexing algorithms, so make sure all of your products, even very similar items, all have their own original content. If you hit a writer’s block and don’t typically use freelancers, consider putting in a small order and ask for ten different variations on the same concept. You can cycle these into your updating process to keep your products sounding fresh and unique, all without feel like you’re pulling teeth to come up with new ways of saying the same thing.
These are the building blocks to getting your content ready for “prime time” out in the competitive marketplace. While these filters are only a facet of content management, they’re vital: even the best-sounding new products can’t erase the legacy of the poorly-written older products that are still active beside them. Whether you want to rebrand entirely or just freshen up your catalog, staying smart about your order of operations will help your ROI look as great as your new content.
Delany M is a well-rounded freelancer with an emphasis in product descriptions, landing pages and articles. With over a decade of experience to her credit, she has enjoyed writing for national chain retailers, small e-commerce boutiques and a wide range of service providers. She prides herself in going “beyond the word” to capture the essence of a brand or company, ensuring copy that is as noteworthy as the goods and services her clients provide.