Originally published on Marketing Donut
Commerce content arrived just in time for the publishing industry. As dollars from conventional ads, subscription services, and paywalls dried up, commerce content appeared as a customer-friendly and sustainable path to revenue.
Early in the pandemic, customers relied on trusted publisher recommendations to evaluate and purchase items online that they hadn’t searched before. Today, readers are far more likely to engage and trust publisher recommendations than traditional ads.
Commerce content enables publishers to build trust and maintain editorial integrity—especially if they partner with brands and products their audiences love.
But once you get the basics down and have a few listicles or buying guides under your belt, what’s next? Where can publishers find new growth and opportunities beyond affiliate links? New opportunities are out there, and formats such as branded content are already significant revenue drivers, so it’s a great time for publishers to evolve.
Here are four strategies to scale, differentiate, and diversify your commerce content program and revenue.
1. Use data to forge more lucrative partnerships
Find out what’s working, and do more of it. Look at clicks, conversion rates, earnings per click (EPC), and gross commissions to assess which partners, merchants, and product-specific links resonate with your audiences and drive the most bottom-line revenue.
Do certain brands or merchants yield more conversions for you than others? That’s where you should focus your relationship-building energy to establish more strategic partnerships. Look for opportunities to garner higher commissions, gain exclusive access to new products, or explore branded and sponsored content collaborations.
2. Get more from your content
Making commerce content part of a larger digital marketing strategy will build brand awareness, increase traffic, and drive more conversions for partners.
Start by maximizing exposure via social media, pay-per-click (PPC), email marketing, then consider strategies like syndication. Syndicating your commerce content to larger websites or those with a kindred audience is an efficient way to expand brand awareness, bring new traffic to your site, and generate clicks. Plus, it doesn’t have to cost a thing.
Remember to follow transparency best practices to identify syndicated content to readers and ensure search engines don’t penalize you for duplicated content.
3. Use search engine optimization (SEO) to your advantage
If you’re creating quality commerce content, you have a lot on your plate to uphold editorial standards, manage partnership nuts and bolts, and keep brand partners happy. But don’t forget about good-old SEO to ensure audiences can find your great work.
For example, if you noticed that your last post on “best eye creams” generated traffic and conversions, start there to identify opportunities to double down and expand for SEO. Riff on your success with articles such as “best eye creams for sensitive skin.”
You can also ask other publishers to backlink to your popular pages to improve SEO and be sure your internal pages point to those pages with the keywords you’re targeting. Incorporate keywords into image alt text, headers, and SEO URLs. Even evergreen content can help with SEO, such as URLs you can reuse year after year.
It also pays to gather competitive intelligence on keywords rival sites use. If you discover keyword gaps, add them in your copy or PPC. You may not be able to compete with Amazon on much, but with a bit of research, you can find niche opportunities to rank high in organic or paid searches and bring relevant visitors to your content.
4. Write with the seasons
Seasonal commerce content pieces tend to do very well. They capture attention and enhance audience trust by bringing value to gift buyers and party planners looking for fresh ideas and trends.
Plus, you can repurpose successful content every year by updating it with new products, merchants, and links. Select an SEO URL that you can reuse so it will continue to rank for years (i.e., no dates).
Timing is key. Plan to publish early enough to compete with front runners and build search equity, but not so early that your content is old news by Black Friday. Creating a holiday content calendar will help you plan in advance.
Now, measure. Weekly.
As you put these new strategies into practice, be sure to benchmark and measure week-over-week performance to assess the impact of your efforts. At a minimum, look at the following metrics:
- Site traffic
- Organic reach
- Unique visitors
- Conversion rate
- Average order value
- Gross commission
Keeping an eye on key performance metrics will help you scale your commerce content program effectively.
Expand your commerce content horizons
Commerce content offers many opportunities to publishers, their e-commerce partners, and consumers searching for sound advice and fresh ideas. Done right, it builds trust and creates value in a way advertising never could.
Use your data, optimize your footprint, and pay attention to what your audiences want and need, and you’ll see the revenue and rewards of commerce content partnerships flourish for your business.
Learn more about how the impact.com for Publishers suite can help you enhance your commerce content program.