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by Michael P. Hill May 04, 2017

Using topical content related to your store’s offerings, industry and passion has so many advantages ranging from boosting shopper confidence plus bolstering your SEO and social media efforts, but how do you make sure your Shopify content marketing investment is worth it?

One long term strategy is to create a “centerpiece” of your content marketing and then use components of that to fuel your marketing, SEO and social media efforts for weeks, months or even longer.

In the past, this type of content might have been labeled as a “whitepaper” or "eBook" — but that term doesn’t do the best job of illustrating some key characteristics of a content centerpiece:

  • The content should be informative and useful
  • The content should connect to its users in a personal way
  • The content should be multifaceted and layered

In general, the “centerpiece” content should be a broad overview on a topic that prospective and existing customers would be interested in reading more about.

Common formats include:

  • Buying guides: Give users practical advice on what to look for when shopping for products similar to the ones you offer. This is especially effective if you sell highly specialized items that people may want to research significantly before making a purchase. To ensure the guide is useful and well received, don’t focus too much on your own product lines, instead look for ways to strategically highlight unique features or selling points you offer that competitors don’t.
    • Examples: An electronics case store, such as our Parallax Madrid Shopify theme demo, could offer a “Why protecting your favorite electronics is important” or a high end audio store (such as the demo for our Shopify theme Seoul), could write “Why quality audio equipment is a must for any audiophile.”

  • How to and planning guides: Another great option for a topic is to provide a broad overview of how a store’s products, or an industry as a whole, can be used in practical, real life situations that customers can relate to.

  • Case studies, lookbooks or examples: Showcasing how your products and industry provide specific results can be another great content centerpiece to invest in.

  • Human interest profiles: Connecting your products with real life stories is always an incredibly reliable way to not only put a personal face on your business, but also illustrate, with practical examples, the value of your products.

When considering what topic to center your main content piece around, be sure to consider these factors:

  • The topic should be broad enough to allow for multiple “subcategories” of content that can stand “on their own” or as part of the overall guide.
  • You’ll likely want to ensure that your content, or at least parts of your content piece, will appeal to a wide variety of levels with varying degrees of familiarity with your product line or industry.
  • Ensure that the topic you select can be covered without overly focusing on your own company and products. While this might seem a bit counterintuitive, it’s important to remember that quality content marketing can’t come across as being overly promotional or “sales-y.”

Another good way to brainstorm ideas is to imagine yourself in the position of a prospective customer of your store and consider these questions:

  • What questions do I have about this company? Consider this as an opportunity to introduce customers to your company and how it fits into your industry as both a leader and expert.
  • What questions do I have about these products? Content pieces can be a great way to go more in-depth that even a long product description can do.
  • What might stop me from buying these products? Try to anticipate any objections customers may have and address these in your content piece.
  • What would confuse me about these products or store? Centerpiece content is also a great way to explain, in more depth, what your products and industry are all about.
  • How would I use the products effectively and efficiently? Show your customers how your product line can be used in their everyday life and be useful, make their lives easier or make them stand out.
  • Why should I trust this store? Since buying from a new company can be unsettling, painting your business as a expert and leader in the field with quality and useful content can be a key way to win business.

In our next installment of this series, we’ll take a look at some tips to creating centerpiece content, such as how to write and design them. The third installment is this series will showcase how to use your content piece as a lead generating and email marketing tool.

Finally, the series will conclude with articles on how to break down your content into additional content marketing opportunities and fuel your social media and SEO efforts.

Read the whole series

Be sure to explore this entire series:

Michael P. Hill
Michael P. Hill

Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn.

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