In 2014 James Carson spent three months examining the key content marketing trends of fashion retailers.
The product of this is an Econsultancy best practice guide, Fashion Ecommerce and Content Marketing, which acts as an industry audit of fashion ecommerce, specifically the way fashion retailers have invested in online content.
Throughout the guide, a wide variety of publishing methods are reviewed and many trends are discussed, such as the centre-stage positioning of photography, the lack of editorial content and a surprising dearth of video content.
You can read about these trends and other findings in greater detail by downloading the full 88-page report.
In the meantime let’s take a brief look at a few tips, based on the research of 20 fashion ecommerce sites, that may benefit other online fashion retailers with their content marketing.
Some of the researched brands attempted to publish at least one story a day. Marks and Spencer achieved this and even published on weekends, while H&M managed a slightly higher rate (approximately 40 stories in September). Unfortunately many more were sporadic at best.
River Island posted 16 times and French Connection just ten times during the whole of September 2014. Lipsy maintained a blog but posted only three times during the same month.
Publishing one article a day or less is not competitive with mainstream publishers and magazines, with the leading titles like Vogue and Glamour publishing well over 20 articles a day.
The only website that published at a frequency to rival anywhere near already established publishers was ASOS, publishing around 10 articles a day across women’s fashion (eight) and men’s (two).
If you want to even begin to be considered a serious contender in the fashion publishing world, you must try to publish several articles per day.
A large proportion of fashion ecommerce editorial does not use web-friendly headlines.
As you can see from the above, none of these headlines make any sense out of context. Clearly many of the websites are aspiring towards a magazine aesthetic, however this does not work with online publishing standards.
An online headline should explain exactly what a reader will find within the content as concisely as possible, using relevant, accurate keywords.
In a magazine, the content is laid out for a reader immediately. Online, a headline is often the first and only way someone will see your article, either via social media or on a search engine.
The headline text therefore must make sense on its own accord.
Here are some ‘better’ practice examples…
Half of the company blogs and editorial feeds researched were built on the WordPress platform. This is an easy-to-use and familiar platform which allows great flexibility for editors, but unfortunately it can also mean that old content is buried in the feed.
None of the sites using WordPress attempted to help users navigate to older content organised in specific sections or categories as most other publishers would do through a menu or sidebar.
Creating a menu structure to draw out the different editorial themes allows users to access content according to topics.
This will also help make sure the articles you’ve worked so hard on don’t become forgotten and unvisited. Particularly those considered ‘evergreen’, i.e. articles that will remain relevant for a number of years instead of merely news-based posts.
For much more best practice guidance, download the full report here: Fashion Ecommerce and Content Marketing