Before you opened your online store, you probably learned about budgeting, taxes, supply chain management, SEM and all the other hard skills that will help you successfully run a business. If you didn’t add copywriting and content strategy to your list of skills to learn, you’re not alone. Because writing and communication feels like a “soft” skill that we’ve spent years gradually developing, a lot of ecommerce store owners underestimate its importance and overestimate the ease with which they’ll be able to execute it. Content is the sandbagger of the ecommerce world, and that’s why we love it.
If you’re simply not a writer at all, then hiring a copywriter is a great idea, but if you have decent writing chops and you’re on a budget, you’ll be able to execute your on-site content on your own. You’ll just need to learn a bit more about strategically modifying your content to be web- and conversion-friendly. Here are five resources that will get you started:
Coursera and EdX
Coursera and EdX are both incredible opportunities to learn within a rigorous academic setting. Both of these platforms offer a variety of classes from top universities in a structured format, and they are open to anyone for free (or at an extremely affordable price).
This lesson will leave you with a number of skills that are transferable to writing for your ecommerce site, including engaging your audience and crafting strong calls to action.
Try The Strategy of Content Marketing from UC Davis or Writing for Social Media from Berkeley. The latter will leave you with a number of skills that are transferable to writing for your ecommerce site, including engaging your audience and crafting strong calls to action.
Skillshare and Udemy
Like Coursera and EdX, Skillshare and Udemy are educational platforms that provide low-cost classes and workshops. However, unlike the first two platforms, anyone with a skill to share can sign up to teach. That means the class offerings are much more casual and accessible, and they’re usually taught by someone with a lot of real-world experience in the subject they’re teaching. The quality can be more hit-or-miss, but there are plenty of hidden gems on both platforms.
Try 10x Marketing (one of my favorite styles of content strategy!) or Rule of Thirds: How to Create Exceptional Digital Content to get started.
If time is an issue, podcasts are a great way to multitask while you’re driving or performing mindless work.
If time is an issue, podcasts are a great way to multitask while you’re driving or performing mindless work. And there are tons of them out there! Any podcast on marketing will likely cover content too, but for a content-specific podcast, try Content Warfare.
Strunk & White
The ol’ standby. If you haven’t read The Elements of Style lately, it’s worth pulling the book back out. Every time I read this thing I want to hate it, but I can’t. It’s pedantic and overly prescriptive, and Strunk & White’s rigid approach to grammar doesn’t always translate well to writing for the web. But underneath that is a timeless, transferrable respect for words, and an approach to clarity of writing that will help you produce your best content.
Okay, hear me out. Fiverr.com is a platform where people can spend $5 on a variety of one-off services, and it’s the quickest and cheapest way to get some hands-on editing experience. Once you’ve picked The Elements of Style and absorbed its key takeaways, head on over to Fiverr and spend $5 on some web copy.
The best way you can learn about great content is to read some examples of not-so-great content and think about why you aren’t compelled.
I’m not knocking the platform because there are plenty of cool ways to use it, but I am telling you that if you spend $5 on copy, what you get back won’t be very good. And that’s okay, because that’s exactly what we want. The best way you can learn about great content is to read some examples of not-so-great content and think about why you aren’t compelled. So, order up some of the most terrible copy you can and then go to town fixing it: cut out the redundancies, clean up the grammar and add a beginning, middle and end.
And finally, write! And enjoy yourself. With a little know-how and some practice, you’ll be a content pro in no time.
How do you come up with your content? Let us know in the comments!