“With publishers now attracting larger audiences and even more revenue through commerce themed pieces, the need to understand consumers, create interesting content, and boost engagement is greater than ever.” Skimlinks
Last week I was thrilled to be one of the bloggers hand-picked and invited along to SkimLinks’ Content to Commerce Summit (comtent) held at the famous Kensington Roof Gardens in London. It was a day where ordinary bloggers like myself were in the same room and given the opportunity to meet people like Peter Wang from Refinery29 (fashion blog everyone is subscribed to), Ben Bowers from GearPatrol (digital lifestyle magazine), Daniel Murray from Grabble (UK’s #1 fashion App), Charles Yardley from Forbes or the big boss and co-founder of Skimlinks, Alicia Navarro. I loved the first hand knowledge into how other media platforms (Apps such as Grabble included) are using Skimlinks to drive revenue, monetize their content but most importantly , hear about the obstacles they’ve endured as online entrepreneurs or start-ups.
The highlight of the day for me had nothing to do with the flamingos strutting around in the gardens (yes, they are really there) but like most, the 45 minute money-maker crash course by Josh Himwich. I suppose when a talk is titled, ‘Leveraging insights- Applying data science to content strategy,’ you’ve got everyone’s attention. As creative thinkers with entrepreneurial mindsets, as much as we may be bombarded with hundreds of ideas and ways of improving our online business, he insists on becoming an “A player”- to conquer one thing at a time to grow successfully as Facebook and Amazon have done. You can only imagine the wealth of knowledge (formulas, data & analytics) behind such an exceptional talk.
What is Skimlinks? It is an affiliate program web publishers such as myself use to generate income from our content. Last year alone, $625M of e-commerce sales were driven by the Skimlinks platform alone. Got your attention, right?
“We take visual story telling very seriously. Pushing visual boundaries is one of our best investments.” Peter Wang, Refinery29
Facebook’s Instagram is currently worth $35Billion. These days, pictures are more powerful than words but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be producing quality content either, it’s just easier to persuade a click or sale with eye-catching imagery. Visual story telling is essential in first capturing your audience’s attention and then keeping them under your spell. Peter Wang did also mention that taking the time to create your own well produced images is distinctive to your branding and much more beneficial than crediting them from other sources such as Google. The response to this concept worked really well at Refinery29 in the early testing stages and now it is imperative to their platform.
So, be the leader and understand the vitality behind creating your own imagery as it sets you apart and enhances your individual aptitude.
“Inspiration should be just as important as information.” Ben Bowers, GearPatrol
You should never be afraid to experiment. Your content should always be informative and inspiring and a fear of controversy is a fear or controversial topics should be eliminated. Stories from a personal perspective allow you to build a rapport with your audience and will keep them engaged with your work. People love risk take writing but always have fun with your audience because, “There’s enough serious content out there,” as Ben Bowers mentioned. In terms of generating those dollars, Peter Wang said that, “Content and commerce must dance together. Content needs to lead.” Imagine the potential when you combine good content with great visuals?
“First hand accounts create trust. We dare to go to areas that most people avoid. The courage gives people the confidence to be themselves. It’s the story that sells, not the product itself.” Peter Wang
“Learn, build, measure… It’s as simple as that!” Ray Pawulich, Future Publishing
Creating anything online and generating income isn’t easy and takes a lot time, patience and strategical thinking. There is so much trial and error involved, sometimes it’s easier to give in. Seeing a potential with what you already have is a start into expansion. For example, Daniel Murray from Grabble (voted App of the year in 2014) “The Tinder of Fashion” noted that their start-up funds were not that high and the initial essence of the fashion App had nothing to do with ‘swiping left’ or ‘swiping right.’ What they did have was access to a group of passionate fashion bloggers who followed and loved their App. They worked closely with these bloggers to get Grabble trending on Twitter during the X Factor finale. This strategy worked, increasing their user base to well over 100,000+ in the UK, this figure increasing daily. Check out his talk with Brian Rose from LondonReal here.
As publishers, it’s never been easier or more accessible to produce content and generate a decent income from it. Comtent marketing is everywhere we click and with everything moving rapidly online it will only continue to grow and change the way we shop and revolutionise the way we interact with content online.
If you’d like more information on Growth Hacker Marketing, Ryan Holiday has written an excellent book on how to nativagte your way through the online world of PR, Marketing & Advertising. Click here to purchase. Ryan also offers online courses on Growth Hacker Marketing, find out more here. As Robert Greene’s former Apprentice, you can be assured he knows what he’s on about.
Did you attend the Content to Commerce Summit in London? What important lessons did you take from the event? How do you incorporate comtent into your online venture? Leave your comments below.