Toys that Use Words
Fat Brain Toys doesn’t play around when it comes to website content. Owner, Mark Carson, has always supported written content on the site’s category and product pages; but, Matt Hansen, Director of Marketing, says that it was only about three months ago that the educational toy retailer really started developing blog content.
It seems like many marketers attend webinars and read articles that explain the importance of content to conversions and search engine rankings, but then they return to work and leave out the paragraphs. Why?
Content creation is expensive.
Blog Sales Powered by Writers
Hansen says that Fat Brain Toys “employs three in-house writers with a variety of skill levels, but listens to feedback from many internal and external stakeholders.” You can sense the community when you visit the site.
Play is Fat Brain Toys’ blog. Each week, the writers add videos, newsy snippets, and creative articles around a theme. But, how does the company curate so much content without straining their budget?
In a green box at the top of the Play blog, writers click and find a call for
“content from leaders in the toy industry, leaders in the world of raising children, and great thinkers who believe in pure play. Each piece of content will be shared with HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of visitors. As a contributor to PLAY, you’ll be given full contributor/byline credit with a short bio listing. We will also actively encourage link sharing. Fat Brain Toys will share a link to your site, and we hope you’ll share a link to your published PLAY content on your site as well.”
Who Would Write for Free?
The secret to securing inexpensive content is to embrace loyal fans and toy industry leaders, who want to build authorship profiles by using Play as their publisher.
The potential sales win-fall for Fat Brain Toys is notable. Many writers will write for article bylines just to increase exposure of their own personal brands, products, books, and speaking portfolios. Google authorship gives incentive for many writers to secure their personal brands this way. Between the free content and social sharing by writers, Play is revving up a sales engine.
This is the content creation model that many business leaders are thinking about and talking about at conferences and in meetings, but few are making it happen. Fat Brain Toys is connecting and creating the model.
If You Can’t Buy It, Build It
Mark Carson also created the company’s unique review system. He and his in-house team built an automated content contributor under each toy’s product description.
Consumers find content that details available options and hazards, linked articles from Play, related products and categories, accessory options, and other consumer reviews and rankings of age/gender usage. All of this data aggregates and moves the products up or down in the “new”, “shop by age”, or “shop by gender” sections of the site.
Google wants valuable content and this system offers it to parents.
Parents Help Parents with Special Perspectives
Carson also invented another consumer-generated content resource that is highly-valuable to the special needs and elderly populations.
Parents, teachers, and caretakers explain how they use the toys with children and adults with special needs. There is a ranking system for the toy’s value index and the toy’s IQ that helps shoppers evaluate how their child or adult might use the toy.
Again, the content offers value to shoppers and there’s a community of trust and interaction being built with the brand through the content interaction.
The Future of Content Creation
If you love or believe in a brand, chances are you won’t care about getting paid to promote it. You’ll contribute for intrinsic rewards like attention or the sense of helping others.
Fat Brain Toys knows that its core consumers are passionate about educating children and contributing to a better world through play and it has tapped into these passions.
Does this totally remove the need for in-house or freelance writers and editors? No. Someone needs to curate and optimize the content. The in-house team fills in where the consumer leaves off.
Your website still needs writers and editors who are masters of brand positioning, product knowledge, spelling, grammar, sentence structure, usage, and search engine optimization. Fat Brain Toys hasn’t lost sight of that fact, but it does demonstrate how to involve your audience.
What would inspire your shoppers to interact more with your website’s content?