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Content Sourcing Practices & Workflows

Improved Efficiency, Increased Revenue, and Higher Quality Content
How do you source your content?

Best Content Sourcing Practices & Workflows

In this article we are going to dive into the sourcing of content, the practices around gathering that content, and the workflows of implementing it. With any marketplace one of the most significant challenges is the logistical issue of determining what content can go onto the site, the sources of that content, and if they are available while consistently updating the site with those sources. Eventually, overtime the marketplace itself will dynamically generate additional content through vendors who are seeing benefits from providing their products and services in the marketplace.

However, it's going to be a logistical challenge and a constant opportunity or potential area of weakness within a marketplace. This is determined by how a team operates the marketplace, how much content is displayed to users, and vendors getting the content updated and uploaded into the site. Another factor to consider is what integrations and data sources the team is using. Let’s dive into these topics and talk about how to evaluate the process and the investment required. We’ll also discuss how to evaluate the integrations and copyright rules within the various facets of sourcing content for a marketplace.

Meta Data, Content Details, & Establishing Value

Key Content Attributes & Details

First, a key area that marketplace owners need to consider is acquiring content. This can be a helpful starting place, but ideally would not be something that's the primary source long-term. There are many databases of products available that have standardized product information and depending on the industry that you're in this might be a valuable starting place to get baseline content and product details, descriptions, meta information, and imagery.

These resources are generally available to other competitors in the industry,meaning it’s not unique content. That may not be a huge issue if organic SEO and other forms of unique content aren't a primary concern in the long term, but it is a consideration that any business will want to make sure they factor in.

We provide more detailed pages about our marketplace concepts and how to go about the selection process and features that you might want to review. So, as you dive in, we have some detailed recommendations for different services that have off-the-shelf content that you can get started with now. One of the things that can be helpful with off-the-shelf content, comes from product and catalog data sources as they can give a good baseline of categories that are standard within your industry. They can give you a good baseline for how products could be built out with their descriptions, titles, and meta information such as SEO titles, page titles that get indexed by search engines, URLs, alternate tags for images headlines, etc.

These are all things that you can get a value from even if you don't permanently use that content. You can temporarily use it to be a placeholder. Eventually, they can then be updated by your internal team or, better yet, many of your marketplace site owners will enable users to upload content as a vendor. Overtime this will make the content unique within the site itself allowing the vendors to quickly find things and standardize the content. Administrators can update and extend the content to make it unique to the marketplace itself.

Look at it as though you're getting a one story house and small foundation to start with, but overtime you are extending the foundation and adding more stories, levels, and rooms to the house just by consistently growing and extending the content on the site.

Tell Search Engines You're The Best

Organic Search Engine Optimization

Overtime, if you are looking at an organic SEO strategy it's going to be important, and even for a lot of digital marketing, to have unique content on your site that's compelling and targeted at your audience. In addition to sourcing content via data sources and external data sources, you can work directly with manufacturers or vendors to either integrate their database with yours or to pull the content using a scraping mechanism. There are pros and cons of integrations and scraping. Scraping has the benefit of being able to immediately act and get content from the site.

Scraping is a technical tool that will go to a website for vendor, manufacturer, distributor, etc who already has that valuable content and accessing it via their public site or via log into a portal. This tool learns how their site is configured and then organizes the data and pulls it from their site dynamically and these can be set up on a schedule. They can be set up to run automatically or they can be run manually to start the site out.

Although using the scraping methods are better than using a general data source, they can carry the same downside of not being unique because the vendor or the distributor already has that content on their site. So, if you're doing an organic SEO play where you really want to take advantage of unique content, integrating with their data source would be best to see it as additional value. Look at it as just being a placeholder that you want to extend on.

How is your content displayed & managed

Content Governance & Architecture

Now we get into the governance side of this site. One of the big things with the marketplace is its ability to grow independently. The incentives and rules within the marketplace drive vendors, distributors, and manufacturers into selling their goods and are part of the process of updating and constantly improving the descriptions, titles, imagery, etc. that are on the marketplace. Ultimately, your goal should be to have all the content on the site organically growing through the users and vendors behaviors.

In order to help jump start that process you want to enable the users by having a starting place so they're not starting from nothing. Many users will do that anyway, but if you can get base data from the industry you can set up by scraping with some of the different distributors and manufacturers to get a baseline of content that will really help to get your schema, your structure of categories and tags, and the overall organization of the site so that folks have a skeletal structure to put things into.

Within our marketplace resource center, we have articles that go into the pros and cons of different scraping tools and some of the resources available there and the evaluation process if you're looking at that as an option.

Import, Export, & Integrate

Integrations & Information Transferring

In addition, there's also the capability of doing an actual integration with a vendor or distributor. So many times, this can be a flat set of files, which is literally just a large Excel file, CSV file or text file that has data in it that's delimited or separated, so that it can be parsed and pulled into your site. That's a nice, clean way to get initial sets of data or ongoing updates.

It's also possible to do more robust integrations where there's an integration to an API application protocol interface., the idea is that it's a generic end point or URL where we can go and log in with credentials to access data within their system and pull that data dynamically. This can be a one time pull, or it can be a consistent ongoing pool of information to map out the information within your marketplace. This can be a nice way, and a preferred way, to go if we're doing ongoing and consistent pulls of data.

The Power of Clarity eCommerce

Clarity eCommerce Marketplace

Those are all capabilities and big opportunity selling points for your marketplace. If you have vendors, manufacturers, or distributors who want to take advantage of ongoing data updates that are dynamic, that is one of the strong suits of platforms like Clarity eCommerce.

The Clarity marketplace capabilities enable it to have a robust set of APIs that folks can interact with and that we can configure so that it can dynamically pull that content for you. This can be a great opportunity for all partnerships where they can access our API endpoints just for their vendor portal and can specifically upload, update, and sync not just product data and categories, but also order information and customer data as well.

Long story short, the integration side of things is a very powerful aspect and would typically be more of a long-term opportunity. However, this would allow the marketplace to have a more ongoing rich stream of information that's tightly integrated with existing businesses that are possibly generating thousands, even 10s of thousands or more, pieces of content every year around their products and categories.

Needless to say, there are a lot of options for sourcing content. There's an architecture and prioritization that we really recommend the team go through, especially if you really want to focus on implementing an iterative process where you are constantly adding value to your marketplace. But you must start somewhere.

We can be your personal marketplace guide

How Can Clarity Help

There are a lot of benefits to going through the diagnosis of the granular details and functions of your marketplace and we're always happy to chat with you one-on-one. Feel free to request a complimentary quote or consultation so we can help guide you through this process. We also have these very helpful guides below that you're welcome to take a look at that will help walk you through and get started planning with your team and any other vendors that you want to start talking to out of the gate. We look forward to talking with you down the line.

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