I wrote at the start of September about some sites I felt weren’t getting their messages across to their audience.

Whether it was design issues or just being behind the times I took special exception to the HMV site and its placeholder. Surely some sales, email sign-ups or other calls to action could be implemented while the business got back on its feet?

How delighted I was with HMV’s relaunch last week.

There were so many problems with the old site that it was hard to know where to begin. It was cluttered and used to compete against itself for certain keyword phrases.

The user experience wasn’t the best with the site a bumbling parallel of the high street store’s woes.

Take a look at it now

 

HMV has been gutsy and reinvented its online presence with a heavy focus on content.

 

It would have been so easy to just launch a new retail site and repeat the mistakes of the past. Instead HMV has been gutsy and reinvented its online presence with a heavy focus on content.

A brand new cascading responsive design is complemented by a high-profile editorial strategy that looks to cash in on the brand’s reputation – that it’s a powerful authority in the world of entertainment.

Perhaps belatedly they aren’t trying to prove that point by just getting you to add another CD to your online checkout. Instead their new strategy centres around informing, educating, and – most importantly – entertaining.

What are your thoughts on the new HMV website? Is the new strategy on the right track or does the brand need much more to get back on track? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below!

The fine editorial balance

What’s key to note with HMV’s first few posts is that the editorial team is keenly aware of the balance it needs to strike between writing full-blown criticism and giving balanced, constructed opinion in its pieces.

For instance let’s take a look at the James Blunt Moon Landing overview. Editorially it’s more of a preview than a review despite the team having listened to the album and providing their thoughts.

It’s the eternal dilemma for writers working for retail sites. The HMV site is there to generate sales. HMV hasn’t long been acquired by Hilco. Its content needs to work.

James Blunt is a global superstar but he isn’t to everybody’s taste. Every track on the album won’t be a runaway success.

The team handles it well though, conceding that Blunt is a ‘Marmite’ act, and that the album will likely be divisive.

But the overriding theme of the piece is positive. Certain tracks will be better suited to people that love power pop, while other tracks are apparently mournful and deep.

It’s informative and takes the audience into consideration. Much more informed than the thousands of anti-Blunt blogs on the internet, wouldn’t you agree?

Carefully considered calls to action

It’s a brave step for such a large retail brand to put so much weight behind content as its main focal point.It’s exciting to see such a huge brand embracing the power of content marketing, especially to sort out its woes and build up a social buzz.

But for the strategy to be truly effective these pieces of content need effective calls to action to generate leads and push sales of the products the editorial team is writing about.

Luckily HMV have hit the nail on the head (from a usability perspective, at least). The Blunt article again has a thirty-second preview of one of his tracks alongside an embedded video of one of the singer’s latest releases.

A prominent download link takes visitors to the Moon Landing page where people can instantly purchase the album for immediate download, purchase individual songs, or browse albums from similar artists that shoppers may like.

Related artists can also be found at the bottom of articles alongside the opportunity to sign up to emails, find the nearest HMV store, and more.

After visitors lost interest with the old site HMV is doing everything in its power to attract new users – and keep them there!

HMV’s articles also have share options. Are their new articles the type of content you’d want to share with your friends? Let me know below.

His Master’s Voice shouting loud

It’s a brave step for such a large retail brand to put so much weight behind content as its main focal point, but I’m sure it’ll pay off.

The editorial team appear to have a flair for writing, know their (pretty broad) market, and have the balance between strong editorial and copy marketing sorted.

The real test of the type of content strategy HMV is producing comes when a few weeks roll by with few entertainment releases and ideas are thin on the ground.

The team in charge with social media needs to be on the same wavelength as the content team, looking for opportunities to share the content across different platforms as well as engaging the right users to attract attention.

But the new site has already impressed, and is on the right lines.

What can other retailers learn?

If I were to broach the subject of content marketing with somebody HMV’s new site is one of the first examples I would point to when talking about structure and simplicity.

Clever content complemented by a beautiful design that makes the team’s writing easy to digest, easy ways to share and shop.

It’s important to stress though that this kind of strategy is a fully creative endeavour, so generating ideas and teamwork are a critical part of the process.

 

HMV has finally understood its audience and is doing something special for them instead of having a website for the sake of having a website.

 

The bottom line through all this is that HMV has finally understood its audience and is doing something special for them instead of having a website for the sake of having a website.

Now HMV is offering an authoritative informative user experience through the power of specialist content written by a passionate team whilst offering competitive prices for downloadable music, films, games, and more.

Very fitting for the self-styled Home of Entertainment!

Learn more about the power of content marketing with Webpresence today! Contact our team to find out more about constructing authoritative content.

(Images: HMV.co.uk)