Have you heard the buzz around content marketing for contractors? You might be asking, “Do I need a blog for my business? My topic is boring; who will read it? What should I write about?”
The short answer is, “Yes;” if you’re looking to grow your business, you should be blogging. But there’s a lot more to it than that. This article is designed to be a step-by-step guide to blogging for your business. Created for service contractors, it will give you some ideas on how you can leverage your website to attract more clients.
Nowadays, it seems like everyone is blogging: electrical and HVAC contractors, plumbers, and part-time handymen. The problem is that no matter what your profession, there are hundreds if not thousands of bloggers writing about the same topic that you would. It can be discouraging when you think about creating a blog for your business.
But the beauty is that there is no one like you. You’re one of a kind. Neil Patel, who Forbes holds up as one of the top 10 marketers in the world, was once asked the following question via a comment on his blog.
Hi, Neil… All the articles that I write, have already been written by 20+ blogs, including the really popular business blogs such as entrepreneur.com and thebalance.com. So, is it ok to write articles on the same topics?
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There’s no reason to avoid covering topics that others have covered. You have your own voice.
If a top marketer who has seen it all from start-up to multi-millionaire companies says you can write on a topic that others have addressed 100 times before, then you don’t have to worry about it. But it is important to have your own voice that will separate you from the crowd. You can present new information or present the same information differently.
Why is everybody talking about blogging, and does it work?
Blogging isn’t a passing trend that’s going away anytime soon. A high-quality business blog can provide huge marketing leverage for your business. This is especially true for local service businesses. To explain this, take a look at what blogging can do for your business:
What Does Blogging Do for Your Business?
- Draws traffic to your site – According to HubSpot, both B2C and B2B companies see great benefits when they blog regularly. If you blog about your services in a way that will help people then potential customers will stumble across your site. Because buyers are looking online for solutions to their problems, the clear answers that you provide on your blog will make you an authority in your industry.
- Converts cold traffic into customers – In today’s digital world with the internet and social media, customers have become more conscious about their buying decisions. Eighty-two percent of buyers are using more sources than ever before to research and evaluate products and services before making purchases. A blog has the power to convert researchers into buyers. When you offer readers the right strategies on your blog, they’ll see that you can do the job and will give you a call or fill out a contact form.
- Engages with your current customers – Depending on your service, previous customers might want to follow your blog for more information. Because they already know who you are and they have experience in using your services, your blog can be a powerful promoter of your services for repeat business.
- Grows demand for, and interest in, your services – With high quality and actionable blog posts, you’ll create a go-to source of information in your industry. Blogs can attract new traffic that can lead to new customers. And when you’re talking about services or options that customers haven’t thought of before, your blog has the power to create interest in these options. This can drive demand for a new product/service/option with website visitors and existing customers alike.
You can also use your blog as a dynamic portfolio of what you or your company can do. You can gather testimonials and share them through the blog. Showing your past successes will make you more likely to close more deals.
Getting Started with Content Marketing for Contractors
Step 1. Choose a Platform
The first step of blogging is choosing the platform where you will blog. If you don’t have a website yet, you have to start from the beginning by choosing a hosted or self-hosted option to run your website. If you already have a website, you can add a blog section to it.
There are also many third-party blogging platforms that you can use, such as Medium, Buffalo, or Tumblr.
The self-hosted blogging platform is another option you can consider. It is a bit more complex to set up but is the better option for business bloggers.
You have to buy a domain and then rent server space from a hosting company. Setting up a website with self-hosting requires technical skill and knowledge, but you can consider sites like Squarespace for quick setup without hiring someone. It also gives you the advantage of customizing your site to match your business’ personality.
Step 2. Secure a Domain and Web Hosting
If you choose to go with a self-hosted blogging platform but don’t have a website yet, you’ll need to purchase a domain name and buy hosting services.
Many web hosting services provide you with the option to take advantage of free domain registration and security services. Choose your hosting services wisely. Make sure you can reach out to the company whenever you run into a problem with your website server.
Once you have a domain and web host, you’ll need to install WordPress, Blogger, or any other blogging platform that you’ve decided to use.
Step 3. Design Your Website
This is the part where you can actually have some fun, but if you are completely new and don’t have the basic technical skills for it, designing your website can be a painful experience.
You can, of course, hire a professional to do it for you. Before asking for outside help, though, check out some of the tutorials on the FieldPulse Academy to help you get started.
Keep these points in mind when designing your website or blog.
- Decide the tone – Your personality should shine through your design. Will it be minimalist? Will it be professional? Funky? Choose something that best represents your business.
- Provide easy navigation – Make your website easy to navigate. If people find it difficult to find information, you can be sure they won’t come back.
- Present a clear, consistent message – Make sure you are sending a clear message with your website design and writing. Focus on one message. Doing so will make it easy for readers to know exactly what you are representing.
Step 4. Develop a Content Strategy
You need to have a clear content strategy that you will follow to create content for your blog. You can’t just post or write random things in your blog.
Because there are so many blogs, chances are that there are already many that cover your topic or industry. To stand apart from the crowd, you need to create a clear and unique content strategy. This will help in building your online authority and position you as an expert in your industry.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before deciding on topics for your blog posts:
- What are your goals for your blog?
If you can’t answer this question, then your blog won’t be useful for you or your readers. Define your goals up front.
- Do you want to generate clients?
- Are you trying to capture email address to market to visitors later?
- Do you want to teach others in your industry?
- How do you want visitors to reach out to you and request your services?
These goals will determine your content and your approach.
- What are your goals for your blog?
- What will be the primary selling proposition?You need to have a selling proposition or unique message. It can be the same thing that your competition is using but try approaching it from a different angle or perspective. This topic deserves a blog post of it’s own, so check out the post on setting yourself apart in your space.
- How often will you publish?
Fit the strategy with your daily schedule. If you are busy, you cannot possibly publish content every day.You should consider publishing once a week. In the beginning, you’ll want to build your library by publishing more than two times per week.But always think of quality over quantity. If you publish a poor and boring post, it will not work even if you published 100 similar posts. If you can write content with a clear call to action, you can attract new traffic with only a handful of posts.
- What will the voice of your business be?
Consider your brand voice. Will you be completely professional? Or friendly and conversational? Funny or straightforward?Think about what your customer would like to read when they search for topics related to your business.
- What keywords do you want to rank for?
You have to decide what keywords you need to rank for to get the most relevant traffic. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is big business, but the basic idea is that you’ll need to use search terms strategically for readers to land on your site. Check out the Contractor’s Guide to Digital Marketing for in-depth information on SEO for Contractors.
Step 5. Publish Consistently
Notice that didn’t say publish regularly. Instead, it said to publish consistently. Consistency is a very important factor when it comes to growing your brand online.
You can publish seven posts per week if you want. But if you choose to do that, you have to do it consistently over the months and years. If you wish to publish once a week, do that consistently.
Publishing once and then forgetting about it for six months will hurt your blog’s SEO, and your traffic will decline with time. To keep your audience engaged, and to help search engines view you as relevant, you need to be consistent.
Follow these steps to plan out your blogging tasks:
- Create a detailed editorial calendar
- Plan out promotional strategies
- Maintain a healthy engagement with your readers
- Take notes and monitor your traffic and engagement
Step 6. Promote Your Content
You have published content on your blog, so your work is done, right? NO. A big no.
Just publishing content consistently will not bring traffic to your site. You need to promote your content as well. It takes time to build up organic (search engine) traffic. SEO is a long-term strategy.
In the meantime, you have to reach out to different networking platforms to promote your content. Networking places are sites that your potential customers visit, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yahoo! Answers, or Quora.
Start with one or two, and then re-purpose the social media content you post to other platforms. Doing this can increase your traffic, but only if your content is engaging and you post consistently.
Blogging does have a learning curve, and you have to exercise patience while you wait for your efforts to show results. But in the end, it’s well worth it for the traffic you’ll generate and the expertise you’ll be demonstrating to potential customers.
These six steps will help you build a strong foundation for your business blog and master content marketing for contractors. On this strong foundation, you can build your marketing strategy and promote your services like a professional.