Blogging for business is an essential marketing strategy that the majority of lawn and landscape companies have not only put on the back burner, but took off and stowed away in the back corner of the warehouse behind that skid of old grass seed.
There may be some early adopters in the crowd, some late to the party, and others still honestly confused about why on earth anyone would take the time to blog on a continuous basis. No matter where you are in that span of understanding and implementation, here are some statistics you should consider:
- Once you write 21 to 54 blog posts, blog traffic generation increases by up to 30 percent, says TrafficGenerationCafe.
- Businesses that blog regularly get 67 percent more leads from their websites than those who do not, according to InsideView.
- Hubspot says leads from inbound marketing (i.e., blogging) cost 61 percent less than traditional, outbound advertising methods.
- Inbound marketing leads close at 14.7 percent, Hubspot points out, compared to the 1.7 percent close rate of traditional advertising like direct mail.
- Consumers who read original content on a website are 70 percent more likely to do business with the company, according to Marthpath.
Got your attention now? But it’s not just about starting a company blog and giving it your best try, but also about knowing the right ways to go about it and how to do it well. Otherwise, you’ll fail to see the results that you would like to see and become frustrated. However, you’re in luck because here is a roadmap to your blogging success.
The goal of your company’s blog should be to attract, convert and delight people. The blog will lead to sales growth for you and also great solutions for your prospects. But only the prospective customers read and enjoy what you share.
Before you touch that keyboard, it’s essential to understand who your customers are, why they buy your services and the “buyer’s journey” they go through.
Buyers go through a journey in three stages: awareness, consideration and decision. Your blog articles need to be written for mostly the awareness and consideration stages. Help your readers to become more aware of their needs and consider solutions. They’ll eventually make a decision to contact you as a result of your helpful content.
Keep in mind one important phrase when writing blog content: “They ask, we answer.” People have questions and they will seek out answers. Your blog articles should be helpful, giving all the information people need to learn about a potential issue, research their options and build a relationship of trust where they eventually see you as the option they’d like to learn more about.
Stop selling. Your blog is not a sales pitch or a press release machine. It is not the way to drone on about how great you are, how marvelous your programs and services are and how all of your competitors are evil. It’s to help the prospective customer. At the end of your articles, you can make a very subtle call to action and allow the reader to decide what is best for them without cramming it down their throats.
Your company’s blog should be hosted on your website, not hosted on a separate blogging platform. This is important because the more unique pages on your website about your subject (landscaping), the more search engines will see your website as an authority. Each time you post a new article, it becomes a new page on your website. Each article has an opportunity to rank in search results.
Many platforms like WordPress or HubSpot can easily add a blog to your website, with a fairly simple composer to write new articles. If you don’t know how to do this, a website developer can help set this up for you and even teach you how to compose a new blog post.
With your team, write down as many common customer and prospect questions as you possibly can, paying attention to create article topics that meet people at different spots in their buyer’s journey.
When you get your topics together, create an editorial plan on a calendar, planning out topics for at least three months in advance (or go for the entire year). Some topics will make sense to post at seasonally relevant times, but also remember that these articles will be effective for years. Don’t view the blog as broadcast media that people must consume immediately. People will find your articles months or years after you publish them.
If someone in authority doesn’t see the company blog as important, it will fail. Your company’s leadership needs to see the value and champion this initiative. People on your team can serve different roles. Someone should develop and monitor the strategy, and multiple people can be involved when it comes to writing.
If your staff doesn’t have the skills or time to write, you can hire a freelance writer or outsource the work to an inbound marketing agency. Agencies cannot only focus on writing the content, but make sure it’s best suited to be found by search engines.
One of the great things about blogging is that you can measure results. Tools like Google Analytics or HubSpot can measure how many people read your articles, what they click on and if they convert into leads. As time progresses, tweak your strategy based on this analysis for what delivers the best results.
Never assume you have it all figured out. The pursuit of knowledge should be near and dear to the heart of those involved in your company’s blog. Follow other industry blogs and those in the content marketing and professional writing sectors to understand best practices and new strategies.
Grab your team, figure it out and get to blogging. Each month, the results from your efforts will compound and continue to bring you success for years to come.