If you’re a professional remodeler, you probably didn’t get into your line of work for the writing or the internet cred. Yet increasingly we see contractors moving more of their business online—and marketing through a branded blog as an integral a part of that initiative.
Large commercial enterprises have used this method for years, and the statistics speak loud and clear: Companies with blogs receive 97 percent more links back to their site online. Customer-oriented businesses that blog regularly each month earn four times the leads of those who don’t. Blogs stand as a good faith gesture toward future customers—a little free information and expertise in exchange for visitor’s attention. And blogs do the work of promoting your business while you’re out on the job. Send off a tweet about a new blog post one morning, and you could have several new customers by nightfall.
Of course on the flip side, there’s the time commitment. Businesses earn the most traffic when they blog several times a month. In fact, business that put up 11-plus posts a month have much more resonance and influence than those who put an article live every two months or so. But time is a precious resource for any small business owner, after all, there are only so many hours in a day. So the decision to start blogging needs to be based on your own business needs and resources. If you’re thinking seriously about getting into content marketing, here are some questions to ask yourself first.
Do You Have Enough Time to Blog?
You’ve got an appointment to do a window replacement, followed by an HVAC repair all in one afternoon—how will you ever find time to write about it, too? Since blogs only work as a marketing strategy if you make the time to maintain them and to promote your posts afterwards. That means setting aside a portion of time every week to research article ideas, create posts, respond to comments and integrate your work into your social media channels.
According to marketing research, it takes the average blogger one to two hours to write and edit one 500-word post, but blogs have exponentially more impact when the content is frequently refreshed. For instance, blogging once a month nets small businesses about 100 inbound leads, on average. Blog 11 or more times a month, though, and that number more than quadruples. Of course, to get that volume of content, you can expect to spend more than a full day a month on blogging, when all is said and done. The time commitment is definitely something you need to weigh when you first start—the world is full of half-written, abandoned blogs.
Do You Have Money to Spend on Advertising?
For all that you’ll spend time wise, however, blogging is a notoriously low-cost approach to getting the word out for your company. Compared to pay-per-click or print ads, promotional items or membership directories, the costs of hosting, designing, writing and promoting a blog yourself are very minimal. At most, you’ll pay $50 a month or so for a service like WordPress or Squarespace to host your domain and give you the tools you need to keep generating posts.
However, if you have more money than you do time, you may prefer to pay someone to do your advertising for you. In this case, it makes sense to hire someone outside your company to manage your social media and blogging. Alternatively, you can invest in other advertising approaches: Joining home improvement directories that will feature your work and link back to your site; promoting your business in local print publications or on billboards and fliers; or investing in online ads that will send your message out for you. These cost more, but what you’ll spend on advertising you often earn back in time.
Could the Same Objectives Be Accomplished with a Focused Social Media Approach?
While it takes hours to create and edit a blog post, it takes just a few seconds to craft a good tweet. The internet is chock full of content already, which you can link to in your own social media efforts. Reposting other site’s content gives your social media presence credibility. It shows you’re in it for more than just the self-promotion—you’re actually taking time to curate and share relevant content. If you’re strapped for time, this could be a way get your name out there; however, you’ll want to consider fair use and best practices for content curation. For instance, you shouldn’t rely too heavily on a single source for reposted content, and you’ll want to attribute credit to your original sources in your post.
Of course, writing your own blog does position you as an industry expert. According to surveys, internet users rank blogs as their fifth most trusted source for news and information. At the same time, their trust in residential contractors is notoriously low. As many as three-fourths of surveyed homeowners said they’ve had a negative past experience with an independent contractor, and half of those respondents attributed that experience to their contractor’s lack of knowledge. Putting your own unique spin on relevant topics gives you a chance to demonstrate your expertise, which means any leads you do get off your work will come to the table knowing you’re a knowledgeable professional.
Like any initiative, the right move depends on your business. Only you know how much time and money you have to devote to your promotional efforts. However, if you do decide to create a blog, the rewards can be rich and long-serving. With almost no money to invest, it’s certainly something you can do on a trial run, too. You may even find that you have a new talent for crafting an eye-catching headline or creating short, informative videos. Maybe you’ve got a knack for this writing thing, after all!
Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner. She currently resides in Austin, Texas, where she writes full time for Modernize, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.
Modernize is a driving force in online lead generation-connecting high-quality local contractors with homeowners looking to complete home improvement projects of all kinds. Modernize also focuses heavily on making things energy efficient through sustainable home improvements such as solar panels and upgraded roofing. Learn more about Modernize and how to get involved here: https://modernize.com/contact.