Some construction and design and construction firms are dismissive of the concept of blogging. There seems to be a perception that it makes sense for other industries, but it’s not for them.
Blogging is a powerful inbound marketing tool with the ability to generate and nurture warm leads. The AEC sector is already late to the game, but it’s not too late.
Let’s demystify blogging. A blog, or “web log,” is basically a short article. It’s simply another vehicle to communicate and share news and helpful information with your audience whether you happen to be a publisher or a B2B firm.
As editor of Constructioneer Magazine back in the early 1990s, I wrote a one-page column on construction industry trends called, “From an Editor’s Standpoint.” That was similar to a blog, although it appeared in print.
The Importance of Blogging
There are already thousands of blogs published online. Why should you add to the digital commotion? Think of blogging as a way to demonstrate and share your firm’s expertise with your target market to generate warm leads.
The Internet has transformed the way your products and services are purchased and procured. The client has already entered the buying process before your sales force even makes a call or sends an e-mail. Some sales and marketing pundits attach a specific percentage of how deep your prospects are into the sales cycle, but that’s nonsense.
Perhaps you occupy a niche in a vertical market like selling compact construction equipment. Who wants to hear your thoughts, right? Surprisingly, more than you think. Your clients and prospective customers care what you have to say.
It doesn’t matter that you will never have 10,000 readers. Your blog will exist indefinitely on your website. A potential customer may stumble across your website in two years and they will scan, or hopefully read, some of your blog posts when they research your firm. If your content is well written and helpful, it may even earn links from other relevant websites and draw traffic back to your site.
That brings us to one of the biggest benefits of blogging: getting found online.
Improve Your Website’s Search Rankings
Your firm is possibly being discovered and researched on the Internet as you read this. 67.6% of Americans are using Google at the time of this writing. That’s a stunning statistic.
Improving your website’s visibility in search engines should be an ongoing quest if your firm is to remain relevant. There’s a great quote to the effect that the best place to find a dead body is on page two of the Google search results, which illustrates this point. Earning a spot on page one is the Holy Grail of Internet Marketing.
Google’s bots are crawling your website on a regular basis looking for things like relevant keywords, and well written, relevant, fresh content. They use a complex and somewhat mysterious algorithm to determine how your website ranks in search results. Your blog is arguably your best opportunity to increase your search rankings.
What is Good Blog Content?
The biggest stumbling block most AEC firms trip over is identifying good blogging content. Start with the right mindset. Your goal is not to advertise, but to educate.
Here are some examples of possible blog topics…
- Construction equipment dealer: Maintenance tips to prolong the life of your machinery.
- Civil engineer: Understanding the basics of the land development process.
- Construction material supplier: Why Roller Compacted Concrete matters.
- Environmental engineer: How to prevent headaches with a Phase 1 Environmental Study.
- Architect: Designing a building to fit within the surrounding community.
- Contractor: How to minimize change orders on your next project.
Blog Consistently for Best Results
The fact that you blog consistently is more important than the frequency with which you post. You’re not a marketing firm or a publisher. Posting at least once monthly would be ideal, but posting every two months is better than not posting at all. Find a comfortable frequency and stick with it. If you can’t get it done in-house, outsource.
Write Enough Words to Make Your Point
There is a great deal of debate over how long your blog should be. Some say 500 words will suffice. Others insist that search engines want to see long-form content of up to 1,200 words.
AEC firms need to tune out the noise and just do it. Use as many words as it takes to get your point across and produce a solid piece of content for your target audience. The construction and design industry moves fast so lean toward shorter blog posts.
How to Promote Your Blog
Let’s start with a reality check. It will be an uphill battle to generate interest in your blog. Even popular publishers are struggling to attract inbound website traffic in a world where more and more people get their news through social media. You need to be assertive and go where the eyeballs are.
You will still reap some benefits by creating a blog and not promoting it, but you can amplify your results with some basic promotion. If you’re willing to put the work into creating ongoing content, put in the extra effort to attract more eyeballs.
Here are some ideas to get maximum results from your blog:
- Link to the blog on your social media pages
- Share new posts across social media platforms
- Share new posts in relevant social media groups, i.e. LinkedIn Groups
- Insert a hyperlink into your e-mail signatures
- Send out a mass e-mail for new posts
- Selectively share relevant news posts with individual clients or prospects
Promoting your blog is not just the job of your marketing department. Encourage your team to promote, and possibly even generate content, for maximum impact. Your results will be exponential.
It doesn’t matter whether you call it a blog. The term “blog” may change, and the concept may even become obsolete, but it’s here for now. It’s a critical part of your inbound marketing strategy that, when done properly, will generate inbound leads for your firm.