Some Early Thoughts on AI's Role in Marketing Your Lawn Care and Landscaping Services
"We are just past the high point of content marketing, but we are still flooded with content because everybody is telling everybody to produce it." David C. Baker, The Business of Expertise, 2017
In this article, I want to briefly touch on my (limited, to this point) personal experience using artificial intelligence (AI) to create content for marketing purposes. And, hopefully, share some insight into how I think AI can impact how you market your landscaping and lawn care services specifically.
Keep in mind, when I write about "content", I'm referring to not just written content in the form of website copy and blog articles, but also social media updates, video content, and even audio content like podcasts. It all fits in the "content" bucket in my mind.
The Content Spectrum
I like to think of content as being on a spectrum from "thoughtless" to "thought-ish" to "thoughtful". I also like to thank David C. Baker, whom I'm borrowing this idea from.
I'll describe these categories below and then talk about how I see the role of AI along this spectrum.
You know what this looks like. It's content for content's sake, or "content pollution" as Baker so precisely describes it.
Many of you are or have been, guilty of this. Your SEO company's justification was, "You need content to feed Google" so your company website is littered with 300-word blog posts full of boastful hyperbole.
Aside from being one-sided, this type of garbage content gives visitors a massive letdown because their expectations are unfulfilled. The click-bait headline promises one thing and the content that follows disappoints.
Thoughtless content is a waste of effort for the reader and your company.
This type of content is more helpful (i.e.- educational) than insightful. As Baker says, "It's not thoughtless, but it's not thoughtful either."
When executed properly, this is valuable content for a lawn care or landscaping company. This is when you actually teach your audience something useful whether it directly impacts your company or not.
This is the most valuable content for search engine optimization (SEO) and attracting visitors to your website via organic search.
Many of your potential clients are not seeking a unique perspective on a subject- they just want a damn answer to a simple question. And they want it fast. Thought-ish content can fill this role beautifully.
Here are a few examples:
- Video: How and When to Prune a Hydrangea the Right Way
- Article: Comparing Concrete Pavers to Poured Concrete (including Cost Considerations)
- Article: The 5 Best Ornamental Trees to Plant Near a Patio (and 3 You Should Never Plant)
You get the point.
This type of content should play a role in every content marketing strategy. Your goal should be to shoot for a 6 or 7 out of 10 on the spectrum rather than a 3 or 4.
To me, "Thoughtful" means sharing a personal insight or opinion that may or may not appeal to a majority of readers. It's your unique thoughts on a subject.
This type of content often presents a viewpoint that can be polarizing. The reader may not agree with you on every point, but they'll walk away considering your words nonetheless. It can really stir emotions. That's why video and podcasting are best for this type of content in my view.
Many companies in the lawn and landscape industry fail to produce thoughtful content simply because they don't have a unique viewpoint on various subjects. Many times they are afraid to share in the risk of offending someone.
And, it can be difficult to create! Thoughtful content has to come from within your company- your marketing agency cannot create it for you (sorry, wish we could).
Let me make a bigger point here: Not all companies require thoughtful content. Much depends on your audience and how you're positioned.
The higher you want to reach then the more thoughtful your insight needs to be. If you are a B2B company targeting CEOs of large companies then the content you produce better be pretty damn compelling and provide some unique perspective otherwise your content will go unnoticed.
The best strategy is to have a mix of thought-ish and thoughtful content. Shoot for seven and above on our content spectrum.
AI's Role in Content Creation
So what role can artificial intelligence (AI) play in this?
Based on my experience with AI to this point, it can absolutely play an important role in content creation. That said, it shouldn't be a crutch. It's just another tool.
You can churn out thoughtless content all day with AI tools like ChatGPT, however, I wouldn't recommend it. You'll just be adding to the existing content pollution and it will go unnoticed anyway, like 99% of thoughtless content on the web.
The most practical role for AI is for assisting with creating your thought-ish content. As an example, AI tools can help you create outlines for an article or even video. It gets you moving quickly instead of staring at a blank page.
AI can help you uncover questions or points to discuss in your article that you may have overlooked.
AI tools can help you (or your writer) expand on a point or even rewrite something you're not happy with.
In these ways, AI content tools are very helpful. It's "assisting" you, not "replacing" you or your writer. That's an important distinction. Nor is AI able to craft and oversee a content strategy. You still need humans for most of this.
Thoughtful content and meaningful insight will remain valuable to your customers and prospects. LinkedIn will remain a terrific platform for sharing your personal insights like this. The same can be said for video and podcasting.
AI tools will surely add more thoughtless content to the world, but your personable, thoughtful insight can still rise to the top and reach your audience if you do it right.
As time goes on we'll learn and experiment with more AI content tools at Landscape Leadership and will be sure to update all of you on what we think can be most useful to you and your business. Subscribe to our blog to stay up to date with our insight.