Ladies and gentleman of the landscape industry... I bring to you... The best landscaping blogs of 2014!
What a glorious way to ring in a new year, right?
While blogging and content marketing can absolutely add dollars to your bottom line, the process is by no means painless and stress-free. It can be an absolute grind requiring patience and perseverance that few professionals and companies are willing to thrust themselves into. For this, I feel the need to shine the light on a few of these exceptional companies and their landscaping blogs.
Each of these five companies – though very different – can teach all of us in the lawn and landscape industry how to use our expertise and insight to truly educate our prospects and customers in a new way that is far removed from the traditional ways of marketing and sales.
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Our criteria for choosing the best landscaping blogs
The educational aspect of these five blogs is what weighed into my judging criteria the most. I'll admit, this was a very subjective process, however, I feel like these companies separated themselves from others with their willingness and ability to teach their audience. I've reviewed many landscaping blogs that entirely miss the mark when it comes to educating their audience, instead choosing to be more like a press release machine spitting out boring company news. You won't find any of those here.
The best landscaping blogs show a willingness to TEACH their audience
My second criteria was consistency. I only wanted to award those companies who publish to their blog on a regular basis. For me that means weekly. You'll find the best and most successful landscaping blogs to be very consistent as it relates to frequency of publishing.
The third criteria I looked for was a unique voice. I'm not interested in boring – and neither is your audience. These companies and writers are able to teach in an engaging and sometimes playful way.
Introducing the 2014 winners
Instead of choosing the winners based solely on my own opinions I asked three of our landscaping trade magazine friends for their nominations. I received feedback from Chuck Bowen, editor of Lawn & Landscape, Marisa Palmieri, editor of Landscape Management, and Nicole Wisniewski, editor of Turf Design Build magazine.
What was not surprising in the least – though honestly, very disappointing – is that Chuck, Marisa and Nicole mostly mentioned the same landscaping blogs. This lack of diversity in their nominations should illustrate the tremendous opportunity landscaping companies have to reach and teach their prospects and customers through content marketing. Bottom line: Your competitors clearly aren't doing it – so why aren't you?!?!
Honestly, I was hoping to choose five companies that we at Landscape Leadership don't work with. I didn't want to introduce any perceived bias on our part. But, the reality is that currently there isn't a great crop of landscaping blogs to choose from. And this is really all about educating you guys so hopefully you start blogging and creating awesome content so it seems silly to not include a couple of our clients who are doing things really well and can serve as inspiration for all of you.
Neave Group Outdoor Solutions and HighGrove Partners are the two companies that are clients of Landscape Leadership. The other three are not. I chose these two specifically because we've been working together for many years now.
By all means, if you feel like your company and blog should be on this list please email me directly. I'd love to have a larger sample size to choose from. I would really like to highlight the best landscaping blogs on an annual basis.
Introducing our winners for 2014...
Chad Diller, the marketing coordinator at Tomlinson Bomberger, leads the content marketing charge for this landscaping, lawn care and pest control company in Lancaster, PA.
Chad kills it when it comes to consistency, publishing new articles more than once a week. And it's not fluff – these are well thought out, insightful articles typically over 500 words.
What I appreciate beyond the consistency is how practical and timely the topics are. Whether Chad is tackling tree care, pest or lawn issues, he's doing it in a way that will clearly resonate with Tomlinson Bomberger's audience.
Dirt Simple is the blog of landscape design extraordinaire Deborah Silver in Sylvan Lake, MI. She absolutely gets extra points from me because she's a Michigan gal (I can be a little bias :-).
Deborah's work is amazing and she shares her unique talents with the world through her blog. The one word that comes to mind when I think of Deborah and her blog is inspiring.
The photography is impressive but what I appreciate most are the stories that Deborah shares along with the gorgeous imagery. Beware: It's easy to get lost for hours on her blog. Just warning you.
Valleycrest Takes On
This was a unanimous selection by our editor friends.
There are three things I really like about Valleycrest's blog. First, I appreciate their focus on water management issues. A strong and sometimes narrow focus is important in order to attract an audience.
Second, I like that they utilize multiple contributors from the company. This brings more personality to the blog.
Third, I appreciate their focus on highlighting case studies, often times detailing the water and cost savings on properties they manage. They're offering up proof to their audience. In the B2B world of commercial landscaping this is very important.
Neave Group Outdoor Solutions
As I mentioned above Neave Group is a client of Landscape Leadership. We've been working together for about four years. We work together as a team when it comes to editorial planning but provide the actual writing while Neave's employees serve as our valuable sources.
Neave Group, a full-service landscaping contractor in New York, is unique in that they have a separate blog for each of their divisions. Four of them are listed/linked above.
Consistency has led to much of Neave Group's success, as we've published on average four to six unique blog posts each month over the past four years. That's a lot of content for visitors and the search engines. This has paid off handsomely in the amount of visitors, leads and opportunities they generate from their web presence each month.
I really like the "voice" and tone the blog portrays. The light-hearted, playful approach really resonates with the homeowner crowd. At the same time, teaching homeowners is obviously priority number one for this blog and they accomplish this in spades.
We've been working with HighGrove Partners, a commercial landscape contractor in Atlanta, going on three years now. I feel like HighGrove's blog is one that other commercial landscape contractors can emulate.
Like with Neave Group and the others, consistency has been key, with HighGrove averaging one blog post per week for just over two years.
On top of that, a handful of HighGrove's employees contribute to the blog giving it a little more personality.
HighGrove also tackles topics that may seem a bit mundane to others – like detention pond maintenance for example. It's not a sexy topic but it does bring in visitors looking for information on this subject and generates real opportunities from local HOAs, etc.
And, as the others, HighGrove embraces the role of educator and thought-leader.
There you have it, our five best landscaping blogs for 2014! As I mentioned earlier, if you feel like your company and blog should be on this list please email me. I'd love to have more on my radar.
From all of us at Landscape Leadership, we wish all of you a very prosperous 2015! Get after it!!