I don't believe the biggest obstacle to regular blogging is lack of time, like many insist. The biggest roadblock is coming up with interesting ideas and topics to write about.
I base this on our agency's own experience working with green industry companies. If we ask a client to submit a blog post to us once each week, rarely will we see it, typically hearing the excuse, "I didn't have time". If we give the same client a very specific topic to write about along with a few simple guidelines they will almost always produce the blog post. Time becomes less of an issue when you have a topic at hand.
Topic relevancy is another issue. We often hear this from businesses: "What can we possibly write about that would be interesting to our customers and prospects?"
Does any of this sound familiar?
You can create content on a regular basis that resonates with your prospects and customers. Let's dive into two ways you can kickstart your blogging efforts and generate topics that are guaranteed to resonate with readers.
Frequently asked questions
The easiest way to develop topics for content, especially blogging, is to take some time and hammer out a list of the most frequently asked questions you get from your customers and prospects. If these folks are asking you these questions on a regular basis you can bet there are others online seeking the same answers. You want them to find your business. You do that by answering their questions with your content. This is exactly what the best landscaping blogs do.
Break your FAQs down by service or product category to make this task easier and to come up with more ideas. And get input from everyone involved in your operation since they are often asked different questions. For example, here are a few lawn care related questions:
"How soon after spraying can my kids play on the lawn?"
"How can I stop my dog from destroying my lawn?"
"At what height should I cut my grass?"
These are all questions that can be expanded upon and answered in a blog post. Answering common questions like this on your website not only attracts potential new customers but it helps educate your existing customers as well.
And don't be afraid to tackle questions about the cost of your products and services. Remember, this is 2013, not 1993. Consumers expect transparency today. And they expect to find information about pricing on your website. Not including pricing information on your site only adds unnecessary friction to your sales process. Consumers don't want to pick up the phone or email you to get pricing information--they want to find it on your website.
I'm not suggesting you include a price list of all your products and services on your website. I'm simply suggesting you answer the many cost-related questions you are regularly asked by your customers and prospects. For instance, a blog post on the topic of, "Comparing the cost of flagstone, brick pavers and concrete", would be helpful to someone interested in building a new patio.
Exercise: Grab a sheet of paper (or your computer) and create a document with five to ten headings listing your products and/or services. Under each heading, have your team brainstorm five to ten frequently asked questions pertaining to this product or service. You'll end up with 25 to 100 FAQs that your team can now turn into unique blog posts.
What are the most common objections you hear from your potential customers before signing a contract? Here are a couple I used to hear when I operated my landscape design firm:
"Such and such company isn't going to charge me a design fee. Why are you?"
"Why should I work with a general contractor like you instead of hiring a full-service landscaper that can do everything in-house?"
Man, I tell you, I wish I had a blog back then to answer these questions!
Don't run from objections. Tackle them head on in your content. This is the type of information your prospective customers are really looking for. It's what your competitors are too scared to write about.
Exercise: Have your sales people write down all of the common objections they hear throughout the sales process. Assign each to a sales person as a blog topic and have them answer the objection. Not only is this great content for your website, but the act of writing will ingrain the responses in the minds of your sales people (I'll be releasing my Jedi Sales Training course next week :-)
Between these FAQs and customer objections you should not lack for content ideas to get you started. And once you start, these ideas will snowball into an avalanche of other helpful topics that will resonate with your customers and prospects. Just. Get. Started!
image credit: McKay Landscape Lighting