Don’t Be Content with Sub-Par Online Content

Don’t Be Content with Sub-Par Online Content

Most body shop marketing types know that well-written content is an important part of any successful marketing campaign. It’s like anything else, just doing it isn’t enough and content creation and management isn’t a “check box” type of thing.

For many years, body shops, from small independents all the way to massive MSOs, were reluctant to jump into the Internet game, hesitating to design top-notch sites, creating apps and committing to blogs for the long-term.

WSI Connect’s President Luke Middendorf uses his content creation strategies to help body shops and other businesses online.

Now, shop owners and managers who previously didn’t know SEO from the CIA are 100 percent in it to win in the online game, because they’ve seen the results and benefits of having a strong Web presence.

Here are a few sage suggestions from someone who has made a living out of helping body shops and other companies and trumping their competition online. By figuring out how to create content that is getting the results they want and with numbers that are climbing all the time, WSI Connect in Concord, CA uses targeted content strategies that just plain work.

WSI Connect President Luke Middendorf’s mantra when it comes to online content is: Stay in the game and never rest on your laurels once you experience a modicum of success.

“Curating and distributing content is part of a long-term strategy,” Middendorf said. “You should not expect one good blog post to instantly lead to a new sale. Developing good content helps you build a relationship with your customers and prospects, as well as strengthening your alliances with your insurance companies and vendors. Over time you foster this relationship by continually producing quality content that is relevant to your line of business. Good content will encourage more people to follow your brand and then when it’s time for them to make a purchase, your business will immediately come to mind.”

One mistake many small companies make is that they don’t create content that connects them to their customers, according to Middendorf. “Your marketing content should focus on your customers and solving any problems or issues they may have that relate to your business. The best thing you can do to get started is to fix your unique selling proposition (USP). Why should customers buy your products and services? What can your company provide them? Make your content more about problem-solving than about self-promotion.”

Content should vary depending on where you’re posting it, Middendorf said. “Your blog’s content should be informative and less sales-oriented. People who read blogs don’t want to be sold, but you can be a little more direct with the content for your site. It’s all about the customer’s expectations and how to deliver that to them.”

Frequency is important when it comes to web sites, blogs and e-mail newsletters. “If you put out a blog post once a month, you are not going to draw much of a following,” Middendorf explained. “Another mistake in content marketing is not being consistent and planning ahead. Your company should be producing content regularly. To ensure that you do this, you need to develop a strategy for marketing your content and then put it into motion. What topics will you write about? Who will write the blogs? How often will you blog? All of these questions should be answered as you are preparing your strategy. There is a definite shift now towards inbound marketing. This involves drawing customers to you instead of your company having to go and get them. Good content is the cornerstone of an inbound marketing campaign.”

Most marketers and businesses give up on content marketing too quickly. “If you set up a plan and stick to it, you will see significant results, but it may take time,” Middendorf said. “When they don’t understand the reality of the process, it is easy to get quickly discouraged and stop producing content. Once you have developed a strategy for curating and distributing content, stick with it. Map out your editorial calendar for six months and then continually review it to ensure accuracy, timeliness and relevance. If Google sees that you’re adding and changing content all the time and updating it regularly as well as posting it on social media, for example, they will reward you with better rankings.”

Rick Rehm is the IT Director and Compliance Manager at Mike’s Auto Body, with 13 locations in northern California. He has been working with Middendorf for the past year or so and the results have been phenomenal, he explained.

“The most intriguing part to Luke’s approach to our revamped website was his approach to create a single website for our end consumers and 13 locations websites built in the single website for location SEO,” Rehm said. “This way, we could create content that specifically addressed the customers at each of our locations. We have been able to drive traffic to those specific locations from search engines. We have seen a 300% increase in traffic in a huge part to Luke’s efforts, due to the right content and in addition to the power of our blog.”

Ed Attanasio

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist and Autobody News columnist based in San Francisco.

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