If you haven’t started blogging yet, you are not alone. Many dealers know they “should” be blogging, but don’t know where to start. Others are not sure they can commit to the time it takes or are not convinced of the benefits. All are valid concerns. But, with some planning on the front end and consistent attention along the way, starting and maintaining an automotive blog can be both easy and good for business.
Blogging is good for business
Blogging is a great way to interact with consumers and when implemented properly, it’s also a very effective search engine optimization (SEO) tool. Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo are constantly looking for new content to index and a blog is a good way to connect with them.
However, getting found is just the first step. More business is what we’re all after, and a blog can help you attain that goal. According to a study by Hubspot, a marketing software provider, companies that blog get 55% more web site visitors, have 434% more indexed pages and 97% more inbound links. Imagine the amount of increased visibility you can get from a blog – that’s definitely good for business.
A little planning can make your blogging worry-free
Follow these five steps to make the most of your blogging experience:
1. Establish a goal for what you want the blog to accomplish. Building brand awareness is going to naturally happen as a result of whatever you do with your blog, and generating leads is a great bonus on the rare occasions that it happens, but what are your immediate goals? Are you going to be a thought leader for your automotive community? Perhaps be a community voice in favor of your favorite topic(s)? How are you going to engage your readers? Be clear about what you want your blog to do and keep that goal in mind as you develop your content.
2. Create a content publication schedule. Decide ahead of time how often you will post new content and what topics you will write about. Put it on a calendar and agree to stick with it.
- Frequency – Start with something manageable, whether it’s once a week or once a month. The key is to maintain a consistent schedule. Keep in mind that Monday and Friday mornings are the best times to post new content for increased readership.
- Content – Choose topics that are timely and of interest to your audience. You can refine and add to the list over time, but it will serve as a roadmap to keep you on track. When considering topics, think about what you know best and what consumers are interested in. Consider writing about things other than your business. Share your thoughts on the industry or tips and tricks you’ve learned. The goal is not to sell something, but to provide something of value. Include images that will engage and draw the reader in. And remember to keep it short, 300-500 words is a good length.
3. Share the blogging responsibilities. Enlist a team of thought leaders from different areas of your dealership, like your service or F&I manager, to become content contributors. Different perspectives will keep your content fresh, provide a broader perspective and keep the full burden off of one person.
4. Optimize your blog for SEO performance. Carefully consider how you link to and from your blog to get the best results from the search engines. Try to include at least three links. Be sure one links to your website if your blog is not on your primary domain, and make sure the other links are relevant to your content and your dealership.
5. Make your blog easy to find. Use Facebook and Twitter to notify your fans of new blog posts and make it easy for readers to share your content. Include social sharing buttons on your blog to facilitate the process. You can also add your blog URL to your business cards, email signature and in your printed materials.
These basic guidelines will get you started. A wealth of resources are available both online and offline to help you every step of the way. You may also want to consider the expertise of your web solutions provider to help you think out of the box for content topics, linking strategy and optimizing your blog for strong search engine results.
Follow the lead of other influential dealer bloggers. Wally Higginbotham, general manager for Porsche of Hilton Head, is a good example. Wally has been blogging since early 2008 and has built a reputation as an authority on the Porsche brand. His passion for all things Porsche was the inspiration for his “Porschebahn” blog (http://porschebahn.wordpress.com), which has attracted more than 640,000 views and increased exposure for his dealership.
Creating a blog that generates business success takes time, effort and careful planning. It can generate SEO value for your website, establish you as a thought leader in your community, help build brand awareness, generate more leads, and may even help you sell more cars. It’s definitely worth it. So, don’t wait to get started.