Solving Your Content Problem
A couple of years ago, I led a webinar for NADCA members about seasonal advertising, and during the Q&A period at the end of the webinar, I fielded several questions about where to get content for your website. Content can be a challenge, especially if you have big dreams for a robust web presence but limited time or resources for creating the content you need. While creating the kind of content that will drive people to your website isn’t necessarily easy — it needs to be high-quality, well-written and ideally more than 500 words — you can put a plan in place to help you get started.
Step 1: Ask Some Questions
Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), you need to know what you’ll be writing about. However, even deciding that can be overwhelming to novice writers. There’s a quick trick to developing an entire list of topics that will keep you writing for months: Write down the top five or 10 questions you get from customers.
- What is air duct cleaning?
- How do I know when I need my air ducts cleaned?
- How much does air duct cleaning cost?
- How do I choose an air duct cleaning company?
- How do I know when the job was done properly?
Each of those questions can yield an entire article about that topic. Take a neutral approach to your answer (i.e., don’t make it a marketing piece for your business, but rather an educational piece for consumers) to keep content useful, and readers will grow to appreciate your company, see you as a resource and, ideally, want to do business with you.
Step 2: Be Natural
When you’ve got your topic nailed down, it’s time to write. How do you decide what words to use? How do you know what to say? The best and only thing to do is be natural. Don’t try to use words you wouldn’t normally use or write in a tone that is completely foreign to you. However, professionalism is key; your website is the front door of your business and often is the first experience potential customers have with your company. Poorly written content, or content that doesn’t sound professional will compromise their first impression of you. Write like you’re talking to a customer.
If you’re not comfortable being the writer, identify who in your company or network is able to help out. Maybe you know someone with an interest or background in writing who will take on the project. You can also find freelance writers on networks like Upwork.com. If you do have someone else helping with the writing, make sure they stick to the professional, natural tone you want for your business’s website content.
Step 3: Create a Schedule
It’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of a new project, but after a while, many new initiatives fall by the wayside. Develop a schedule for how often you want to post new content on your website and make every effort to stick to it. This is important for a couple of reasons: Frequently updated websites (posting new content about twice a month) won’t get stale and outdated, and Google’s search algorithms give a higher ranking to websites that are updated often, which makes it easier for potential customers to find you in online searches. If you aren’t confident you’ll be able to stick to the schedule, involve someone who will either manage the process or who can deliver on time without a lot of hand-holding.
Step 4: Review Metrics
With any job you do, feedback is key. It’s what tells you what worked, what didn’t and how to improve. Posting content on your website is no different—you need to measure how your content performs to know if you need to make changes going forward. Google Analytics is a free tool mentioned in many past DucTales articles that allows you to track activity on your website and see what pages people visit and what they do while they’re on your site. Tracking metrics like how many people viewed your post, if they clicked for more information and whether they made an appointment can help you see if your content is doing what you want it to do: Help people discover your company and contract for services.
Find inspiration with the following writing prompts developed by Gini Dietrich, public relations expert.
FILL-IN-THE-BLANK WRITING PROMPTS
- Our services help customers by ________
- Customers love our service because _______
- We solve ______ for _______
- How I got started doing ________
- The ____ things you should avoid in HVAC system cleaning
QUESTION WRITING PROMPTS
- What is the behind-the-scenes look at your business?
- What is your process? Can you share it externally?
- What’s the history of the organization?
- What do you do better than anyone else in your industry?
- Why should prospects care about your organization?
- What is something you disagree with in your industry?
- What are some things everyone should avoid in your industry?
EXTERNAL WRITING PROMPTS
- While attending an industry event, what is everyone discussing?
- What are your competitors writing about?
- Why do people buy from you? What’s the emotion behind their decisions?
- What are the pain points of your customers?
- What is something you wished everyone knew about your industry?
PROMPTS FOR HIGHLIGHTING PEOPLE
- Industry experts
- People you