Many AEC companies struggle with the idea of integrating blogging to their marketing mix for a variety of reasons: 1) It is hard to measure the return on investment (ROI), 2) It takes resources – often 18 or more months to see any results and 3) Firms are unsure where to begin – and what to talk about.
The vast majority of your business probably still comes from existing relationships. These relationships have been nurtured for years, so the thought of a blog attracting new customers is, well, quite difficult to believe. However, with more of your buyers finding and vetting firms via social media, it is important to recognize how valuable online marketing can be to your firm. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you aren’t online, you aren’t relevant.
If you are considering starting a blog – or you have a blog but don’t regularly maintain it – here are some benefits of blogging for AEC companies:
1. Social media is the new word-of-mouth, and blogging is a valuable piece of this equation. Think of your blog as a forum for sharing news, updates and industry insights – where your company becomes a thought leader in the industry.
2. A blog can build brand awareness. Coupled with Twitter and LinkedIn, to name a few, you can increase your visibility significantly. People who share high-quality content, photos and industry news will garner respect and be followed.
3. A blog can help you build trust and credibility with prospects because you are sharing your knowledge. Keep in mind that a key element to building trust and credibility is that the information needs to be useful. While it is newsworthy to announce the completion of a project or that you hired X to your team, in order for your blog to be truly valuable, it needs to have depth. This means sharing industry news or sharing your perspective on a hot-industry issue (more blog-topic ideas can be found here).
4. A blog allows prospects to get a more accurate picture of you. One of the primarily goals of your blog should be to give people an accurate picture of your company. A well-written blog can help prospects understand your work, your philosophy and your company’s culture.
5. The other benefit of a blog is that when your company publishes good, solid content, it can only help you with search engine optimization (SEO). Google puts a lot of emphasis on high-quality, relevant content, so having multiple posts that use keywords that people would search for in an AEC firm will heighten your visibility.
It is important to note that, in my opinion, you shouldn’t focus on how many comments, shares or impressions you get from your social media efforts. You aren’t selling advertising space (where those statistics are important); you are selling a high-level professional service.
Instead, commit to sharing quality content. When you do, you’ll start to see more people reaching out to you from your online efforts.