I’ve heard homebuilders describe the two most difficult things about creating a consistent and effective blog for their companies: 1) Getting started, and 2) Keeping it going.
If you’re the one responsible for the blog on your homebuilder website, that may not sound funny to you at all. I’ve got good news for you: The solution to those two (very, very real) problems can be one and the same thing. With the creation of a content marketing plan, you can get over the hurdles of: What do I have to say about homebuilding that someone will want to read, and what am I going to write about this week?
So what does a content marketing plan look like? It’s not all that complicated. It takes some time and effort, but when you create it and start using it, it makes it a lot easier to get started producing content. And on top of that, it means you don’t have to stare at a blank computer screen and try to come up with ideas on the spur of the moment.
The key elements are: Topics, timing, authorship, and connection.
Obviously you have to plan out what kind of content you’re going to create. Your topics should be things that prospective homeowners want to know. You might start by creating a list of commonly asked questions. What do prospects ask you on a regular basis? Create a blog topic for each one of those. What are common mistakes or misconceptions about the building process? List all the topics you can think of and then think about how to explain them in a way that matters to (and helps) homeowners. Think about new developments you’ve heard about in the building industry. Think about how those would be helpful to homeowners (not just builders). Make a list of trends you observe (I’m not talking so much about which colors are hot—although that’s OK, too). Talk about broader trends such as open-space design, green building, sustainable building, aging-in-place, trends in kitchen use, etc.
Figure out how often you should be posting new material to your blog. Some builders post once a month, but that may not be enough to keep things fresh and to pull people into your website. You’ll probably want to do at least one new blog a week. Create a schedule and assign specific topics to specific dates. Be consistent. You can write things ahead of time and have them lined up and ready to go so that you’re not scrambling at the last minute. I’d recommend having one quarter’s worth of topics determined at a time. It’s actually easier to do that than to try to come up with topics every month.
A lot of builders fall down here. Who is actually going to write the posts? It won’t happen if nobody is responsible. It doesn’t have to be the owner (although it could appear in his or her name). Sometimes a post will carry more weight if a specialist writes it. If you have a designer on staff, you may want to have him or her write about topics within that genre. If you don’t have any good writers on staff, it’s OK to enlist the help of an outside professional. Just make sure that any writer you hire is able to capture the character of your company and is able to write content in your voice (in other words, it might not be exactly the way you’d say it, but the meaning is totally in line with what you’d say).
Think about how to connect the material in your blog to additional information you have. It could be a link back to a specific page on your website. Or it could be a link to download an eBook that goes into more detail on a subject. This allows you to engage prospects more and even provides a means for you to reach out to them. It’s really not terribly hard. Here’s an example: Let’s say you want more information about setting up an effective website for your business. I could include a line that says, “Click here to download our free 4 Website Ingredients You Can’t Afford to Overlook eBook.” If you happen to click on that link it will take you directly to a page where you can download that eBook.
You can create a content marketing plan. Just think about topics, timing, authorship, and connection.