Dear Plumbing Diary

Your plumbing business should be blogging, and here’s why.

You may have read in print articles, or by searching online for business marketing tips, that blogs are a good way to increase search engine optimization (SEO) for your plumbing or HVAC business. The information available to promote your services and brand is readily available with a computer or access to the internet. Search “Can a blog help my plumbing business?” and you’ll be greeted with about 33,900,000 results. That’s a lot of blogging advice for plumbing businesses.

Not everything you see in the results, however, is recent, or accurate. Some of the results from your search could have been written many years ago. While this advice might still be relevant, technology changes frequently, and your best bet is to stick with information that’s been written or published in the past year by known authorities in the plumbing industry.

As a PR agency specializing in home service businesses, creating dynamic and results-oriented blogs is something we do every day. Tracking and reporting on a client’s blog success is also part of what we do, and because we study these metrics very carefully, we can offer fact-based advice and blogging tactics to help you create the best blog for your plumbing business. To help businesses get started, here are some of the frequently asked questions we receive about blogs and blogging:

Should my plumbing business have a blog?

Absolutely. No question about it, blogging is a surefire way to boost your SEO, if done correctly. It’s also a valid lead-generation and business promotion tool. According to Hubspot’s Eighth Annual State of Inbound Marketing report, a company’s ROI is more likely to increase for companies that maintain a blog. The report suggests businesses that are dedicated to blogging can see a 13 percent increase in ROI, year after year. 
But I already have a website.

Your website is a static presence, and while most can be updated frequently and news items added in an instant, a blog is a platform where clients feel more connected. You can set your preferences to allow them to be able to make a comment, ask a question or give feedback in a calm and non-threatening way. Even if you don’t allow comments on your company blog, it’s still a more personal platform where customers can read about business.

I don’t have a writer on staff; should I still blog?

Most small- to medium-sized plumbing businesses don’t have a professional writer on staff. You can always engage a PR agency or a professional writer to produce your blogs. Many business owners see the benefits of positioning themselves as experts through a regularly updated blog.

Do blogs really work to increase my business?

There are no guarantees in life, but for every client who has created and then faithfully put the time and effort into a business blog, we have been able to track increases in website visits, engagement on social media, email sign-ups and white paper downloads, if applicable. Part of the beauty of a plumbing business blog is that the metrics are easy to compile and the results can be used to more effectively run your blog, and ultimately your business.

Once you have created your business blog, it will require your attention for it to be successful. Search engines take blog content very seriously when it comes to ranking. Once your blog is established, search engines will start paying attention and begin considering your blog’s content when determining your website’s page rank. The more authoritative your blog content is, the more likely it will appear organically in search results for your targeted audiences. As you become better at understanding your target audience’s content wants and needs, the better your blog will become. And as your blog becomes more popular, you and your business will be more likely to pop up in searches, and the more likely you’ll be considered as the expert in your market.

Your blog can’t do it alone. Being engaged in social media is all about being social, and that means having a Facebook page, a Google business page, a LinkedIn page and maybe a Twitter account. Cross pollination is a term many social media leaders use to describe taking existing content and re-using it across many other platforms in different ways. A blog post can create fodder for a Tweet, a Facebook post or even a short YouTube video. Your plumbing blog can be a gold mine for content across all your social media accounts.

The biggest fear about blogging, besides how to start one, is what to talk about. Plumbing is plumbing, and once you tackle the most popular topics, and have covered leaky toilets or water heaters numerous times, what’s left? Blogs are so much more than mirrors of your website or explanations of services. It’s about positioning your company as the experts in your market. Today, leadership in your industry requires you to be current, on top of trends, knowledgeable about innovations and new products. Here are my favorite tips on how to come up with new and engaging blogs for plumbing and basically any service business:

Read, read, read

Stay current on plumbing industry publications, emails, websites and competitor blogs. While you should never copy someone else’s content, it is important to be in the know. Innovations in plumbing products can be found in trade journals, but you may want to consider blogging about things that are popular in architecture magazines, home remodeling shows on TV and in your local newspaper real estate section. 

Use your employees as content 

You may find that some of your employees may have the ability or desire to write blogs about their areas of expertise. Rather than blog about a specific repair, ask employees to write about a day in the life of a dispatcher or scheduler. Ask long-time employees to write about their experience with your company. Often, readers will find this content more interesting and relatable.

Follow local and national trends for topics

Are the locals in your area interested in “green” businesses and practices? Does your community prize businesses that regularly give to charitable causes? Are you located in an area that suffers from droughts? Find out what your community is interested in and blog about those topics as they relate to your business. 

Answer customer questions

Your installers, technicians, phone support and other personnel have heard hundreds of questions and can probably give you a list of the top five they hear on a frequent basis. Have an expert in your business answer one question from a client each week, in the form of an “Ask the Expert” blog post. This type of blog post can provide you with an endless supply of content, and posting as an expert will further enhance your image as a leader in the industry.

Blogging can be an easy, hands-on way to engage your existing audience, reach new audiences and help your business establish itself as a thought leader. When done well, you might be surprised at the actual increases in web traffic, leads and conversions.

Heather Ripley is CEO of Ripley PR, a global B2B public relations agency specializing in home service and building trades. For additional information, visit www.ripleypr.com. 

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