Should movers blog for business?By Eric Anders • Aug 13th, 2012 • Category: Advertising, Social Media Marketing, TRENDS IN RELOCATION
Shortly after subscribing to the email feed, a new visitor asked if I thought it would be 'profitable' for a professional certified sales consultant or relocation business development manager to have their own online presence.
“My company already has a website” she wrote “but I was wondering if it would help to have my own”.
I'm probably not the most qualified person to answer it, however. My professional expertise is in operations, not sales.
Having said that, I think every COD sales consultant, new corporate business development manager, and small business owner would derive more benefit from a personal blog and Twitter account more than they would a website.
In today's marketplace, you need your own place to retreat to if necessary. If you wake up one day and find your employer closed their doors on your future or unexpectedly removed the roof over your family's head, you need someplace to protect your personal business resources and professional identity until you can get yourself reestablished.
Several of RELORT's guest bloggers have successfully transferred their professional expertise and specialized skills to their personal platforms. Their reputation in the marketplace has both followed and supported them into their new careers.
Like them, the impressive credentials of my new guest show she has a lot to offer not only to potential customers and corporate clients but also prospective employers – especially the new breed of internet entrepreneurs now getting involved in redefining the moving and storage industry worldwide.
Inbound vs. outbound marketing
Instead of relying on the tired, worn-out, and increasingly ineffective “outbound” marketing techniques like expensive “find-a-mover” lead gen sites, industry trade shows, or old fashioned print “Yellow Page” advertising; cold calling, email blasts to mass-produced (and purchased) customer lists, or outsourced telemarketing, an inexpensive and easy-to-use personal blogging platform allows users to "get found" by interested customers shopping online for their professional goods or services.
For example, I started this blog several years ago with absolutely NO content creation or web publishing experience using the fantastic open-source WordPress content management system, and its extensive library or free plugins and widgets.
I knew ZERO about SEO (search engine optimization), ZILCH about SEM (search engine marketing) and EVEN LESS about the importance of keywords in pagerank placement. The initial start-up cost was less than $125
Since the new site didn't 'sell' anything, it wasn't necessary to advertise. Interest in the effort was communicated via word-or-mouth and cursory involvement in some of free new (and immensely popular) social media start-ups like Reddit, StumbleUpon, Facebook and the micro-blogging platform, Twitter.
Today, however, I can proudly boast that there are enough anxious, inexperienced consumers, and frustrated or overextended hiring managers interested in the depth of my moving industry experience and professional credibility that my personal lil' blog now has more daily pageview visits than most of my former employers websites.
Content creation and internal "LinkJuice"
To achieve the maximum benefit in the personal publishing medium, professional bloggers recommend that newbies add new content often using keywords that will attract visitor interest. This keeps the all-important search engines bots and spiders interested in coming back to your site for more.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the benefit of this expert guidance when I first started contributing to popular online forums groups like City-Data and the professional networking communities at Linkedin.
There was no magic keyword density formula or stealth SEM plan in my start-up strategy! I simply wrote about what I knew best or had experience with, had a personal interest in, or had an strong opinion on.
Then I used my professional industry background and transportation experience to engage interested newcomers in a meaningful conversation and honestly answer their questions or concerns. The increase in pageview traffic came quite naturally (and honestly) because of visitor interest; not keyword management.
If you're a regular follower, you've probable noticed the use of both internal and external links. Some visitors spend a significant amount of time “browsing” the niche content because of these 'Related Articles' references.
Although I'm not a huge user of social media, about 18% of RELORT's monthly visits are the results of referral traffic from popular networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Most of the input shared on those venues are delivered via easy to install plugins and widgets.
You might notice that the site has more outbound links than inbound links. Except for the MoversReviewed.com staple in the right sidebar, there is no brand preference or individual vendor loyalty. The RELO Roundtable blog name and my professional reputation within the household goods moving and storage industry, however, are included in all 500+ relocation related pages indexed by the search engines worldwide.
Except for articles published by guest bloggers, you'll find a series of FOLLOW US and SUBSCRIBE resources below each new RELO Roundtable post. They're basically the same as the “Connect and Share!” buttons in the right sidebar on every page viewed by visitors.
As an ops guy I think of them as road maps to the different venues and personal and professional networking communities where I hang out online.
Communities, however, can also mean either virtual venues like those indexed under the “Blogroll” and RSS feeds in the right sidebar, or the bricks-and-mortar relocation related businesses you have collaborative relationship with right in your own neighborhood.
Several successful sales consultants with personal blogs have reciprocal links with local banks, credit unions, realtors, home-stagers, home improvement stores, professional employment recruiters, etc..
They're not relying on just their employer for their sales success. They're using their personal blog to manage their own professional reputation and new customer relationships in the moving and storage marketplace.
What do I “blog” about?
It's fairly easy to create content when you write about what you know. You'll find an excellent opportunity every time you solve a problem for a anxious customer or help a distraught corporate client or HR specialist jump across another relocation hurdle.
When I first started this project, the outline included only a handful of topics. Today there are 121 Categories Under the Hood and over five hundred articles indexed that interested visitors (and search engine bots) have to choose from.
I bet most industry professionals could find something to write about the following topics:
- “Local Moving” coupons and packing material 'sales' incentives
- Personal and professional credentials
- Company experience and capacity
- Previous articles you've written or had published
- Peak season reminders
- Pending van line registration cut offs
- Company service acknowledgments or personal achievement awards
- Industry trade association announcements and reminders
- Trash pick-up policies in your community
- School closing dates
- Price reductions on local properties
- Home-staging and DIY packing tips
Need help getting started? Drop me a note. If you already have your own blog, please share your ideas and an example of your work in the comment section below.
Mover Ratings: The importance of WOM – RELO Roundtable
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