I’ve been asked by many people over the years about why I would put a particular piece of content in a certain place over another. It seems obvious that there are different kinds of places to put content, but there is still a huge lack of understanding about how different avenues are best for different kinds of content. Specifically, there are questions about the difference between blog, social, website, and email content. The differences aren’t always so obvious or easy to explain. Sometimes it’s more an art than a science. However, I’ll provide some guidance. Just remember, there is room for a lot of variation as no single recommendation is static. Many times it depends upon your content, website, capabilities, and even resources.
The Difference Between a Blog, Social, Website Content, and Email
For non-marketers, without a process, it can be confusing what content to develop, and how to develop more content. What do you create? Where do you put it? How do you promote it? Why this and not that? It can be difficult to figure out, but once there is a template you can fill in the blanks.
Below is a solid guide to put you on the right track.
For the most part, this is evergreen content. Yes, it can be modified, but it is really meant to stay relevant. Aside from the content about your products, and this is usually where 75% of companies stop, you should have information that is highly valuable to shoppers. One of my favorite pieces of website content actually doesn’t reside on the website, but is promoted there. It is called ‘gated content’. It’s valuable content that someone is willing to provide their email address in exchange to receive (see email section below for details). Other pieces of website content that are useful include a video library. This can be fantastic. However, it needs to be well designed and manageable. Even without a library, you certainly can add video content to your website.
What most dealerships miss in terms of web content is your differentiation! Why your dealership? Most companies just don’t have it in them to build this information. They just don’t want to get into their WHY. In fact, this matters to many customers. If your competitor does it and you don’t, then you are at a disadvantage. It’s interesting because it doesn’t take a lot to do, and ultimately can form the foundation for your messaging, corporate values, direction, vision, and more. Yet, many just don’t do it.
A step down from determining your unique value proposition is providing prospects insight into your operations. This can come in the form of why you have the product you have, why operate the way you do, your history, your ethos, etc. Building this may be a bit easier than a full-blown differentiation while still providing a lot of value to shoppers.
Many website owners get confused about the difference between what should be built into their website as opposed to being in their blog. Therefore, they stop at all things products and services. This is a big error. There’s a lot of opportunities for a well-designed website to have deep and engaging content that assists your prospects. This is where understanding the buyer’s journey is very important. By building into your website content that aims to address questions and concerns of early-stage shoppers, you can garner more attention while also improving the overall shopping experience. Ultimately this creates rapport and a strong brand relationship.
Blog content is really more about the transitory now. It is good to think of it as a journey. After all, that was its original intention. For most dealerships, they cannot imagine what that would be. From a shopper’s perspective, I’d love to know how one year’s model compares to the previous. I’d love to have updates on what’s going on in the industry. I’d like to know about regional and local trends.
The problem for most dealerships is there are few within the dealership who can stand back and develop content, let alone think of topics. Those that can do it are way ahead of their competitors. Fortunately, there are many ways to provide content including video, audio, or even transcriptions (eliminating the writing component).
Here at NetSource, we provide blog content to many clients but it isn’t the same as dealership insight. If you work with us on blogging, we can extract knowledge, and turn that into excellent and unique blog content.
Many of our clients wonder about what can be useful for social posting. Well, there’s good news here. If you do blog posts, then your social can largely be about promoting the blog. This has multiple benefits which include, driving traffic to your website, increasing interest in your website, demonstrating value, SEO benefits, and more. When you do not have a blog, social can take its place, to a degree. However, nothing really substitutes for driving folks to your website from social. This is just one of the many reasons why blogs are such handy tools.
The most important aspect of email is list building. After all, who are you producing email for if you don’t have a list? Even having a list doesn’t make sense unless there’s an intentional message you want to deliver to that audience.
Building a list of PROSPECTS is the centerpiece of dealership email marketing. This is why we develop “gated content” for our dealership clients. Gated content is highly valuable content that website visitors want to get. The content is called “gated” because it requires filling out a form (including email) to receive it. Once the email is acquired, we know that the individual is shopping for your offerings and now we can provide them with email content that can assist in their shopping effort. For this, we develop and deliver a sequence of emails to answer their questions. The email content is designed to assist shoppers in moving through their buying process. Nurture emails can be extremely helpful in expediting the closing of deals. Their automated nature allows prospects to get educated on their own while improving their perception of you as a helpful ally in their shopping experience. The more robust your overall content development, the more benefits you can deliver to them via video, audio, articles, etc.
Another thing to note about gated content is that we like to create a blog article promoting the content. This allows the blog to form as a “landing page”, which can be promoted and referenced as needed. It should be becoming clear the interrelationship between these different mediums.
The second most used approach again relies upon the list that was built with content as well as any other email submissions (such as contact forms). We send monthly reminders of blog content. These emails are useful for those who either are still shopping, or even those who have purchased. It allows your brand to remain relevant and continue to deliver value with very little effort.
In summary, it is best to utilize these four pillars together. They should be executed in an integrated fashion for maximum effectiveness. Even as I create content, I determine how it will work together. For example, this blog post was created because I needed to explain some basic principles. It really was born from another blog post that I needed to construct. However, I didn’t want that post to be bogged down explaining these principles. So, I will merely reference this one with a hyperlink. It’s a neat and simple way to go. In addition, for us, there are SEO benefits to building this additional content. Not only that, but our sales team can also reference this material, as well as customers and prospects. So, you can see this is somewhat evergreen content. However, if things do change in a significant way we can edit this post.
I avoided talking about paid social because the primary focus was on what content where. However, paid social can be an excellent avenue to accelerate the distribution of your content. Paid social works fantastic with blog content or website gated content.
As noted above, there’s a high degree of interrelationship between the different mediums. This is how you obtain maximum effectiveness of each and provide maximum value to your prospects.