I’ve been asked by many people over the years why I would put a particular piece of content in a certain place over another. From websites to email blasts, 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. The differences between blog, social, website and email content aren’t always so obvious or easy to explain – sometimes it’s more an art than a science. However, there are a few guidelines you can follow as you go about making those decisions. 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
Without a process, deciding what content to develop and how to develop more content can be confusing. What do you create? Where do you put it? How do you promote it? Why this and not that? The best strategy is to create a template where 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 no matter when the customer is accessing it. About 75% of companies simply provide information about their products and stop there. We believe you can stand out by making content that is answers common questions and provides solutions for potential customers.
One of my favorite pieces of website content doesn’t actually 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). A video library is another fantastic idea. This can include RV tips and tricks, a video introduction to your dealership and more. 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 clarifying what makes them different! Why your dealership? Most companies just spend the time to get into explaining their WHY. However, this fact matters to many customers. If your competitor does it and you don’t, then you are at a disadvantage. If you need some direction in this process, check out our blog post on how to differentiate your dealership from the competition. It will only take a little bit of effort to get serious about what makes your dealership stand out, and ultimately what you come up with can form the foundation for your messaging, corporate values, direction, vision, and more. Yet many just don’t do it.
Just behind determining your unique value 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. To solve this “problem,” they put only products and services in their wesbite content. 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 outside of a blog. 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.
Think of blog content as a journey through what’s relevant to the shopper today. Many dealerships struggle with identifying blog topics, but many already have a wealth of industry knowledge that translates perfectly to blog content. 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 invest the time in this step. 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 dealership clients. If you work with us on blogging, we can extract knowledge from your dealership insight and turn that into compelling and unique blog content.
The good news about social posts is that 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, boosting your SEO 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.
Outside of promoting your blog, social is a great place to connect with your customers. It provides a place for you to interact with potential buyers by posting helpful, interesting or even entertaining content that will encourage them to comment. Responding back to customers or posting content that poses a question makes your future and former customers feel included, which builds their rapport with your business.
The most important aspect of email is list building. This means your website will need quality content that will motivate your potential customers to provide their personal information so you can reach them with your email marketing.
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. The interrelationship between these different mediums should be becoming clear at this point.
It takes quality content to build your list, and then you’ll want to have quality content to send in emails to these interested potential customers. We like to use the strategy of sending monthly reminders of blog content that’s relevant to customers who have already purchased or who are thinking about purchasing. 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. Integrating them maximizes their effectiveness. As I create content, I determine how it will work together with other mediums. For example, this blog post was created because I needed to explain some basic principles of creating content. It was actually born from another blog post that touched on the topic, but I wanted to take the time to expand on it. In the original blog post, I’ll link this one in a hyperlink. Separating the two topics makes it neat and easy to find for our customers looking for tips, which in turn helps our SEO.
This content didn’t dive into talking about paid social because the primary focus was on where to put what content. However, paid social can take your content to the next level by getting it in front of the right people who are most likely to engage with it, whether it be blog content or gated website content.
As you begin to determine how to best create content for your business, reference this guide. Remember that all the different mediums are intertwined and using each of them in relation to one another maximizes your effectiveness with your prospects. With a little planning and effort, your online content can take your business to the next level!