To Blog or Not to Blog that is the Question

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In the current landscape, with compression of inventory and consumers increasingly frustrated with the current choices, it is extremely important to have strategies in place that allow your dealership to drive more traffic to your website. If you have been following our blog for any amount of time you will know that here at DTVMS our marketing philosophy is based on four key pillars: 

SEO 

SEM 

Display/video 

Social Media 

The effort of capturing potential in-market shoppers and driving them into your sandbox is worth more than any third-party placement that capitalizes on your inventory on their website. Each of these pillars plays a pivotal role in creating an uncompromising strategy for landing a “lead” or visit directly onto your website. SEM is a ‘right now’ strategy while social continues to be one of the cheapest ways to get your inventory in front of potential customers in a very targeted manner. Display/video allow for an easily consumable, physical representation of your message, and SEO creates the long-term success of your dealership. 

SEO does not find its success because of the amount of inventory that your dealership may potentially have—and let’s face it dealerships have never been able to outrank companies such as Edmund’s, Autotrader’s, etc. It is the local SEO value that dealerships stand to gain the most from. One of the best ways to achieve this local value is by creating and maintaining a consistent blogging strategy. 

Blogging allows your dealership the opportunity to express its brand voice at a minimal cost. If done correctly it can personalize your brand and create a following audience. It also will drive traffic and generate more leads to your website.  

The biggest problem with blogging, in the automotive space, is the inconsistency and lack of brand identity. Both of which can make the entire blog irrelevant to the audience you are trying to capture.  

Effective blogging should create localized content with local keywords that will help you connect with more potential buyers, all while boosting your SEO ranking.  

For those dealers out there looking for an opportunity to win more, especially during these times where each opportunity to capture a potential buyer is crucial, here is a blogging strategy you can implement at your dealerships today: 

Topic: 

Figure out what your topic and purpose are going to be. If your aim is to be an authority within the automotive space in your community then be that. Be consistent, and thoughtful, and plan a set posting strategy with content ready and available to post. Remember that the broader the topic you choose the more content you will have available to post on an ongoing basis. 

Consider: When you utilize a “How To” topic strategy you have every aspect of the automotive space at your fingertips. When you utilize a “Car of the Week” strategy you restrict yourself to a niche interest group.  

Personalize  

Personalizing your blogging experience will increase your following faster than any other aspect of blogging. By choosing themes that you can consistently incorporate throughout all your posts you can boost the overall experience of your reader. If you have an internal copywriter or a dealer-centric persona, make sure to include them in the blog so that consumers can connect your brand with all aspects of your media presence, 

Consider: You don’t have to blog about the automotive industry. Blogging about topics pertinent to your area may be a better way to increase engagement through common interests.  

Accountability 

Like anything else at the operations level, make sure there is accountability. Please, for-the-love of cheese, do not start a blog, write two or three times and then let it fade into obscurity. When customers see a blog that hasn’t been updated in two to three years, they see a lack of consistency and no follow-through. Not exactly the message you want to project. If you aren’t going to use this as an ongoing strategy, if you don’t have the personnel, or perhaps you don’t care enough about writing please! DO NOT BLOG!  

It will cause more harm than good.  

Blogging can be a great strategy for SEO but inconsistency and a badly formed plan are going to hurt you. 

There is a lot that goes into putting an effective blog together. It takes time. It takes skill. It takes responsibility. If you don’t have ownership and accountability, you are not going to reap the benefits. 

Research 

The entire point of creating a blog should be to help your SEO and in order to do that, you have to know what you are trying to achieve. Do your keyword research using tools, like SEMRUSH, where you can quickly see your ranking, discover keywords, and utilize expert knowledge to assist you to rank higher. Be sure that your blog writer understands SEO as well as plagiarism laws so they can fully succeed for your dealership.  

Consistency 

Set a cadence that works for you. One of the biggest mistakes a blogger makes is by setting unrealistic expectations of success and when it comes time to deliver, they do not have the final product available. By setting reasonable and sustainable cadences and expectations we avoid writing that is rushed, riddled with grammatical errors, and disjointed.  

Remember, that it takes a professional copywriter—fully devoted to their craft—one to two hours to compose the first draft of 1,000 words. If your blogger wears multiple hats, a cadence of one blog a day can easily create a situation where they quickly feel defeated and give up on the endeavor. If once a month is all you can do, then do it. If bimonthly is all you can do then do that. Set yourself and your team up for success.  

Have Fun 

Take this chance to showcase your personality. Be witty, personable, and clever. Let the reader know that there is a human element to your business. This is a great way to say things you wouldn’t normally say on a review site or on social media. Blogging allows the opportunity to express ideas, communicate frustrations, and offer suggestions to potential buyers in a way that is palatable and acceptable.  

Be Fearless 

It’s ok to generate leads from your blogging efforts. A lot of blogging strategies, that we see, lack the fundamental ability to generate leads from their effort. Blogging is a great opportunity to connect with your customers, but remember people want to be told what to do. Give people a call to action. Incorporate space for your reader to offer their contact information. Drive your customers to a different area of your site. Allow your customers the opportunity to engage with you.  

Consider: Do not commit the mistake of assuming it bad manners to ask for personal information, or action, in a blog. You are giving value and asking for a return. It is a perfectly fair exchange.  

When done correctly blogging can be a lot of fun! It’s a perfect opportunity to flesh out ideas and allows for team-building brainstorming opportunities. It can even help you become an authority in your community on the subject matter. But inconsistency is the kiss of death. 

Herb Anderson / Charity Ann