Two summers ago, a record storm dumped half a foot of rain across parts of metro Detroit in the span of just a few hours. The aging sewer systems couldn’t drain the water away fast enough, and many parts of Detroit and its suburbs ended up underwater — some for hours, and some for days.
It hit my community especially hard. Most of my neighbors’ basements flooded with several feet of rainwater and sewage, and many vehicles that were parked on the street were damaged or destroyed (a friend of mine lost her Cobalt to the flood waters). Luckily, for me, my house and car sat atop a very small hill and were spared, but a lot of people in the area weren’t as fortunate.
CAPITALIZE ON CURRENT EVENTS
If you can relate to my story, you’re not alone, and if it seems like flooding has been especially frequent and severe the last couple of years, that’s because it really has been. In fact, there have been 18 major flood events since March 2015 in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas; for that region alone, “the number, extremity, and widespread nature of flood events has been incredible,” according to weather.com.
Flooding is very top-of-mind lately, which is why, when I received an email from a contractor the other day that contained tips for evaluating flood-damaged HVAC equipment, I opened it. It linked to a blog post on the contractor’s website with some generic tips and the company’s contact information in the post. It was brilliant. (I wish I still had the email so I could praise the company, but I seem to have deleted it.)
Out of curiosity, I then ran a google search for “evaluating flood-damaged HVAC equipment,” and up popped several blog posts on HVAC contractors’ websites. These contractors all realized that homeowners in their service areas — areas that had all experienced flooding around the time the blogs were posted — were looking for answers and help, so they provided it.
Just for the heck of it, I called one of the contractors, James Richmond of Richmond’s Air. His company serves the Houston area, which experienced flooding last year (when he posted about it on his blog) as well as this year. His blog post, “What to Do If Your AC Unit Has Flood Damage,” was one of the top hits in my search. It’s a relatively short post with bullet points — helpful and easily digestible — and his company’s logo and phone number are plastered all over the page, too. If I were in Houston, I’d be inclined to call and have him come out to evaluate my HVAC equipment.
When I asked Richmond why he blogged on his website, he said it was a good way to get more relevant content on his website, which provides “more places people can find you.” I also asked if it helped with leads. “As far as using the company in general, yeah,” he said.
NOT A WRITER? NO WORRIES
Interestingly, Richmond himself doesn’t do the writing on his website — he said he has neither the desire nor the time. And he’s not alone: Of the three companies I called about their websites’ blogs, all three said they pay someone outside the company to write for them.
In 2014, Richmond began researching companies to blog on his website on his behalf. He tried one company, which didn’t work out, then switched to the one he works with now. And, so far, so good.
“I had hardly any traffic then; now, I’m getting 3,000-4,000 hits a month on the blog,” he said. That has translated into several leads, and while he’s not sure there’s been a full return on investment yet, he said it’s getting there.
So, even if writing isn’t your thing (or if you simply don’t have the time to devote to it), your company can still have quality, timely, relevant content on its website — content that will not only translate to sales leads, but also help establish your company as a trustworthy source of information within your community.
Publication date: 9/12/2016