Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders
Whenever you get to read those "top lists" of internet marketing tips for business owners, one of the first tips will inevitably be: you have to blog! That does occasionally sound a bit too patronizing, however, the proponents of business blogging are always right, regardless of which business niche you occupy. Many business owners make an excuse that their niche is too "dry" to warrant a blog, yet you can’t really use that one because the automotive industry is probably one of the most exciting places to be – sorry if this made me sound a bit too biased.
Although there’s plenty of advice out there, we somehow still see the boring and ego-centric posts talking about stuff that only the company’s insider might find (remotely) interesting or valuable. The essence of corporate blogging is to curate stories that might be of interest to your potential clients. Before posting the next article, ask yourself whether your typical customer would be inclined to share the post on his personal Facebook account.
Corporate blogging is an art that’s not easy to master. One of the best examples is the Fastlane blog by General Motors: http://fastlane.gm.com/
If you look at it, it’s not really a blog about GM. It’s a blog about beautiful cars. The artwork is amazing and the stories are compelling; and that’s how they build brand awareness in a subtle and exciting way.
Another unlikely example is http://www.quickenloans.com/blog/ I know some folks may sneer at me singling out a finance provider as an example of good blogging, however, if you compare it with their competitors, they’ve got an edge in the way they interact with the site visitors. There’s a good variety of topics that, on the first inspection, have little to do with finance. Nevertheless, the majority of the posts are related to budgeting and money saving, which is what people will always relate to. Another good thing about the QuickenLoans blog is how they’re trying to put a human face to their business. If you pay attention to the right hand side panel, they’re featuring their blog contributors in quite an open fashion. The authors seem approachable which eventually builds trust with the company as a whole.
There’s also a lot to learn from various blog awards. It’s almost as if the readers are telling you exactly what they want from a blog. If you look at the automotive section of the Blog Awards 2014 http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/blog-award-category/automotive/ you’ll notice that out of 15 nominees, 5 are corporate blogs. It’s quite encouraging, isn’t it? By the way, there’s still time to vote, so if you enjoy any of the blogs, make sure you cast your vote.
There are awards specifically for North America too. It’s called Bloggies and can be found here: http://2014.bloggi.es/
While you’re on it, you might as well appreciate their page design. It’s one of the best examples of the new HTML5 standard in action and it’s something that we’re going to have to keep in mind when updating our websites in the next couple of years.
The categories are not very detailed. They’re missing the auto blog category altogether, which is a great shame considering how many auto blogs are based in the USA and Canada. However, you can still nominate your blog for the Best Topical Weblog or the newly added Best Business or Corporate Weblog.
Last year, the http://2013.bloggi.es/ Best Topical Weblog award was snapped up by http://www.askamanager.org/. Unlike the examples I mentioned earlier, this is hardly a blog that a normal web visitor would use (or even understand) so why did it do so well, you may wonder?
It’s to do with the very format of the blog – it is an extended version of a niche Q&A site. The majority of the blog posts are based on managerial questions sent in by fellow managers and answered by the guru, the blog owner. People involved in management have found this format really helpful and the blog awards had to acknowledge this. If you worry your dealership blog won’t be able to sustain a steady stream of entertaining material, Q&A is a potential route you may take. Before you’ve managed to build traffic to your blog and to get questions sent in by the readers, you might consider getting the ball rolling by thinking of some popular questions and answering them on your blog to encourage the readers to ask their own questions.
Bloggies nominations are open till 26th January so you still have time to enter. It’s always worth a go because even if you don’t win, the feedback you’ll get can be really helpful for developing your automotive content strategy for the year ahead.