CANVA April is National Lawn Care MonthHow Are You Celebrating 04.20.2016

My newest blog in TURF gives you 10, yes 10, free blog ideas to help you celebrate National Lawn Care Month. Help your readers to understand the importance of lawns and good lawn management practices. Even offer a 10% coupon off for all mowing during the rest of April. Read more, http://goo.gl/HFIHt6.

If It’s Not, Here are 5 Reasons Why It Should Be

 

  1. You mostly serve people living in your region. Your neck of the woods is where your localization efforts need to take place. You want to let those people know that you exist and why they need to hire you.
  2. Localized marketing, such as blogging and Facebook, keeps your current readers updated on current lawn and landscape problems and solutions. It also reassures them that you’re the one to call to help them solve those problems. For example, if you’re a lawn care company, you can blog about different fungal diseases that could be plaguing your readers’ lawns at different times throughout the year. At the end of the blog, add that folks can send you pictures of their lawns for your diagnosis.
  3. Even though the traditional Yellow Pages are going the way of the dodo bird, doesn’t mean that you give up targeting your geographical audience. Instead, you should invest your marketing dollars into best marketing practices, including localized Internet marketing.
  4. Find the right people to help you. Again, find an Internet/Web marketing agency that specializes in localized Internet marketing. Find writers, videographers, and graphic designers who are at least familiar with the green industry. And if you can find a professional who specializes in the green industry, all the better. A green industry writer understands what you do, as well as how to take complex information and write to your readers’ levels.
  5. Budget and invest in Internet marketing. It’s too easy to give up and say you’re not tech savvy or that professional Internet marketers, writers, and videographers are too expensive. Call around and find out how much each service will cost you. And if you can’t afford it now, can you put back a certain amount of dollars and cents to invest in those services at a later date?

Have you incorporated your region in your lawn care, landscape and outdoor living website? If not, why not?

 

If you’re a lawn and landscape owner/operator, you’ll be pleased to hear that Matt Hudson of the Strategic Landscaper and me, the Landscape Writer, have decided to partner up to pool our services. We’re still separate businesses—but want to provide you with a combined service so you have a one-stop shop rather than having to hire lots of vendors to work on your website and content.

So without further ado, here is my interview with Matt Hudson:

WK: Please briefly explain who you are, your history as a landscaper, and what/who the Strategic Landscaper is?

MH: I am Matt Hudson, and I have a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Georgia, 1998. I have over 20 years’ experience owning and operating landscape design-build and maintenance companies. My primary focus has been landscape design and business development. I have spent a significant amount of my career developing landscape companies and focusing on marketing and sales strategies. I launched Strategic Landscaper in Jan of 2015. Strategic Landscaper is a business development resource for landscape professionals.

“My goal is to help landscape professionals optimize their time and efforts by leveraging the information and technology of today to create a rewarding and profitable business that doesn’t own them. A business that creates balance, health and profits in harmony, as natural as an acorn develops into an oak tree.” 

WK: What services do you provide?

MH: At Strategic Landscaper, we offer business development resources for landscape professionals:

WK: Why do you think a partnership between the Landscape Writer & the Strategic Landscaper will benefit the landscape/lawn care/outdoor living/green industry business sector?

MH: In today’s day and age in business it’s all about SPECIALIZATION and the application of specialized knowledge to grow your business. Both the Landscape Writer and Strategic Landscaper specialize in the Green Industry and offer a one-of-a-kind services for landscape professionals. These unique services allow landscape professionals to receive more value for their investment, learn new and innovative strategies specific to their industry and attract the right customer for their business.

WK: Why should the owner/operator choose us over a generalist website developer and content writer?

MH: Specialization. We understand both the needs and wants of the landscape professional and more importantly the needs and wants of their target market/clients so we can produce products and services to attract the right customer for their business.

WK: How do you envision the collaboration of services for now and in the future?

MH: I see Strategic Landscaper and the Landscape Writer working as strategic partners who will share resources, ideas and leads that will mutually benefit each other. I believe our commitment to excellence and professionalism will allow us to be known as the go to team for professional copywriting and business development, services and strategies for landscape professionals.

WK: How does an owner/operator get in touch with you, the Strategic Landscaper?

WK: How does he/she arrange to use both your website/SEO services and the Landscape Writer’s writing services?

MH: Contact for a consultation and once we identify your needs we will submit a proposal for services, timeline and pricing.

 

 

Did you ever wish you could tell a story about how your lawn care and landscape business rescued a client? Did you restore a patio or an outdoor living room? Transform a blasé front porch into something spectacular?

Then you need to share these stories through case studies.

There are two types of case studies that I, at the Landscape Writer, create for lawn and landscape businesses: case study blogs and traditional case studies.

Case Studies Defined

Case study blogs tell a short story how you transformed a lawn, a hardscape or a landscape from bland, boring or broken into a new outdoor oasis, improved curb appeal or a cozy patio. In the blog, you also discuss the challenges you faced and how you solved them. You’re positioning yourself as a landscape contractor—the company that meets their own challenges during a project and a one-stop shop for your customers.

Traditional case studies are longer in scope and involve your client’s direct input. There are interviews involved and more details are included in the piece. These traditional case studies work great to add bulk to your testimonials.

Both types of case studies benefit your company by adding real life examples of your work. They also position you as an expert in your field and why people should call you over your competition.

Case studies are not a “once and done” project. You can reuse (repurpose) your longer case studies into smaller blogs, newsletter articles, press releases and other marketing communications.

Are you ready to expand your business by showing sales prospects why you’re the go-to person for all of their lawn care, hardscape and landscape needs? Then call me, the Landscape Writer, today at 717-381-6719 or fill out my contact form for more information.

You may recognize the title from an earlier blog post. However, this is a revised version on why you need a content copywriter for your lawn and landscape business. Instead of the typical blog post, here’s a power point to make it more fun to read, Power Point: 7 Reasons Why You Need a Content Copywriter.

Feel free to share your questions, comments and insights below!

At TURF Magazine’s ELawn site, I’m giving away five, free blog ideas for spring. Use these ideas to write about how you increase property values via curb appeal. To read more, at 5 Fantastic Blog Ideas over at TURF Magazine’s ELawn site.

To get more followers turning into prospects, who later turn into paying customers, your lawn and landscape website needs to have fresh content on a regular basis.

Yet, you don’t want to just throw anything up on your blogs to gain traction. Instead, you need to know your customers’ pain points. To help you get started, I created a power point called  5 Blog Topics to Tackle in 2016 to help you reach your audience.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of blogging for your lawn and landscape company’s website, call/text me at 717-381-6719, fill out my contact form, or send an email to me at wendy@landscapewriter.com.

 

~Web Content Writing Services for Lawn Care, Landscape, & Home Service Companies~

As the Landscape Writer, I need to stay on top of two areas of working knowledge: the green services industry (think lawn care, landscape, hardscaping, etc.) and content marketing trends.

Content marketing trends change almost as fast as a bullet train. It’s very hard to keep up, in addition to choosing what’s applicable, to my niche. Sometimes, it takes me longer to digest all that I’ve read and not to apply everything the experts recommend.

Fortunately, the lawn care, landscape and home services industries don’t move as fast. So I read up on what companies are doing as well as what emerging trends are growing in those sectors and try to marry the two together to make YOU more successful.

How do you keep up on all of the knowledge?

Granted, you may not need to run with everything that’s up and coming in the content marketing world. Yet, you do need to know the basics of content marketing to reach your local audience. You want to grow your business, and in today’s world, the mainstay is through content marketing.

What is Content Marketing?

Simply put, content marketing is getting the word out about your business through blogs, email newsletters, social media, website content, podcasting, video, infographics, etc. It’s passive marketing where your audience finds you through the “free” information that you put out there.

Over Christmas break, I read Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi. Even though I’m still reading it, I highly recommend this book if you want to grow your business through content marketing. It’s not a long read, but it’s heavy with lots of information. That’s where I find that I need to hone in on what’s going to work for me and what’s not. Here’s are 10 insights that I’ve gleaned so far from this book:

  1. Evernote – This handy tool allows me to keep myself organized. I have listed my 2016 goals (another cool idea that I learned) as well as other notes to myself.
  2. Google Trends – According to Pulizzi, this tool is underutilized. It’s super simple to use. Just plug in topics, like lawn care, pools, or hardscape, and Google will show you how each term shows up in popularity and what keywords are rising. Try “lawn care,” “landscape designer,” or “mowing service” in Google Trends and see what you come up with. Don’t forget to look at “rising” keywords.
  3. Google Keywords Planner – I haven’t used this tool yet, but according to Pulizzi, you don’t need to purchase AdWords just to see what keywords are popular in your niche.
  4. Mission statement – Pulizzi asks three simple questions to help the reader develop a simple mission statement. Here’s my mission statement based on those three questions: “The Landscape Writer exists to help lawn care, landscape, & home services businesses grow by leveraging local content marketing.”
  5. Content marketing plan – Everyone needs a plan. Content Inc. is filled with tools to help you develop a plan to extend your content marketing reach to your target audience.
  6. Editorial calendar – (see the end of this blog for a special offer) – For the past few months, I’ve been preaching about the importance of editorial calendar curation. Yet, my clients haven’t taken me up on my offer. Even just planning for three months at a time is better than not planning at all. Plus, editorial calendars are not set in stone—they’re fluid to handle changes as your content marketing evolves throughout a given year. And editorial calendars help you stay organized and focused on your content marketing goals.
  7. Motivation to build my platform – I’m now more motivated to build and expand my platform. As of January 1, 2016, I’ve been in business for three years. Wow! And I’m now ready to take the next step in growth. How about you? It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in business for one month, one year, or 20 years. It’s time to take advantage of content marketing to extend your audience reach.
  8. Developing a resource page – This is another very simple tool. Develop a resource tool, such as adding the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) to your resource page. NALP has a consumer section that your audience may appreciate reviewing. And 2016 is the year of evangelizing the benefits of a healthy lawn and landscape. What better way to do that than through a resources page filled with information about those benefits for your audience to read?
  9. Learn more about Canva – I mostly blog, but I know that in our busy world, I need to start using other tools to convey my message. Canva is one tool that I want to learn more about and use in 2016. You, too, can use Canva. My friend, Hannah Tighe, wrote an article introducing Canva to TURF magazine readers.
  10. Sticking with the basics – What type of content marketing did you start with? If it’s YouTube, blogging, e-newsletters, podcasting, Pulizzi says to stick to that before adding other forms of content marketing. And I want to add—stick with the same audience. I’ve seen some businesses try to serve two masters—and came up wanting. For example, I’m a blogger. I’ve thought about spreading out to include video and podcasts, Slideshare, and infographics. But that’s too wide of a spread. Instead, I’m going to continue to blog and add infographics and power points as time allows.

What about you? What do you want to experiment with in 2016 when it comes to content marketing?

If you’re a lawn care, landscape, or home services business (HVAC, renovation, and the like) OR you’re a marketing agency that serves these clients, I want to help you with your content marketing efforts. So, I’m offering two specials for January:

  1. Free editorial content consultation. This is a $50 value. You and I schedule a time to talk for 30-60 minutes to come up with an editorial calendar for three months to a year.
  2. Buy five blogs get one free. Do you want to try blogging, but not sure if you want to invest in a full year of blogs? Then get your start by investing in five blogs and get sixth one FREE.

These offers are only good until Saturday, January 30, 2016. So hurry now and fill out my free consultation form or email me at wendy@landscapewriter.com.

Resources:

Pulizzi, Joe. Content Inc.

 

 

 

Part 1 of 2 –

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn

 

A Subject Matter Expert (SME) copywriter is a writer who is knowledgeable in a business niche. For example, I’m a SME copywriter for lawn and landscape companies because that’s the subject area I cut my teeth on when I started as a writer. Granted, I don’t have a degree in turf science. Yet, I’ve written so much about the topic that I’m an expert of sorts.

Who do you hire to write for your company?

What niche are you in? Do you hire writers who are generalists or specialists? And what’s the difference?

A generalist writer will write about any topic. And there are some great copywriters out there who can write about farming one day and pharmaceuticals the next. Yet, you may be better off with a SME copywriter in farming or pharmaceuticals for the following reasons:

  1. A SME copywriter knows her subject inside and out. She has enough knowledge to persuade your target audience and gets clicks on your website content, blogs, or webinars.
  2. A SME copywriter knows where to get her information from. For example, I know the universities that are specialists in turf science. Plus, I know the best universities for lawn and landscape businesses in the south, in the Midwest and in the northern part of the U.S.
  3. A SME copywriter keeps up with industry trends. For instance, I receive the major lawn and landscape trade magazines. I also get their weekly or daily newsletters too. Plus, I keep up on my own industry—reading about content marketing through newsletters and a trade magazine. So I’m knowledgeable on the latest trends both in the green industry AND the content marketing industry.
  4. A SME copywriter asks you the right questions to get to know you, your content marketing goals, as well as your brand. She can weave that information with the latest information to convince your audience that you’re an expert in your field.
  5. A SME copywriter will speak intelligently through words about trends, issues, and problems your clients face and how you can solve those problems.

Where Can You Find a SME Copywriter?

LinkedIn is probably the best first step to finding a SME copywriter. The second best would be a Google search. Put in keywords such as

  • Medical copywriter
  • Pharmaceutical copywriter
  • Insurance copywriter
  • Agriculture copywriter
  • Landscape copywriter
  • Lawn care copywriter.

Last, but not least, check out these copywriters’ websites. Read their blogs. Google their names to see where they’re published. And follow and like them on social media.

You can learn more about your copywriter by reading, following, and listening to see what’s important to her as well as her personal writing style. Plus, you’ll see if she’s a savvy social media marketer too.

In Part Two, I’ll discuss how you and your copywriter can meet, interview and get started on your first project.

Wendy Komancheck is a copywriter exclusively for the lawn care and landscape industries. You can learn more about her at www.landscapewriter.com or email her at wendy@landscapewriter.com. She’ll love to answer your questions about Internet marketing and blogging.

 

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