In today’s world, it’s impossible to stay static. You constantly need to keep updating your website and content marketing efforts.

Do you know what’s next for your lawn care/landscape content marketing?

The nice thing about content marketing is that you have so many avenues to add new and exciting content to your website. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Add videos or podcasts
  • Produce E-books or E-Reports
  • Work with a ghostwriter to produce case studies and white papers
  • Produce webinars for clients or colleagues
  • Prepare talks to share your knowledge.

Get Personal

There’s also an element to blogging and content marketing that’s more personal … where you tell your story. Yet, you don’t want your blogging and other content marketing efforts to be navel-gazing. You want to be purposeful and careful when interspersing your story.

Why share anything personal on your website? To connect with your readers. For example, you share stories about your lawn care and landscape problems on your property and how you stay on top of these issues. People love authenticity—so be real!

Here are some blogging ideas where you can intersperse your personal narrative:

  1. How did you battle thatch, dry seasons, and weeds in your lawn?
  2. Obviously, you don’t want to share your street address, but since most of your clients live in your region, you can blog about your property’s issues—whether that’s in the woods, out in the open, or in a subdivision. What issues do you deal with keeping your lawn and landscapes looking beautiful and healthy without over-fertilizing, over-watering, or over-mowing? Use pictures of your lawn to bring the story together.
  3. Talk about your passion for lawn care and landscaping. Why do you love to spend your summers outside, keeping people’s properties looking beautiful? How did you start? How has your company evolved over the years?
  4. Talk about issues such as EPA regulations, HOAs, drought-tolerant landscaping. Empathize with your readers. For example, if you live in California, you see what the water restrictions are doing to the trees. Empathize with the gardener who’s heart-broken that she has to remove her prized trees from her property because they’re diseased from lack of water. Empathy connects you to your reader on a personal level. Since you love outdoor living, you can relate to how your readers feel toward their properties as well as their dreams for luxurious outdoor living. How do you feel when you sit in front of your fire pit with friends and family on a chilly Friday night? Or as you watch your kids having fun in your backyard swimming pool splashing with their friends?
  5. Discuss what you see as the future of lawn care and landscape maintenance. What trends do you see emerging? Will yards be smaller? Will there be a universal push to drought-tolerant landscaping? Will the perfect lawn be a thing of the past? You can easily observe your local trends. Discuss why you think a trend is a good thing or a bad thing. Discuss whether it’s a fading fad or something that will take permanent hold.

You can intersperse your personal story into your blogs and other content marketing, but do it sparingly. Your audience doesn’t want to read about you every week or even every month. But once a quarter, it doesn’t hurt to add a personal touch to your content marketing, not only through blogging, but through video, podcasts and other venues of Internet marketing.

How are you going to add other methods of content marketing to your lawn and landscape company’s website? Have you added your personal story to your content marketing?

Share your story with me at wendy@landscapewriter.com and I may use it for future blogs.

 

It’s now the end of July. How did this month go for you?

According to my website stats, a lot of you read the Smart Irrigation Month blogs that I posted on my site.

Just because July is almost over doesn’t mean that you stop blogging about your irrigation system installation and maintenance services. Indeed, you need to continue promoting and educating your prospects and clients on smart water management tips. Tips should include how to take proper care of their properties that will save them time and money, as well as conserving water and other resources.

To help you brainstorm blog ideas, I thought that I’d share the top eight blog posts on my website:

  1. How Ghostblogging Benefits Your Lawn and Landscape Website
  2. Use Smart Irrigation Month to Draw More Eyeballs to Your Lawn and Landscape Website
  3. Running Out of Blog Ideas?
  4. Celebrate Your Irrigation Service in July and Throughout the Year
  5. Three Common Questions that Lawn Care and Landscape Companies Ask Me
  6. Revamp and Redesign
  7. What’s Holding You Back?
  8. How Important is Localized Marketing?

I’d really love to hear your feedback. If you want to comment or ask a question about any of the above blogs, please do so in the comments section below. Tell me why you did or didn’t like the post, how it helped you with your blogging efforts, and what topic you’d like me to post.

If you enjoy or found helpful the above blog posts, then sign up for my *free* monthly newsletter. As your free gift for signing up, you’ll receive an e-report of 40 *free* blogging topics that you can customize with your location, special services, and for your audience.

July’s newsletter will be published by next Tuesday, July 28, 2015. So hurry and sign up to get your free gift and an article that will only be in my newsletter.

Finally, thank you for taking the time to check out my website, and to my clients, thank you for trusting me with all your blogging and website content.

 

 

What Your Clients Need to Know about Smart Irrigation Month

 

How are you letting your prospects and clients know about your irrigation maintenance services?

It’s July and the Irrigation Association has designated this month as Smart Irrigation Month. You should use this special time to educate your audience on the benefits of irrigation systems, using water-smart techniques and the importance of maintaining their irrigation systems. And send these educational messages through your blog, as well as your social media channels.

Even if you don’t design and install sprinkler systems or drip irrigation on properties, but you inspect, fix, and maintain them, you can still use your blog to educate your audience on the importance of taking care of their irrigation systems and who to call if something breaks or goes awry.

Say you don’t design, install, maintain or inspect irrigation systems at all? No worries. You can still dedicate your blog posts to smart watering techniques for lawns and landscapes. You may want to partner with a lawn care or landscape company that does handle irrigation systems so you can refer your audience to them for their irrigation installation and maintenance needs.

But back to blogging about irrigation system maintenance. You don’t have to dedicate your entire month of blogs to irrigation, but you can center on a theme of smart watering techniques, such as drought-tolerant landscaping, planting in hydrozones, and the benefits of irrigation and drip systems to saving water, both in the pocketbook and for the environment.

To help you brainstorm, I came up with five possible blog topics that you can write on. Please use these ideas and tweak the titles so that your Google rankings stay healthy:

  1. How to find irrigation services in (city, state)
  2. How to hire a (state) irrigation maintenance service
  3. X tips you need to know before you turn (on and/or off) your irrigation system
  4. Smart irrigation tips for your (state) lawn and landscape
  5. Why you need a certified/licensed irrigation maintenance pro.

As you can see, you can generate a lot of interest in your professional irrigation services by giving your audience the information that they need to make an educated decision to hire you. Don’t forget to add your call to action at the end of your blog post. Make sure you include your phone number and a link to your contact form to make it easy for them to make an appointment with you.

Have you used themes, such as Smart Irrigation Month, to help you develop blog posts? Share your ideas at wendy@landscapewriter.com. I may share them in a future blog post.

 

 

 

 

I love working as a ghostblogger! I love helping lawn and landscape businesses improve their SEO, letting their local communities know about their green services and solving their clients’ problems.

Like I’ve said before, marketing your website so that more people come to it, read your expertise and then, click onto your “Request a Quote” form are vital marketing jobs that need to be done to get more prospects to your virtual door.

How do ghostblogging services benefit YOU?

For nearly two years, I’ve been blogging about how Internet marketing, ghostblogging, and well-written web content draws more eyes to your website. If you’re still not sure if you want to hire a ghostblogger, consider these five ways that ghostblogging services will help your lawn and landscape business grow:

  1. You’re positioned as the expert on common landscape and lawn care problems in your geographical area. You take care of lawns and landscapes in your geographic region. So you gather the latest information about turf care and landscape maintenance and tailor it for your audience. You show, through words, video, and pictures, how you are knowledgeable about turf and landscape problems plaguing your area and that you’re the go-to person to fix homeowners and property managers’ problems.
  2. You’re seen as a problem solver. You add practical tips and suggestions that homeowners and property managers can use to keep their lawns and landscapes healthy and alive between visits. For example, July is National Irrigation Month. You could blog about smart irrigation practices such as watering the lawn in the early hours of the morning, the benefits of installing timers and sensors onto irrigation systems and how infrequent watering actually benefits turf rather than a light sprinkling every day.
  3. You help your SEO rankings. The more you update your website content, including your blog, the more your website stays current on Google and other search engines. Plus, you’re solidifying key terms with your brand, such as turf care, lawn care, and landscape maintenance.
  4. You build trust with your prospects and customers. If you regularly post new blogs on your website (even if it’s one or two times a month), you’re helping your prospects and clients start to trust you because they see you as knowledgeable and reliable.
  5. You’re able to connect with your local audience. As a small or medium-sized lawn and landscape company, you understand your clients’ lawn and landscape maintenance frustrations, questions, and problems. Continue to connect with your local audience by posting information that benefits them by saving them time, money and keeping their lawns and landscapes healthy and alive.

The above are the five main reasons why a ghostblogger can help you develop your lawn and landscape brand in your geographical region.

What about you? Have you hired a ghostblogger to take care of your blogs? What were your results?

P.S. – Don’t forget that July is National Irrigation Month. Now is a great time to start your lawn and landscape blog. If you’re ready to take the plunge into publishing your company’s blog, fill out my free consultation form or call me at 717-391-6719 (ET).

 

What Your Clients Need to Know about Smart Irrigation Month

 

July is Smart Irrigation Month. You can use Smart Irrigation Month to draw more eyeballs to your lawn care and landscape company’s website. You do this by educating your prospects on how the importance of water conservation and how an irrigation system help them conserve water.

To start, think about these two questions:

  • What do your prospects need to know about smart water practices in your region?
  • Why should they care about smart water practices and Smart Irrigation Month?
  • What do your prospects need to know about an irrigation system’s installation and maintenance?

You can, of course, look at the keyphrases that people are plugging into search engines to find your irrigation system services to further brainstorm blog ideas. And if you don’t offer irrigation set up and maintenance, you can still educate your clients on smart water practices through your blog.

Why invest in an irrigation system?

Before you start your sales pitch, what I refer to as a call to action, make sure that you first tell your clients and prospects why they should consider installing an irrigation system in their yard. Your blog goals should prioritize educating your clients in order to earn their trust—not necessarily to make a sale. They can act on your call to action at the end of your blog to continue down the sales funnel.

Installing an irrigation system is a big investment for any home. Here are some thoughts to consider to ease your prospects potential fears:

  1. How does an irrigation system help them save money on their utility bills over the long run?
  2. If they live in an area where there are water restrictions, how will an irrigation system help them keep their lawns and landscapes alive while following their municipality’s water restrictions?
  3. Use Smart Irrigation Month’s “Smart Practices. Smart Technology. Smart Business.” ideas.
  4. Don’t forget infographics and pictures. Both the Irrigation Association and the National Association of Landscape Professionals have free pictures for you to download to put on your blog or even your website.
  5. Don’t forget your call to action. At the end of your blogs, don’t forget a call to action, including a link to your contact page as well as your phone number. You want to make it super easy for people to contact you—that’s how you start to move them through the sales funnel.

If you provide irrigation sales and service, brainstorm with your sales team what people are looking for, what questions they’re asking, and what problems they’re dealing with when it comes to keeping their lawns and landscapes alive and green while trying to conserve water.

To find this type of information, your first stop should be the Irrigation Association’s Smart Irrigation Month. Smart Irrigation Month is also found under “Resources” on the Irrigation Association’s website, http://www.irrigation.org.

Under “Consumer Resources,” the association provides five simple strategies that you can incorporate into your blogs, such as

  • Plant right
  • Invest in an irrigation system
  • Water wisely
  • Maintain and upgrade your system
  • Work with an irrigation professional.

Please note that if you just copy and paste each of these resource pages into your own blog, your Google rankings will go down. Use the above resources to get your mind ticking and to help you form your blog strategy on what consumers are looking for when it comes to smart water practices and irrigation systems.

Do you need more blog ideas for National Irrigation Month? Then email me at wendy@landscapewriter.com or call me at 717-381-6719 for more information.

 

Sources:

Irrigation Association, “Smart Irrigation Month,” various pages, http://goo.gl/kwPwBp.

National Association of Landscape Professionals, media resources, https://goo.gl/ICP8aU.

 

Making This Landscape Writer Better for You

It’s past time to revamp and redesign the Landscape Writer’s website. And I’ve decided to outsource my web design needs to Red X web design (http://www.redxwebdesign.com) located in Manheim, Pa. They’re a web design company in my region, and they specialize in WordPress design which is the platform I use.

Why Did I Decide to Revamp & Redesign?

To be honest, I started getting so busy with landscape and lawn care clients, that I didn’t have time to figure out my own web design anymore. Then, Google had their April 21st mandatory deadline for all web sites to be mobile-friendly.

Granted, I already updated my site to be mobile-friendly nearly a year ago. But I changed WordPress designs and just couldn’t figure out the best graphics to match what I do.

Since I’m a committed blogger to lawn and landscape companies, I started reading more about professional blogging instead of general content marketing. And in one of the e-books that I bought, I found out about Peek (www.peek.usertesting.com) which tested my website from a user’s perspective.

Wow! Was that eye-opening!

A real, live person actually went on my website to give me feedback. I had two tests done and the users found that I needed to make my font consistent, add graphics, and make my navigating easier for the reader. At that moment, I knew that I made the right decision to hire a web designer.

How Will This Redesign Benefit YOU?

I have four goals to make this redesign beneficial to you, lawn care, landscape and outdoor living companies:

  1. To make the site easier to navigate.
  2. To make the site neater and more professional.
  3. To give you more up-to-date Internet marketing ideas and news.
  4. To give you a place to evaluate whether my blogging and other marketing communication services will benefit you and your Internet marketing needs.

I’m hoping that my new site will be up and running by the end of June (maybe even sooner)! As you know, there is a lot of work and time that goes into a website launch. So please bear with my website team as we get the revamped and redesigned Landscape Writer up and running.

Are you confused about Internet marketing, web design and blogging? Do you want to learn more about how these services can help your lawn care, landscape, gardening, or outdoor living company grow? Then email me your questions at wendy@landscapewriter.com.

Read These Marketing Ideas in Turf Magazine's Web Exclusive

April is National Lawn Care Month. How are you going to blog about it?

Here’s an idea: Use National Lawn Care Month to tell your local audience about your lawn or landscape company’s products and services.

How?

Through your blog, of course!

This is the time of year when you should utilize your blog to tell the world—or at least your local audience—what you do as a lawn service provider or a landscape company; why you do it; how lawn care and landscapes benefit the homeowner; and how the lawn and landscape industry will not bring the end of the world as we know it (in other words, the lawn and landscape industry benefits the environment and local ecosystems rather than poisoning it with too much fertilizer or pesticide use).

Let’s break this down. Here are five blog ideas to use for National Lawn Care Month:

  1. Tell your audience what you do. You own a lawn care or landscape business. Imagine your prospect reading your blog right now. Tell your readers why a healthy lawn is preferred over a perfectly manicured lawn. List the benefits of a healthy lawn, and explain how you can help them achieve it.
    Remember to avoid using any jargon that you and others in your industry would understand, but your readers may be confused by. In other words, keep it simple because your readers only want the basic facts.
  1. Tell your audience why a healthy lawn and a well-maintained landscape should be important to them. Explain it in layman’s terms why healthy lawns benefit the local eco-system. Explain why a retaining wall will keep their soil from eroding down an embankment. Explain why you perform a soil test on their property before you put any fertilizers on it.
  1. Explain the value of curb appeal. This is where you describe how beautiful lawns and landscapes raise property values. And tell your clients how you will make their properties look fantastic for the summer season. Remind them that they can sign up for landscape maintenance services from March through November to keep their landscape looking fresh and beautiful.
  1. Go to National Association of Landscape Professionals’ website to download information to share with your readers (http://goo.gl/LycNHc). The National Association of Landscape Professionals (formerly PLANET) offers promotional materials that you can download to include in your blog as well as on your other social media channels. Use these free materials to get your blogging juices flowing or to back up your services.
  1. Make it timely. Don’t wait until April 1st to start blogging about National Lawn Care Month. Instead, start blogging now. You can write blogs about the history of lawns and how the industry has evolved since the first lawn care business opened in the U.S. You can also use other teasers such as a contest about lawn care or landscape facts. The winners could win a 10% coupon off their next mow or they could win a free flat of annuals. Keep putting out teasers so they continue to read your blogs about National Lawn Care Month and why you’re the right lawn care or landscape service to call for all of their property maintenance needs.

Do you want more marketing ideas to use during National Lawn Care Month? Then, go to my friends over at GoiTalk for more information, http://goo.gl/LBxq5r.

If you need help with your lawn or landscape website’s blog during National Lawn Care Month, email me at wendy@landscapewriter.com or call me at 717-381-6719 ET.

8 Tips to Guide You When You Hire a Content Writer

If you’re updating your lawn care or landscape website, you know that there is a lot to do to get it up and running. And it’s vital to that you know how to lead a writer and web designer to create content that’ll make your website shine.

I’ve been helping lawn care and landscape clients with their website content for the past 22 months. And I’ve learned some things along the way. Here are eight tips to keep in mind when you hire a content writer to write your website copy:

  1. Make sure that someone is in charge of the entire project. From my experience, I think it’s best to hire an Internet marketing agency to not only help you with localization, but to guide the entire process. If you choose to lead the project, keep in mind that a content writer (even a subject matter expert) isn’t you. So you may have a firm idea in mind for what you want, but if you don’t communicate that idea or understand that it might take longer than you expected, you may be better off hiring a project manager to lead your website’s reconstruction.
  2. Make sure that you introduce your writer to your web designer. I think this is perhaps one the most important points. Most of my clients introduce me to their web designers and that makes the entire website project so much easier. You’re an expert in lawn care or landscaping. The web designer is an expert is web design and the content writer is an expert in providing the content that’ll draw people to you. Thus, it only makes sense to connect your writer with your web designer so they can collaborate. If you decide to keep the two components apart, you’re asking for trouble.
  3. If you expect your writer to put together footers, headers, call out text, and other writing jobs in addition to writing text, make sure that you know that this project can take longer than one month. You know the old saying, “Poor planning on your part doesn’t mean an emergency on my part.” I can’t speak about other writers, but my process of researching, writing and editing takes a bit of time—if it’s going to be done right. So, plan ahead and give your content writer plenty of time to digest, organize, and write all of your content.
  4. Keep your audience in mind. I can’t stress this tip enough. You are talking to clients and prospects. And they’re busy—they don’t have time to wade through a lot of green industry buzzwords or technical terms. Remember the age old rule, KISS: “Keep It Simple, Sam.” You’ll keep your readers coming to you more often if they feel that you’re not talking down to them, and they just get the basic facts to make an educated decision to hire you.
  5. Remember the sales funnel. When people Google “lawn care” or “landscape” business, they’re looking for a local business to come to their property and fix their problems. And that usually requires you to make an introductory visit to analyze their situation. Thus, you don’t want to bog them down with the contractual terms within your website content. If you feel that you need to have that on your website, make sure that you have it as a separate page. Link to it and allow people to choose to go there if they’re interested.
  6. Be clear about what you want. If your writer emails you a summary of your phone discussion with him, read over it to make sure he understood exactly what you wanted. If you tweak the information, allow him to digest it and figure it into the deadline. But don’t constantly tweak the information or add more information to the point where the writer’s eyes are going cross-eyed. I’ve learned that it’s best to take one step at a time. If you want to take more steps, then be patient and ask your writer to add it. But again, this goes back to expectations. If you want your writer to write reams of content in a short time, you may not get what you’re paying for.
  7. Expect that you’ll need to make some edits. Writers are not mind readers and we may not get all of your information down exactly as you want it. So, working with a writer is a process with a lot of give and take. Matter of fact, a great writer is actually a great editor. If you meet a writer that tells you that she’s going to perfectly write your copy the first time around, run the other way! Going through one or two edits is pretty normal between writers and clients.
  8. If the relationship turns south, part amicably. This is a hard one. Who wants to break any relationship? But personalities and expectations are different. Some folks mesh better with certain personalities than others. Realize it isn’t personal when two vastly different personalities part ways. It’s part of being in business.

Now your turn. Are you renovating your lawn care or landscape website? Are you the project manager? Will you be introducing your web designer to your writer?

 

5 Questions to Help You Get the Most Out of Your 2015 Marketing Plan

It’s nearly the end of 2014. Can you believe it? Where did the year go?

Things are probably winding down at your lawn care or landscape company’s office with finished projects and a sense of well-being from another successful growing season.

Yet, it’s also time to start thinking about 2015 and next year’s marketing plan. In 2014, you may have invested some money in Internet marketing. Now’s the time to look over that decision and evaluate how successful your Internet marketing plans were. Since many of you still incorporate traditional marketing methods with Internet marketing, I’m going to include some pointers in the following list. Here are a few things to check before turning off your office lights on December 31, 2014:

  1. How’s your website? Is everything up to date? Check your About Me; FAQ’s and Home Page. And don’t forget to go through your Contact Us page. Do you still offer all of those services that you have listed on your Contact form?
  2. What are your marketing plans for 2015? How much more of your marketing dollars are you going to invest in Internet marketing?
  3. What types of traditional marketing worked for you in 2014? Did you get your expected return on investment from your mailers, brochures, and door hangers?
  4. What Internet marketing outlets worked for you in 2014? Did you start a blog, and did you keep posting regularly throughout the year? Did you get more people contacting you because of your blog? Look at your Facebook page. You may have 1,000 likes, but who has contacted you from those likes?
  5. What are you planning on keeping, adding, or changing when it comes to traditional and Internet marketing?
  6. What is your marketing plan for 2015? Where are you now? Where do you want to be in six months when your busy season is just starting? Where do you want to be next year on December 31, 2015?

These are the types of questions that you need to ask yourself in order to move forward. After you’ve discovered your answers, then decide how much money you can invest in marketing and how much will be designated toward Internet versus traditional marketing.

Time is running out! If you’d like to invest in adding a blog to your website, call now. I have limited spaces available for 2015. You can call me at 717-381-6719, visit my website at www.landscapewriter.com or email me at wendy@landscapewriter.com.

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