Construction Business Management

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Blogging: Website Heal Thyself

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The RCD SWOT Team monitors trends in the AEC sector to provide targeted information about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that may impact your business.

In medical school, doctors are taught the Latin phrase “Primum non nocere,” which translates to “First, do no harm.”  Management expert Peter Drucker thought this should be the primary rule of business.

As simple as this concept is, frequently firms resist this directive, especially when dealing with their own website content.

Many organizations use the “HiPPO” approach or the highest paid person’s opinion to make the final decision about a website’s design and content. Sometimes this can result in stale, dull and abandoned web pages.

This poses an interesting conundrum as a visitor’s first impression often reflects a site’s success. This can be an asset or a liability and can influence a firm’s bottom line.

It is easy to recognize websites developed by those with a creative mindset because it is a pleasant experience to visit them. That goodwill is mutually reciprocated and viral. It disseminates to other prospective visitors and often converts them into customers.

One way firms can make their sites more appealing is to provide fresh content for its visitors in the form of a blog. Blogs have a holistic purpose, in that they not only add SEO value, they lure prospects too.

Entrepreneur Peter Shankman professed that content should be 3 things:

  1. Relevant.
  2. Brief.
  3. Transparent.

Shankman’s point is well taken, as the tremendous ease of entry into creating a blog has bred a huge influx of information on the web. For that reason, it’s critical for firms not only to follow Shankman’s advice, but also to find their unique voice, define a strategy, and establish guidelines. 

Cut to the Chase
Time is a valuable commodity as 20 percent of Americans work more than 50 hours a week. “Twenty-four/seven,” short for twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, is standard vernacular for the American lifestyle. This is a key indication that personal time is shrinking. Therefore, make the blog content count, and write it in an easy-to-read format.

Every blog post must have a customer mindset - think “WIIFM,” or what’s in it for me. Kevin Werbach, a Wharton professor and the organizer of the Supernova Conference, “looks for blogs that tell him something he doesn’t already know, including areas where he’s an expert.”

Familiarity Breeds Success
Contractor Michael Matson owns Alternative Building Services. Matson was an early adopter of blogging and social media.  He described his blog as an “invaluable marketing tool.” Matson stated that many times prospects who hear about him through alternate means will check out his blog first. By the time they initiate contact, they’re closer to being sold on doing business with him. 
Matson isn’t alone in his beliefs. Dallas architect Bob Borson writes the humorous blog, “Life of an Architect.” Borson views his blog as a stepping stone to connecting with people, but he feels it also allows prospects “to have a better understanding of his personality and how they might work together.”

Blogs complement traditional marketing strategies but are not substitutes for them. Jonathan Schwartz, former CEO of Sun Microsystems, wrote that blogging allows firms to participate in communities they want to cultivate.

Although blogging is now a commonly accepted business practice, it is amazing how many organizations refuse to consider it. In the AEC sector it is a buyer’s market. Firms are struggling for survival, and the focus should be on building business. The modern day slang is to “get game,” or as Hippocrates would say “Primum non nocere,”

Does your firm blog? Let us know your blogging tips and results. We’d love to hear from you.

Deborah Reale has twenty years of experience in business management developing strategies that covers the construction, retail, public relations industries. Currently, she serves as the social media strategist at Reed Construction Data. In addition, Deborah is pursuing a doctorate degree in Business Administration with a concentration on Information Systems and Marketing.

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