A blog is no good if nobody reads it. It's even worse if potential customers try to read it and find it devoid of quality content. Restocked frequently with useful information that only you can provide, however, a blog offers an invaluable tool to HVAC contractors.
Quality content will attract new customers to your HVAC company, delivered to your site by online search engines, while building your standing among your current customers. Ultimately, a wisely-executed HVAC blog helps you establish your business as your community's leader in the field.
If you are interested in attracting and retaining customers with your blog, try these eight types of blog content:
1. Numbered lists. See what I did in the title of this article? "Quick hits" of information draw readers. Titles promising three do-it-yourself maintenance tips for furnace owners or the four most important features of a new high-efficiency heat pump, for a couple of examples, tell readers exactly what they stand to gain by reading your HVAC blog. A good list might have as many as 10 items if they're short. Blog posts should be informative and to the point. Lists get you there.
2. How-to series. Some HVAC blog topics might be addressed in a single post, such as South Bend contractor Home Comfort Experts' "These Ratings Show The True Efficiency Of A Furnace Filter." Don't be afraid of more complicated topics, but break them into parts. P.K. Wadsworth of Cleveland did a series of posts on programmable thermostats. One post covered choosing a programmable device, another covered using them to save energy and so on.
3. Roundups. As you know, HVAC contractors deal with a lot of complicated equipment and systems -- potentially overwhelming material for the average homeowner. Distill from that mass of information the most important parts for lay people and summarize them. Terrell E. Moseley of Lynchburg, VA, rounded up the offerings on state-of-the-art radiant heating.
4. In each post, an invitation to act. Make it easy for your readers to take the next step toward connecting with you. Provide a link to the "Schedule an appointment" page on your website, direct them to your Twitter feed or provide your phone number while stating your technicians' openness to questions. (Learn more about "call to action" phrases here.) Avoid the hard sell in the content itself, however. The moment you become a salesperson, your blog loses credibility as a source of unbiased, expert information.
5. Checklists. This format works great for conveying home maintenance instructions or shopping guidance. Terrell E. Moseley has another winner in its HVAC blog with this nine-point checklist for keeping heat pumps happy.
6. Technical information made accessible. Sure, you as an HVAC contractor know all about the differences between an electronically-commuted motor and a single-speed motor. But insider HVAC terminology sounds like a foreign language to many potential customers. Those differences are important to know, though, for anyone who is thinking about upgrading his or her heating and cooling system. Use your HVAC blog to explain otherwise obscure concepts in plain language. Your customers will appreciate you for it. And they will remember you as a credible expert when choosing a contractor.
7. Information that only you can provide. There are a lot of HVAC contractors, but there is only one leading HVAC contractor in your community. You -- not your manufacturers or some massive online compendium of do-it-yourself instructions -- know what is happening in your community now. That puts you in position to provide the most relevant and useful information to your customers. Explain how your local power company's energy-efficiency rebate matches up with new equipment. Are local heat pump owners struggling with an unexpected arctic blast? Step in with an explanation of dual-fuel systems.
8. Great titles and effective keywords. Title is to blog post what cover is to book: Your readers will judge you by it. Make every word in your title count toward conveying the meat of the subject. People using Google to find solutions for their HVAC problems use specific search terms. Your title should anticipate those terms and include them. In addition, your HVAC blog posts should contain their own tailored keywords so your readers will find it via their Google searches -- without making your efforts obvious or your prose awkward. This is an important part of search engine optimization, or SEO.
None of it is rocket science (or refrigerant science, for that matter), but the best HVAC blogs take planning and a little savvy. Successful blogging starts with knowing your customers well. Think about the information they need and make it accessible.
Perhaps most important, remain committed to quality. Be honest, be accurate, be reliable. Credibility is key for HVAC contractors, and that includes your blog content.
Joe Pulizzi is CEO for SocialTract, the leading blogging/social media service for HVACR Contractors. Joe’s new book, Managing Content Marketing, is now available on Amazon and Kindle. Joe can be reached on Twitter @juntajoe or by email [email protected].