Industry Blogs, Part 1
We now have an "Industry Blogroll" posted in the sidebar at the Cafe and Blog Corner. I think it's a useful resource and encourage everyone to take a look at what is being done in this arena. It's the beginnings of a blogroll, anyway, because some google searching revealed that there are not a lot of industry-related blogs out there, at least that google is reporting in the top ten or so pages.
That's good news and bad news. It's bad news because industry members are missing an opportunity to tell their story in a medium that has become influential. The lapse is more troubling in its opportunity cost: There are more and more people reporting all sorts of personal stories on blogs and forums, and some of those stories may be defining this industry or even your company for people searching the Internet for information about death-related service providers. If you are not telling your story, someone else might be.
It's like if a disgruntled traveler writes a compelling tract about a bad experience at a Holiday Inn in a particular town, and if you are searching for information on accommodations guess which hotel you probably would steer clear of if there were no alternative information available?
Good news: The field is wide open, largely free of competition, ripe for harvest. If a consumer is looking for frank information from service providers in your area, chances are there are not too many.
The value of a blog is it offers an opportunity for you to part the corporate veil, to allow potential customers a view inside at the mindset of the people running your company. You can jettison the corporate-speak required by your marketing communications and talk about the true-to-life aspects which everyone knows are a part of every business: Such as, "we had a problem today and here's how we fixed it; boy we will never let that happen again" or "what happened today reminds me of why I am in this business."
The customers you will be serving in the future ... heck, this also applies 100 percent to the association business: The customers we will be serving in the future will be less and less influenced by our "official" proclamations about our companies. They are looking for credible references, such as other customers (tripadvisor is one of the best examples), but to the extent they will listen to us talk about ourselves, a blog is the best avenue open to most of us. (An active community forum might be even better, but that is tough to pull off and a topic for another day).
And again, there are not a lot of them out there. Start a blog for your cremation service, cemetery or funeral home, give it a title that includes your company name, funeral, cemetery or cremation services, and make your city/state info readily available in a subtitle, and update it regularly, and you will be near the top of search engine listings for your area. Tell about what your company is doing, what your personnel are doing, and - assuming you are truly committed to your work - talk about your life in relation to the business.
People are skeptical of our advertising messages. They are more interested in what we as people are doing in our jobs, and how that might relate to using our companies' services.
There is a void of credible information about most of the companies in our industry. A blog is an easy first step you can take to begin to fill it.
Soon I'll do a post on corporate blogs from other industries so you can see how it can work, as well as more about the mechanics of setting one up. In the meantime, if you are interested in the subject, feel free to contact me via the contact form with any questions you may have.