As a solar social media consultant, people often complain to me that nobody ever reads their solar blogs, and when I read them, I can understand why. Different solar companies make different mistakes, but here are my top 10 Solar Fred reasons why nobody reads your solar blog--Part 1
#10 You don’t blog enough. To get the maximum benefit out of a solar blog (leads, organic search engine optimization (SEO), and presenting yourself as a local/national solar authority) you have to blog at least once a week. In fact, if you’re just starting your solar blog, I’m going to strongly recommend that you blog at least 3 times a week. Google and your customers will notice. Trust me. It’s worked for me every time. Frequency also builds a relationship with on-the-fence customers who are researching solar and/or your product or service.
The more posts, the more opportunity to engage curious customers and encourage them to seek more information. On the other hand, blog once or twice a month (or less), and people will rightfully believe that you have nothing useful to say. A fallow blog is like a ghost town. Customers may stop to look, but they won't stay. They'll just be passing through, seeking another site with more useful information. This is especially true for the residential sector, which needs more hand-holding than solar B-to-B customers.
#9 Your solar blog’s not even attached to your website. I’ve read some well-written company solar blogs, but they’re on Blogger.com or Wordpress.org or some other free site that has nothing to do with your very own www.mysolarcompany.com. Putting your solar blog on these sites is the equivalent of posting your blog posts in a virtual internet forest—and I’m talking about the Siberian Forest of Irkutsk, Russia, not tourist-heavy Yosemite.
It takes very little technical time or cost to add a blog directly to your website. Wordpress is a powerful, free blogging program that you can install and visually integrate into your website with the help of a web designer. There are so many benefits to this one simple rule, I can’t fit it here. Just trust me and do it.
#8 You write your solar blog as if it were an advertisement. It isn’t. Let’s be very clear here. While a blog is part of your overall marketing and promotion, it is not a direct advertisement or press release machine. So what is it? It’s a useful solar information tool. Notice I said “useful.” Just try to think like your customers. What do they really want to know about solar? Your company and products? Some. Solar financing, or solar policies? That's useful. The definition and difference between net metering and an FIT?
I have written gobs of posts about these topics. On the other hand, I have never written about how x solar company provides the best prices and service, or to hurry now, because these prices won’t last. For the B-to-B customers, explain the benefits of your solar widget or service, but don’t forget to still provide other useful information and solar policy insights without hawking your products.
#7 Your solar blog posts may be useful, but they’re way too complicated. To you and me, solar is pretty simple. To residential and even commercial consumers, it’s a technical and supposedly expensive mystery. Your job is to keep it simple and explain the various economic and technical aspects. However, nobody says you have to share the NEC or your company solar bible to everyone in a single blog post. Peel the onion. Do a two or three part series on the same topic. Keep the posts from 300 to 500 words, or even shorter. Write colloquially, as if you were speaking to a friend, not as if you’re writing a PhD solar thesis.
#6 You have no idea who your audience is. Much of your content is going to depend on your target market. If you’re a solar inverter manufacturer, your audience and your blog posts should address the needs of installers and panel manufacturers, not residential customers… at least not yet. Therefore, blog posts should focus on how your technology is improving efficiency, saving installation time, etc.
If you’re a residential/commercial installer/solar module manufacturer, solar PPA company, you might have multiple audiences. I would suggest focusing on your core market for the majority of posts, but still occasionally addressing the other market segments too. You might even have totally separate blogs for different audiences. Simple to do, especially if you already have a residential and commercial portal set up. Either way, remember to write at least one post a week in each blog.
Good info so far? Useful? Though general, does the post address your need to understand effective solar blogging? Does it make you want even more useful information from me, say Part II, where I reveal Reasons 5 through 1? If so, then this blog has been an effective branding and marketing tool for my solar services. Now, see if you can do the same for your solar customers.
Next week, part II. But in the meantime, as always, UnThink Solar.
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