Content is STILL King
Many years ago, I heard an influential digital marketing speaker tell his audience that their most important next hire should be a Content Manager. He was right then, and is still today as there is no substitute in the real or digital world for great content. Great content is why we choose to have long conversations with a particular person at a cocktail party. Great content is why we cannot put down that great book we’re reading. And great online content will be rewarded by Google and your Social Media community.
As Google and other search engines continue to evolve, many SEOs take the cat-and-mouse approach, chasing the latest change with tweaks to their search marketing strategy. This strategy will leave you always a step behind, and really misses the true point of being relevant on the web. The better approach is to instead focus on delivering great content, and doing so on a regular basis. A good example is Fixed Operations pages on your websites. Many dealers are still stuffing relevant fixed ops keywords on their pages, in an attempt to gain favor for page 1 SERP. When I search for the top fixed ops keywords in major markets, instead I find dealers ranking high when they deliver pages on the benefits of changing your oil, or why regular brake maintenance is so important. Dealer web pages should be full of the great content from the automotive experts at the dealership. Keywords are still important, but they are much better used strategically and tactically when incorporated as part of complete content delivery.
Effective social media strategies must always incorporate great content, since it is that great content that compels your social network to Like, Comment, and Share. I still see a lot of dealers try to take the easy road for content creation and delivery, by simply relying on the available OEM assets. Even worse, dealers will try to sell cars or services on their Facebook page, posting inventory, sales and specials. Effective social content needs to be authentic, personal and emotional, and needs to be matched to the culture of the dealership. You can’t simply post out OEM retread content, or constantly post product or sales related information. Dealers must tap into effective ways to corral all of the great content that is floating around in the day-to-day experiences of the dealership, and share it with consumers. Some of the best content may be found “behind the scenes”, that may on the surface appear trivial and ineffective, but can turn out to be gold. For instance, show your audience what your service technicians go through on a daily basis, or the great community work your staff takes part in, or the fun kids are having in your child play area.
Once you have an idea of what type of content you want to collect, and who might help collect it, you are faced with the question of “how?” One of the biggest challenges facing dealers is how to collect, consolidate and categorize all of this great content into a single area for posting. The dealer may have sales people taking pictures of happy customers, service techs capturing videos of new equipment, managers capturing community work they are doing, or the owners snapping pictures at trade shows. A solution I’ve heard dealers using is DropBox (or similar offerings) where teams can deposit pictures, videos, links or articles for future posting. Once collected in DropBox, an editor at the dealership would sift through these assets looking for relevant content to post on a daily basis. There are also some great content capturing tools coming on the market, designed specifically for car dealers, which not only capture and categorize the data, but automatically place them into a social syndication tool for quick posting to Facebook, Pinterest or Google+. Whatever method you choose, make sure you have a plan for collecting, tagging, and posting this great local dealer content.
Going forward, I believe Content will continue to be critically important on the web, and for dealers to be relevant and found they will need to have strong content strategies. These strategies need to include what content to capture, how they will capture and tag it, and how this content will get properly posted to website or social media destinations. It may sound like a lot of work, but this investment will pay off nicely in the future in the form of clicks, Likes, leads and most importantly sales!