Blogging. It’s “old school”, right? Hey, anything on the Internet that dates from the 1990s is definitely “vintage” — but that doesn’t make it a bad thing; it just means there are a whole lot of blogs drifting around in cyberspace. (A Wikipedia article notes that on 16 February 2011, there were over 156 million public blogs in existence. On 13 October 2012, there were around 77 million Tumblr and 56.6 million WordPress blogs in existence worldwide.
That’s a whole lot of content — so why should your funeral firm add its voice to the blogosphere? To be honest, I am amazed at the blog-reluctance of many funeral firms. I commonly hear statements like “I don’t have time to blog”, or the ever-popular “blogging doesn’t make sense in the funeral profession”.
Well, guess what? Blogging does make sense for your funeral firm. And I’ll tell you why. (And then I’ll let you know how to easily solve that first — “who’s got the time to blog?” — problem.)
7 Reasons Why Your Funeral Firm Needs a Blog
Put your content writing concerns aside, and think about these for a minute. A people-pleasing blog will:
1. Gain Visibility for Your Firm without Selling Anything
No one wants to be subjected to marketing messages all the time — that’s especially true, it seems, when it comes to the marketing of funeral products and services. A blog is a user-friendly way to “be seen and heard” without annoyance of overtly being sold something.
2. Position Your Firm as a Leader Within Your Community…and Your Profession
Each post on your blog has the potential of being a very public demonstration of your leadership, personal integrity, and professional experience. Need I say more?
3. Engage Families in a Dialogue
At its best, blogging is two-way communication. Your readers will have the option to comment on each post — and you can respond, inviting more dialogue from others. Pretty soon, you’ve got an exciting conversation going–and more ideas for future blog posts!
4. Raise Website Rankings
You can certainly see how writing blog posts targeting popular niche keyword phrases will not only please the search engines; it’s likely to generate interest among families in your community searching for those same keyword phrases. Since Google periodically crawls websites looking for new and updated content, blogging will consistently ensure there will be fresh content on your site. This means Google will review your site more often, resulting in frequent search engine updates and more authority.
Here’s an example. Just this weekend, a local newspaper ran an article (both online and off), titled, Cost of Dying: A Shift in How We End Our Lives. “The experience of death is changing in America,” writes Lisa Krieger, “gradually shifting from costly, high-tech battles against death in hospitals into hospices that gently accept the inevitable end.” A well-timed response, via your funeral firm blog, makes your site more relevant in the eyes of both the search engines and families.
5. Increase the Number of Inbound Links to Your Website
A good blog article, whether an industry-specific insight or a thoughtful commentary, garners links — simply because people find them interesting, informative, and worthy of sharing with others. More inbound links means better search engine rankings and more site traffic, which translates into more families turning to your funeral firm when need arises.
6. Personalize and Humanize Your Brand
A blog offers your funeral firm an opportunity to present its insightful, helpful, thoughtful side. Families in your community will get a sense of your people, culture, and vision. It’s an opportunity to provide a more personal and less “corporate” image, and works hard to put a very human face on your brand.
7. Give Readers Something to Share
Blogging and social media go together like chocolate and peanut butter. (Or chips and dip, if you don’t like sweets.) When you write an engaging, thoughtful post, readers will want to share it. And, if a reader is impressed with the blog post, there’s a good chance they’ll look around other areas of your website — so we’re talking unbeatable organic exposure for your funeral firm.
All Are Great Reasons
But what if you hate to write, or think you have nothing to say? Hey, lots of folks don’t enjoy writing, I know that. But you don’t have to be ruled by your likes and dislikes — not in this case anyway. I’m talking about savvy blogging here, where you use a spot of ingenuity, and a dash of self-discipline.
Blogging should be done consistently, hence the dash of self-discipline. The ingenuity comes in knowing what folks are hungry for: interesting, valuable, sharable content. Content that’s a gift to the reader. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Write Reviews Read a good book, or seen a movie truly worth the price of admission? Share your thoughts.
- Respond to News Items Like the earlier mention of the news article, Cost of Dying: A Shift in How We End Our Lives, a timely response to a recently-published piece can add to your credibility and overall professionalism.
- Feature Employees No doubt you’ve got some stellar performers on your team, so shine a spotlight on them. Your employee, their family members and friends will all love you for it — and will no doubt share a link to the post in social media circles.
- Talk about History People are curious by nature. Share what you know — about the history of your funeral firm, your community, even the origins and diversity of current funeral practices — your readers will love you (and so will the search engines).
- Share! When something online stirs your interest, chances are it will intrigue someone else too. Consider this recent TIME magazine article, Cremation Is on the Rise, but Where to Put the Ashes?, or the article, 5 Shocking Retirement Facts. Then there are the countless cartoons and videos — if they are tasteful and make you laugh, then share them.
- Teach! You know what problems your families commonly face, and what questions they commonly have. Nothing will help out your audience as much as these problem-solving posts. This is your chance to not only tell them the how of funeral service (how to write a meaningful eulogy, for example), but the why. Why is memorialization important? Why do some families choose waterless cremation? Inquiring minds want to know.
- Tell Stories On those rare occasions that you do write a post about yourself, share insightful information that can’t be told elsewhere on your website. Tell readers about your life as a funeral professional: those things that make your professional life meaningful. These interesting stories will deepen your relationship with families and prove that you — and your funeral firm — are exemplary. As the old adage goes, ‘show, don’t tell.’ Consider Caleb Wilde’s post Remembering the Unremembered. Now there’s a deeply personal post which proves to me (and countless other readers) that Caleb is a remarkable funeral professional — who will mindfully care for my loved one, and those of us left behind.
So…Who’s With Me?
Have you started blogging? How’s it going? If you haven’t, why not? I’d really love to hear what you have to say, so let’s get the blogging dialog started. Leave your comments below!