Why Auto Repair Shops Should Blog
Guest Blog by Brian Walker of Shop Marketing Pros
Thursday, April 9, 2020
The following blog is a guest post by Brian Walker of Shop Marketing Pros. Brian is a Mercedes Benz Master Technician of 17 years. He owned Peak Automotive in Apex, NC, and served as Mechanical Division Director for ASA North Carolina. Brian now owns Shop Marketing Pros, a marketing agency specializing in the independent automotive aftermarket. Brian is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Auto Repair Shop Marketing.
It seems like every time we teach a class or end up talking to a group of shop owners the topic comes up about blogging. It’s no secret that I’m a big believer in having an active blog, but why?
There are so many reasons I believe that almost every small business should have a blog, but in this post, I’m going to get specific to auto repair businesses.
“But I don’t have time to blog.” I’m going to address that too, so hang in there with me.
Alright, the number one reason auto repair shop websites should have a blog is:
It Helps With Your SEO
SEO, or “search engine optimization” is the act of making a website stand out as an authority on a specific topic, and often within a specific geographic area.
If you think about making your website an authority on a topic, you should understand that’s not going to happen by creating a few pages about the services you offer and then just letting your website be stagnant from there.
The thing about a blog is that it will be full of a bunch of random content about various topics, but the vast majority of them will have to do with auto repair in some way, shape, or form. This helps to solidify to the search engines that your website is an authority on the topic of auto repair.
Your blog will contain keywords and keyphrases that you would have never gotten worked into your website on its main pages. The blog is what we refer to as “search engine food” and it is a great way to make your website stand out for all of the other “just another auto repair shop” websites.
Your Blog Becomes An Idea Factory For Your Other Marketing
Have you ever sat down to do your social media posting and you just don’t know what to post?
That’s one of the most common questions we receive. “What kinds of stuff should I be posting to social media?” If you’re blogging regularly, you’ll never have to ask that question.
Your blogs will provide content that you can post about on social, send out in emails, use to send individual explanations to customers, give away in exchange for email addresses, allow local magazines to publish as articles, and whatever else your imagination can come up with.
When we write a blog post for our clients, we’ll take that one blog post and share it on social and in email, and then we’ll dissect that blog post to create pull-quote graphics, memes, and tips posts.
For example, many of the blog posts we write will be “listicles”. That would be posts like “5 tips to make your tires last longer”. Each of those 5 tips makes an individual social post.
Video blogs are even better because they can be made into more content than written posts.
A video blog can be made into:
- A Facebook Live
- A video on YouTube
- A written blog post
- Email content
- Social posts
- Social graphics
- Shorter video clips
- And more!
As you can see, a single blog post can go a long way.
Blog Posts Make You Stand Out As An Authority
We already talked about how blogging can make your auto repair shop stand out as an authority to the search engines, but blogging can make you and your staff stand out as an authority to those who are reading the blogs.
When I owned my shop in Raleigh, NC, I had a handful of blogs on my website. There wasn’t a lot there because I was a shop owner at the time and I didn’t know a lot about marketing back then. But my shop was a Euro shop and I posted a few blogs about Mercedes.
I had a guy who lived in Roanoke, VA call me up one day. Dan had read my blog post and wanted me to do some performance work on his Mercedes station wagon. He didn’t know me from Adam, and there were probably 50 good Euro shops between his home and my shop, but he saw me as an authority and had me do the work on his car.
Over the years I became Dan’s go-to for repairs and performance work on his car. About once per year he would drive the car down to me, hop a flight back to Roanoke, and fly back down when it was ready. I was Dan’s authority for auto repair and he didn’t trust anyone else. It was all due to that blog.
Let Me Overcome Your Objections
Every time I tell a small business owner they need to be blogging, I get one of the following objections:
- I don’t have the time to blog
- I’m not a good writer
- Any topic I would write on has already been covered
- Nobody cares about my opinion
- I don’t know what to write about
Let me address each one of those individually.
I don’t have the time to write.
This is the most common of all of the objections. As business owners, we somehow think that we don’t have the same 24 hours in a day that everyone else does. The fact is, you do have the time to write, but you choose to use that time doing something else.
Writing doesn’t take long. What takes a lot of time is obsessing over every little detail thinking that you have to write the perfect piece of literature or else it’s not worth sharing.
The truth is, no one cares if you have perfect grammar. They really don’t even care if you can spell. What they care about is that you know the topic you’re covering and that you can give accurate, useful information. USEFUL is the key word there.
So am I saying that you should put out a piece of content that makes you look like an uneducated fool? No. But I’m going to tell you how to overcome that when I answer the next objection.
I’m Not A Good Writer
So what! Most people are terrible writers. That’s why there are professional writers. You don't need to be a great writer to share your expertise.
Your job is to be a professional at repairing cars. Do you have valuable knowledge inside of your head? The answer is yes. Could you have a conversation with someone and explain the topic you would be writing about? Again, the answer is yes.
You don’t need to be a good writer. You need to be good at fixing cars.
So here is the key to overcoming your issues of not having time to write and not being a good writer.
Pull out a notepad and make yourself some bullet points about everything you want to cover in your blog. Now take out your cell phone, pull up the camera app, and record yourself on video. Don’t worry…… only you and one other person will ever see this video.
Talk to the camera. Tell it everything you want to cover in the blog post. Tell the camera the details, including your philosophy, and how you and your shop do things differently in relation to what you’re “blogging” about.
Now go find yourself a writer. Use something like Upwork or do a Google search to find a writer. You may work through a few writers before you find someone whose style you like.
Writers can be found for nearly any budget, but it will be easy to find a good writer to turn your video into a well written, grammatically correct blog post for a price that you’ll be incredibly happy with.
Any Topic I Would Write About Has Already Been Covered
You’re 100% correct about this….. But it hasn’t been covered by YOU.
When you cover a topic, you’re going to explain it in a way and with a philosophy that others will not have.
Think about the number of auto repair coaches that are out there. We are in a group of coaches that are working behind the scenes to make the industry better. All of these coaches are great. These coaches' clients will tell you how they are working with the best coach out there. But the truth is, different people relate to different people.
There will be people who will think your blog post has done the best job of covering a topic and they’ll swear you are the authority on a topic. There will be others who will think you’ve done the worst job and that you’re a blundering idiot. And that’s ok.
When you write, be unapologetically you. The people who like your writing are your tribe. Write for them.
Nobody Cares About My Opinion
That’s just not true. People do value your opinion. That’s why they bring their car to you when they need repairs. You are their trusted guide. Now that being said, they probably don’t care about your opinion on politics or home remodeling. You’re not their guide on those topics.
Even if people really don’t care about your opinion, the search engines do. You may need to fight a little to be heard, but in the end, the search engine doesn’t care who you are. It only cares about what you have to say. Make sure you are heard.
I Don’t Know What To Write About
This objection is actually second on the list of the objections I hear the most, but I saved it for last because it’s one of my favorite subjects to talk about.
I used to have a hard time with this as well. I never knew what to write about, but a couple of years ago I read a book called “They Ask You Answer” and it eliminated this problem for me.
The idea behind “They Ask You Answer” is simply this. Answer your customers’ questions.
There are certain questions we hear over and over again and those are the ones we need to write about the most. When you start doing this, two things will happen.
- People will ask you a question and you’ll reply with “I wrote a blog post about that very thing!” When you share the blog post with them, you just became their authority on that topic. Not only were you able to answer their question, but you have answered it so much that you became an author on the topic. Remember, “author” is the root word of “authority”.
- Every time someone asks you a question that you haven’t covered, you’ll think to yourself “That’s a great blog post topic!” The problem will go from “I don’t know what to write about” to “I have an awful lot to write about”
I talked at the very beginning of this article about how blogging is great for search engine optimization. Well, answering people’s questions is the best type of SEO you can do.
Think about it. What are people doing when they use a search engine? They are asking a question in most cases. If you have made a habit out of answering questions, you just became a valuable source to the search engine.
The other type of topics I like to cover in a blog are local topics.
I talked in the SEO section about how you want your website to be an authority on a topic, but also specific to a certain geographical area.
These topics can be easy and fun, but don’t go overboard with them. I would keep the local topics to 10-20% of my total blog posts.
Ideas might be:
- The best burger in [city], [state]
- ABC Auto Competes in [city]’s Chili Cookoff
- [city] Chamber of Commerce Event Wrap-Up
- ABC Auto Participates in [city] Park Cleanup Day
- Top 5 Things To Do in [city], [state]
These blog posts work to solidify your business being a local business in a specific community. You’re basically giving the search engines “good ole’ boy” directions. Because you’ll likely be mentioning locations that are near your business, it’s akin to telling someone “we’re across the street from the movie theatre by the mall”.
Yes, Google does work like that.