For at least a couple of years, I was a skeptical spectator of social media and blogging. I thought these types of media were just bells and whistles, free attempts by contractors to avoid traditional methods of marketing their businesses. Then, last November, that changed for me. I decided that I needed an effective way to archive my publication writing, and suddenly a blog seemed like a pretty good idea.
I had been following the social media and blogging advocacy of friend and colleague Chris Haught of RC Painting, and not entirely joking, I asked Chris if she would be willing to set up a blog for me, and maybe even do some of the composing and arranging on it for me. Not surprisingly, Chris said no. This is not surprising because I knew then, and know better now, the enormous amount of social media and blog work Chris does both professionally and recreationally. Chris told me to just go set one up and let her know when I had questions.
So, off I went to wordpress, picked a theme, purchased a domain name, pointed it to the blog, began setting up pages, categories, a media library, started piping in content that had been stockpiled on my company website, set it up for syndication to my linked in account, networked it for facebook syndication to my pages there, learned about using categories, tags, featured images, links and tracking statistics.
It is worth noting that I had never built a website. In fact, on my company website, I have very limited content and editing powers…almost on a page by page basis. But with just a few tech support emails to Chris Haught, and a few point of style emails from her, I rather quickly had pretty much single handedly built a pretty decent blog. Over the past seven months, it has been alot of fun to watch it grow. It even got to the point where it was nice enough to load onto the online mothership of my business.
Through this process, Chris and I have become blog partners of sorts. In the sense that we check each other’s stuff out, make suggestions, and frequently surprise each other with a new widget, plugin or link method. Whats cool about blogs is that they can be completely customized to reflect the style of the blogger. Its been quite a learning process, but in this six month journey, I have planted the root system for a respectable blogging and social media program for my business…one that fits my professional needs as a contractor and writer. At the same time as all of this blogging was going on, the spirited back and forth brainstorming between Chris and I spilled over into LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook as well. To me, that is a big part of what social media is about. Not every move we make as paint contractors has to be measured, or appear to be measured by the parameters of ROI. There are some intangibles that go into the recipe of an overall, well balanced marketing strategy that don’t have to directly translate to sales.
As Chris pushed me along in the ways of blogging and social media, I pushed her back in one of my own areas of expertise, which is publication writing. After probably 2-3 appearances in APC, Chris was a feature writer in the April 2011 issue of The Paint Contractor magazine (pg 24-25) in an article about, you guessed it, social media.
So, Chris has now launched bloggingpainters.com as a vehicle to continue to promote blogging in particular, and social media in general, mostly because, well…thats just what she does. And she does it well. I look forward to learning from this site, contributing to it where I can, and mostly, observing others as they navigate the blogging learning curve just as I did.
I believe that this can be a meaningful resource for the paint industry. We hear it all the time from paint contractors that they want our industry to be respected, taken seriously. Well, the strategies that will be discussed and implemented on this site are steps in that direction. If we get a bunch of individuals making steps, then the industry starts making steps forward.
Successful blogging is about original content. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like you are the greatest writer, and don’t be intimidated by the “back office” of blogging. Just write and have fun, and you will soon see the value of blogging for paint contractors.