I saw this topic discussed in a couple places recently.
Someone was asking if it was worthwhile to start a content strategy for an auto shop.
And I’ve kind of been thinking a lot about local businesses lately. I’ve been watching a few episodes of Garage Rehab as well and that has piqued my interest.
Yes, in my view it is worthwhile for a local business like an auto shop to invest in a content strategy. Seth Godin has been discussing the smallest viable audience recently. I’m a believer especially for local businesses.
For a local business, like an auto shop, you’re focusing on a specific location. And even within that you can narrow the audience even more. Maybe you’re after the person that doesn’t know anything about cars. Or maybe you’re on the opposite side and want to cater to those that are car lovers.
Both are great opportunities. Both require slightly different approaches to a content strategy.
Here is what I would suggest if you’re an auto shop considering a content strategy.
Step #1. Minimum Viable Audience
Who are you looking to reach? Seth Godin, one of the most successful marketers of all time, gives you permission to set your target as small as possible. Well, as small as possible in terms of making a living that you’re comfortable with.
Obviously that’s difficult to know with certainty, but let’s say you’re in business already. Who are your favorite customers? What is unique about them? Are there likely more of them out there that you can attract if they knew about you.
Maybe the car nuts drive you crazy. They’re too involved in the process. Maybe you love the person that is middle class, that takes care of their cars and that always comes in for regular checkups. Or maybe you love the DIY car nut that’s involved in what’s going on with their cars. They bring interesting projects for you to help with.
Identify your audience as best you can. This is will help tremendously with the next step.
Step #2. The First 100 Content Topics
Before you start creating content, start brainstorming topics.
I like to start just about any content project with the basics. The questions the minimum viable audience is asking. You can often find these questions by knowing the person. You talk with them in your shop. What are the common questions?
You might also see the questions online. On your Facebook page. On forums. In comment sections on other blogs.
Write those questions down. Providing the best answer you can for each of those is a great content strategy. Even if they seem obvious or simple to you they will definitely be useful for your audience.
I would stick mostly with the Q&A format for your first 100 topics. But you can also throw in other types of things like lists or topics that you kind of want to rant about.
But honestly, you could use only Q&A content for most content campaigns. Unless you want to go totally crazy and create some kind of documenting content series. Like a reality show (see: Turnin’ Rust). Or even a fictional program of some kind. And I’m definitely not against that.
Maybe you’ll hire the local sports reporter to create content. I would love that too.
But for most it can all start with the Q&A strategy.
Step #3. Preferred Content Type
Next, choose the content type that suits you best. Maybe you like writing the most. Then you’re looking at a blogging strategy. Or maybe you enjoy being on camera and you plan to hire an editor to help. That’s a great option. Or maybe you like the aspect of recording, but not being on camera. Then you’re looking at a podcast.
They can all work for an auto shop content strategy. You could do any combination as well depending on how involved you want to get. It also depends on your resources. You can only do so much especially if you’re doing the auto work for your shop. But maybe you’re planning to hire someone to help with the content.
My suggestion, if it’s just you, is to choose one that fits you best and to go with that for now.
Step #4. Reasonable Schedule
If it’s just you I would recommend a weekly schedule.
One blog post, podcast or video each week. Commit to that schedule for at least a year. Actually, commit to two years. You already have your 100 topics that will get you through that long.
You don’t want to overcommit, but you also don’t want to under-commit. It will likely be more effort than you realize. That’s what most people find.
Step #5. The Right Performance Indicators
A content strategy is almost always more effort than most people realize. Another trap is to watch the stats too early.
Instead, commit to getting through your 100 topics. You’re learning how to create. You’re getting a little feedback to see what works for you and for your audience.
But it’ll be little indicators at first. You won’t get a lot of comments. You won’t get a lot of traffic. You won’t get a lot of social shares.
Don’t let that get you down. You’ll get little indicators. Like a comment on social. Or maybe a customer tells you that they liked your video. Just little things at first. Probably for the first two years.
Look at any business that creates content that you admire. Odds are nearly 100% that they’ve been doing it for several years. That’s where you want to get.
A content strategy for an auto shop is a great option. Follow the steps here and you’ll be in a good place to begin. But that’s obviously when the work begins. I can’t stress enough that this is a long-term strategy. But if you can handle that you’re positioning yourself for a real opportunity. While others try and quit, you can keep your head down and turn into the most well known auto shop in your area.
Here are a few questions I found just in a two minute search:
- My car hood is stuck closed. How do I fix it?
- Do I have an oil leak if I have to add oil?
- What do you think is the best method for cleaning the inside of a windshield?
- What can I do for better fuel mileage?
- I got a new battery but, now my car won’t start it clicked once then nothing, it cannot be jumped, is it a bad battery? It started with the old battery.
- What is some good advice you would give a first time used car buyer that they might not know already?
- I just got 4 new tires on my car and was just wondering if I should get a front end alignment or all wheel alignment?
- I have a Ford big block the engine starts cold quiet but then has a pounding noise, what could be the issue?
- What is your routine for keeping your car’s interior looking like new?
- Why does my car have an evaporator core in front of the Condenser?