No, Seriously: Why Blog if You’re an Interior Designer or Architect?
When someone says “you really should blog”, do you think “hard work with no discernable return on investment”?
I get it. Even the basic concept of writing may seem counterintuitive to the world of interior design and architecture. These are, by their very nature, visual mediums and any good designer knows that a picture is worth 1,000 words.
But you know what else can be worth 1,000 words? Words. In fact, a strategic 1,000-word blog post can be worth so much more.
Now you may be asking yourself some great questions like:
“Why bother? This is a design/architecture firm. I’m not a blogger.” Or…”There are at least five hundred million blogs in the world that have far more followers—not to mention far more time to spend crafting their posts. This is an exercise in futility.”
But here’s the thing: You aren’t trying to become a blogger.
You don’t need to compete with BigFamousDesignBlog.com (a URL that is, by the way, available if anyone wants it). And—for the interior design or architecture firm that serves a local target client—the benefits of having a blog are delightfully tangible with plenty of real ways to see a return on your investment.
1. Be Found Faster via Google Search
The more content you have on your site, the more opportunities there will be for people to discover you. More words, more images, more topics covered = more opportunities to be found.
But you don’t want to clog the static pages on your site (home, about, contact, etc.) with endless content. Those pages have their own dedicated purpose—to convert the casual visitor into an actual lead.
A blog gives you a chance to go to town on your brand’s favorite subjects, allowing you to create informative, interesting landing experiences for people going down a late night internet rabbit hole. Blog posts draw visitors to the website, allowing those who are searching for something related to interior design or architecture to discover you.
The more expertise you and your business put out into the world, the more opportunities for new clients to discover you.
Think of it like this: If your business were an upscale antique showroom, your website would be the perfectly curated window display. Your blog is a densely packed backroom—it’s where all the good stuff is.
Not sure how to optimize your blog posts to be found by Google? We have a handy, free solution to help with that. Click here for assistance.
2. Prove that Your Business is Alive and Well
Have you ever landed on a website only to find you’ve stumbled upon a relic of a long defunct business singing it’s final digital swan song?
As soon as prospective clients land on your site, it’s important that you do everything you can to instill trust: good design, client testimonials and clear messaging are key, but regular blogging has the unique benefit of showing are you are not only alive and well, but engaged and thriving.*
*Ah, yes—the irony of this being our first blog post in ages is not lost on me.
3. Reinforce What Makes You Fabulous
Your site will obviously be chock full of smart, well-worded messaging points that clearly communicate everything that sets you apart. This copy will be perfectly compressed diamonds of information meant to communicate quickly with maximum marketing efficiency.
But your blog is different. It allows you some breathing room to tell more of a story—or to simply expand on your messaging and provide more detail and depth. Your blog is a stage where you can perform whatever show you want.
Due to the medium, people won’t expect perfectly polished marketing copy. With a blog post, they’ll more be ready to sit down and invest time reading (or skimming) something long form.
If one of your key messaging points is amazing customer service, here is a place for you to include the story of when you swooped in and provided a crazy, creative solution for your favorite client.
If your messaging is all about three generations of family expertise, this is the space for you to post a heartwarming recount of your Nanna’s voyage from the Old Country before she started the business.
If you specialize in a particular aesthetic, it should be all over your blog. If you’re obsessed with kitchen design, write your insider’s guide to kitchen renovation prep.
If the way you work is unique, write a post about how your approach is changing the game (then send that link to prospective clients).
Figure out what makes you special and then use your blog to expand on it, illustrate it and make it real to potential, current and past clients.
4. Show Off Your Expertise
Your blog is where you can elegantly nerd out. Here you can share your knowledge and demonstrate your expertise on the things that you specialize in.
A compelling post about a specific subject will introduce you as an expert to your clients long before you ever meet.
Is there something that you know better and/or do better than everyone else in your industry? Say, for example, you specialize in custom, built-in display cases for haunted antique dolls. You can state this fact plain and simple on your marketing site in a skills list, but wouldn’t it be nice to link to a detailed, image-filled post about this absolutely terrifying skill?
It’s difficult to prove your expertise to clients by simply calling yourself an expert in your marketing copy. If can even sound like you’re overstating or overpromising. By publishing relevant articles, you can not only educate but also back up your claims.
5. Make Friends and Play Well With Others
Blogging gives you the space to build relationships.
If you’re a Boston-based business, showcase other local businesses in Boston—from landscape designers to antique shops—who work within parallel industries. Featuring them could potentially allow you to reach their customer base, it’s a great way to build your network and it establishes you as a local resource. Demonstrate that you care and are invested in what you do.
Or maybe you’re all about your crazy exclusive access to elite artisans and vendors. When it makes sense—here is your platform to interview, profile, or highlight them in ways you’d never have the real estate for on your site pages.
If you work with commercial clients, why not do a deep dive into their business and how it relates to the project you completed for them?
Basically, a blog can provide ways to engage in your community, create or deepen relationships and, ultimately, gain more reach. This is not fuzzy, kumbaya stuff—it as much about practicality as it is about community. When a potential client searches for a resource for hand-painted murals, would you like them to end up on your website…reading your article about the best local sources? If you’ve always wanted to meet a commercial developer in town, would it help to feature them in your interview series? Yes and yes.
6. Explain Super Complex Processes and Ideas
Take yourself off repeat. Do you do something complex that you find yourself constantly explaining or typing out in lengthy follow-up emails? This is the stuff of blog post magic.
Any step by step processes that you want to ensure you’ve perfectly delivered, any detailed breakdown of things you are always voicing over, anything you want to make sure your staff is communicating exactly how you would: make it a blog post.
Link to it in lieu of a lengthy email. Use it as a followup when you see a client’s eyes glaze over during a long-winded explanation. Share it with new hires to help train them. Include photos, elevations, mood boards and other visual examples.
Your potential clients—and your vocal cords—will thank you.
7. Go After Those Niche Clients
So, let’s say you’re an interior designer who primarily works in residential spaces, but you also have a specialty in styling upscale haunted houses. (For whatever reason, almost all examples in this article include haunting.)
You don’t want to redo your whole brand for that tiny little seasonal niche, but you’d love the haunted house community to know that you should be their new go-to. This is the perfect time to write a blog post.
It’s like creating little landing pages where you can speak directly to niche communities of smaller (but important) target audiences. This way you can make it known that you are uniquely suited for them, without making it the cornerstone of your entire business.
“How often do I have to blog?”
To put it simply: One well-built, strategically-planned blog post per month is infinitely more beneficial to a local firm than three phoned-in, random blog posts per week. Again, this is because the intention is not to satisfy a daily audience like the big design blogs. Your goal is to be found by potential clients at the right time.
“How do I format my blog post to be found through Google search?”
Before we get into the details on that, let’s be clear: Google wants to serve up good quality content that will satisfy the needs the person who is searching. That’s it. There are ways to let humans and search engines know what the blog post is about—and those things are a must—but there are no tricks to turn watered-down content into something magical. So:
1. Make your blog post really good. (Not easy, but worth it…and see above where we give you permission to only do this once per month.)
2. Make sure the topic of your post is clear in all of the places that matter: page title, h2 headings, meta title, meta description, alt tags, etc. If any of that is unfamiliar to you, download our guide to blog post optimization here.
“You’re talking about words a lot. What about video?”
Video is great and Youtube is a hugely important search engine. (Note: If your post does include a video, upload your videos to Youtube—as opposed to one of the other video hosting platforms—before embedding them into the blog post.)
When it comes down to it, you should communicate in the way that best suits your brand. But written content will open up a lot of doors when it comes to being found. So, if you want to be found by the most potential clients, a video blog should include some kind of written transcript.
“How do I know exactly what to blog about?”
To answer this question, we always start with another question: What are you trying to communicate to your potential and current clients? Begin with your messaging, which is basically whatever is special about your business. (If you need help figuring out what that is, consider our branding class.)
Go through each of the seven tips above and jot down a few ideas based on each one. Schedule them out into an editorial calendar. Six solid ideas will provide six months of good blog content.
So…what will YOUR firm’s blog look like?
Are you already blogging successfully? Or have you been putting it off for months? (Ok, fine…years?) Want to debate the merits of blogging? Comment below.