What makes a business blog successful? What type of content makes the most sales? How can working with other bloggers help you grow?
The name ‘Mick’s Garage’ suggests a local garage, the garage round the corner where you bring your car for a service. In fact, it’s a large organisation supplying car parts that has expanded from its Irish base to serve the UK and Poland.
The thing is, when you read the blog you still feel connected to the business, it doesn’t feel like a large business but a collection of people passionate about motoring and cars.
I spoke to Rob King from Mick’s garage about the blog, how it’s evolved over time and how they are managing to keep it personal.
Listen to the interview with Rob King from Mick’s Garage:
Rob started with the company six years ago. At first he worked in the customer service department but he soon moved on into marketing. When he arrived the blog was hosted on Google’s Blogger platform and it’s moved twice since, once to WordPress and a sub-domain of the website and when I interviewed Rob they’d just started the process of moving it into their main domain.
How important is it to know your subject?
If you know about a subject yourself and you read an article written by someone who doesn’t have good knowledge it’s immediately apparent.
When you read one by someone passionate it makes you passionate.
Why did you decide to focus on the blog?
It’s an avenue to get across the companies personality, to get across our passion and teach people something useful. But everything comes down to numbers and revenue at the end of the day. SEO was also a big part of it.
We like to market ourselves as the car part experts and I think in the main site doesn’t enable us to get that message across and that’s where the blog was able to come in. To provide useful content that would educate and inform our customers.
Your blog posts are full of personality. Did you set yourself guidelines for your tone of voice?
Not written rules but we try and write with personality and a personal tone. We avoid news and click bait and focus on trying to provide value with useful content. We write so that our customers will get knowledge and be able to educate themselves. We try to write the way we talk.
Is there really a Mick?
Yes. Michael Crean and his brother Kieran twins from County Mayo. Mick started Mick’s garage in his bedroom on his laptop.
How do you turn readers into sales?
Our most popular article is about track days, that’s when you bring your car to a race track. It’s not something we sell but it’s something I do. That is our most read article. That brings in a huge amount of traffic but not sales.
We have a set of buying guides that help people buy parts for their car. Those are the posts that really bring in the revenue.
I think you need to ask yourself what ‘conversions’ mean to you. Traditionally it’s sales but we’ve started counting collecting email addresses as conversions.
Do you use CTA’s or how do people travel from the blog to site?
We include call to actions within content but we try to make our posts non-salesy. We might have a link within the text but that’s the size of it. There’s absolutely no hard sale. No banners no ads.
It’s all about answering customers question. We use Live Chat on our site and record queries, then we tailor articles based on those queries.
You’ve been doing a bit of blogger outreach. Recruiting bloggers to create video for you. How is that working out?
It’s in its infancy but I’ve been very impressed with the results that came back. I know how hard it can be to create video content so I’ve been impressed. We’ve got a core group of 5 people who we’re working with. We’re sending them out products to review and they send us a video in return.
As far as return [sales] I don’t know yet.
How did you approach them?
We selected these guys because we ran out of in-house resources. We wanted to scale things up and reaching out to bloggers seemed like the obvious way.
Initially, I was looking for examples of what they’d done previously. We were less keen if they didn’t have examples.
Because I’d seen examples I was pretty confident I’d get back something half way decent and I did. You can see them on our YouTube channel.
It just makes our product that more believable, it’s one thing me, an employee telling you about this great thing I want you to buy. But using bloggers makes it more believable.
It adds another layer of personality as well I think. All these guys had very different approaches and I think it makes our content that much richer.
What if they don’t like the product?
I suppose what we ask them to do is review it with a price point in mind. For example, we sent out hair straighteners you plug into the plug socket in your car. They cost was €12 so we asked them to review the product with that in mind. And yes if they thought they were crap they should say they were crap.
If you were to start your blog again today what would you do differently?
I’m doing a new website ‘Trackdays.ie‘ at the moment so I’d tell myself too! I believe if you’ve got all the technical stuff in order then write passionately and knowledgeably I don’t see how that could fail in attracting traffic and visitors to site.
if you enjoy what you are writing about it doesn’t seem like hard work.
Do you work a content schedule?
We do have a schedule, we use google docs. We have an ideas dump where we throw ideas throughout the year and then we can pull from that whenever it takes our fancy. Sometimes we’d create a series of articles based on a theme. it’s pretty loose, we do have an annual plan but it’s flexible.
We tend to plan at the end of the previous year, we come up with a heap of ideas then one will spin off to another. There never seems to be a shortage.
Your building a new website. Is it harder working on your own?
It’s harder in a way because you’ve nobody to bounce ideas off. It’s great to have that safety net sometimes but it’s also great when you are a one-man band, because you don’t have the same restrictions.
Working on your own means that when you have an idea you can just action it immediately.
You can find Mick’s Garage at:
Before You Go
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