Help! My Site’s Content is a Dumpster Fire!

woman looking at a computer screen with a dumpster, on fire, floating through a flood-ravaged street

Creating good content for dealership blogs and landing pages sounds like it should be relatively straightforward. Get together some informative and concise text, some fun photos and videos that showcase the vehicles, a hyperlink here or there redirecting to inventory or other models, maybe some test drive forms and… presto! You’ve got yourself some hot content. Hot content is easy to make and fun, however, making that hot content for a relevant audience and marketing that content properly to said audience is a different beast entirely.

Boxer dog making note on vintage typewriter

Hot, or Not?

In my first week at Strathcom, two troubling pieces of content come to mind.

One of my first assignments was a page giving a rundown of four performance models. While it’s fantastic to get people pumped on performance vehicles, the dealer did not have a single unit of those models in stock. Actually, they clarified that they wouldn’t be able to get any of those vehicles in stock.

The second page previewed a soon to be resurrected model and, while it’s fun to get people hyped on a nostalgic return, there was no available media for the post. A post without videos, pictures, or further links, is a post devoid of fun. That’s not hot content. That’s not even lukewarm content.

Dead end door.

These are two examples of what we like to call “dead-ends.” The dead-end has the content consumer stop dead in their tracks, uninspired, with no guiding purpose given by the page visited. The likelihood of getting a lead from this kind of content is slim to none—maybe you’ve even alienated your potential customer.

Avoiding Dead Ends Online

As content marketers, we want to avoid dead-ends. So, what things should a dealer consider when working with a content creator (we’re biased, but we suggest Strathcom) to devise a content marketing strategy? To understand where to begin, we should reflect on how we consume content ourselves.

Anyone who owns a laptop, smartphone, tablet, smart refrigerator, or any internet-accessing device has likely fallen victim to the endless black hole that is the modern day internet. Many days, the web is a modern messiah, making millions of lives significantly easier. In under three minutes, you can check the weather, pay your credit card bill on easyweb, schedule yoga on the MindBody app, or heck, maybe even finally get rid of that dusty ping-pong table, praying that somebody on Facebook Marketplace will give you forty bucks and a case of Pilsner.

What a time to be alive.

There’s also the darker side of modern technology, with millions of us getting caught up in the productivity killer that is online life. We sit on our sofas and endlessly scroll through the soft content of social sites, through a photostream spanning loved ones and coworkers and meme accounts and celebrities and acquaintances. We open Instagram and wonder how Sandra from high school has enough money to vacation in Europe every three months. That curiosity turns into looking at Google for flights to Croatia, then opening a new tab to browse the Croatia subreddit and planning a full vacation we aren’t going on. There’s a ton of music festivals in Split, but Dubrovnik also looks nice—and Game of Thrones was filmed there! Another tab opens to Youtube to watch Game of Thrones clips, and soon enough your re-watching full episodes on HBO’s website.

Five hours have elapsed since opening Instagram. Another five hours of life spent doing next to nothing on a soft but firm loveseat.

Being online is chaotic. We constantly shift back and forth between productivity and procrastination. Modern technology ultimately gives us quicker and more efficient access to our daily lives, but, at the cost of the ingraining into our brains the infinite cycle of scroll, click, skim, watch, and repeat.

Stressed man using cell phone and speech bubbles with messages

So How Can We Fix It?

“This seems like philosophical nonsense, how does this actually apply to my website, blog posts, and landing pages?”

As erratic as endlessly scrolling is and may seem, as content consumers we gravitate towards streamlined content. Online life has conditioned us to follow the rabbit hole of hyperlinks, videos, related content, and suggested content. Whether consciously or subconsciously, as content consumers we’ll usually follow the stream of content, as long as we’re pointed in the right direction. Now think back to the problematic posts with the dead-ends. In a world of content oversaturation (and decreasingly short attention spans), we don’t want to lose the consumers attention by creating bland or irrelevant content.

As a dealer, what can you do?

1. Reconsider how you view content

Content should be thought of in simpler terms. Dealers must be customer-centric first, and content is another way to solve problems for customers. You’re producing content to grow your business and serve your customers. You’re not only creating a piece of content, but a resource for customers. Your resources should be expert, comprehensive, and should be relevant enough to your product that customers would expect you to solve that problem. Need help executing your expertise? That’s what we’re here for!

2. Reflect on and consider your business goals

Do you have a surplus of old models that you’re trying to clear? Don’t pick a topic about cars that you don’t (and especially won’t) have to sell. Instead, think of creating content that is useful to your dealership’s needs. If you know your customers are confused on the difference between AWD and 4WD, make a post outlining the differences. Better yet, find someone on your team that is an expert on the subject and have them share their expertise with the person creating the content. The more comprehensive resources you have on your website, the quicker customers will be able to solve their problems (and the more likely they will turn to you for other needs like, oh I don’t know, a new vehicle).

3. Was there search volume?

Are you capitalizing on what consumers are looking for online, as well as on your website? Make sure to pick topics that shift the focus to the things that customers actually have interest in. When you say that out loud, it seems really obvious, right? Yet you’d be amazed at how few dealers actually do this. If visitors are looking at content regarding a specific model, make sure to provide relevant links on-page that redirect viewers to current inventory. Why write another blog post on winter driving tips, when you could highlight an exceptional winter driving vehicle that people are already looking for?

4. What already exists on your website?

Know what’s working and not working on your website. Is your website cluttered? Do you have pages for every vehicle model? Do your landing pages already have sufficient calls-to-action, informative copy, and entertaining media? Are your blog posts fun and informative? Recognize your website’s strengths and where there could be improvements, and work on executing those improvements first before you start trying to build on a rocky foundation.

Great content can be a daunting task, but one made easier if you’ve got a vision. Need help fleshing your strategy out? Strathcom has a team full of enthusiastic content strategists who want to help, whether that be giving recommendations or helping create a full content marketing strategy. Let’s stop making unengaging content, and start giving customers what they’re looking for.

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