It’s near impossible to run a self-storage business effectively these days without a strong internet presence and a robust facility website. In fact, the end goal for most digital-marketing campaigns is to increase your website visitors. More visitors ultimately mean more rentals. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to accomplish this.
One approach that often goes overlooked in self-storage is blogging. Adding a blog to your website and filling it with relevant content won’t only help you rank higher in online search results and push you ahead of the competition, it’ll boost your customer engagement. A blog allows you to create strategic content aimed at storage-related search criteria, which gives your facility more opportunities to appear in results for your target market. Let’s take a closer look at some blog-related strategies and ways to leverage your new engagement tool.
Keywords and Topics
The most important aspect to producing a self-storage blog is to ensure the content is rich in the right keywords. When deciding what to write about, ask yourself:
- Are these search terms (keywords) ones for which my target customers would look?
- Do I think my facility can reasonably rank for these terms?
The first question is the easiest to address. Most potential customers are looking for “self-storage space” or “self-storage near me.” Depending on your area, you can narrow your targets by adding words like students, businesses, residential, vacation, etc. Facilities that offer boat or RV storage or other kinds of specialty storage, like wine or records, can cast an even wider net.
Answering the second question requires some research. In Google, search your desired keywords to see what the competition looks like. If you see large companies like Medium, CNN, etc., dominating the top organic results, it may be best to choose something else. If, however, you see other storage facilities in the ranks, there’s a chance that if you produce a well-written article on that topic, you could appear on the first page of organic results.
The easiest types of blog posts to get Google to pick up are informational and list articles. In the examples below, the # sign is a substitute for a numeral. Thus, a blog headline could be something like:
- # Places in [Your City, State] that Offer Student Discounts
- # RV Dump Stations in [Your City, State]
- Moving to [Your City, State]? # Things You Need to Know
- Best Places to Live in [Your State]
- Top # Neighborhoods to Live in [Your City, State]
- How to Organize a Room With Too Much Stuff
- How to Organize a Garage on a Budget
- The Best Way to Pack China for Storage
- How to Pack Dishes with Bubble Wrap
- # Reasons You Might Need a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit
- # Things You Can Store in Non-Climate-Controlled Self-Storage
Who Should Be Your Blogger?
Ideally, your self-storage facility manager or assistant manager should be able to write articles in their down time. Managers are on the frontline. They know the customer base and what’s happening in the industry, which makes them ideal candidates.
Of course, not everyone has writing skills, and it can be intimidating to put words in a medium the public will read. If your manager or other staff member isn’t an option, there are many online channels that make it easy to find writers with experience in a variety of niches who are willing to produce content for a fee. The two most commonly used websites are Fiverr and Upwork. Keep in mind that you may need to review the work of a few candidates before finding one you can use routinely for your business.
The absolute best place for your blog is on your website. An ideal URL is www.yourdomain.com/blog. From a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective, this works best because it keeps your domain front and center. It also makes it easy to navigate from the blog article to your other web pages.
Adding a blog to your website is a simple process and something any IT professional should be able to set up. WordPress is the most commonly used backend platform. It makes it quick and easy to add new content. When setting it up, make sure your Google Analytics tag is properly configured. If you use the URL format suggested above, Google Search Console will automatically pick up new posts, making it easy to analyze data down the line.
Once you have your blog set up, you’ll need to decide how often to publish new content. This can vary depending on your goals and competition. If your facility is typically pretty full, publishing once per month will keep it looking alive for any potential tenants browsing your website. Twelve posts per year is pretty manageable. If you’re outsourcing and using WordPress, you can even hire them out all at once and schedule them to publish in advance.
Of course, there are times when posting more often makes strategic sense. Think of each blog post as a lottery ticket. Every time you publish a new article, it’s one more chance for Google to pick up your site and display it in the organic rankings for a particular term. In addition, one blog article can rank for a wide variety of searches, depending on topic. The more articles you publish, the more chances you have to get your website in front of viewers.
If you’re in a saturated market, it makes sense to increase your publishing frequency to twice each month or even weekly. The key is to monitor your results on Google. Just keep in mind that it takes time for new articles to rank. In fact, most SEO experts agree that it takes six to eight months for a new blog post to reach its maximum potential in Google rankings. Keep that value in mind, so you don’t get discouraged when content isn’t showing much traffic three weeks after publishing.
Each new blog article offers opportunities to get your website in front of viewers. In fact, each post can be repurposed and promoted in a variety of ways. Here are some ways to maximize your efforts:
- In addition to your website, publish each blog to your Facebook page.
- Include a link to your blog at the bottom of your receipts, invoices, etc.
- Send tenants a monthly email that includes important facility news, local events and an excerpt of your latest blog post, with a link to read the full article.
- Write an article on the best [food type] restaurants in the area. Once it’s published, let the restaurants know they’ve been featured and ask if they’ll share your blog with their audience.
A great benefit to publishing a blog is the sales opportunity offered in the sidebar area. If you’re not sure what that is, look at some blogs on your desktop computer and pay attention to the way most of them are laid out. Typically, there’s content on the left and a sidebar to the right containing ads or additional information. When a blog lives on your website, you own that real estate. This is a great place to display ads for your latest specials or a special coupon code just for blog readers.
Blogging is a great way for self-storage operators to provide quality and informative content to potential tenants. It offers one more opportunity to get noticed by Google and a leg up on the competition. While many operators know blogging exists as a marketing tool, few take advantage of it. If you haven’t started yet, I encourage you to consider ways you can incorporate a blog into your larger marketing plan.
April Lee works in sales and marketing for QuikStor Security & Software, a provider of security and software solutions for the self-storage industry. She’s been with the company since 2008, working in various capacities including accounting and technical support. She’s been directly involved with developing multiple blogs that generate more than 100,000 organic pageviews each month. For more information, call 800.321.1987; email [email protected].