Famous advertising executive, Leo Burnett once said, "What helps people, helps business".
Unfortunately, based on Archmark’s evaluation of nearly 600 architecture firm websites, we found that the vast majority of them don’t do a good job of helping their prospective clients, and, in turn, this is not helping architects.
We often speak to architects who are frustrated that prospects do not understand what they do or the value of the services they provide. They are constantly under pressure to reduce fees or take on low fee, low-value work from clients who do not understand their role.
A major issue we found is that many firms are not effectively using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to attract and get found online by high-value clients.
Blogging, a key component of an effective content and SEO marketing strategy is also an area where architects seem to struggle.
Many architecture firms have blogs, but instead of writing articles that build trust with prospects, these blogs often focus on internal news and announcements, rather than topics and questions that actually matter to future clients.
If you're looking for ways to attract your ideal future clients to your architecture firm, it's time to get serious about your content marketing strategy with this ultimate blogging guide.
What is Content Marketing Anyway?
To keep things simple, Content Marketing refers to a form of marketing that is focused on creating, publishing, and distributing strategic content for a targeted audience.
Any content you create can be considered Content Marketing, as long as its main purpose is helping you connect with a specific audience.
- Blog articles
- Downloadable ebooks and whitepapers
- Social media posts
- and much more
They can all be used to attract and connect with your target audience through online channels like your website, Google searches, social media platforms, email, and so on.
According to Chitika, 95% of Google users never search past the first page of results.
So, how do you get found on the first page of Google?
Experts agree that increasing your online visibility and trust through SEO-friendly content on your website and other platforms is one of the more effective and sustainable ways to attract high-quality, relevant website visitors and leads through search results.
Why Every Architect Should Blog
These figures highlight the importance of blogging, with many people using them to inform major purchase decisions.
Clearly, content marketing can be a critical part of a successful architecture firm's strategy, but why is it so effective?
The beauty of content marketing is that any architect can get started with it right now. All you need is a laptop, time, and the willingness to learn a few best practices. It’s also 62% cheaper than traditional marketing according to Demand Metric.
It Establishes Trust
"Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue."
- Andrew Davis, Bestselling author of Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships
Andrew Davis puts it perfectly. Prospects need to feel they can trust you, especially with so much at stake. Your prospects likely haven't worked with an architect before, so they're going to do their research.
By answering their questions, helping guide them on their design journey, and educating them with valuable advice, you're building the foundations of a trust-based relationship with them before you've even had your first meeting!
It Conveys Your Value
Your website copy can only portray so much about your architecture firm; posting regular, SEO-friendly blog articles will help prospects understand the value of:
- What you do
- What you can offer them
- And your unique talents
It Filters Out the Wrong Prospects
Just like you have your image of what a perfect fit client looks like, your prospects are scanning the internet for the right fit too.
By positioning yourself clearly through your content, you have a better chance of helping those bad fit clients to opt-out, while simultaneously attracting better-fit clients.
How to get started with blogging?
Skyler Reeves, CEO of Ardent Growth, sums it up perfectly:
"SEO gets a lot easier when you approach it with the goal of creating the best damn piece of content on the web for a topic. That means putting in the work, understanding [your audience], and legitimately wanting to help them. That means giving up the hacks, the spam, and the corner-cutting. If you want to build something sustainable, you need to build a brand. And you don't build a brand by cutting corners."
If you want to create a successful content strategy for your architecture firm, as Reeves put it, don't cut corners; begin your strategy by putting in the research and creating a plan before you type a single word.
Keep reading to learn our precise process for creating effective blog articles.
Start with a 3-6 Month Topic Plan
Why begin with topic planning?
- It helps you get content ready in advance, so you're not writing "on-the-fly".
- It ensures your content is designed to reach specific goals so it will resonate better with your target audience.
This helps ensure that you don’t get stuck, frustrated, and worst of all, quit.
We recommend planning out the next 3 to 6 months of content and figuring out what's worth writing about; what will actually help your prospects?
3 Essential Content Types
If you're stuck for ideas or inspiration, we recommend sticking with these 3 content types:
1 - FAQ Answers
Headlines that end in a question mark get 23.3% more social shares than headlines that don't, according to Backlinko.
So, what questions do clients typically ask you? What do they want to know before, during, and after a project?
Answer these questions in detail to let your expertise and experience shine through.
2 - Insider Insights
Many clients are unaware of some of the realities, and sometimes, unfair practices, that take place behind the scenes in the Design & Building industry.
Everything from local planning zoning issues to unscrupulous practices by others in the industry. Being upfront, honest, and transparent about your industry can help build trust with future clients.
3 - Pain Points
With a lot at stake on a high-value project, your prospects want to avoid making decisions that could cost them time, money, and effort to correct.
You can help them avoid these pitfalls, and show them your approach to reducing or overcoming these potential issues. By the way, Pain Points work very well as case study articles.
How Do You Actually "Market" Your Content?
Effective Content Marketing doesn’t stop once you’ve published your blog article. There are several additional steps you can take to help your content reach more people and nail the "marketing" part of "content marketing".
1 - SEO
Search engines, like Google, will have a hard time pushing your content to prospects if it's not optimized to be found in search results. Here are a few pointers to help you "optimize" your content:
Start with Keyword Research
There are many keyword research tools to help you find relevant search terms your target audience might use to find your firm or the services you offer online. For each blog article you create, you’ll want to identify 2-4 relevant target keywords to build your article’s topic around.
While it’s tempting to aim for broader, short-tail keywords, like “architectural services,” this isn’t always the best approach.
Short-tail keywords: more general search queries consisting of one or two words.
Long-tail keywords: consist of three to five or even more words.
“A real estate agency in Wichita has no shot at ranking for the phrase “real estate;” a lawyer in Fresno has no shot at ranking for the word “lawyer.” Optimize for relevant, specific keywords that will bring targeted traffic.”
Try to choose medium-to-long-tail keywords like “how to choose an architect” or localized terms like “residential architects [your city]” rather than a short-tail or general keyword like “architect.”
This will give you a better chance of ranking for more specific, lower-volume keywords.
Include Keywords in Your Text
Once you've chosen your target keywords, make sure you're using them in your headers (designated as H1s, H2s, H3s, H4s, etc. in your website’s code), and throughout the body of your article’s text. The most important thing to remember is that you must weave the keywords naturally.
If you're putting keywords in awkward places and your piece no longer reads well, you've missed the point, and likely lost your prospect. If you add in keywords too many times or "just for the sake of it," this is called "keyword stuffing", and Google will penalize you for it.
To stay safe and avoid keyword stuffing, you can limit the number of times you use a specific keyword. While there are no precise recommendations from Google regarding the number of times a keyword can appear on a page, the generally accepted limit is 2% of the total word count. If you have 1,000 words on a page, you would limit the use of a specific keyword to 20 times.
Another way to avoid keyword stuffing is to use semantically related keywords in your content. This approach adds variety to your content, and can aid your SEO by helping you write a more conceptually complete article.
2 - Share on social media
You’ll want to be sure to share your blogs to your social media profiles on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. You might be surprised by how many ideal prospects are using these platforms as research tools to find ideas and inspirations for future projects.
Once you've written and published your article, create social media posts to accompany it with an engaging graphic. Sharing content this way expands the blog's reach and allows your followers to share it to their own networks, if they like it, increasing your visibility and firm’s chances of getting more leads.
3 - Promote on Guest Websites
Writing "guest" blogs is a core part of any content marketing strategy. By promoting yourself on other relevant websites you can expand your reach and get important backlinks to your website, something Google considers when ranking your content.
If you need an example of a guest blog, well, you happen to be reading one right now!
Essential Elements of a Well-Written Blog
According to Tech Client, having a blog on your website increases your chances of ranking higher in search by a massive 434%.
But you’ll want to make sure your blogs are well-written. If you're new to writing blogs, including the following essential elements in your article will give you a better chance of success.
Start with a Catchy, Concise Title
Imagine our title read "A Guide to Writing Good Blogs" instead of "The Ultimate Guide to Blogging for Architects."
Titles matter and the more intriguing and interesting your title is, the more likely your target audience is to read it. Make sure your blogs draw your reader’s attention.
Catch their Attention with a Great "Hook"
Using an effective “hook” can catch your reader’s attention, and convince them your article is worth reading.
Your title can certainly serve as a hook, but often, it’s those crucial first few sentences of your blog that will help convince them to keep reading.
A hook can be:
- A metaphor
- A thought-provoking question
- Something related to current events
- A personal anecdote
- Or something they don’t know that they need to know
Include Engaging Imagery
According to Hubspot, blog posts that feature an image every 75-100 words get 2X more shares than those without.
Filename: blog image statistics
Alt-text: Blog posts with an image every 75-100 words get 2x more shares than those without.
So, make sure you include both banner or header image and as well as images throughout your articles. These help:
- Keep your readers' attention
- Make your blog "easier to read'' by breaking up blocks of text
- Helping illustrate key points.
See one of Monograph's recent blog post on invoicing best practices as an example.
Make Your Articles "Scannable"
Blog posts with headlines 6-13 words in length tend to drive more traffic, according to Hubspot.
Filename: Blog headline word length
Alt-text: Blog posts with headlines 6-13 words in length drive more traffic
This applies not only to your main H1 header but all headers throughout your articles. Readers tend to scan blogs for the information they're looking for rather than read every word, so keep your headers as short and sweet as possible.
Aim for 1,500 Words
According to Backlinko, long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than short-form articles do.
So what should you aim for?
In 2022, according to Wix, 1,500-2,500 words seem to rank better in Google search, with articles at the top end of this average hitting the sweet spot.
However, don't make your content wordier than it needs to be simply to satisfy this goal. Say what you want to say in as few words as possible.
Include Soundbites for Podcasts
If you're writing a blog to promote your latest podcast or explore a topic featured on your podcast in greater detail, then it's a good idea to include some soundbites throughout your blog post to highlight important quotes and allow people to listen without committing to the full podcast.
Include a Call to Action at the End
One of the biggest missed opportunities we see with architecture firm blogs is forgetting to include a Call to Action (CTA). CTAs point your readers to the next step you want them to take with you.
This can help you build leads for your firm without having to run ads. A CTA can be:
- Subscribe to your newsletter
- Get in touch with you
- Book a discovery call - as SARCO Architects did here:
Follow the AIDA framework
Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. These pillars make up AIDA, a proven framework for converting people from casual passersby to online leads.
When crafting your blogs, make sure you're capturing your reader's attention, engaging their interest in what you're talking about, making your services more desirable, and inspiring them to take action.
Our Top Writing Tips
When it comes to sitting down and writing your blog articles, where do you start? Staring at a blank page can be enough to make you give up before you’ve even begun.
Follow our top tips to stay focused when writing your articles:
If you are a writer:
- Outline: an outline is a great way to capture the initial flow of your blog. Start with the key points you want to make, the word count goal you are aiming for, and set a deadline for yourself. Then break the main topic into logical subtopics. Add bullet points for the intro, each subtopic, and the outro. Don’t forget to include relevant statistics. quotes, or links you want to include as well.
- Expand: Once you've written your outline, it's all about connecting the dots and expanding on your main and sub points until you've reached a fully formed article.
- Edit: Now it's time to create your second and maybe even third draft to refine what you've written, weed out unnecessary words, and make it punchy. You can use tools like Grammarly and Hemingway to make sure it's grammatically correct.
If you're not a writer:
- Write down questions: make a list of the key questions or problems you want your blog to answer.
- Record an interview: ask your friend, colleague, or partner to interview you answering these questions. This approach can be a great way to shortcut the process, and keep the content in your tone of voice and style.
- Transcribe it: Use software like Descript or Otter.ai to transcribe your interview and convert it into a written text. Voila, you now have most of the content you need to include in your blog!
- Expand, edit, refine: Follow the steps in the "if you are a writer" section above to complete your article.
Now it's time to publish your blog! Every website is different, but it's usually fairly straightforward.
- Go to the “blog” or “post” section in your website’s admin area
- Copy/paste your article’s text
- Use the text editor to format your text, e.g. designate headers as H1s, H2s, H3s, etc.
- Be sure to add a proper meta title and description for your article
- Include images and graphics
- Click “Publish!”
To promote your blog:
- Create a short, relevant caption to hook your follower’s attention
- Create a banner graphic that's suitable for your social media platform
- Include a link to the blog in your post, for Instagram, we recommend a “link in bio” tool*.
- Hit “Post!”
*Instagram doesn't allow captions to have clickable links.
Additional tools and resources for better blogging
We've compiled a short list of some of our favorite tools and resources to help you go even further in your content marketing, blogging, and SEO journey!
- Frase for brainstorming and content research
- Keywords Everywhere for keyword research/validation
- Google's keyword planner tool for keyword research
- Google Search Console for SEO tracking
- SEMRush for keyword tracking and auditing your site
- Neil Patel's blog for content marketing/SEO advice
- SEMRush's blog for content marketing/SEO advice
Inspired to get blogging today?
We hope our ultimate guide to blogging for architects has helped you understand the importance, value, and benefits of content marketing for capturing and converting more dream clients. You've got everything you need to get started writing awesome, SEO-friendly blog articles today, so get going!
Just remember: your content marketing is about your ideal future clients, it’s not about you or other architects.
In the wise words of author Jay Acunzo, remember to:
"Actually talk to your customers. Use the language that they use. Talk about the things they talk about. Never feed salad to a lion."
If you'd like to learn more about content marketing for architects, head over to Archmark where we have many blog articles related to architecture firm branding and marketing. And, if you want our expert support taking your architecture firm to the next level with ideal clients and better projects, book a call with us today.