By MEGAN JOHANSSON
Let's set the scene: it's 2018 and you're a highly skilled interior designer who has the magic touch when it comes to transforming spaces. All of your clients have absolutely loved your work and recommend you any chance they get. But despite all that positive feedback, your client roster never seems to grow. For years you've relied on word-of-mouth and referral business - which has been great - but you can't quite understand what it is that sets your competition apart from you (and why you see so many other design firms getting an influx of customers seemingly on the daily).
You turn to your website to compare. Everything seems to be in line. You've got an aesthetic that perfectly meshes with your brand, your logo is beautiful, and your projects are clearly showcased. So what gives?
The answer, my friends, is your blog.
So many interior designers either forego a blog entirely on their site or write a post about three times a year. What's the big deal? you might ask. Simply put, even if you aren't a writer and your business and talents rest solely in the design realm, you absolutely have to have relevant content on your site. Regular blog posts mean that your clients - both past and future - will see you as the frontrunner in your industry. Without content, people might find you based on your home page copy, but chances are they'll see your site as merely a landing page for your company information, not an ongoing source of inspiration.
So let's take a dive into the three home design blogging mistakes that are costing you customers (and how to fix them):
1. You only blog about specific projects your company has worked on.
Look, I completely get it - blogging about your own projects is a source of pride. It's a chance to showcase actual work your company has done (and how happy your clients are with their new spaces) - and that is amazing for business! But the problem with this is that you might end up blogging only a few times a year after major projects have wrapped up. That means that during the months while your client's remodel was under construction, if you didn't blog about anything else, you lost endless opportunities to showcase your expertise to potential new clients. That's a big yikes.
SOLUTION: Even if you have a project that won't be wrapping up for quite some time, there is still plenty of blogging material you can get out of the process. Instead of writing just one blog about the start to finish experience, use each step as a chance to update your followers on the progress and any challenges that have cropped up along the way (trust me, your readers will want to know about this - especially if you face uphill battles - because it makes you seem real and relatable). Then, in between your company projects, incorporate blogs about your knowledge and current happenings in the design world. You're an expert about this stuff - that is clear. But it might not be clear to people who haven't worked with you before. So let them know about the latest trends or debates!
2. You aren't using professional photos in your blog posts.
Let me be clear - I'm not saying you have to hire a professional photographer every time you blog. But I am advocating for the use of professional photos that are up to par in the design community. Images in the home design world are EVERYTHING. You can write the most impactful and insightful post about the pros and cons of built-in furniture, but what you say will be completely lost on your readers if they can't relate to a photo that illustrates what you are saying. And if you do use a professional photographer but their photos are dark or of poor quality? That's something you definitely want to avoid at all costs. The key here is to think more editorial and less iphone, if you catch my drift.
SOLUTION: You should use professional shots of your own projects whenever possible (whether you're discussing that project or a larger design theme), and if you don't have photos on hand, then by all means look for inspiration from other designers you love (with credit given to the photographer/company, of course). Your readers aren't going to immediately look for the source of the photo and in turn go to them with their business; on the contrary, they will see that photo as part of the greater idea that you are trying to get across. In short, they'll see you as the expert. There are some exceptions to this (i.e. if you are sharing before/after shots or documenting the process of a remodel, it is totally okay to have phone progress shots), but the general rule of thumb is to make sure your photos are high quality and beautiful.
3. Your blog posts don't have enough copy.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if all you're using in your blog posts is photos with barely a sentence or two to introduce them, you're missing out on key chances to connect with your audience in a meaningful way. Just as content isn't clear without photos, photos alone aren't clear without an explanation or analysis on why they're there in the first place. Simply stating the type of fabric and theme/inspiration you used for a bedroom redesign isn't enough; your readers want to know all the details. Why did you choose velvet? What was the client's motivation for a mediterranean-inspired kitchen? Without your words, there's no way to know these things (and your readers will definitely want to know these things). Plus, words are what help you rank on Google, meaning that if your blog posts aren't strategic, you won't have as many opportunities to gain organic business from search engines.
SOLUTION: Make sure your posts have details and tell a story. You don't need to write a master's thesis every time (please, don't), but you do want to use your blog as an opportunity to share your knowledge. And don't forget - let your personality come through and make it enjoyable and entertaining for your readers. Nothing saps the life out of design like a robotic retelling of exactly how many nails it took to install shiplap in the entryway.
Your blog should be an opportunity to write about what you do best: design. It doesn't have to be limited to only projects you've completed - you should feel free to write about whatever design topics interest you. Maybe you want to debate the shift to jewel tones, or let your audience know about the benefits to installing wallpaper? Whatever it is you want to focus on, I can guarantee that you'll become a source of creativity and people will begin to turn to you for ideas, tips, and tricks of the trade. And really, who could say no to that?