If you ever struggle to know what to blog about, step back and think. Identify what your business’s areas of expertise are. Then dive in and pinpoint what your niche is. Blog about that.
Every business has at least one niche area of expertise. And once it’s been identified, shout from the rafters about it, as this is where the sales will come from. How? Potential customers looking for the niche expertise you offer are more likely to be ready to buy. And to help prove that point, I spoke to Andy Watson, founder of Databusters, about his business and how he uses his blog to showcase his niche expertise.
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Hard drive recovery is an incredibly niche line of work, how did you get into it?
I want to go back and f*cking high 5 myself for having the balls to act on an opportunity. No one in Scotland was recovering hard drives in 2007 and as a computer guy I was curious why this was, most drives were getting sent to a company in London but they were very expensive and out of the budget of most people. I did procrastinate on the idea for a few years battling with some negativity around me that “it wouldn’t work”. I think that was my first glimpse at what thinking outside the box looked like, when everyone is going one way it’s wise to do the opposite.
Sold my car to my mate and went deep into investing in some data recovery equipment from Canada. Then came the advertising and having people drop off drives at mail box locations. One drive a month turned into many and after a few office moves, I settled into my own place with all the equipment and parts you could shake a stick at. Never understood why you would want to shake a stick at something but you get what I mean.
Why did you creating a blog on your website matter to you?
At first, it didn’t. I think self-employed people suffer from the delusion of grandeur. Because they've acted on some ideas that paid dividends in the past, the egocentric part of them thinks that they are doing everything right and that they can do no wrong.
I think it’s a constant evolution of thoughts, processes and trying to prove yourself wrong on a daily basis. My old website really was a horrible static replication of 99% of other websites you see and as much as it kind of worked, I don’t think it translated into what i was all about or my personality.
The big change came after meeting woodworker Neil Mckinlay [read Neil’s “Blog Your Passion Story here], his raw attitude of being highly skilled but at the same time not giving a f*ck was infectious. I think as you mature you meet certain people that allow you to break out of the carbon mould you have been used to living in. His blog and his website were perfect for what I wanted to mirror.
I actually don’t like the word ‘Blog’ so I renamed mine ‘Latest jobs page’, I think it’s a better description of what is on there. A self explanatory break down of what I do and how I do it.
How do you get motivated to switch onto blogging mode?
If I think that a job is interesting enough to document it I will do it. Plus, I talk a good game. If you are going to do that you need to back it up with actions. Someone asked me recently where I find the time, I guess if you want to take something seriously you just need to stop watching so much shit TV and get on with it. I haven’t watched normal TV in years. Binge watching Narcos is great when you burn yourself out though!
It’s clear from your website that customer service is a huge driving factor with how you do business, what part does the blog play in this?
Two things really. 1 - it shows people that you can do what you say you do. If I was looking for someone like me I would be more drawn to someone I could see fixing the thing I need to be fixed rather than just believing in fairytales.
And 2 - I get nice comments about my website. At the end of the day, people may not know or understand or even care about the technical details of what you do but they know when you’re talking shit or being disingenuous. My thing is just to be honest, give more than you take and you will be fine.
What has your blog done for your SEO?
If you Google “beeping Samsung hard drive” you get a post I made a couple of years ago due to it being a common fault. I get people that email me because they Google that exact term and ask me more information about how I can help them. [And this is my point about finding your niche and shouting from the rafters about it. A beeping Samsung hard drive is incredibly niche! Yet people are looking for that niche expertise, and they find Andy’s blog post. They then become customers.]
Social networking; what role does Facebook play in how you get new customers?
I think the same as just documenting what you do and ask for nothing in return. If you ask for something without having romanced them first you’re done. I relate it to the charity guys that try and approach you on the street, you will pull out your phone or walk the other way.
Trying to sell on social media can be a bit like that, it used to work 15 years ago but the market is so saturated with a desperation that in order to keep people interested you need to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.
Andy makes a great point here. With so many businesses chucking most - or all - of their eggs into Facebook, for example, in the hope of getting new customers, we should rethink that strategy. That’s why I argue that most of your digital marketing time should go into the content on your website. Your blog, for example. With social networks like Facebooks being spokes in the Social Media Wheel…
If you’ve found Andy’s story helpful, please remember to share this post!
It’s helpful to have a fresh pair of eyes to look over your blog, or any element of your digital marketing. That’s one of my specialities, so get in touch with me and I can set you up an Audit.
Many thanks to Andy for taking the time to speak to me for the “Blog Your Passion Series”. You can check out the other articles in the series below: