Content Marketing Blog Ideas for Interior Designers

well-written content can build your brand, increase trust with visitors to your website, and keep search engines Featuring Your Interior Design Firm

well-written content can build your brand, increase trust with visitors to your website, and keep search engines Featuring Your Interior Design Firm

Content is king! Blah blah blah. We've heard this all before from marketers working for interior design firms but what does it mean?  As an interior designer, well-written content can build your brand, increase trust with visitors to your website, and keep search engines happy (although they, in theory, like content only because your readers do).

But not all content is "king". Most of it is far from royalty. Ever been disappointed by clicking on an article and finding it has a series of pop-up windows that forces you to click through a half dozen screens to get the information you want only to find it was as full filling as cotton candy? Generating high quality written content starts with the kernel of a great idea. The great ideas aren’t necessarily topics but also the way in which you approach a subject. Coming at it from a new direction may be just as insightful—or at the very least, popular—as entirely new knowledge. Okay, not doctorate thesis type knowledge but at least a different spin on your subject.

So before you get too far into your content strategy, take a minute to hear us out with our brainstorming ideas for your blogs, email newsletters, videos, infographics, social media posts, or whatever it is that your design clients want to know the most. We’ve winnowed the list to the six key themes of how you can interact with your audience.

Educate Your Blog Readers with Information They Need

Informing your readers is the most traditional role of long-form content such as blogs, newsletters, white papers, or e-books. As an interior designer, you take the lead in providing information to your readers that help them better understand your industry or skill set.

An informational post could be as simple as a piece of company news. Informational posts help build credibility with your clients by demonstrating a key achievement of your business. Be careful. However, as people won’t stay long on a blog that’s purely self-promotional. I like to call these the "Post & Boast" blogs. Ask yourself: Would you want to read about your company’s latest award or product? Make sure your company news post reads less like a press release and more like an effort to help your buyers toward making an informed decision.

You may find more success covering broader industry news or trends. News trends liberate you from the self-promotional concern and offers real insights to your consumers. It’s also a more subtle way to promote—rather than stating you’re an industry leader; you’re showing your visitors by demonstrating your knowledge. The key here is to be unique. Posting yet another "Pantone Color of the Year" blog that's primarily pictures of items not related to interior design is not going to help you. Think about it, with thousands of similar blogs posted daily, what are the odds of your article being listed on a search engine results page?

If you want to up the humility ante, you can make a list of other trendsetters you think your readers should follow. There are plenty of ways to avoid creating a list of your competitors, and, like covering industry news, this is an excellent way to show readers that you’re in touch with the forward-thinkers of the interior design world. In the best case scenario, your selected luminaries may return the favor by linking to you in their posts.

When you want to get more personal, consider sharing an in-depth case study of a recent client. Once again, this will give you an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and skill rather than trying to tell your readers about it. The case study format is especially attractive if you choose a topic common to your clients’ most common needs.

As part of your case study, you may want to consider sharing statistics—any statistics—about your business or industry. These offer another opportunity to become an industry leader (if you have original, internal statistics) or illuminate trends with existing information. Either way, statistics are an important way to support your argument in the publishing free-for-all that is the Internet.

Product Reviews are another type of content that will attract visitors. As an industry expert, you’re uniquely qualified to comment on products you use on a daily basis. You don’t need to conduct comparative research; you could even review a book you found particularly useful or interesting. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking,

Who has a better color palette for bathroom paint, Sherwin Williams, Benjamine Moore, Ralph Lauren or Martha Stewart?
Choosing Kitchen Back Splash Materials. Ceramics and Stone compared
What to know about Oriental Rugs Before You Buy
How to Use Houzz to Gather Ideas for your Remodel Project
Of course, a special feature of the interior design world is your image-rich field. Take advantage of it. Image-based posts are easy “reads” for your visitors and can convey much more about your style than words alone. Inspiring images are also more readily and easily shared. Just make sure you have the copyright permissions to display the images legally. Sites such as offer inexpensive stock photos, but originals, whenever possible, are the best option to avoid lawsuits and define your brand. Just be sure to size the images correctly. 1500 Pixels at the widest point and aim for a file size of 300 kb. Images can be resized with inexpensive software like Photoshop Elements using the Save for Web setting.

Finally, remember that your knowledge isn’t trapped in the past. People interested in being on the forefront of design want to hear style predictions for the future—yours included. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and let people know what you think 2015, 2016, or 2025 will look like for the interior design world!

Tell Your Followers Why Interior Design Matters

Teaching posts are also informational but have a slightly different slant. The goal is to pass along knowledge that your readers can use to act. And while the ultimate goal may be for them to hire a professional (you, in particular), providing actionable information is an excellent way to build credibility, whether your readers become immediate or down-the-road customers.

The classic teaching post is a “how to.” How-to posts are common in part because of the search volume of “how to” as a keyword. Just make sure you deliver with your content. If you don’t provide enough details for an amateur to walk away and take on the task, they’re going to leave disappointed, and the effort will be wasted. Don’t be afraid to give away a few professional secrets—while holding onto the rest for your paid customers.

Likewise, you could consider a problem-solution format that helps your potential customers work through a challenge. Ideas include the pros and cons of different counter top surfaces or carpet types. The key is start with a clear and common problem with actionable tips to help your readers arrive at a solution. Answer the question they’re asking, and help them consider those they haven’t yet imagined themselves.

Smaller posts are great for simple product or service tips. These are the tiny pieces of advice that solve micro-problems for your clients. They’re a great way to hint at your robust knowledge base and can be quick to churn out on short notice.

If you want to take a slightly more academic perspective, consider providing precise definitions connected to interior design. If someone is searching for the simple definition to a term, they’re probably in the very early stages of the buying cycle, but you might find more traction in this less-competitive region. Take a look at The Fairchild Dictionary of Interior Design for inspiration. Your readers will appreciate your efforts to help them feel informed in conversations about their design projects.

Engage Your Followers with Questions

Great content strategies are never a one-way street. The simplest way to engage with your readers is to ask questions. This is an excellent way to drive comment sections on your blog and offers you an opportunity to respond. (Make sure to acknowledge each poster’s comment, by the way.)

It’s also an opportunity to gather some marketing intelligence. You’ll glean real information about your potential clients’ knowledge base, knowledge gaps, and lingering pain points. Once you gather this information, you can use it to create an FAQ post in which you address many of the most common questions or concerns.

And just as you’re always looking for inspiration, so are you, readers. Feel free to challenge them to take on a bold redesign or finally go for the dream kitchen they’ve always wanted. Or adopt a more concrete approach: Challenge them to photograph inspirational designs or simply to retweet or share your post. If you never ask, the answer is always no.

Crowdsourcing is another way to give your readers a sense of participation in your content. Take any design quandary—perhaps even one about how you’re redecorating your home—and send it out to your followers for help making the decision. This is frequently used on Houzz and has the added benefit of allowing readers to understand you as a person, not just a business or a brand.

The last opportunity for engagement is a giveaway or contest of some sort. Without doubt, these are tried and true methods of growing engagement and give you a chance to grow subscribership of your email list or e-newsletter. Just make sure its a fair bargain for both sides—the level of ask from your readers should equal the potential spoils.

Excite Your Followers With Your Passionate About 

Not every post needs to be a disciplined, reasoned piece of prose. The occasional emotionally guided article can help deliver on your expression of passion for your design business. At its far extreme, this even includes our permission to go on a rant—with a few important qualifiers.

For one, make sure your rant is something that taps into your readers’ concerns. In other words, it should be something they want to rant about, not something that matters most to you. Additionally, and not surprisingly, this tactic should be used sparingly. (I like to rant about cold calling as a marketing endeavor as an example... Ever get a call from Yelp or Angie's List anyone?)

Other ways to provoke the emotions of your readers is to get their reaction to a recent trend or topic. With design, this can be as easy as posting images that break the rules of traditional or accepted interior design, which is sure to draw strong positive as well as negative reactions from your readers. Depending on the topic, you may want to give your opinion or reserve judgment to avoid alienating any followers.

You can also tap-in to the dreamers by posting “what if” scenarios or focusing on inspirational ideas. You can solicit feedback by posting questions like, How would you design your master bathroom with no limits on your budget? Gold toilet? 12 shower heads? More grounded inspirational messages might help your cash-strapped readers learn ways to enjoy the fundamental pleasures of interior design services in the real world (i.e. on a budget).

And if you’re trying to generate a more immediate response for your business, creating urgency is a well-tested method of producing a response. 

Welcome Your Prospects by Sharing Your Articles

Many readers will pay attention to your tweets and posts because they want to get to know you as more than just a name or a brand. You have the opportunity to welcome your potential customers into aspects of your life with the occasional off-topic or personal post. When paired with informational posts, off-topic posts can be a welcome break that let readers inside your company and past your logo.

Similarly, the opportunity to take a look at your work behind the scenes can blend the personal and professional. Seeing your real design space or reading about your thought process allows your readers to connect the dots between the person and the brand.

Write Naturally and Include Humor

We’ve saved the amusement category for last, but not because it should be neglected. As with ranting or going off-topic, amusing posts are an effective supplement to the traditional informational or how-to options. Since interior designers work in the creative world, you likely have more freedom—and more creative capacity—than the official blog of a corporate law firm or Fortune 100 company.

How should you put that creative freedom to use? To keep it most closely connected to your business, think about offering a pick-of-the-week post. This could be a product, a service, or even a follower. It doesn’t matter. The point is to take an opportunity to highlight something that will entertain your readers and, perhaps, connect back to your professional offerings.

Similarly, a word-of-the-day post can bridge the gap between business and pleasure. You could choose a word that connects closely with your business, emotion, a color, or even a word with no relation to your work. (An intelligent option might be working backward to connect a seemingly unrelated word to your business.)

Ready to jump on the pop-culture bandwagon? Whether you want to feature the interior design styles of rock stars, or just critique their tattoos, you can combine collective affinity for the rich and famous with your design talents. You could also devote a post to connecting with a television show, movie, or memorable quote.

Moving further from the business portion of your posts, think about adding a joke or two, whether on your Facebook page or Twitter feed. You could seek out the best interior design jokes or just choose your favorites of the day, season, or whatever else strikes your fancy.

If you have your mind set on a viral video, parodies have proven a way to generate growing interest. Videos require a bit more investment than a typical content option, but so do most that offer such vast potential rewards. If it seems right for you or your design business, give it a shot.

Another modern invention is the meme. These offer a lower barrier to entry with equitable opportunity for social shares. Between Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (among many others), there are a nearly infinite number of media outlets to try and nudge your meme over the viral edge. Remember, you don’t need to go viral across the entire country, just within your industry or among your prospective customers.

Cartoons are another highly sharable option. Not everyone is cut out to be a cartoonist, but even sharing others’ work can give your followers something else to look forward to—one more reason to check back often to see what you have to say, post, or repost.

If these aren’t enough content concepts to get you started, we don’t know what else to say. The best content strategies blend approaches to serve a wider audience and offer variety to their most devoted followers. That said, don’t be afraid to stick the style that seems most like you, with the occasional foray into the unknown to build your reach and your communicative repertoire.

You may find success by leading your industry, or by tapping into the topics or approaches that have been neglected by your peers. Most importantly, just make sure you’re generating content that your readers are enjoying—so much so that they can’t help but share it with their friends.

About Michael Conway and Means-of-Production

My firm builds Squarespace websites, Houzz profiles, and content marketing and advertising solutions for architects, interior designers, design-build contractors and landscape design firms. Our all-in-one tactics attract the right clients with exceptional architectural photography and brand messaging that sets you apart from the competition. Contact me for a free-of-charge consultation and marketing review. It takes about 40 minutes and you'll be provided a list of actionable improvements designed to solve your specific marketing problems. 

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