Since moving into our 1940's bungalow, my husband and I regularly discussed, “What should we do with our small, original kitchen?” Some things had to be fixed, such as the white ceramic title floor that turned into an ice rink whenever it got wet. Other things, like the original cabinets and tiled countertop, were functional but less than ideal.
Seven years later, we finally decided to update the kitchen (thank goodness it put an end to that conversation!) Working through the process of deciding what to do, finding the right contractor and renovating the space taught me a lot about content marketing (seriously – what doesn’t?).
Understand your options
How did we finally reach a decision after so many years? It came down to getting out and talking to people. Internet research is helpful to an extent, but it wasn't until we visited stores and had contractors visit our home that we could finally get the specific advice and cost estimates to make a good decision.
We found it valuable to evaluate incremental spend: What would we spend for the individual fixes vs. spend for entire kitchen? The additional cost to update the entire kitchen wasn't as much as we though, which made our decision easier.
Takeaway: Until you have solid numbers and options, it’s tough to make a sound decision. Call consultants to get advice and understand options and cost. You may be surprised at what you can afford and accomplish.
Find the right help
When finding help, don’t only consider budget, but also find the right personality fit. This is especially important if you will be interacting with this person day in and day out. For instance:
- Are you going to be comfortable asking your many questions?
- How many clients is this person managing? Will you get individual attention?
- How does this person deal with the inevitable changes that come up along the way?
One of the reasons we chose our contractor is because he only works on one job at a time, to get things done as quickly as possible.
Takeaway: While budget is always a consideration, make sure you have a good rapport person who will be helping you.
Another thing we liked about our contractor was his detailed estimate. We had a line-by-line description of everything planned so we knew exactly what would happen. Whenever we had to make a decision on something (such as what kind of counter to purchase), he gave us an allowance, so we could directly see how our spending would impact the final cost. Having this level of detail really helped us understand where we could make trade offs to get what we wanted but keep within budget.
Takeaway: Understand exactly what you are getting from your content marketing consultant. I’ve worked with a number of consultants, and it’s amazing how varied proposals can be. While there is no one right way, it’s often nice to have as many of the details laid out as possible.
Don’t be afraid of structural changes
One of the best things we did in our kitchen was tear out a few feet of wall. It opened up our space immensely, which is a big deal in a kitchen like ours. It's the one thing visitors always comment on!
Takeaway: Sometimes they best changes aren't a new piece of content on your website. Rather, you need to take a step back and think about what you can do to improve your program. Maybe it's segmenting your content by users or overhauling the website so people can find what they are looking for.
Be prepared to put in work
Even though our contractor handled all of the details and would always give suggestions, there was a lot of work we had to do, such as researching/choosing the cabinets, floors, counters, fixtures; prepping the space to be updated; and making ongoing, daily decisions while work was progressing. Our contractor was helpful in laying out a plan for us so we knew decisions we had to make when to keep on track, but if we had missed dates, the project would have not gone smoothly.
Takeaway: Even when you get help, it may still require substantial time on your part. Make sure you have this time; otherwise, you may not get the results you want.
Remember that details count
Like any house from the 1940s, our walls are not straight and things don’t align perfectly. When installing our backsplash, the mis-alignment of our walls was evident. Instead of “making do,” our contractor pulled out some tiles and finagled a windowsill to make everything look straight – without us asking or charging us more! He explained that he would only do something the way he’d do it for his own home.
Takeaway: Find a consultant who cares about the details and doesn’t see your project as “just another job.” You know you are going to run up against unexpected challenges, and you want that person to give each situation the time it needs instead of rushing to get the job done.
It’s really not that bad!
I’ve heard horror stories of kitchen renovations and content marketing projects gone wrong, which is why it can be somewhat tough to get started. Who wants to deal with that headache? But, if you do your homework and find the right person to help, you’ll probably be asking yourself, “Why didn’t I do this years ago?” Now, we're on to other projects around the house!
Have you ever done home improvement and couldn't help but think about content marketing? I'd love to hear your lessons learned as well!
About the author: Michele is the Content Development Director of the Content Marketing Institute where where she works with a fabulous group of contributors who know a lot about content marketing. She's also a B2B content marketing consultant who has a passion for helping companies use content to connect with their ideal buyers. You can follow her onTwitter @michelelinn or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B.