Fresh Picked: 2019 Trending content topics for your HVAC, Home Performance, and Solar website
Anyone with even a basic understanding of digital marketing concepts knows the value of creating fresh content for your website and social media channels. But the last thing you want to do is waste your valuable time and energy creating new content that doesn’t benefit your business.
That’s why we’re pulling back the curtain and letting you in on a few Energy Circle secrets. Today, we’ll be revealing some of our most popular and well-performing content topics in the HVAC, Home Performance, and Solar industries in 2019. This should give you an idea of the kinds of content that speak to the needs and interests of your potential customers, and maybe will spark some inspiration for your next piece of content creation.
What Are the Different Types of Digital Marketing Content?
But before we get into the topics themselves, let’s do a quick refresh on the different types of digital marketing content, because content marketing is not just about what you’re talking about but how you’re reaching your audience to talk about it. Different formats we use a lot here at Energy Circle include:
Website copy (landing pages, service pages, city pages)
*The type of video we are referring to is a short form video that is heavy on text captions and animations.
Choosing a format will often depend on your topic and your audience. Often it’s a practical decision—if your topic is complex, you likely aren’t going to be able to provide enough useful information through a simple short video alone. A seasonal promotion could be beefed up enough to justify a full-length blog post, but you can amplify the reach of your blog post by sending your target audience a shorter email or Facebook ad campaign.
How Do You Know What Content was Best?
One last note before we give up the actual goods: an explanation on how we determined that the following topics were among our most successful.
The ways we evaluate the overall success of our content marketing will vary from format to format. With blog posts, for example, we look at:
Traffic (how many people visit the page)
Session Duration (how long those people stay on the overall site once they’re there)
Page Depth (the number of other pages on the same site people visit during that session)
Organic Ranking on search engine result pages (for the blog or the website as a whole) for targeted keywords
In general, we’re keeping an eye on the Big Picture; not just how many views or clicks a particular piece of content or page received, but what effect it might have had on the company’s overall online ranking and performance.
So, without further ado, here are 3 of the best performing content marketing topics we've tracked this year for the HVAC, Solar, and Home Performance industries!
Our Top HVAC Topic: Heat Pumps/Mini-Splits
It’s no secret among HVAC contractors that homeowner interest in heat pump technology is on the rise. This is especially true in the Northeast, where factors like the climate and typical historic home construction make it easy for homeowners to leverage heat pumps to their maximum potential, getting the most bang for their buck. So it’s not surprising that, this year, we’ve seen continued performance improvement for content marketing efforts centered around the topic of heat pumps and mini-splits—homeowners want to know more about them!
Long form, information-heavy blog posts addressing frequently asked questions about heat pumps and mini-splits have performed particularly well when it comes to engaging target customers for HVAC contractors, especially in the New England area.
Honorable Mention: AC Maintenance
The topic of AC maintenance is a year-to-year “steady eddie”: educating your customers on the importance of scheduling maintenance before they need it. Schedule this for the shoulder seasons, especially coming out of winter into spring, before search volume for “AC Maintenance” begins its uptick (for more on search volume and seasonality, check out our previous blog here).
Our Top Solar Topic: Solar Batteries
Educating solar-curious homeowners has progressed to dispelling certain beliefs about the way solar energy works. Many contractors we speak with are in somewhat of a “second wave” when it comes to solar, where the first wave was educating customers that solar photovoltaic energy exists and is a viable solution for residential power.
But as the climate continues to change, and natural disasters are headline news on a near-daily basis, solar contractors are spending more time educating customers that an off-grid solar system will not keep the lights on during an outage. This is a robust topic that should be handled with care, and is probably best in a long form content type, like a blog or even a dedicated landing page on your site.
Honorable Mention: The Solar Tax Credit
The decline of the solar tax credit is a rare opportunity to leverage a legitimate deadline for solar installation. Though it may not be the “end” of the solar tax credit savings, every drop counts when it comes to the savings your customers can see on their solar installation.
Take this opportunity to even out some of your end of the year rush! Leveraging the reach and affordability of Facebook ads, combined with the engaging power of video, has proven to be an effective content marketing tactic to get the word out to a lot of people, quickly, about this time-sensitive topic.
Our Top Home Performance Topic: Crawlspace Encapsulation
Much of the content marketing we do on behalf of home performance contractors is aimed at demystifying the scientific concepts behind what makes a structure more energy efficient, healthy, and sustainable. In other words: What are the services a home performance contractor can deliver to lower a homeowner’s utility bill, improve the quality and safety of the atmosphere within their homes, and help the systems throughout a building operate more cleanly and reduce their impact on the environment?
This year, the topic of improving or tightening up a home’s building envelope has really gained traction in terms of awareness and interest in related home performance services. More specifically: crawlspace encapsulation.
Cleaning up, sealing, and insulating the small areas beneath a home—where pests, dust, moisture and mold can often lurk—can have a significant, beneficial impact on the home’s overall performance, so it’s not difficult to convince homeowners that it is a worthwhile upgrade. But helping consumers make the connection between larger “whole home problems” and seemingly isolated improvements, like encapsulating a small area beneath their living space, is the content marketing challenge we’ve been tackling.
Once again, long form blog posts are the content format that gets the task done most effectively. The detailed blog format offers ample opportunity to educate readers about the link between a nasty, leaky crawlspace and the overall health and performance of their home. Including a case study and real life before-and-after imagery provides an impactful SEO / local SEO boost, while giving consumers an easy way to relate the service to their personal situation. Plus, nothing sells the value of crawlspace encapsulation quite like the side-by-side photographic comparison which visually demonstrates the massive improvement the service can achieve.
Honorable Mention: Duct Sweating
This fascinating phenomenon usually has homeowners scrambling for a Google search bar to figure out what is going on with their ductwork. If this utilitarian blog isn’t already in your digital marketing quiver, it’s a great way to beef up your site’s content with useful information that can get steady search traffic.
Our Top Energy Efficiency Topic: Geothermal
Sure, geothermal is not a service every home performance contractor can offer. It is highly dependent on a lot of factors, but the rarity of geothermal is one of the reasons we think it has piqued the interest of homeowners all over the country. Explaining the scientific details of how geothermal works can take a lot of time, and if it isn’t done properly can lead to more confusion. But if you’re able to effectively clarify the benefits of geothermal energy, you then have the opportunity to incorporate some very effective calls to action into your content marketing strategy—like “learn if your home is a good candidate for geothermal energy” or “schedule a free geothermal quote to learn more.”
Enhanced, dedicated landing pages which offer users ample time to peruse content and “learn at their own pace” have proven an effective format for content marketing around a complicated topic like “geothermal.” Plus, when leveraging on-site landing pages to publish content, you gain the added opportunity to A/B test everything from page titles to calls-to-action, allowing for more sophisticated and strategic honing of content that will perform even better in the future.
Get on It, “Write-Away”!
So, that’s a peek at some of the best performing content topics that we’ve seen across our client base. Seems easy enough to write your own, right? Not so fast.
One of the challenging components of really effective content marketing is the fact that your audience’s interests and needs are constantly changing. Just because air conditioner repair and maintenance was a popular topic for blog posts in July and August in New England doesn’t mean you should be creating a bunch of new AC-related content in October and November (more on seasonal marketing here). The goalposts are always shifting, and trying to figure out what’s going to be the next big thing before it happens can be frustrating for companies who would rather be focusing their efforts on delivering stellar service to customers.