By Peter J. Billingham
What gets you excited about working in the EOL (end of life) planning or funeral industry?
Why do you face the difficult task of dealing with families anticipating or living with the loss of someone they love?
The cynic may say, you need to earn a living. But my experience is that most people who work in the EOL and funeral industry care. They sincerely care about the people they serve. It's not just a job. It's not just a way to make a living; it's a way of life.
Passion is contagious.
Passion is contagious and when it's combined with a strategy it can create content that goes viral. This places a business or a service in the public eye. When your potential customers connect to your thoughts and feelings, it helps your business grow online.
This post continues in the short series, 7 Steps To Pass On A Successful Digital Funeral Business Tomorrow. Many funeral businesses are a second, third or even fourth generation business. Digital disruption has changed the funeral marketplace considerably. To pass on a thriving business to the next generation it now needs a "digital" mindset.
In this post I want to show how creating digital content online can set your firm head and shoulders above others. To move from an EOL or funeral business with an "analogue" mindset to a "digital" mindset, you need to start creating content.
Does It Matter?
Your EOL, Digital Legacy or funeral business needs to get digital exposure. How will your customers of tomorrow find you?
Simple - on their mobile phone.
Forget computers, forget laptops and increasingly forget tablets. The mobile that is glued to the hands of most people, is the tool of choice to find information today. Creating content is probably the single most important way to increase the chance of your business getting found.
Why Bother To Create Content?
That's a good question to ask!
The answer is simple - visibility, visibility and visibility.
Creating content online increases the chance of people finding answers to questions that your business or service can solve. Creating fresh, relevant content and consistently uploading it to your Focused Customer Platforms will be an effective, long-term strategy to build a digital footprint to your business. It lifts your business in search engine results. It shows your firm as current and relevant.
What Type Of Content?
Digital content can be a picture, an image, written text, audio or video. Creating some content needs little technical skill. Whereas, some content requires the ability to learn new software packages or editing software.
The truth is this. If you can write an email, use a word processing package, take a photograph or shoot a video, you can create content!
Let's look at some different types of content you could create.
Blogging - A regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.
Quote Images - Adding quotes or sayings about a relevant subject or issue to beautiful photographs that are easily shareable on social media.
Infographics - A visual representation of information or data, e.g. as a chart or diagram. The Co-op funeral care have an excellent infographic on the digital view of funerals here.
Podcasting - The practice of using the Internet to make digital recordings of broadcasts available for downloading to a computer or mobile device.
Vlogging - A blog in which the postings are primarily in video form on posted on Facebook or Youtube.
Let's take one of those content creation routes, blogging, and look how a funeral business could create online content.
How Could I Use A Blog in my EOL or funeral business?
Blogging - Many funeral business websites have a "News" section. Posting updates about the latest development in your industry is a great starting point. Using Google, it's easy to set alerts that can give you information to add to your news site. Want to make it considerably more powerful? Then add your thoughts, comments or opinions about the information. It makes it personal and infinitely more interesting to your audience.
Right now as I write this blog post the world is preparing for the funeral of Mohammed Ali. The web is full of details about his life and also about his death. His funeral will be live streamed to the world. He has planned his funeral down to the last detail in a famous 'Book.' What do you think about those two things? Both of them could spark conversations with your potential audience. You could write about live streaming a funeral, maybe none of your clients have thought of that. You could write about "The Big Conversation" having a discussion with those you love about their funeral wishes.
What affects you about these things?
An excellent example of an industry blog is The Good Funeral Guide Blog. A more specialised blog worth looking at is Final Fling. This is a truly wonderful blog full of great information and well presented.
Creating Content From Culture
Casualty is a BBC Drama series about the staff and patients at Holby City Hospital's emergency department, charting the ups and downs in their personal and professional lives. Casualty will be celebrating its one thousandth episode and thirtieth year in 2016.
In episode 997, "The Best Day of My Life" aired on the 4th of June 2016, two characters - Robyn and David, decided to have a "Death Cafe' much to the ridicule of most people. Interestingly, the morality cafe proves a success! Here is an excellent example of how you can take something current in culture and speak about how your business thinks about the subject. Millions of people watch casualty. Could you be the first EOL or funeral business to blog about what happened on the episode?
Two Completely Different Approaches
CPJ Field Funeral Directors have taken this one step further and now have a "writer in residence." Hannah Sherriffs is creating content for the funeral business, and you can read some of her work here. She writes thoughtfully and in depth and that would appeal to some people, but not all.
On an entirely different scale and style is Caleb Wilde. His blog "Confessions Of A Funeral Director" is read by more than a million people per week. Often irreverent, funny and at times excruciatingly honest, his style does not suit everyone, but the point is, it's "his" style. What's your style?
You could blog on subjects like:
Reposting industry blogs with your comments added.
Articles in the news plus your opinions.
New services or products you are offering
How do I blog?
How do I find the tools to help me write, to create headlines and upload these to my Focused Customer Platforms and your website?
These are ways Death Goes Digital can help you through our coaching, consulting and training services. We also offer a blog writing service for outsourcing this activity if you so wish. For more information contact us for services and prices. I would love to hear from you if you have a blog on EOL planning or as a Funeral Director. For a free review of your blog why not contact me?
Want a great book on the subject? Content Marketing Inc by Joe Pulizzi is one of the best that I have come across.
Affiliate link - the books advertised on this site have an affiliate link to Amazon.co.uk