Content Marketing For Trades

Content marketing is the latest buzzword in the marketing realm. Why? It works. Below we’ve discussed what content marketing is and how trades can use it to build trust amongst their customers.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a marketing technique that refers to the creation of relevant and valuable content that is intended to generate interest and acquire custom from a clearly defined target-audience.

In short, content marketing isn’t about showcasing the services that your business offers to every person on the planet. Instead, content marketing is supposed to entertain/educate a specific target audience whilst wittingly encouraging them to think about your business whenever something related to both the content and your services comes up next.

Modern example – Lego Movie

Content Marketing for TradesThe Lego Movie released in 2014 is a great example of content marketing in action. The movie was targeted towards children as entertainment, but underneath the movie served as an advertisement for Lego itself. Hence, we might no longer consider The Lego Movie a movie per se, but rather a 100-minute content marketing induced advertisement.

How can trades use content marketing?

Of course, trades do not have the same financial power of Lego behind them, but it doesn’t mean to say that you can’t implement content marketing just as successfully. Just remember to create content about things that are of interest to you and more importantly, are of interest to your target audience.

Where to start?

Think about what it is that you do and talk to your customers. Which services do you want to win work for? Which services are more prominent at this time of year? What advice do you give to your customers before you leave? What are the most common questions that your customers ask? Base your content around the answer to each of these questions.

What content?

Written: This is possibly the most straightforward way of producing content, just make sure that it is enjoyable to read and not too long-winded. For instance, are you targeting homeowners? Maybe write a short 300-word article about how homeowners can save money on their energy bills.

Video: Maybe record a time-lapse video of you doing your work; demonstrate how you do it and how professionally you do it, but without directly advertising your businesses services. Or maybe review a tool via video; demonstrate to your customers that you’re passionate about your trade and the latest tools/technologies on the market.

Audio: Record a podcast and make it enjoyable to listen to. Maybe record it with some close friends and discuss common myths about trades?

Where to post the content?

Website: If you have a website, publish your article/video/podcast in a new blog post.

Social Media: Create a new post and share the content on all of your active social media accounts.

Email: Do you have the email addresses of your customers? Share the content with them. Just be careful, email’s can be intrusive and customers need to be aware that they are on a mailing list beforehand.

Combination: The best content marketing strategists will link all of the above platforms together. For instance, you might publish an article on your website, share it to Facebook and Twitter and encourage readers to leave their email in return for some more content.

Important things to remember

  • Content marketing is a strategy for the long-term.
  • You need to have a defined-audience in place. Facebook custom audiences are a great place to start.
  • The content is not meant to advertise your trades services.
  • It should be enjoyable for you and the viewer.

Content marketing masterclass for trades

If you would like more advice on how to make your business a success online, why not consider joining our ever-growing community of trade professionals? We’d love to give you a hand.

 

 

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Hackers Help: IKEA kitchen problem – how to lower it?

I write to you all the way from Milan, Italy in desperation, because I don’t know where else to turn…

Me and my future husband made the big step and just bought a house. I have to say that the moving period has been stressful but the biggest problem has been the kitchen… We have had it created by the IKEA staff and I really love it… there is only one issue. The counters are too tall; the base unit that would contain the sink and the oven need to be around 86cm tall to allow the window in the kitchen to open and my husband won’t budge on the issue he wants the window to completely open.

Hackers Help: IKEA kitchen problem - how to lower it?

Photo: IKEA.com

I have looked in your archives and found a project to make the kitchen higher, is there anything to be done about making them lower?

Hackers Help: IKEA kitchen problem - how to lower it?

Photo: IKEA.com

Thank you so much for your input! Maybe you have a solution so that I can get my lovely kitchen!

***

Hi Mandy

Congrats on the new house. Exciting times! 

And sorry to hear of your IKEA kitchen problem.

The IKEA METOD kitchen base cabinets are 80cm in height. And with the countertop, depending on what you use, it will go up to around 83 – 84cm in height. This is just the cabinet, not including the legs. IKEA METOD kitchen legs are 8cm (adjustable down to 7cm). To keep the kitchen under 86cm, I can see  two ways to go about it.

  1. You cut down the side panels to, say, 74 cm. Add 8cm for legs and 3cm countertop. It’ll be up to 85cm.You can use this tutorial to guide you in shortening the cabinet. At this countertop height, unless you’re shorter in stature, you’ll need to stoop a little to use your sink. 
  2. You omit the legs or find shorter legs from other kitchen suppliers. Do not use the cabinets without any legs as the bottom of the doors/ drawers may scrape against the floor. If you fail to find alternative legs, build a wooden frame (or ask your local carpenter to) spanning the depth and width of the said kitchen cabinet bases and perhaps 3cm in height. Then sit the cabinets on top of the frame. A variation of this would be to use the same countertop material and wrap it around the 2 cabinets, something like this. The example shows all 4 sides of the BESTÅ wrapped in pine wood. You could do the same to the sink and oven cabinet, just to give them a little lift off the ground, so the drawers/ doors can be opened easily.  

I’m not sure how your kitchen design is, but if you’re just modifying the sink and oven base cabinet, those two cabinets will look stumpy next to cabinets with legs.

Good luck on your kitchen planning.

Jules 

The post Hackers Help: IKEA kitchen problem – how to lower it? appeared first on IKEA Hackers.

Coffee Table Facelift for Less than $15 saves stained LACK

What I love the most about IKEA furniture is that is so versatile that you can do anything you want from it, and still have a lot of room for improvement. And you don’t lose a fortune in case you don’t like how your projects ends, considering the fact that you won’t spend a fortune to buy this type of furniture. That’s why I love it, it’s affordable, versatile and still resistant at the same time.

The black LACK coffee table I bought from IKEA a while ago had some ugly stains that I could not remove. Those stains were a memory from a pizza dinner with my friends. The pizzas were too hot, we were too focused on eating it, the coffee table didn’t resist without staining. The final result of the evening was a happy bunch of folks, and a screwed coffee table.

Stained IKEA lack table

But I put my creativity to work, bought some paint and varnish, and a few hours later here’s what I got! A piece of art with a very personal touch!

Drawing a contour is the first thing to do. Using a white wax crayon, I drew the arabesque so it would cover the ugly white stains that I wanted to hide. Later I discovered that the wax crayon, which was the easiest to get at the time, prevents the acrylic paint from stepping out of contour. Learning by doing, right?

LACK Coffee Table Facelift for Less than $15

Second, you have to fill in the contours with color. I used metallic acrylic paint in 3 different colors – blue grey, gold, and champagne. You can hardly see the difference while they are wet, but believe me that the final effect is worth all the money!

There is one more thing to keep in mind when crafting this project, and I have to admit I learned it the hard way. To cover the whole table with patterns, you need to start painting from the center to the margins, otherwise you would have to deal with an uncomfortable position that you keep for hours while working on the project.

LACK Coffee Table Facelift for Less than $15

10 minutes after applying the first coat of paint, which dried really quickly, here comes the second one. Oh, boy, I really enjoyed doing this!

LACK Coffee Table Facelift for Less than $15

A few hours later, clean the dust, and varnish the painted table to give it a polished look. Let the table dry for a few hours in a well ventilated place (beware of the flies or dust around it!), then apply a second coat of varnish.

Let it dry again and voilà! It looks pretty new and totally original.

LACK Coffee Table Facelift for Less than $15

I wonder how much would this coffee table costs if you buy it from one of those fancy furniture shows…

See more hacks for LACK.

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Build A Gravel Driveway

build gravel driveway

Build gravel driveway: This is a nice gravel drive on land I own. It’s about 14-feet wide, it’s got a deep ditch on the right side and slopes to the left. It’s hard to see, but the drive has about a 5-inch crown. © 2017 Tim Carter

Build Gravel Drive TIPS

DEAR TIM: I need to build a gravel driveway on some land I recently purchased. Is a gravel driveway going to hold up as a permanent driveway paving solution?

What types of gravel are used for a driveway? Do you think I can construct a build-it-yourself gravel driveway? Ed M., Basking Ridge, NJ

DEAR ED: Congratulations on your new land purchase! Over a year ago, my wife and I did the same thing with the intention of building our retirement home.

Currently, there’s a rough gravel roadway that extends to the top of our property. Just last week, I was at my land to start the process of extending this gravel driveway up to our new home site.

It’s important to realize a properly designed and constructed gravel driveway can function as a permanent driveway paving solution. Rent some equipment and you probably can do the job. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of gravel roadways and driveways in the USA.

The first thing to remember is gravel drives work well, but come with a small amount of periodic maintenance issues. But the lower initial cost of the gravel driveway is often reason enough for most to deal with whatever needs to be done to keep the driveway in good shape over the years.

Related Links

Thinking of Asphalt? Best Ones Have a Deep Gravel Base

Tar & Chip Is My Personal Preference – What Color Do You Want?

CLICK HERE to Get FREE & FAST BIDS from local excavators that install gravel drives.

Gravel Driveway Is Small Road

The first thing I would do, if I were you, is to research basic road-building techniques. College textbooks that deal with introductory civil engineering often cover this topic very well.

A long-lasting gravel driveway needs to have all of the same design characteristics one finds in a well-constructed major roadway. You can often find great information on the Internet if you can’t locate a road-building textbook.

Make it Wide

Early in the process you should think about the width of the driveway. All too often I see gravel drives in wooded areas that are not only too narrow, they often have turns that are too sharp.

You should make the drive no less than 14 feet wide. If the drive is long, think about what happens if two cars meet each other going the opposite direction. You may want to widen the drive for 40 feet in places to 18 feet so two cars can pass without going off onto a soft shoulder.

Think ahead about delivery trucks and moving trucks. Don’t make turns too tight. Gradual curves are best. Don’t have trees next to the inside part of a curve as a long truck could scrape against it.

Great Drainage

A point often overlooked is the soil under the gravel driveway must be well-drained and strong. It also must be free of any organic material like sticks, tree roots and leaves or grass.

All topsoil must be stripped off the driveway location and stockpiled for use at some other place on your lot. It is a very bad practice to build a driveway on top of spongy topsoil filled with organic debris.

Water is the enemy of gravel driveways and any roadway. Surface water can erode the gravel off the surface of the driveway and subsurface water can turn strong subsoil into a quagmire.

8-Inch Crown Is Ideal

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. constructed nearly 60 miles of stunning gravel carriage trails on Mt. Desert Island in the 1920s and 19030s. Not only was he a gifted road designer, but he also had enough practical knowledge to create an 8-inch crown on all his gravel trails.

A crown refers to the profile of the road. The center of each carriage trail was 8 inches higher than the edges of the road. Crowned roads deflect water to the edges thus preventing ruts and erosion on the road bed.

Be sure you have at least a 6-inch crown in your gravel driveway.

Here’s a tiny section of the carriage trails on Mt. Desert Island. This is a great book. CLICK THE PHOTO NOW to have it delivered to your doorstep.

The weight of cars and trucks pressing down on a gravel driveway is not much different than the powerful hydraulic pressure used on construction machinery, car lifts and any other machine that uses the leveraged force of hydraulics.

CLICK HERE to Get FREE & FAST BIDS from local excavators that install gravel drives.

Water that is forced under pressure under the gravel can transport silt from the subsoil into the gravel. As the silt squeezes between individual pieces of gravel, it causes the friction bonds between individual pieces of gravel to weaken. When this happens, your gravel driveway can fall apart in no time.

Geotextile Fabrics For Gravel Drives

It is often a great idea to install a geotextile fabric on top of the subsoil before the first layer of gravel is installed. This fabric prevents the silt in the subsoil from fouling the gravel. These products come in wide rolls and can easily be installed by two people who just unroll the fabric allowing it to lay on the soil.

This is a giant roll of geotextile fabric. If the soil in your area is clay, you MUST INSTALL one. CLICK THE IMAGE TO ORDER THIS FABRIC NOW.

On windy days it needs to be covered quickly with a 4 or 6-inch-thick layer of crushed gravel. If you don’t do this, the fabric might end up on your neighbor’s lot.

Large Stone is STRONG

The first layer of crushed gravel needs to be a larger-sized gravel. Try to locate stones that are the size of baseballs or even softballs. NEVER use pea gravel nor rounded river rock gravel. These stones are like ball bearings and will easily roll and move as tires start to spin. A car or truck can would never stand a chance going up a hill with rounded gravel as the wheels would spin like a top. Angular gravel interlocks with adjacent pieces and the combined mass can act as one larger piece of rock.

Driveways get their strength from the base layer of stone. If you want a driveway that will stand up to large heavy trucks, then this first layer of stone needs to be 8 inches thick. Two 4-inch layers with each one compacted would be good.

Finish Stone

Compact each layer with a mechanical roller or tamping machine. The final layer of gravel should have pieces of angular stone no larger than a golf ball, with many of the stones being the size of marbles or grapes. If you can install 10 – 12 inches of gravel on top of the geotextile fabric, you should have a gravel driveway that will last decades.

Crown Prevents Washouts

Be sure the gravel driveway has a crown in it. This means the center of the driveway is always higher than the two edges. The crown allows water to flow off to the sides of the driveway preventing any ponding of water on the gravel surface. A 5-inch crown is one where the center of the driveway is 5 inches higher than the edges. It will do a superb job of getting water to the edges of the road quickly.

A crowned driveway also helps prevent washouts. The worst profile of a driveway on a slope is one where the center is lower than the edges. If your drive is shaped like this in a heavy rain you’ll have a wild river racing down the center of your driveway washing away all your expensive gravel.

build gravel driveway

This is a gravel drive just down the street from where I live. The center of the drive has always been lower than the edges. Each time there’s a heavy rain, this is what it looks like when the sun comes out. The owner then has a tractor take the gravel back up the hill to create the same problem again. © 2017 Tim Carter

York Rake

Gravel driveways need some periodic care in the form of grading or dressing. Low spots need to be filled with gravel scraped from any high spots. If your driveway has curves, you will discover that car and truck traffic tends to push loose gravel to the outer edges of the curves. This gravel needs to be brought back to the center and inner part of the curves.

Farmers have an attachment for their tractors that comb gravel drives. It’s called a york rake. They work great.

Culverts & Ditches

Gravel driveways built on hillsides need ditches on the high side of the driveway. These ditches capture surface water that runs down the hill and otherwise would run across the driveway. Larger angular rocks should be placed in the ditch to slow down the speed of the running water in the ditch. Monitor the ditch to ensure the running water is not cutting too deep a channel or eroding the ditch causing failure of the gravel driveway.


Author’s Notes:

Leo Kudej of Haymarket, Virginia, offers these comments from his years of experience.

“Tim,

I think you need to tell the readers just what they need to apply to the road bed layers. This way they can just call in to their local quarry exactly the type of stone they want.

The build up should go as follows – the first layer will be #3 stone (fist size); the second will be #57(little less than ping pong ball); and the final will be #21-A, or called crusher run (thumb nail sized stone with stone dust mixed in with it).

With a layered set up like this, you will have a driveway that will last many, many years. I am a carpenter, but living up on Bull Run Mountain for 20 years taught me a little about gravel roads.” Leo K.

CLICK HERE to Get FREE & FAST BIDS from local excavators that install gravel drives all the time.

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3 Way & 4 Way Switch Wiring Diagram

3 Way Switch Wiring Video

3 Way Switch Diagram – Easy To Do

The diagram below is based on the video you watched above. It’s important to realize you must put the line wire on the single black screw on the switch.

The line wire is the one that is hot all the time. The black feed wire that goes to the light fixture is connected to the single black screw on the other 3-way switch.

3 way switch diagram

3-Way Switch Wiring Diagram

A point often overlooked is the traveler wires. These wires connect to the brass screws on the switch. It doesn’t make any difference how you connect them at each switch.

The white neutral wires are wire-nutted together and do not connect to the switch. The same is true for the bare or green grounding wires.

Related Links

3 Way Switch Quick Start Guide

4 Way Switch Basics

Free & Fast Bids

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local electricians who will SAVE YOU.

4-Way Switch Wring Diagram

A 4-way switch is always placed in between two 3-way switches. Watch the 4-Way Switch video below and pay attention.

If you understand how to wire a 3-way switch, you’ll have no issues with a 4-way switch.

You can have an indefinite number of 4-way switches in a circuit. They all must be between the two 3-way switches.

The last house I built for my family in Amberley Village, Ohio had four switches in the kitchen controlling a few lights. You can see me operate all four switches in the video below.

4 way switch diagram

4-Way Switch Wring Diagram

 

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local electricians who will SAVE YOU.

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