Known online as the The Blogging Nurseryman since 2005, Trey Pitsenberger has worked to create one of the industry’s most read blogs at TheGoldenGecko.com/blog/. Want to begin using this form of social media to promote your own business or viewpoints? Check out what Pitsenberger has to say in this Q&A with Greenhouse Grower.
GG: What motivates you to blog?
TP: When I started in 2005, it was a new thing for the most part. At the time, websites were somewhat static, and it seemed you needed a webmaster to make any changes. I was intrigued with the idea of sharing my thoughts on a regular basis. It was the beginning of online social media. No Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest back then. While I also use Facebook and the rest, my blog is still very important to me. The blog takes me in new and exciting directions beyond being an owner of a nursery.
GG: How did you get the idea to start blogging?
TP: I read blogs and thought the idea of hearing directly from experts and owners was intriguing. We had just opened our store, The Golden Gecko, and wanted to try the blog as a way to communicate ideas to the customer. It was something I could put together without the help of a webmaster. The idea of your words being read by anyone around the world was exciting.
GG: Does blogging help your business in any way? Does it hurt your business?
TP: Since it morphed into a trade blog a few years ago, it likely helps less with direct communication with the customer. Our eMail, Facebook and Twitter accounts do that. It does have great SEO (search engine optimization), so it brings people to us via various search terms. It has helped launch a whole new business, my social media consulting and speaking work, which is very exciting.
GG: In what ways does your blog benefit you?
TP: It gets me out into the world by introducing me to people I might not have met otherwise. I go to various trade events and have workshops, speak or report on trade issues. I have a social media consulting business where I train you or your media person on how to use social media. I want to expand that particular business and having a well-known blog doesn’t hurt.
GG: How do you stay so well-connected to what’s going on in the industry?
TP: Social media! I meet people through the blog, my Facebook group, “Retail Independent Garden Centers and Nurseries,” Twitter friends and my 2,500 member LinkedIn group, “Garden Centers and New Media.” I get eMail from people who have a tip or insight about a trade issue. I hear from people outside the trade too, such as garden writers, garden bloggers, allied tradespeople, etc. It is hugely valuable.
GG: What are the three issues that are front and center for you right now?
TP: Increased competition from box stores and their allied suppliers, people’s changing views of what it means to garden and be a gardener, and the economy.
GG: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to garden centers to help improve the image of the industry?
TP: Provide your customers with a great service or wonderful product. Then provide them the means to help spread the word to their friends: social media. Let your customers do the marketing for you!