For more than a decade, Blue Cat Motorcycle has been fixing pretty much anything with two wheels and a motor. Over the years, they’ve come to specialize in vintage European and Japanese repair and restoration, but they also do a lot of modern bike work. While other shops have come and gone, Blue Cat remains as the Twin Cities’ premier shop for general motorcycle repair and restoration.

In late 2010, BCM asked me to help them build their business through content. They already had a great web presence, including a blog, but what they didn’t have was content to share on it. Site updates were coming in basically once a season. They needed someone who could get to know them and the work they do and tell the stories of all the interesting bikes and customers they saw on a regular basis. At a purely practical level, they needed someone who could shoot quality photography and write. That was me.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 2.40.06 PM

For all of 2011, I chronicled the happenings of Blue Cat Motorcycle (then BlueCat Motors) on a weekly basis. I’d swing by the shop at least once a week to capture the chaos and get the inside scoop on whatever great projects happen to be on the lifts at the time. The response in the local community was overwhelmingly positive, and BCM’s business effectively doubled by the time the 2012 season had rolled around. Not only were they doing more business, they were attracting a better class of customers — customers with much nicer bikes and much more realistic budgets.

These results were due to one key strategic principle: using story to establish competence and credibility. By telling stories of bike restorations, adventures out on the road, but most importantly the interesting repair work BCM did on a daily basis; the Blue Cat Blog told potential customers one key story every single week: We know how to fix your bike. I lost count of how many times I’d hear someone come into the shop and say “I read this story on your blog and so I knew you could take care of my bike.”

As another part of my consultation role with BCM, I got the opportunity to work with Telegraph Studios on a series of video pieces. These could serve as long-term “about us” type content and really showcase the energy and warmth of the shop and our people. While the heavy lifting was done by the guys at Telegraph, I provided production, tone and creative direction on two such videos. The first was a promo for BCM’s monthly Third Thursday event:

The second video was a project feature that coordinated with a three part series on the blog. Jeff, the head mechanic and then co-owner at BCM, had done a major overhaul and restoration of a unique old Honda motorcycle. The video was the capstone to the project, showing Jeff out enjoying the freshly restored motorcycle and all its vintage character.

In early 2012, I relocated to the Chicago area and was no longer able to provide weekly content for BCM by virtue of distance. However, I do continue to manage of all their web property.

In 2013, this web management included a re-platform and re-design of their website. The new design features a responsive, single-page site design where a site visitor can just keep scrolling down and the entire site will unfold in front of them. Or, they can view to any of the site’s sections directly through the navigation.

Overall, services for Blue Cat Motorcycle have included:

  • Site hosting, email address management, contact form management
  • WordPress site creation, including a customized, responsive theme
  • Content strategy for both story and general site content
  • On-site and event photography and story gathering
  • Writing, curating and editing blog content as well as general site content
  • Supporting Blue Cat in social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • General marketing and brand building consultation
  • Coordinating with local video production artists to produce video content

Blue Cat continues to thrive. Their Third Thursday events have become a staple of the local motorcycle and scooter calendar, and they continue to earn repeat business. Meanwhile, they remain a Salzmoto customer as I manage their site hosting, email, and make content updates along the way. BCM is a great example of how even though digital content is international, its impact can be most significant in the local area.