Blog Feed Services: Good or Bad?

It’s a question we get asked all the time at NextGear Marketing. What makes our blogging services different than some of the other available to the automotive repair industry?

First, it’s important to understand the difference between a blog feed service and a custom blog service such as NextGear. “Feed” is the operative word with the first option. Blog feeds are typically subscription-based services where general information articles are pre-written and then distributed/posted on the blog pages of all subscribers. They may talk about car care tips or describe different car parts and how they work. The information is general and the exact same articles are sent to every user.

The one positive aspect of blog feed services is the quantity of content. Sure, it can be good for your website to have a lot of industry-specific content that’s added frequently. The quality of the content is much more subjective. The articles are usually professionally written, so we’re not questioning the quality of the writing. The issue is with the information being generic. If you can find the exact same article (word for word) on hundreds of other auto shop sites, it won’t help your SEO as much as you think. Search engines like Google are very sophisticated and can detect even the slightest duplicate (or plagiarized) copy. If your site is not the original source of that text, you’re not benefitting that much from it.

So, what is a custom blog service as provided by NextGear Marketing? “Custom” is obviously the key word this time. Each article we write is unique and contributes what we call dynamic content to your site. You get the same benefits of having fresh, industry-specific content added to your site on a regular basis (depending on the blog package). However, you also gain more SEO appeal because that content is unique to your site. We do not copy and paste around here!

NextGear Marketing isn’t representing hundreds or thousands of clients. We keep our business small to provide a more personal approach. This enables us to write each blog post we do with a fresh perspective.

Now, do we write some general information articles? Yes, having car care tips and information about automotive parts, services, etc. is good for searchable key words and phrases. That said, even if we write about the same topic for multiple clients, each article is written differently. Different wording is used and the structures are unique, so you don’t get knocked by the search engines for plagiarized or duplicate content.

These general information articles are only a portion of what we do at NextGear Marketing for our blogging clients. The majority of our posts are related directly to your business. The more we can get to know your shop and the people in it, the better. Employee profiles, customer testimonial stories, shop news and information, training events, shop awards and recognition—these are just some of the articles we write. Our approach combines SEO appeal (key words and tags, dynamic content, frequency of posts) with a customer-friendly style of writing. We want people to be able to find your shop through search engines and other sources such as social media. And then when they read the stories, they build a stronger connection with your shop because it is more personal.

To learn more about NextGear Marketing and our custom blog packages, contact us today and discover the difference for yourself!

7 Tips for Writing an Effective Online Press Release for Your Small Business

These days, press releases are an underutilized marketing tool. A lot of business owners tend to think of the old-fashioned news releases, which involve a lot of legwork to distribute to local newspapers and publications. Now, a press release can be sent out to thousands of media outlets at the click of a button. Online press releases can not only get much-needed exposure for your business, but they will also boost your SEO rankings and organic website traffic.

A good online press release will contain some of the same strategies that go into writing an effective blog post. The difference is your story (or parts of your story) will be featured on other sites, which provides more credibility and additional inbound links to your site.

Let’s take a look at some helpful tips you should consider when preparing and distributing an online press release.

1. Make Sure the Story is Interesting

Unlike your blog, which may contain smaller stories about your business and informational posts about services you offer, a press release needs to be based on a topic that has more substance. You want media outlets to pick up and share the story, and you want readers to be interested enough to read it.

2. Craft a Good Headline

Some press release experts will say you should spend as much time (if not more) on the headline of your story than the content. It is what will grab the attention of media and consumers. And, it is also vital for SEO. Incorporate keywords and search terms most relevant to your business.

3. Pay Attention to Word Count

The old rule of thumb for paper press releases is the story should fit on a single page. The same is true with online press releases. We recommend writing the story in a standard Word document (or whatever word processing software you use) and make sure it fits on a single page. Usually, it will be around 300-400 words.

4. Incorporate Keywords, Links and Visual Elements

Where an online release differs from the old hard-copy format is that you need to incorporate keywords and search phrases in the body of your story. Don’t overdo it. The story should still flow and the SEO terms should not feel too “forced in.” There is an art to it. Also, make sure there are links throughout the story. This is another advantage of the online format. Include multiple links to your website where relevant in the story, and also link to your social media pages if applicable. Last but not lease, make sure to include photos and a video, if possible. Good imagery can really enhance the appeal of a press release.

5. Understand Your Distribution Options

There are many online PR distribution options out there. Some are free. Some are rather expensive. Research the differences and find an option that fits your budget while accomplishing the distribution goals you want.

6. Think Locally

Even though the goal is to spread your story across as many media outlets as possible, do not consider press releases as a “shotgun” marketing method. Make sure the distribution is focused locally and the SEO elements in the headline and body of the release also touch on local terminology. This point is primarily focused on small businesses where most customers are local. If you have a larger business or wider geographic reach, then you may need to spend more to reach a larger audience.

7. Track the Results

Nearly all online distribution services will provide reports and data that you can easily access. Study the results and see which releases are getting the best response. Learn from your successes and any failures, so you apply the most effective practices for future releases.

These are just some of the key strategies to consider when writing and distributing online press releases for your small business. If you have questions or want to discuss a press release campaign for your company, contact NextGear Marketing today for a no-obligation marketing consultation.