Get More Bang for Your Buck with Blogging

“Traditional” print advertising is expensive. Running display ads in newspapers and magazines will cost you a pretty penny for sure. And yes, if executed well, print advertising can still generate great exposure and a good return on your investment.

If you can afford to run some targeted print advertising, we recommend it. However, many small businesses just can’t afford that type of marketing or it’s not targeted enough for the specific geographic or demographic audience they need to reach.

Blogging, especially when paired with good social media management, really is one of the most affordable forms of marketing. It will benefit your business on many different levels, from organic search engine optimization (SEO) that brings in new customers to engagement of past and present customers, which is good for repeat and referral business.

Best of all, it is not expensive at all to run an effective blog campaign. You can hire someone like NextGear Marketing for a few hundred bucks a month, which is WAY cheaper than just about any print, outdoor, direct mail or other forms of advertising you can run. With one of our cost-effective packages, you’ll have unique, targeted and optimized content written for your small business blog every week!

If you have the time and dedication, you can also manage your own blog. Just remember the content needs to be fresh and added on a regular basis. Putting up one generic post every few months will not cut it. Dynamic content is king and you must be proactive with your blog posts. Then, you need to share every post on your social media feeds and engage the people who follow you. You can also consider paying a little extra to boost specific posts on Facebook, Google Adwords and other online advertising.

A good blog gives you incredible bang for your marketing buck and it connects you with today’s (and tomorrow’s) more tech savvy customers. Don’t let your business get left behind.

For more information about blogging for your small business, or to set up a no obligation marketing consultation, contact NextGear Marketing today. And be sure to follow our weekly blog for free marketing tips and web content ideas.

B2B Case Studies: Your Business Blog’s Best Friend

In the past, we’ve talked about how to write a great customer testimonial post. Case studies are very similar in nature, but a more in-depth B2B approach to consider when blogging if your business provides products and/or services to other businesses.

A case study is a detailed article that shows the process and highlights the results. Research for a case study is typically more in-depth than a customer testimonial blog post, as we would want to gather information and insight from everyone involved. A good case study would likely include quotes from the customer and maybe from a representative at your company, as well. These are always nice to include whenever you can because they help show a strong relationship between you and your customers.

Otherwise, a case study breaks down to three main elements:

1. The Problem

The client had a specific problem or need. Describe it and show their situation prior to working with your company. Include a paragraph or two simply explaining what this other company does (how long they’ve been in business, what they do, owner/manager names, etc.).

2. The Solution

The solution is whatever products and/or services that you provided the customer. If talking about products purchased, describe the products, what they are used for and the quality behind them. If it’s services that were provided, explain the process from beginning to end and highlight specific details of all services performed. These details are key for SEO because there may be someone out there searching for something that specific.

3. The Results

After products were purchased/used or services were performed, what were the end results for the business on the other end? Were they more efficient? Were their customers happier? Were they able to be more profitable? Whatever the end result is, tell the reader all about it.

When written well, a case study will be one of your business blog’s best friends. They work on so many levels. They show positive relationships between you and your clients. They highlight specific product and service features. They describe the benefits of your products/services, with results in real-life applications.

If you are a B2B company and want to learn more about blog topics such as case studies, contact NextGear Marketing today for a free business blogging consultation.

5 Simple Strategies for Good Web Content

How do you know if your web content is good? A significant rise in your search engine rankings can take a long time to develop and you don’t always get direct feedback from customers. In other words, results aren’t always immediately measurable. You have to be patient and remain faithful in your approach.

If you are taking the right approach to your web content, it is making a positive impact whether you can see it or not. So what is the “right” approach? Let’s look at five primary strategies you should be utilizing.

1. Quantity

Indeed, if you have a lot of content on your site, it’s good. It gives more ways for people to find you through web searches and it gives visitors a reason to spend more time on your site jumping from page to page.

2. Quality

Quantity is good, but you also have to focus on quality. Your content should be well written and make salient points. If you have a lot of sloppy content, misspellings and bad grammar, it can make you look bad in the eyes of consumers. All of your content must also be unique. That’s a more detailed topic of discussion, though, so click here to read more about the importance of unique content.

3. Frequency

I use the term “static content” in this article’s title because many business owners think they can just put up a website (even if it has a ton of content to begin with) and leave it be. You need to regularly add fresh content and/or make edits to existing content from time to time. A regular blog is a fantastic way to add a lot of good, relevant content. However you do it, new and “dynamic” web content will naturally give your SEO a strong boost.

4. Relevance

Get into the minds of your customers and write content that relates to their needs, fears and desires. If it’s relevant to what they are thinking, your content will resonate more with the people who actually visit your site. Remember, getting them to your site through searches, social media or other means is only one half of the battle. You still need to convert them into actual customers!

5. Focus

When it comes to individual blog posts and specific site pages, keep your writing focused on the subject(s) at hand. This makes it easier to work in strategic keyword placements and search tags. If the content is all over the place in one section or article, it won’t relate as well to the readers and it won’t register as high with the search engines.

These are just a few of the most important strategies you should be implementing when it comes to your company’s blog and website content, in general. To learn more about how custom content can help your business boost SEO and convert more customers, contact NextGear Marketing for a free consultation.

Business Blogging Basics: Information vs. Insight

There are multiple ways to look at blogging for your business. Is your primary goal to provide useful information to consumers or vendor partners. Are you looking to share expert opinions and more personal insight? Or, are you purely putting up more blog content to boost your SEO?

All three are viable reasons to support having a business blog. In our opinion, though, a good blog should incorporate all of these elements.

First, let’s look at the obvious reason most business owners start a blog. That would be for increased Search Engine Optimization (SEO). A blog is a fantastic source of fresh content on your site and the more content you have, the better (so long as it is unique content). Your blog articles will incorporate searchable keywords within the verbiage, as well as SEO tags to help readers find your site when searching about specific subjects related to your business.

So, yes. SEO is probably the primary reason for having a business blog. However, let’s delve a little deeper into what kind of content you want to be creating. At NextGear Marketing, we get asked the question all the time. What is better, information or insight?

The answer is both are equally important.

Informational blog posts are pretty easy to explain. You write about a subject pertaining to a specific product or service relevant to your industry. If you run an auto repair shop, maybe you describe how certain engine parts function, provide car maintenance tips or talk about a certain type of service you specialize in. Informational posts are good for SEO because they naturally contain a lot of searchable content. However, a lot of similar articles can usually be found online with the same basic information.

So how do you get people to find your article about that subject?

That’s where insight comes in. Insight can refer to a number of different elements you can incorporate into any blog article to help make it more relevant to your company.

1. Sales

You want to be careful not to get overly “salesy” on your blog, but certainly you can use any article as a chance to weave in some key strategic marketing messages. When paired with good information, a subtle sales message can enhance the credibility of your company (i.e. expertise in that subject) in the eyes of the reader.

2. Opinions

You typically won’t want to offer any really polarizing opinions or staunch political messages, but you can take advantage of any opportunity to provide some personal insight about a subject. Perhaps you are reviewing a new piece of equipment or talking about a trend affecting your industry. Add some opinion and perspective to create more depth in the article and, again, show the readers you know what you are talking about.

3. Testimonials

Nothing adds credibility like a third-party comment. Utilize testimonials from your customers or specifically write testimonial story articles. This means someone else is heaping praise on your company. It’s not just you talking about how great you are. And that means a whole more to fellow consumers.

4. Examples

Like customer testimonials, using first-hand examples can really boost the appeal of any blog article. Walk someone through the service process by framing it as something that happened with a particular customer (even if that customer is hypothetical). It’s a way to incorporate your business name throughout the story without feeling too salesy.

Ultimately, the best business blog articles will include useful information along with insightful elements. Put it all together with other SEO components and you will have a very powerful blog to promote your business and drive more organic traffic to your website.

For more information about business blogging, contact NextGear Marketing today.

Why Should You Blog for Your Business? Here Are 6 Good Reasons.

Blogging isn’t just a way for tweens to share their music tastes or discuss the latest pop culture trends. It is a very powerful business marketing tool that can help drive more customers your way.

Why should you blog? There are many reasons you should be doing it. And, there are many ways that blogging can benefit your business.

      1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

First, let’s start with the obvious. Blogging is great for SEO. it is proven that regular blog posts with unique content and strategic keyword usage will help you rise in the search engine rankings. They provide what is known as “dynamic content,” which means fresh text that is also SEO-friendly. Regularly adding new content on your site adds appeal, both for return visitors looking for new information and for those discerning search engine algorithms that place value on updating content.

     2. Social Media Appeal

Blogging is really great when tied with your social media accounts. Share the links from every blog you post on all your social media pages. Your followers will eat up the information you are providing. Plus, those additional inbound links are really good for, you guessed it, SEO.

      3. Stay Connected with Your Customers

Like social media, blogging is a great way to stay connected with the customers and followers you already have online. It gives them a reason to keep coming back to your site. Your blog also helps give your company a “voice” and relatable personality, depending on the types of articles you posts and how they are written.

      4. Enhanced Credibility

If you are providing a lot of information and insight on your business blog, it will help establish you as an expert in your industry. No matter how a potential customer finds your blog posts, they will see that you know what you are talking about and that you are good at what you do. Blogging provides a lot more business credibility than the more sales-oriented content of your advertising or other web pages.

    5. Blogging Makes You Think

It isn’t always easy coming up with new blog topics every week or every few days, depending on how often you want to post. It makes you think harder about what’s happening at your company, what’s affecting your industry or what your customers may be interested in. This kind of extra thought can only be good for your business acumen.

      6. Blogs Are Cost Effective

If you do the writing yourself, it can cost you little to no money to manage your own blog. If you hire a professional blog writing service like NextGear Marketing, you can get a fully integrated blog package for the price of a tiny black and white ad in your local newspaper. In today’s instant-online-information society, it’s safe to say that a blog will get you more bang for your buck than print advertising, which is expensive and has limited reach.

For more information about blogging for your business or for a free, no-obligation consultation with NextGear Marketing, contact us today!

If you have questions, please call 714-348-0642 or email keith@nextgearmarketing.com. Please follow our blog and like us on Facebook for free weekly marketing tips and articles.