Business Blogging Basics: News vs. Knowledge

This is the fourth article in the Business Blogging Basics series. In the past we’ve covered Information vs. Insight, Quality vs. Quantity and Personal vs. Professional. If you’ve had a chance to read those articles already, then you may have already sensed a pattern. Though I use “versus” in the title, none of these issues are really either/or situations.

A good business blog will incorporate a healthy balance of these different strategic approaches.

Still, it’s important to understand the differences between what I would consider “news” compared to what I would consider “knowledge.” Then, you can better incorporate both approaches for a more effective blog campaign.

What is News?

For the purpose of this article, news would be defined as something current and time-sensitive. Something interesting recently happened at your company (a new hire, a new award/certification, new office location, new product/service offerings, etc.). Or, maybe something significant is affecting your industry as a whole (regulatory changes, market trends, new technology, etc.). Or, perhaps something is going on in your community (special event, charitable involvement, etc.).

These are all newsworthy issues and great topics for blog articles. Just remember if you are repurposing an existing article from another online source, rewrite it so that the content is unique to your site. Click here for tips on how to do this effectively.

The positives of news-based articles are that they are timely and interesting. They can also provide a lot of insight into the way you do business. This is especially true when news stories are focused around something happening at your company or within your community, such as a charitable event you are involved in.

However, the downside of a timely news article is that there is usually a limited shelf life. That article won’t be as relevant in another week, month or year. We talked last week about the importance of having a certain percentage of evergreen content that will always be there for strong SEO appeal.

News stories are most effective when you already have a strong base of blog subscribers and/or social media followers. These are people already familiar with your business (usually past customers, vendors and others in your community). They like to keep in touch with what’s happening at your company, in the community and in your industry. They don’t necessarily need to be sold on your products or services, but they need to be engaged with interesting articles and content so that they remain loyal fans.

What is Knowledge?

Knowledge, again for the purpose of this article, refers to the content that is more evergreen. It is information about products and services relating to your business. It is insight about the industry and your approach to customer service. It is content that anyone can read at any time and get a good feeling about your business. It creates credibility. It is informative. It builds your brand. And, it in the process it should show at least a glimpse of your company’s personality.

Knowledge-based content will be great for SEO as you build up your depth of online content with a regular blog. You can feature informational articles, consumer tips, product and service features, and customer testimonials and case studies. These are all articles that will stand the test of time. As products and services evolve, do new articles to showcase the latest developments. In a way, this will be both a news and knowledge article, which is fantastic.

The knowledge approach will still engage existing customers and regular blog/social media followers, though maybe not as much as the news-based articles. However, it will be better for attracting and converting new customers who find you through online searches or other means. The more content you have on your blog and the more information/topics you cover relating to your business, the better your chances of someone finding your company through organic online sources.

The Right Blend

Every company’s blog will be different, but a good business blog will use a balanced blend of news-based articles and evergreen knowledge-based articles. Don’t think of it as a “versus” situation. Find the right mix of information, insight, quality, quantity, personal, professional, news and knowledge. If you do this, your blog will be as effective as possible.

For more information about business blogging or to set up a free marketing consultation, contact NextGear Marketing today!

How Much of Your Content is Evergreen?

I’ve been having this discussion with one of my clients recently. When it comes to their blog, they happen to be very fond of repurposing current news articles related to their industry. Now, there’s nothing that’s necessarily wrong about this.

Good News and Bad News

The content is of good quality. It is fresh. It is relevant. It enables both internal and external link opportunities (as in links to the source articles and other informational sites). Above all else, it is timely.

However, the concept of “timely” news is a double-edged sword. On one hand, blog articles based on current news and events are good for customer engagement, especially if you have a large stable of regular blog readers and social media followers.

On the other hand, current news is just that. How long will it actually be relevant? In a year (maybe a month, maybe even a week), that article topic may have little-to-no resonance with readers. Let’s say you are in real estate and you write a blog article about current housing trends (home prices, sales ratios, mortgage rates, etc.). That’s great information that regular readers will love to have. Unfortunately, it won’t be long before that information is useless. In a month, the housing trends are probably going to be completely different. An article like this should be a monthly or quarterly feature on your blog, so it can always stay up-to-date.

Finding the Right Balance

I’m not trying to talk anyone out of doing timely and current news articles. In fact, next week’s article will talk more about the importance of having a nicely balanced and blended approach to business blogging. The point I am trying to make in this article is that you should aim to have a good portion of your web content be “evergreen.”

By evergreen, I mean content that won’t get as dated (if at all). Certain blog articles such as consumer tips, product/service details, customer case studies and general industry-related topics will include information that will be relevant for a long, long time.

Even certain company news items such as awards, certifications or other recognitions can stay evergreen for a long time. Heck, if you won a Nobel Prize in 1997, that still holds a lot of weight today even if someone is just reading the original news article now.

How Much Content Should Be Evergreen?

I would typically argue that at least half of your blog content should have evergreen qualities that will be good for organic SEO. At the same time, it doesn’t have to be 100% evergreen information. Ultimately, your blog should feature a healthy blend of different topics and article approaches. This will enable your business to accomplish various goals, including organic SEO growth, existing customer engagement and new customer attraction/conversion.

To learn more about blogging for your business or to get started with a custom blog campaign, contact me today and let NextGear Marketing take your content to the next level.

Web Content is Not a “Set it and Forget It” Activity

Remember those old informercials by Ron Popeil? Everybody shouted “set it and forget it” when he closes the door on the rotisserie oven. Sure, it was a catchy marketing hook. That’s the power of a good slogan or tagline.

Well, “set it and forget it” was a good marketing concept, but it is not a good philosophy to follow when considering your actual marketing activity. By “activity” I mean how you get your brand message and consumer calls-to-action out there. You never do something once and forget about it. Any marketing plan requires constant activity, follow-up and adjustments to be most effective.

Nowhere is this more true than in your web content, which you need to consider as part of your company’s active marketing strategy.

You may spend weeks (or likely months) having all the content for your website crafted. It will be loaded with keywords and tagged for SEO. It could be the greatest content ever written by anyone in your industry.

Then you launch the website and wait for something to happen. You check Google and hope that your business name rises up in the rankings. You may get a boost for a short period of time, but then you hit the ceiling. You may even start to go backwards.

But why? Your site content was excellent.

The problem may be that your site content has gone stagnant. You set it and you forgot it, and eventually the search engines will forget your site because nothing new is happening. A good portion of SEO is activity. Your site needs to have fresh, “dynamic” content added regularly.

Here are some ways to accomplish this:

  1. Periodic Edits – Make it a point every quarter or at least every six months to go through your entire site and make some strategic edits and additions. You don’t have to rewrite everything, but make some changes and you will see some impact.
  2. New Pages – Look for opportunity to add new pages to feature different products, services, news and information. This is a great way to add fresh content.
  3. Blogging – There is absolutely no better way to add new content to your site regularly than having a blog and writing new articles on a frequent basis. It’s the ideal way to keep adding content without overloading the main site with too much information.
  4. Reviews/Testimonials – Set up a customer reviews page. You can manually add reviews from various sources, set up feeds from Yelp and other sources, or set up a survey page that allows customers to write reviews that show up directly on the page. This is fresh content that is usually positive, and it adds credibility with third-party endorsement of your products/services.
  5. News Feed – You can set up a news feed or generic blog feed from other sources relating to your industry. Just remember this content is not unique to your site and the links will take them away from your page. Still, it is new content and it can help on some levels.
  6. Social Media Feeds – Set up feeds that show all your social media posts directly on your website. Only do this if you are appropriately active on social media, though.

These are just a few easy ideas you can implement to keep your website content fresh and SEO-friendly. The important thing to remember is to make an effort to keep updating and adding to your existing content in any way possible. Never “set it and forget it.” Stay proactive and you will see the difference.

For more information about custom web content and blogging for your business, contact NextGear Marketing today for a free consultation.

10 SEO Tips for Business Blogging

One of the best things you can do for your company’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to have a blog with regular posts. It will give you a good quantity of content on your site. It will increase your organic searches with targeted keywords, tags, titles and links. And, it will give you fresh content added to your site regularly. All of these things—and more—are great for SEO.

Here are some tips to follow for maximizing the SEO appeal of your blog:

1. Post Often

Large corporations may post at least once a day. Most small businesses are fine with one or two blog posts a week, but the regular influx of fresh content on your site will help your SEO rankings.

2. Post Quality Unique Content

Never copy and paste from other online articles. Write (or rewrite if repurposing another article) everything to be unique to your site. Copied or obviously plagiarized content can actually work against your SEO.

3. Write Articles a Certain Length

Usually 300-600 words is a good target length for most business blogs. Articles that are too short won’t have credibility and won’t help as much with SEO. Articles that are too long may decrease readership.

4. Targeted Topics

The beauty of a blog is that you can cover various topics relating to your business/industry or target consumer base. This allows you to cover a lot of ground and attract a lot of organic search results without your primary website feeling like it’s too overloaded with content.

5. Use Tags, Titles, Keywords and Descriptions

Most blog editors will have sections to fill out where you can customize the article title (and URL), add search tags, list keywords and write a meta description. Use all of these resources to your advantage!

6. Focus Keyword/Phrase

Most articles should center around a focus keyword or key phrase. Make sure it is repeated in the title, in the custom URL, in the first paragraph of the article and in the meta description. Incorporate it into the article repeatedly for optimal targeted SEO appeal.

7. Use Links

Use plenty of internal links to pages on your website or other blog articles. Also, use a few external links to source articles or other businesses. This adds credibility.

8. Social Media Integration

Share your blog articles on all social media channels that allow links. This will create inbound links to your site and the social media activity is also important to your overall SEO.

9. Pictures and Graphics

If placing in a picture and/or graphic on your blog posts, make sure and rename the image file with something relevant to the story (ideally incorporating the business name and the focus keyword/phrase.

10. Stick With It

Blogging requires a great deal of commitment. Hire a professional blog service or designate a staff member to handle the blogging duties. The worst thing you can do is start a blog, post a few articles and then forget about it. You have to keep at it and post articles regularly to get the full SEO advantages.

For more information about blogging for small businesses or to start your own custom blog campaign, contact NextGear Marketing today.