Giving Thanks

I didn’t have time to write an article last week as I was preparing for the long Thanksgiving weekend and making sure all my clients’ blogs were written and posted for the week. However, the week did give me some time to reflect on 2017 and be grateful for what has ultimately been a fairly successful first full year in business.

I officially started NextGear Marketing back in 2016 and growth has been steady. Sure, there have been some challenges and I would like to grow my client list even more (referrals are always welcome, by the way). However, I know it takes time to build up a small business.

It is the time of year to be thankful to all my clients and those who have helped me get NextGear Marketing off the ground. I really appreciate your business and support, and I feel like it’s a win-win situation. You get custom, professional blog and content marketing services at a much lower price than you would from a larger marketing/SEO company. I get to afford food, shelter and the occasional round of golf when I have the free time. Everybody comes out happy!

It’s no secret that I do all the work myself for each of my valued clients. I don’t foresee ever growing the company so big that this is not the case. I tend to be a bit of a control freak and I want to make sure the job is done right. I always want to be here, making sure my clients are taken care of.

That being said, I am ready, willing and eager to take on more clients in 2018. The systems are in place and things are humming along. If you need blogs or any custom web content written, I’m your guy! We can set up a NextGear Marketing monthly content package to meet your specific needs. Most clients opt for the standard package that includes one blog post a week, though a few of my more aggressive clients have upgraded to a two-a-week plan. Of course, if you want to stay super conservative and inexpensive, we can work out blog plans that only post once or twice a month. Whatever you need, let me know.

Contact me at NextGear Marketing or call me at (714) 348-0642 to discuss your content marketing needs or to sign up for a blog package.

Business Blogging Basics: Captivation vs. Conversion

If you’ve read any of my other Business Blogging Basics articles, then you will already know the main point of this article. It is not really a “versus” issue. It’s an issue of finding the right balance between two important strategic approaches.

For the purpose of this article, “captivation” refers to the initial attraction of a site visitor. It’s just a less-clinical word for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), or how someone finds your blog article in the first place.

“Conversion,” on the other hand, refers to the desired action you want to happen after someone reads your article. You got them to your blog, so now what? How do you use your blog to convert them into a paying customer?

Captivation (SEO)

In the grand scheme of things, captivation is easier than conversion. A well-done blog will be loaded with SEO appeal thanks to a depth of content, fresh content added on your site and all the targeted tags, links and titles you should be including within each blog post. The main reason any business would have a blog is to boost their organic SEO results and attract site visitors.

In other words, improved SEO should come naturally if you write a good blog, use all the right tags and post new articles frequently.

Conversion

So, that leads us to conversion. How much of your effort needs to be put into converting a blog reader into an actual customer? This is where it gets tricky because even “conversion” can represent multiple goals:

  1. Buying a Product or Signing Up for a Service
  2. Filling Out a Contact Form
  3. Positive Brand Identification

Of course, #1 would be the ideal goal. However, it is also the toughest to achieve. Getting someone to buy something from you right then and there after reading a blog article or two is very difficult unless your product line is very inexpensive. Though you want to include at least one clear call-to-action in each blog article, you can’t go in expecting direct sales from your blog.

Numbers 2 and 3 are more attainable goals for most businesses. Positive brand identification is easily achievable with a good blog that provides interesting content and insight into the way you do business. If people walk away from reading one of your blog articles and feel a positive association with your brand, consider it a major victory—even if sales might not come right away. I don’t go rushing out to the store every time I see a Coca-Cola commercial, but I have a positive association with their brand that may affect my buying decisions later.

Filling out a contact form is harder to achieve, but it is a realistic objective. Someone may want to sign up for your newsletter/blog or get more information about a specific product or service being promoted. It’s a little less threatening to ask for someone’s contact info than to make a sale right then and there. They give you some info and then you can add them to your follow-up database. Ultimately, getting this lead is the first step in hopefully converting them into an actual customer. You may want to think of your blog as a lead generator rather than a sales tool. There’s a big difference.

SEO captivation should always drive your business blog and it is ultimately what is most important, but look at ways to spark customer conversions through engaging content and enticing calls-to-action. As always, when you find the right balance, you will have a more successful business blog.

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

What’s the Best Day and Time to Post Your Blog Articles?

This is a pretty common question in the blogging world, but there is no easy answer. In fact, if you ask 10 different digital content marketers, you’ll probably get 10 different responses.

So, with that in mind, I will give you my opinion. This is purely based on my own professional preferences and practices as a blog writer. Also, in this article I am primarily talking about once-a-week business blogs, though I will touch on bi-weekly blogs a little later.

When I am running blog posts for my clients, I schedule them to post somewhere between 9:00-10:00am on either Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Why? Let me break down the thinking.

What Day is Best?

To me, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday are better than Monday or Friday if you are keeping the posts within normal weekday business hours. Unless you are a weekend-heavy business, you probably want to rule out Saturdays and Sundays because posts are more likely to get overlooked.

People are usually more preoccupied and stressed on Mondays as they start their work weeks. They may be less engaged on social media or whatever websites they follow, which may include yours. By Friday, they may be more checked out and I don’t think the blog will have quite the same impact. Therefore, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday would be my preference for a once-a-week blog post with social media sharing.

What Time is Best?

Again, this is easily debatable. I aim for 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning when scheduling out posts and social media links to the article. This is usually around when people are taking their mid-morning breaks and looking at phones/tablets/computers to get their online fix. To me, it’s a good time to catch their attention.

An argument could be made for a 2:00-3:00 afternoon post to catch them on the afternoon break. I prefer the morning because if the post gets some likes and shares, it will have more time throughout the rest of the day to gather exposure on social media channels. Then, other people may catch it later in addition to the morning crowd. A late-day post gives you less daily-news-cycle sharing opportunities, if you ask me.

Find What’s Right for You

It’s important to note that not every business is the same and it will depend somewhat on your consumer base. What are their habits and when will your blog be most likely to catch their attention? It’s never a bad idea to run some tests early on and see which posts get the most likes and shares. This may help you hone in on an ideal day/time, as well as get a better understanding of what article topics have the most appeal for your target audience.

Be Consistent

Once you feel good about your day and time for blog posts and social media shares, try an be consistent with it. Post on the same days and same times each week. If you do have regular fans and followers, you’ll keep them more engaged from week to week. I realize I myself do not always practice what I preach on the NextGear Marketing Blog. The truth is, my clients’ blogs always take priority each week. I end up writing and posting articles for my own business later in the week after I get through all those Tuesday/Wednesday posts. I probably should be more consistent, but clients always come first!

Bi-Weekly or Daily Blogs

If you are going the extra mile with a twice-a-week blog, then also be consistent with your posts while spacing out the days. In this case, I would recommend Tuesday/Thursday, Monday/Thursday, Tuesday/Friday and Wednesday/Friday as the most likely day combinations. If you have a daily blog, well, good for you. Run that sucker every day at the same time to appease your rabid followers.

This is one of those issues where there probably is no perfect answers. There are so many variables at play. Above all else, consistency is key. As long as you keep up the weekly (or more) frequency and post good content, you will see success with your business blog. When you post is ultimately less important. Still, it’s worth thinking about.

For more information about business blogging or to get started on your own custom content campaign with NextGear Marketing, contact us today.