It’s Time to Play Ball!

Today is Opening Day in Major League Baseball! It is one of my favorite days of the year, and it’s pretty much a national holiday in my eyes. Spring training is complete, the rosters are set and the teams are ready to take the field (weather permitting in some parts of the country).

April is Already Here!

From a business perspective, the start of the baseball season is a stark reminder that we’re already a quarter of the way through 2018. Three months have passed! It’s a good time to think about all your New Year’s Resolutions and your business plan. How well are you doing on those goals? Where is there room for improvement? What do you need to do to make the next three quarters as successful as possible?

Swing Hard

When it comes to your marketing plan, now is the time to make sure you get off the fence and onto the playing field. Perhaps that means being more active on social media. It may mean starting a business blog—or at least ramping up your efforts on the blog you started at the beginning of the year yet has already fallen by the wayside. It could be time to revisit your website content and assess how everything have performed so far in 2018.

The point is it’s time for you to play ball and position your business for success in April and beyond. Don’t let another year slip by without positive steps forward. Take a hard look at what you’ve done so far this year, re-assess your goals and take action to achieve them.

Your Marketing Coach

If you want professional help with your business blog, web content or marketing strategy, we’re here to help. Contact NextGear Marketing today for a no-obligation consultation and marketing review.

Finding the Right Mix for Your Social Media Marketing

This subject may be a bit controversial and, truth be told, there is some gray area when it comes to social media marketing. I talked a couple weeks ago about the benefits of outsourcing website and blog content. However, social media is a different beast. Some things may be best outsourced while others should be kept in-house for the best results.

Hiring an Outside Provider

Many small businesses choose to hire an outside social media provider, which is fine and recommended. They keep posts frequent, organized and on time. It’s important to have regular, consistent activity on all your social media accounts. Outside social media providers will be especially good about providing general content, running contests, doing promotional posts and marketing your products and services. Their experience in target marketing and budgeting will also be vital if you are running any sort of online ad campaign or boosted posts on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

Those are all very good reasons why you might want to hire an outside social media specialist to run the marketing side of your social media campaign. An expert will generate more exposure for your business and create more click-through opportunities with eye-catching posts.

Keeping Some Things In-House

On the other hand, however, there are advantages to keeping certain social media activities in-house. Beyond just exposure, social media should be about engagement. You want to start conversations while also getting shares and likes. You want to show what your company is all about. The marketing side of social media can convey a strong brand message, but the social side of social media needs to display your company’s personality.

This can be difficult for an outside provider to truly achieve because they are not at your place of business day in and day out. They aren’t directly interacting with customers and employees the way that someone who works in-house will. There is a lot to be said about these kinds of firsthand experiences.

Daily Activity

Perhaps the best example of this when it comes to social media is Instagram. Obviously, engaging photography is the key to success on this platform. Interesting photos posted every day will generate likes and spark comments that can lead to full-blown conversations. Someone working at the business every day will be much more in tune with daily activities that can inspire good Instagram photos. An outside provider posting stock photos or old photos you provided just won’t be able to accomplish the same kind of engagement.

Perhaps you are having a birthday celebration for an employee or you encounter a really cool success story with a customer. Perhaps you get in new products that you want to feature or maybe there is something interesting happening on a particular day (unusual weather, funny situations, holiday sales, etc.). Having someone there interacting daily and posting on social media can really show your company’s personality and that will help create stronger engagements on social media.

The Right Social Media Mix

As social media becomes more advanced and diverse, so too does the need for social media marketing. If you have the means to hire a full-time social media expert to work in-house, that is the ideal solution. Unfortunately, this is not in the budget for most small businesses. In these situations, the best approach is often a blend of outside expertise and in-house activity. This will give you the right combination of marketing exposure and social engagement.

To learn more about social media marketing and content management, contact NextGear Marketing today.

“Copy and Paste” – The Two Worst Words in Content

When it comes to your web content, the term “copy and paste” should be one that never crosses your mind. This is true whether you are talking about static site page content or dynamic content such as your business blog.

What Do We Mean By “Unique?”

We’ve talked plenty on this blog about the importance of having unique content whenever possible. However, let’s delve a little deeper into the meaning of “unique” in this context. It doesn’t mean that every solitary idea, topic or piece of information you share has to be 100% original. Odds are, any topic you are writing about will have already been written about somewhere else online (multiple times).

The trick is to make it your own. Put your own spin on it. Add personal insight. Make the messaging relevant to your specific brand identity.

Above all else, never simply copy content from another online source and paste it on your website or blog. You can write about the exact same topic, but take the time to rewrite it and make the language unique to your site. Ultimately, the article may say the same basic things, but as long as they say it differently it will be well worth the effort.

Why Be Unique?

The algorithms used by Google and other search engines are extremely sophisticated. They can detect copied content (and even heavily plagiarized wording) from miles away and it can work against you. The more unique (yet still relevant) your content is to your site, the better your organic SEO appeal will be on search engines like Google.

The only time it is acceptable to copy and paste is when you are quoting another source, such as a customer review. Let’s say one of your customers writes a glowing review on Yelp. Feel free to share that on your website and attribute it to the source. Maybe even break up the quote and write a testimonial-based blog post. Even though the content may not be completely unique, the value of a strong (and genuine) customer review is worth its weight in gold.

Otherwise, avoid copying and pasting, as well as blog feed services that give you the exact same content as hundreds of other clients. Customize your content as much as you can and you will see the difference.

Content Services from NextGear Marketing

If you are interested in custom blog content for your small business, contact NextGear Marketing today. We’ll help you stand out with unique and engaging content that will boost your organic SEO and convert more customers.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Your Content

If you look on LinkedIn and various job posting sites, you will see plenty of listings for Content Marketing Manager positions. That’s because there is a growing need for this specialized service. Most large corporations and big companies will have an in-house content marketing manager, or sometimes a whole team dedicated to overseeing the online content creation and distribution. Smaller businesses have to decide if they need a full-time content marketing manager or if they should hire an outside provider.

The Role of a Content Marketing Manager

First, what does a content marketing manager do? Depending on the company, content oversight roles will include managing a blog, writing and editing all website content, and preparing white papers and informational pieces. Good content fuels social media and powers SEO. If your company does webinars or YouTube videos, a content manager should help with the scripts and information to be covered. A good content manager will also oversee brand messaging to make sure all the content produced is reflective of the company’s desired public image.

The larger the company, the more content is usually needed. Hence the requirement for in-house staff dedicated to content management. However, most small businesses will prefer to seek out the help of an outside content marketing provider because they simply do not have as much content they need to produce or manage.

What Content Do You Need?

When it comes to having a blog for your small business, I recommend once a week as a good frequency to start with. You may consider bumping it up to twice a week over time if you really want to be aggressive. Your website content should be reviewed and updated every six months, partly to keep the information up-to-date and partly to help with SEO.

Other content needs such as press releases, white papers or video/webinar scripts are at your discretion. Depending on your company and your products/services, you may want to be more active with these types of contents than other businesses.

Outsourcing Saves You Money

So, why does it make sense to outsource content marketing management as a small business? The most obvious answer is money. Hiring a full-time (or even part-time) staff member won’t be cheap and you’ll want to find someone with specialized experience in content management. We’re talking about a salary, benefits, office space, computer equipment and other expenses associated with in-house personnel.

An outside content marketing management provider like NextGear Marketing is set up to produce and manage content specifically for small business owners. And, it will cost you much less than hiring someone in-house. For example, you can have a weekly blog written by us for $349 a month.* We’re talking about custom-written, relevant articles that are 300-600 words in length and optimized for SEO. These posts can be shared on your social media pages to spark conversations and the depth of new weekly content on your site will be incredible for organic SEO appeal.

If you need white papers, press releases, info sheets, video scripts, print material content, copy editing or website review/revisions, NextGear Marketing can help with all your content marketing needs.

To learn more about our content services and custom blog packages, contact NextGear Marketing today.


*Listed price is for four blog articles a month and is valid for 2018. If you are reading this article in the future, please contact for current pricing and packages. Blog packages are contingent on your website having blog capabilities that NextGear Marketing can have access to on an admin level. If you need help building a new business website with blog capabilities, we can help with that, too.