Blog

How Long Should a Blog Article Be?

This is a question I get from a lot of new clients when they sign on with one of NextGear Marketing’s custom blog packages. People are curious what the ideal length for a typical blog article should be.

The simple answer I would say is usually somewhere in the 300-600 word range is where I like to be. However, it’s not always that black and white. It often depends on the complexity of the topic you are writing about and the amount of source material you have to pull from.

Minimum Word Count Target

I usually aim to get at least 300 words out of the blog articles I write for my clients. Sometimes, it’s not so easy to get to that length, but it’s a good minimum to aim for. Other times, I am fully invested in a topic and before long I am looking at over 1,000 words in the word count!

If an article does get too long, I like to go back and trim it down the best I can. I have no qualms about posting an article that’s up to 700-800 words long if all the information in there is vital.

Split it Up if Necessary

If it does get longer than that, then I may suggest splitting the article over two parts. Multi-part articles or a connected series of themed posts over time are never bad ideas. They give you a great opportunity to link back and forth between the posts, which ideally keeps the reader engaged on your site for a longer period of time. One of my newest clients has done several monthly “themes” with the individual topics centered around bigger, broader concepts. Coming up with new themes every month has proven to be a challenge, but I do think the articles have benefitted in terms of continuity, SEO, internal links and reader engagement.

Depending on your products, services and brand messages, you may have less copy and more images/videos in your blog posts. That is fine. I would still recommend targeting at least a minimum word count of 200-300 words from a basic SEO standpoint.

Professional Blog Services

So, how long should the average blog article be? 300-600 words is a good range to aim for, but find your comfort zone and do what you can keep up with. If you can’t keep up with the blog, then hire someone like NextGear Marketing to do it for you.

To learn more about our blogging and other custom web content services, contact NextGear Marketing today.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I can’t believe we’re already almost a third of the way through 2019! I have been focusing on taking care of my clients and trying to grow my business. Sadly, that has left me neglecting one thing that can really help build my business: the NextGear Marketing Blog. That is why I want to make sure and remind any of my followers to sometimes do as I say and not as I do.

A Cautionary Tale

My own story is the perfect example of what a lot of small business owners do when it comes to their own blogs. They are good about it at first, but then it slowly becomes less easy to keep up with. Before long, it’s not a priority at all. I am so focused on taking care of my clients and doing other business activities that I tend to ignore my own advice and neglect my own blog.

Following My Own Advice

I may want to consider outsourcing my own blog content because that is honestly the best way to keep a blog effective and to stick with a desired publishing schedule. My clients turn to me to handle the blogs for them. This means helping find topics, coordinating content calendars, writing the articles, posting the articles on their blog portals and doing all the back-end SEO work that is also required to make each article as searchable as possible. Some clients will also have me post links to each article on their social media pages for more integration.

That’s the advantage of outsourcing the blog to an expert. Let someone like me do all the dirty work and keep your blog content humming along with professional writing, SEO knowledge and organization.

Put NextGear Marketing to Work for You

I may not remember to do my own blog every week, but that’s because I am focused on the needs of my clients. Let me do the same for you. You can rest assured that NextGear Marketing is here to get the job done right, and the prices for monthly blog packages are much more affordable than you might think.

Contact NextGear Marketing today for more information.

Why You Should Share Your Blog Posts on Social Media

I’ve outlined the benefits of business blogging many times over on this site, but ultimately it comes down to two key purposes.

1. To boost organic SEO by having specific searchable content in each article, as well as by improving overall site SEO rankings that will drive more traffic.

2. To engage more past, present and future customers with interesting and/or informative content.

Focus on Engagement

In this article, I want to focus on the second benefit that is often overlooked or undervalued. If you write a really good blog and are consistent with posts, the best case scenario is that a user bookmarks your site and visits it often to see the new content you are posting.

However, this kind of site loyalty is rare, especially with small businesses. This means you need to be proactive about getting your blog articles out there to people who will be interested in the topics. The best way to do this is through social media.

Share Your Blog Links

A link to every blog article you post (along with any YouTube video, podcast or any other content you are creating) should be shared on each of your social media pages. Some blog management portals will include options to autoshare the articles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Business and other social media. If not, it’s worth taking a few minutes to manually share the link on each of your pages.

This gets the content directly to your followers who you know are already interested in your business, your products or your services because they already took the time to like and follow your page. You should get more click-throughs to the blog articles and ideally also some engagement on the social media pages themselves. This will include likes, shares and comments. Speaking of comments, keep a close eye on all comments and respond to each one of them to improve the engagement even further. If a competitor or troll posts something nasty or negative, there are various ways to block users and hide/delete comments so you can keep the engagements positive.

You may also consider boosting posts and running targeted online ads to increase the amount of people who see the blog links.

Another method for sharing your blog posts is through email campaigns (e-news) targeted to past customers or prospect lists. This is another topic for another day, though.

Get More Out of Your Blog

The point is you took the time (or spent the money to hire an expert) to have great blog content written and optimized. Why just sit back and hope someone finds the articles? Get the links out  there on social media and through whatever means necessary. This increases the number of eyes seeing your blog and your website in general, which in turns boosts the organic SEO benefits even more.

With the right combination of SEO strategy and engagement techniques, you will get more out of your business blog and your business will benefit.

To learn more about business blogging and social media integration packages, contact NextGear Marketing today.

5 Tips for Using Featured Images in Your Business Blog

If you have a blog for your business, you must take advantage of using a featured image (or multiple images) in every blog post. The use of imagery can help draw in the reader, especially if your site uses thumbnail previews along with “teaser” text on a home page blog feed or on the blog page itself. A good featured image will also make a huge difference on social media when you are sharing article links and boosting posts.

Here are a few tips for using featured images from NextGear Marketing:

1. Take Your Own Photos

We’ll get into the use of stock imagery in a second, but another option is to take some quality photos of your own. Display your products, show your employees in action and take shots that represent your business and its personality. This can be one way to help your business blog stand out from competition using generic stock photos. Just make sure the photos are of good quality. If the photos look cheap, then it’s usually a poor reflection on your company.

2. Use Stock Photography

If you don’t have the resources or the subject matter to justify taking some of your own photos, you can effectively use stock photography. Make sure you are buying royalty-free images. Never use anything with limited rights. Some stock sites charge as little as a dollar per image, while others offer subscription services that allow you to download a certain number of images (or unlimited images) for a period of time.

3. Never “Borrow” Images from Other Sites

This is very important because it’s every blogger’s nightmare to get dinged for using a copyrighted image. Don’t just search Google images and pull whatever you want, even though it seems like the Internet is pretty much the Wild West these days. Eventually, you run the risk of getting caught with one or more rights-managed images. Best case scenario is you get a “cease and desist” letter/email. Worst case scenario is a huge bill for past usage rights—maybe even legal threats. In other words, be very careful about any photos or graphics you are using.

4. Name Your Images Strategically

Take the time to rename the image files with your focus keyword and your company name. Depending on your blog system, you can also add descriptions and/or captions. This is one more way to help with organic SEO on the blog post.

5. Look for Interesting Photos

Sometimes, a featured image might be a literal representation of what you are talking about in the blog article. In other cases, it may be more abstract or metaphorical. Finding the perfect stock image isn’t always easy. Don’t kill yourself looking for the photo, but give it some thought and find something that is eye-catching and at least somewhat representative of your blog topic.

These are just a few tips for using featured images on your business blog. If you have questions or need help with your blog, contact NextGear Marketing today!

10 Ways to Make Your Business Blog Better

I see many small businesses out there who are pretty good about blogging, but there is always room for improvement. Having a blog is a nice start. However, you have to actually use it. Just posting a little blurb every once in awhile (when something comes to mind) simply won’t cut it. If you want to get the absolute most out of your business blog, follow some of these simple tips from NextGear Marketing.

1. Maintain a Consistent Frequency

It’s a good idea to set up a content calendar that will keep you on track with your posts. If you have a goal to post a blog once a week, set a day and time each week that the article needs to go up. Let’s say every Wednesday at 10:00 is your target. Put it on your calendar and make it a habit to make sure a new post goes up every single week at that specific day and time.

2. Use Your SEO Tools

Every blog platform has many built-in SEO fields that you need to be utilizing. Focus keywords, preview text, keyword/phrase lists, blog categories, custom URLs, page titles, etc.—familiarize yourself with what each one of these does to help improve the SEO of the blog post and then utilize these tools. If not, you won’t get the best organic SEO out of your blog.

3. Use Links

Every blog article you post should have some internal links (links to other pages on your website, including other blog articles that may be relevant to a referenced topic/term) and at least one or two external links (links to other websites with a relevant news article or informational resource).

4. Embed Videos

If you shoot videos on different subjects pertaining to your business, embed one of those video clips in your blog articles if they are relevant to the topic at hand. Sometimes, you can get in the habit of recording a simple video where you talk about the blog topic that’s being written about. Some people may prefer to watch the video. Others will read the article. Some will do both. Either way, it’s another way to grab attention and it also helps with SEO (especially if your video is properly titled and tagged).

5. Include a Feature Image

A feature image will act as a header which helps draw the reader into the article. It is also what will be featured on social media along with the article link—another way to draw more eyes to your blog posts. Use only stock photography that you have the rights to use (or take photos yourself) and rename the photo file to include the focus keyword and your company name.

6. Share on Social Media

Whether your blog is set up to autoshare any blog posts you make or you have to do it manually, make sure every blog post is shared as a link (along with that feature image) on all your social media pages. You may also consider boosting the post if you really like the content and think it will attract new customers.

7. Write Quality Content

This tip should probably be #1 on the list because it’s so obvious. If your going to have a business blog, make sure that you write quality content that is interesting, informative and engaging. Otherwise, what’s the point?

8. Proofread!

Take the time to proofread your blog articles before they post, or have someone else you trust (someone who knows how to write) proofread it for you. Typos and grammar mistakes will turn off many readers and you’ll immediately lose some professional credibility.

9. Strategize

Don’t just write about random thoughts or opinions that come to your mind. Give each article some thought and really invest your time in writing a good, relevant piece. Do research if you need to and create a content calendar at the beginning of the month to you have a strong strategy going into each article you write.

10. Hire a Professional

Last but certainly not least, consider outsourcing your blog to a professional blog writer who will offer the expertise and insight to make sure the job gets done right. It’s one less burden on your shoulders if you struggle finding time to keep up with your blog. More importantly, it’s about getting the most out of your business blog by hiring someone who knows what they are doing.

These are a few tips that should help you maximize the effectiveness of your business blog. For more information about NextGear Marketing‘s affordable blogging services for small businesses, contact us today.

Onward and Upward!

Unfortunately, I’ve been very lax on keeping up with my blog lately. 2019 has already been a busy year. I’ve been putting a lot of effort into growing the business and signing on new clients. It’s an exciting time and I look forward to what the rest of this year has in store.

Looking forward is my theme right now. If you are not looking to grow and improve, then what’s the point? As a business owner, you should always be looking for new opportunities to expand. One thing that’s always worth reviewing is your marketing system. What is your budget for the year? What are you hoping to accomplish through marketing? What new ideas can you implement to improve your marketing efforts?

If you don’t already have a blog for your business, now is the time to start one. It’s a great way to improve organic SEO for your website while also engaging past and current customers with strong content. If you do have a blog, make sure you are getting the most out of it with regular posts, SEO strategies and unique content.

The other area where you want to look for more opportunities is social media. As new social platforms develop and other classic ones like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram continue to evolve, it’s important to keep up with the times and understand everything that you can do with these services. Between targeted ads, boosted posts and regular activity, you can really reach a lot of people without having to spend an arm and a leg.

Considering newspaper and magazine ads will cost you hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars to run, that same kind of budget spent on blogging and social media marketing can generate so many exposures and leads. It’s also a more targeted approach that ensures your marketing is being seen by the people most likely to use your products or services.

Even if you are already very active with your blog and social media, there are always more ways to utilize these resources and keep expanding on your approach. Keep looking for ways to improve and grow your business and your marketing plan. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you really set your eyes on success.

For help with your marketing or for a blog consultation, contact NextGear Marketing today for more information.

Is 2019 the Year You Shift Your Blog into the NextGear?

Happy New Year everyone! It’s been a little while since I posted my last article, but the holidays kept me busy and it was a nice break. I hope everyone out there had a great holiday season.

Success in 2019

2019 is upon us. I hope to make this my best year ever and I expect all small business owners are looking to do the same. The new year brings new motivation to try new ideas, implement different strategies and seek out exciting opportunities for business growth. You have a fresh marketing budget to work with and it’s time to shift things into the NextGear.

Yes, that’s a purposeful play on words because NextGear Marketing is here to help you with your marketing needs. If you need custom content, advertising, print marketing, graphic design, consultation or copywriting, let us be your resource. Our rates are affordable and our service is personalized to your specific marketing objectives.

Business Blogging

At NextGear Marketing, one of our specialties is blogging for small businesses. If you already have a blog on your website, we can help you get the most out of it with custom-written articles, social media integration, links, tags and other effective SEO strategies. NextGear can manage your weekly blog (or whatever frequency you wish to post).

If you don’t have a blog, NextGear Marketing can get you started on the right foot with a custom blogging package. A good business blog will increase organic site traffic and improve SEO while engaging past, present and future customers with informative and relatable content.

You could task someone in the office to manage your blog, but are they content experts? Or, you could outsource your blog to NextGear Marketing and benefit from our approach at a fraction of the price it would cost you to hire someone on staff (and also much less that other larger marketing agencies would charge for a blog package).

Whether you want to get started with a great blog package or any other marketing needs you have, contact NextGear Marketing today for a no-obligation consultation.