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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.

Happy Holidays from NextGear Marketing!

This will probably be the last blog article I post this year. And unlike usual, this one will be short and sweet. This is always a busy time as I prepare for holiday travel and work extra hard to make sure all my clients’ projects are taken care of before I hit the road for a few days to visit family during Christmas.

I just wanted to take this opportunity wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Thank you to all my clients, friends, family and vendor partners for your support throughout 2018. It isn’t easy getting a small business off the ground, but each year is better than the last and I appreciate anyone who has helped with referrals and leads. On that note, if you know anyone out there in need of marketing help, especially when it comes to web content and blogging services, let me know or give them my information. Anyone can contact me directly through this site or you can email me at keith@nextgearmarketing.com

Otherwise, I hope everyone out there has a safe, happy and memorable holiday season and here’s to making 2019 our best year ever!

What is Content Marketing?

If you’ve been following my blog or other marketing blogs, you’ve probably seen the term a lot. But what is “content marketing?”

You might see quite a few different definitions, but the simplest answer is to say that it is just how it sounds. It is the art of using content to build an effective marketing presence. It applies to all forms of marketing (print, online, social media, outdoor, radio, television, etc.). However, it primarily refers to online and social media.

Branding vs. Engagement

Not too long ago, websites were all about branding. You wanted a sharp-looking site with all the graphic bells and whistles to catch someone’s eye and show that you were a company worth taking an interest in. Though the aesthetics are still important and you want your site to be very user-friendly, content is now king. Success is all about what you say, how you say it and how you share it.

Search engines have evolved dramatically and social media has taken over our lives. Because of these undeniable facts, it puts a premium on producing engaging content that will attract consumers and build brand loyalty. From blog articles and overall site content to social media posts, clickbait ads and all forms of digital engagement, you must have good content and you must get people to see it.

The Benefits of Content Marketing

Effective content marketing will organically boost your SEO, improve consumer awareness, enhance your credibility and generate more leads. I would say these are all pretty important results that any business should be aiming for.

When it comes to developing content marketing, you should start with your end goal. What is the result you want to achieve? What action or engagement are you trying to create between you and the consumer? Once you know what you are looking to accomplish, then you can put a better strategy in place.

Content Creation and Sharing

Then, you need to create the content. Don’t just throw stuff together or plagiarize from other sources. Think about your topics, do the research and produce content that is informative, interesting and entertaining. Also, keep up a good frequency with blogging, social media posts, site content updates, reviews, post boosts and ad placements. Some content may produce immediate results while cumulatively it has a long-term effect in the minds of consumers just like all good forms of marketing should.

Now that you have good content, it needs to get in front of the people you want to see it. Choose your target audience(s) carefully. Use social media and other resources to get your content out there and create genuine engagements. You can have the best content in the world, but it’s worthless if nobody ever sees it.

Content marketing, when done right, is a very effective tool and it will probably be your most effective weapon in today’s marketplace. Put it together with a strong brand identity and other sound marketing strategies (both traditional and non-traditional), and you will certainly see the impact.

To learn more about content marketing or for a content marketing consultation, contact NextGear Marketing today.

Is Print Marketing Dead?

Though most of my focus these days is on content marketing and digital media, my background is in print marketing. I still help many of my clients with their print marketing needs, including brochure designs, direct mail campaigns, print advertisements stationery, business cards and whatever other print pieces they require.

Print Marketing is Not Dead

Though it’s definitely now a digital world we live in, print marketing is far from dead. In fact, I know a lot of small businesses that still generate a lot of customers through direct mail campaigns and print advertising in local publications.

The biggest key to effective print marketing for a small business is to have specified target audiences. Just as Facebook allows you to hone in on specific demographics when placing an ad, you have to think the same way when it comes to who sees your print pieces. It cannot be a shotgun approach or you will waste a lot of money.

Direct Mail Strategy

Direct mail is a prime example of this point. It would simply not be cost-effective to send out a weekly mailer piece to everyone within a 100-mile radius. That would be nice, but it would be really expensive and the return on investment just wouldn’t be there to justify the exorbitant costs to run such a massive direct mail campaign.

You can create your mailing lists based on more localized geographic factors (certain neighborhoods or zip codes with residents who represent your desired target audience). Or, you can generate lists based on other factors, such as people who have opted in on your website or purchased lists based on various demographic profiles. However you generate your mailing list, the idea is to be more focused rather than just sending out postcards willy nilly and hoping for good results.

It’s also very important to be consistent. Too many people make the mistake of sending postcards to one list for a month and then moving onto a different list the next month. If you jump around from list to list, you will never establish a strong brand presence. Direct mail often takes time. It’s a cumulative impact of someone seeing your mailers often that generally gets them to eventually take action. Be careful not to panic and keep changing your target because you won’t get anywhere with that strategy.

Print Advertising

The same goes for print advertising. Look for publications (or specific sections in the newspaper) that attract consumers who are more likely to be interested in your products or services. Then, run targeted ads and keep them running consistently to build brand loyalty over time. Again, if you keep jumping around, then you’ll never really establish anything meaningful in their minds.

Though you should always keep an eye on your results and adjust things based on trial and error, you have to have patience. Print marketing is a matter of commitment and consistency. When done right, however, it can still be a very powerful business-building tool. When done in unison with effective content/digital marketing, you might be amazed at the results you can achieve.

If you need help with your marketing—print, digital, content or otherwise—NextGear Marketing is here to serve you. Just let us know how we can be of service with affordable marketing solutions and powerful results. Contact us today!

 

5 Time Management Tips for the Holiday Season

The holidays are a fun, yet often hectic, time of year. This is especially true when it comes to managing your workload. Many of us travel and we all get certain holidays off, which forces us to condense our schedules. That usually means having to get the same amount of work done in a shorter amount of time. And, there’s nothing worse than having unfinished business sitting over your head when you are supposed to be relaxed while enjoying Thanksgiving dinner or the other holidays with your loved ones.

I usually try to stay ahead of schedule when I can, and during these last few months of the year it’s even more important to stay ahead. Unfortunately, the NextGear Marketing Blog has had to take a bit of a backseat as I work on my clients’ projects, but that’s fine. Prioritizing the workload is a key to managing it effectively.

Here are some helpful tips for getting ahead of the game this holiday season:

1. Prioritize

I already mentioned the importance of prioritization, but when you do it right, it will really help you get your work done. When you make sure the most pressing things are done first, it puts a lot less stress on getting the less important things done.

2. Incrementally Add More Work

Staying ahead of schedule during the holidays is largely about condensing more work into fewer days at the office. Start off by adding one or two small extra tasks per day to your to-do list and then incrementally increase that amount as the weeks go on. You’ll find it more manageable this way and you build up to more productive days. If you wait and try to scramble at the last-minute, it will not go well.

3. Proactivity, Not Procrastination

I’ve been known to procrastinate from time to time, but I hate the stress of having to get something done under the gun. The more proactive you can be in your planning and work activity, the less stressed you will be. Also, consider outsourcing certain tasks. Say managing your blog, for instance.

4. Reward Yourself

The ultimate reward when you get ahead of schedule is to not feel as stressed out during your holiday time off. You will have earned a break and you should be able to enjoy it. Still, giving yourself small rewards while working is another good idea. Maybe you get one extra Christmas cookie after you’ve done a certain amount of projects in a day or you buy yourself a holiday gift if you’ve earned an extra monetary bonus because of the work you’ve put in. If you are a manager, find ways to add incentives for people getting more work done this time of year.

5. Don’t Overdo It

This may seem contradictory, but the key to getting more done is not to wear yourself out early on. Take breaks and prepare yourself mentally. Prioritize your to-do lists and incrementally add a little more each day. You’ll be amazed at how much extra you can get done without feeling overwhelmed. By the time the holidays roll around, you will be able to actually relax and enjoy your time off. Doesn’t that sound nice?

These are just a few simple time management tips. The biggest advice I can give is to just be prepared mentally. This can be stressful time of year for many of us, but it doesn’t have to be. If you approach your workload with the right attitude and aim to stay ahead of the game, you’ll be amazed at the results. These are tips that can help you stay organized and prepared throughout the year, but the holiday season is when they may be most helpful.

If you need help with your marketing projects now or in the future, contact NextGear Marketing today. Sometimes, finding the right help will make all the difference in removing stress from your schedule!