Celebrate Your Milestones and Achievements!

I’ve talked with many business owners who are hesitant to start a blog because they just don’t think they have enough to write about. The truth is there’s no shortage of topics to consider.

Even those businesses with regular blogs often forget to post news about their companies. Followers like to know what’s going on and these types of articles are great ways to work in relevant details and information that will boost SEO potential.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the business milestones you should be celebrating in your blog:

1. Company Anniversaries

When did your business start? This is an article you can post every year if you want, or at least every 5 years. Celebrate your anniversary and key dates in your company’s history. Talk about the history of the business and its evolution over time. Talk about future goals and plans. It’s a great way to show what your business is all about, where it’s been and where it’s heading.

2. Employee Milestones

Did an employee just celebrate an significant anniversary with the company? Did you just hire someone new? How about a promotion, an award or other achievement? Use your blog to highlight your employees and their contributions. It makes them feel valued and potential customers love to see this kind of human recognition displayed.

3. Business Milestones

Perhaps one of your products sold a noteworthy quantity or you’ve served a certain number of customers over the years. Maybe your monthly production hit all time highs. Make note of these kinds of business milestones in your blog. Don’t be overly braggy about it, but be tasteful in promoting key accomplishments made by the company and/or people within the company.

4. Customer Reviews

Authentic customer reviews are always a great source of content and they can be turned in to excellent blog articles. Ultimately, they hold a lot more value than just talking about yourself. After all, it’s a third person—a genuine customer—speaking out and praising your company, product or service.

5. Special Events

The blog is a great place to talk about recent events related to your company. This could include industry events or training conferences attended by your employees, awards ceremonies, charity events and fundraisers you are involved in and more.

These are just a few key events and milestones you can consider writing about in your business blog. More things are newsworthy than you might think. When you find the right blend of relevant information, news, branding and company culture, you will have a very successful blog.

To learn more about blogging or to outsource your company’s blog to NextGear Marketing for low monthly rate, contact us today.

How to Blog About Your Specialties

If you have a specialized service or product that appeals to a very targeted group of customers, then you probably already have some understanding of niche marketing. In other words, your marketing efforts need to be targeted to reach the specific people who will be most likely to buy your product or service.

Specialized Blog Posts

Your blog is a great tool to reach targeted audiences who may be searching for information about a specific topic or interested in a specific product/service that you are offering. In this article, we will look at some ways to use a targeted blog post to your advantage.

First, remember that not all your blog posts have to be targeted to such a niche market unless that is your primary audience to begin with. In that case, you have to go full force with a niche approach in every piece of marketing you put out there.

Many businesses, however, might have one or more very specialized products or services (as part of a larger suite of products/services) that they want/need to promote from time to time. Therefore, the weekly blog posts may cover a wider variety of topics to appeal to a wider range of potential customers. Then, it makes sense to a very targeted post every so often specifically for your niche product/service.

Remember Your Targets

For example, I work with a lot of automotive repair shops, so you will see an auto-shop-specific blog post every once in awhile on this site. However, it’s not my only audience, so I can’t do every article for that niche market.

But let’s say you have an auto shop and you have a specialty service you offer. Perhaps you are really well known for custom exhaust designs and installations. Once every couple months, it really makes sense to do a blog post centered around that subject. Click here to see exactly such an article I wrote for one of my blog clients. You can highlight jobs you’ve done, walk the reader through the custom exhaust installation process, showcase client testimonials, write aftermarket exhaust product reviews or talk about specific exhaust components and what they do. There is no limit to the type of specialized articles you can write on any given subject.

The Advantages of Specialized Blog Posts

What this accomplishes is that someone out there searching for information on this kind of specialized product or service is more likely to find your blog. You will have multiple specialty articles tagged and optimized for SEO with very targeted qualities. This person may not be interested in all in your other general topic articles, but they will find what they are looking for and you will build strong value in their minds.

So, if you have a specialized product or service that appeals to a specific niche audience, take advantage of that with an occasional blog post centered around that topic. It is an effective strategy that will enhance your overall approach to business blogging.

Hopefully this article makes sense, but if you have any questions email me at keith@nextgearmarketing.com. I’d love to hear your feedback!

3 Tips to Make Your Business Blog More Personal

It’s great if you already have a business blog. If you don’t, send me an email and NextGear Marketing will be more than happy to help!

However, many business bloggers miss out on valuable opportunities to personalize the messaging within the blog articles. They think of the blog as only an SEO tool to beef up their site’s content. Though that is definitely the biggest advantage of having a good blog, it is not its only purpose.

Why You Need Engaging Content

A good blog should also have engaging content that will attract site visitors, spur conversations on social media and also lead to more customer conversions. The SEO aspects may get someone to your blog, but then what happens? If the content is too dry, they won’t even finish reading the one article they came for, let alone stay on the site and seek out more information.

That’s why you want to look for ways to “personalize” the content while still keeping it and informative and SEO relevant. Here are a few simple tips you can try:

1. Write in First Person

This is often debated, but if you want to have a more personal feel to your blog this is a great way to do it. Write in terms of “we” and “us” (or “I” and “me” if you are a one-person business or a figurehead representing your business). You do have to be careful about being too salesy at times because first person perspective can exacerbate those messages, but you’ll find the articles are easier to write and will definitely provide a more personal style.

2. Inject Personal Insight

If you are still writing in third person, include some quotes from key people within the company. If you are writing in first person, just make sure you inject some personal insight and interpretations rather than just reporting information or data. Be careful not to get overly opinionated (especially with sensitive political or societal issues—unless that’s part of your brand’s identity) on any subject.

3. Include Brand Messaging

In addition to personal insights, don’t forget about your brand’s overall message. Again, your blog isn’t just spewing out cold hard facts, data and general information that can be found anywhere on the Internet. Remember the personality of your company’s branding and incorporate key brand messages throughout your articles for more effective results.

I hope you find this article helpful in building a better business blog. If you have questions or want to talk more about how to take your blog to the next level, contact NextGear Marketing today!

5 Simple Tips for a Better Business Blog

Having a blog for your business can be a powerful marketing tool. It will enhance your website’s organic SEO appeal, it will keep followers of your business engaged and it will help attract and convert new customers. Having a good business blog is easier than you think. Here are a few simple tips that will help you get the most out of your blog:

1. Keep Up the Frequency

Posting regularly is important, and try to stick with a regular frequency. Once a week is ideal, and aim for running your posts on the same day at the same time each week. Once every other week is adequate, especially if you are just getting acclimated to managing your blog. Twice a week is fantastic, but it can be tough to keep up with. Anything less than twice a month just won’t give you much impact, so that should be the minimum goal.

2. Use All the SEO Tools

Pretty much any blog management portal such as WordPress or whatever system your web host uses will have plenty of back-end SEO tools that you can utilize. Familiarize yourself with each and use them all. We’re talking about setting primary key words/phrases, tags, titles, meta descriptions, featured images, categories, etc.

3. Incorporate Calls to Action, But Don’t Be Too Salesy

It’s a good idea to plug in a call to action or two within your blog articles (“call us for more information,” “click here to sign up,” and so on), but be careful not to get too salesy in your articles. You can make strong points to support your business message, but lean toward being informative in your posts rather than making super hard sales pushes.

4. Utilize Links to Your Advantage

Internal and external links can be very beneficial in your blog articles. They help naturally with SEO, and inbound links especially can keep your readers engaged if they click through from one article on your site to the next.

5. Share Your Posts on Social Media

Social media is a great way to get new blog followers and your blog is a great way to keep your social media followers engaged with regular content, comments, likes and other important activity. Share a link to each blog post you write on all your social media pages.

When it comes to running a successful business blog, these simple tips are just the beginning. The more advanced you become, the more powerful your blog will be. If you need help with your blog and want to hire a business blog management specialist to ensure the job gets done right, contact NextGear Marketing today. Writing effective and engaging business blogs is what we do best. We’re here to help you shift your business into the next gear!

What Can Your Business Blog Do for You?

Many small business owners will start a business blog because they think they have to or maybe it was just included in their web hosting service. What inevitably happens when someone is not fully “bought-in” is that they let it slide. Before long, it becomes an afterthought and eventually, the blog just sits there collecting digital dust. And, in today’s content-driven marketing world, that dust can start to gather within weeks!

Invest Yourself

Like anything in life, the more invested you are in your blog, the more you will get out of it. You have to be willing to commit the time or resources to do it right. Those resources might be an in-house staff member assigned to manage the blog and other content/social media activities. Or, it may be paying an outside provider like NextGear Marketing a nominal fee to run a high-quality weekly blog for your business. Hint, hint…

The Benefits of Blogging

If you are fully invested in your blog, you will see the benefits in numerous ways. Some of the advantages of a well-written and strategically focused blog with once-a-week posts include:

• Increased organic SEO potential

• Social media engagement

• More site visitors and return visitors

• Increased customer conversion

Don’t these attributes sound like something your company could benefit from? Of course! These are just a few of the major advantages to starting a blog and maintaining it with consistent content.

How Often Should You Post?

Whether that means bi-weekly posts, weekly posts or twice-a-week posts, you need to start somewhere and you can always ramp up the frequency over time. The important thing is to get it working for you and be fully invested in it as one of your online marketing strategies. When you do a blog right, good things can and will happen for your business.

To learn more about NextGear Marketing’s blog writing and management services for small businesses, contact us today.

 

Are You Responding to Customer Reviews?

Getting customer reviews online is an important part of today’s business culture. In a way, it is free advertising—even if you are paying extra for “premium” business accounts on sites like Yelp. People are voluntarily writing testimonials for your business. Unless you are doing something really wrong, most of these reviews will be positive. If they are routinely negative, then perhaps it’s time to rethink your approach to service.

Reviews Are Going to Be Written

In the social media marketplace, people are not shy about sharing their opinions on just about every subject under the sun. Millennials are now the most influential consumer group and the next generation is on their heels with an even more candid style of sharing everything about their lives on social media.

You should be pushing customers to write authentic reviews. Even if you don’t, plenty will still be posted and you have to pay attention to what’s being shared on social media and online review sites.

How to Respond

Next, you should get in the habit of writing personal responses to each review that is posted on Google, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other relevant site for your business. I recently took over this task for one of my clients and it is a very powerful thing you can do.

Most reviews will be positive and you don’t need to write much. A simple “thank you” message is fine. Reiterate some of the positive comments they may have made about your staff, your product or your services. If there are any special messages that you can include such as a warranty or return policy, do so without pushing too hard. Keep it light, direct and friendly. Those reading these reviews will easily see that you are a business that cares about its customers.

What if the Review is Negative?

It’s almost unavoidable that you will eventually get a negative review. Unfortunately, these negative reviews are almost always longer and more detailed, which helps them get picked up by the algorithms on sites like Yelp that display the “most relevant” reviews on the main page rather than the most recent.

A negative review might even be a fake from a troll, spammer or petty competitor. Oftentimes, these reviews discredit themselves if you read them closely enough. Maybe there’s an inappropriate comment, a lot of grammar errors or it’s clear that their complaint really isn’t relevant to your business.

How you respond to these negative reviews can be tricky, but it is something you need to do. You have to be tactful. You have to defend yourself without being defensive. You have to be friendly even while calling them out on any inconsistencies in their story. You can read more about this approach in a previous article I wrote on this exact subject, but the biggest key is to maintain a friendly and helpful demeanor in your response. Just remember the response is not necessarily for that reviewer, who will not likely be a repeat customer. It is for anyone else reading that review. A thoughtful response to a negative review can actually work in your favor because it will show others that you care.

To learn more about online review response writing services from NextGear Marketing, contact us 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.