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.

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.

The Benefits of Boosting Blog Posts

So, you have a great blog for your business. You are posting a unique article once a week (or even more frequently). It has all the SEO tags, keywords and links to help you improve your website’s organic reach. You’re sharing the article links on Facebook and any other social media pages your company has. These are all great steps and necessary strategies to apply when running a business blog.

Yet, you are ready to take things to the next level. You want to expand your reach and get more people to see your blog. More followers generally lead to more conversions, so how do you get your articles in front of more people?

Boosting Blog Posts

One great strategy is to boost your blog posts. You don’t have to boost every single one. Some you may only boost a little. Some you may want to boost a lot if the content is strong and has a very targeted message. You can dip your toes in the water by boosting for only a few bucks a day. If the results are good and you decide to get more aggressive, you can raise your budget. Honestly, you don’t have to spend that much on social media to effectively boost a blog post.

The Perfect Example

One of my clients runs an auto repair shop and he is in a major push right now to bring in more domestic heavy duty trucks, SUVs and fleet service vehicles because they represent a better profit margin for his particular business model. With this in mind, I have been writing a lot of blog articles lately centered around this target market message. We’re featuring customer testimonial stories based on customers who own trucks and SUVs or are in charge of fleet accounts for local businesses. We’re writing service features and news articles highlighting new heavy duty lifts in the shop and a passion for working on larger vehicles. The articles are being tagged with specific SEO keywords like Ford F-150, Dodge Ram, GMC Denali, Chevrolet Silverado, etc.

Then, my client is boosting some of these blog articles on Facebook, again targeted at truck/SUV owners throughout his local area. Through keywords, interests and other demographic criteria, he is able to get very targeted exposure through social media.

The Results of Boosting

Ultimately, these targeted blog articles are seen by a lot more people than the company’s usual followers. More importantly, they are being seen by people who are likely to be the most interested in these specific topics. This leads to more blog traffic and eventually more customer conversions. It’s a very cost-effective solution.

Some blog articles may not need to be boosted, and like I said, some are more “boostable” than others. Usually, the more targeted the message in the article, the more effective it will be as a boosted post. It allows you to hone in on a more specific audience, which will generate more interested click-throughs.

If you have a blog and want to take it to the next level, or you need to get your blog started or moving in the right direction, NextGear Marketing can help. Contact us today for more information about blogging and social media integration.

Why Your Small Business Needs a Blog

All businesses, big and small, can benefit from having a consistent blog. There are certain benefits that are universal, no matter how large your company is. A good blog will generate fresh content for the website, create more social media engagement opportunities, boost organic SEO properties and help convert more customers.

Small Business Blogging

I primarily work with smaller businesses. That’s partly because the larger companies and corporations can afford to have in-house marketing staff or a marketing firm that handles all aspects of their various print, web and social media campaigns. Mainly, it’s because I run a small business myself and understand the challenges you face. Smaller businesses are usually better off outsourcing their blog management because it’s a more affordable solution and they benefit from having a content marketing expert doing the work rather than trying to perfect the craft themselves.

Localized Benefits for Small Businesses

Ultimately, I think an effective blog will really help any small business in numerous ways. One of the biggest benefits in my opinion is being able to build a stronger local appeal. A big company likely already has a strong marketing presence across a wider geographic spread. A small business, on the other hand, is generally specifically targeting their local region.

Having a blog with proper SEO tags and links will really help your small business gain awareness in your local area, and that ultimately leads to better market share. You can compete more effectively on some level with some of the bigger franchise chains that are going to out-advertise you no matter how much you spend. You’ll also be stand out from other small businesses around you that may not have a good blog. The SEO, engagement and conversion results will continue to grow over time and put your company in a position to succeed.

In addition, blogging with a localized focus and proper social media integration will give you more customer engagement opportunities and develop stronger brand loyalty from those who know and trust your business.

Get More Out of Your Blog

If you have a small business, you need to have a nice website that includes a blog with regular posts. If you don’t have a blog yet, start one. I’ll be happy to help you out with that. If you do have a blog already, make sure you are regularly posting new content and articles to keep it from going stagnant along with the rest of your site. Last but not least, take advantage of the blog’s SEO capabilities, links and other beneficial features that will maximize the results.

Remember that you don’t have to be an expert blogger yourself to get the most out of your small business blog. You can hire one like NextGear Marketing for a very affordable monthly rate with no contractual obligations. Give us a try—even if just for a short trial period. You won’t be disappointed!

Contact NextGear Marketing to learn more about our small business blog and content management services.

The Importance of Website Maintenance

I just got back from the dealership where I dropped my car off for regular maintenance services. Oil change, tire rotation, brake inspection—you know, the standard stuff that every car needs every few months.

I have many automotive shops as blog clients, so I understand the importance of what they like to call “preventative maintenance.” I like to think of it as more of a proactive approach to car ownership. You can keep driving it until something goes horribly wrong and then you’re paying thousands of dollars to rebuild the engine or replace the transmission. Or, you can take care of the maintenance as recommended in order to help prevent major breakdowns.

Staying Proactive

I think the same approach is a good one to take when it comes to managing your website. You should be proactive with your site “maintenance.” For the purpose of this article, let’s talk specifically about content maintenance. I don’t want to delve into the technical stuff, though that’s just as important. You do want to keep your site up-to-date and running as smoothly as possible to prevent crashes, hacks and other bad technical issues.

When it comes to content management, however, it’s worth taking a proactive approach. I recommend scheduling time every 3-4 months (every 6 months at the least) to sit down and go through your entire website. Re-read all the content and make updates as needed. Perhaps something is woefully out-of-date or irrelevant, or you catch typos that were missed last time around. Maybe there is a product catalog or prices that need to be updated. You might have old videos, graphics or other imagery up that are low-quality and it’s time to remove or replace it. There’s always something that you can clean up to keep your website as sharp and relevant as possible.

Review and Update Everything

The same goes for going through your SEO tags, page titles, links and meta descriptions for each page. Take a look through everything. It helps you stay more familiar with all the content on your site and be a more savvy site owner.

Last but not least, take the time to rewrite some sections of content and add new content/pages as applicable. You’ll be amazed at how some fresh content added every few months will help your SEO and overall site traffic in conjunction with regular blog posts.

Time to Get Proactive

When is the last time you really looked over your entire website? If it’s been awhile, now is the ideal time for some good proactive maintenance. Then, you make that process a regular habit to go through it every few months (or delegate that duty to a team member or web services provider that you trust). You’ll have a much better website that will continue to stay up-to-date at all times.

NextGear Marketing will be happy to provide a full website review for free. And if you want, we can schedule regular content reviews and edits as needed. Or, if you want a business blog or to build a new website, we can help with any website content needs you have. Just call me at (714) 348-0642 or click this contact link.