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.

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’s the Best Day and Time to Post Your Blog Articles?

This is a pretty common question in the blogging world, but there is no easy answer. In fact, if you ask 10 different digital content marketers, you’ll probably get 10 different responses.

So, with that in mind, I will give you my opinion. This is purely based on my own professional preferences and practices as a blog writer. Also, in this article I am primarily talking about once-a-week business blogs, though I will touch on bi-weekly blogs a little later.

When I am running blog posts for my clients, I schedule them to post somewhere between 9:00-10:00am on either Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Why? Let me break down the thinking.

What Day is Best?

To me, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday are better than Monday or Friday if you are keeping the posts within normal weekday business hours. Unless you are a weekend-heavy business, you probably want to rule out Saturdays and Sundays because posts are more likely to get overlooked.

People are usually more preoccupied and stressed on Mondays as they start their work weeks. They may be less engaged on social media or whatever websites they follow, which may include yours. By Friday, they may be more checked out and I don’t think the blog will have quite the same impact. Therefore, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday would be my preference for a once-a-week blog post with social media sharing.

What Time is Best?

Again, this is easily debatable. I aim for 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning when scheduling out posts and social media links to the article. This is usually around when people are taking their mid-morning breaks and looking at phones/tablets/computers to get their online fix. To me, it’s a good time to catch their attention.

An argument could be made for a 2:00-3:00 afternoon post to catch them on the afternoon break. I prefer the morning because if the post gets some likes and shares, it will have more time throughout the rest of the day to gather exposure on social media channels. Then, other people may catch it later in addition to the morning crowd. A late-day post gives you less daily-news-cycle sharing opportunities, if you ask me.

Find What’s Right for You

It’s important to note that not every business is the same and it will depend somewhat on your consumer base. What are their habits and when will your blog be most likely to catch their attention? It’s never a bad idea to run some tests early on and see which posts get the most likes and shares. This may help you hone in on an ideal day/time, as well as get a better understanding of what article topics have the most appeal for your target audience.

Be Consistent

Once you feel good about your day and time for blog posts and social media shares, try an be consistent with it. Post on the same days and same times each week. If you do have regular fans and followers, you’ll keep them more engaged from week to week. I realize I myself do not always practice what I preach on the NextGear Marketing Blog. The truth is, my clients’ blogs always take priority each week. I end up writing and posting articles for my own business later in the week after I get through all those Tuesday/Wednesday posts. I probably should be more consistent, but clients always come first!

Bi-Weekly or Daily Blogs

If you are going the extra mile with a twice-a-week blog, then also be consistent with your posts while spacing out the days. In this case, I would recommend Tuesday/Thursday, Monday/Thursday, Tuesday/Friday and Wednesday/Friday as the most likely day combinations. If you have a daily blog, well, good for you. Run that sucker every day at the same time to appease your rabid followers.

This is one of those issues where there probably is no perfect answers. There are so many variables at play. Above all else, consistency is key. As long as you keep up the weekly (or more) frequency and post good content, you will see success with your business blog. When you post is ultimately less important. Still, it’s worth thinking about.

For more information about business blogging or to get started on your own custom content campaign with NextGear Marketing, contact us today.

How to Utilize Keywords in Your Blog Posts

Keywords and key phrases are trickier than you think. There really is an art to working them into blog articles. And remember, it’s not just the wording in the article that will make an impact. You also have the back-end SEO tags that can do a lot for you.

Let’s take a look at some strategies to follow in order to better utilize keywords and key phrases in your business blog posts.

1. Readability Comes First

Let’s face it. Some company’s blog articles are unreadable. They cram in so many key words and awkwardly repeated or rearranged phrases. All those keywords may help with SEO, which may get readers to find and click on the articles. However, readers will be quickly turned off. Just because you have a shiny lure, it doesn’t mean the fish will bite. SEO is only half the battle, so make sure your articles have a good flow and will keep the readers engaged, while at the same time subtly working in those keywords and key phrases.

2. Stay on Target

Sure, you have a lot to say and you have a lot of keywords you want to implement into every single article. Again, don’t overdo it. There may be a handful of “general” keywords that you either work into every article or include as tags. That’s fine. Otherwise, use your blogs to incorporate more targeted keywords and phrases relating to the article at hand. Remember your blog has a cumulative effect on your overall SEO, so the more blogs you write the more keyword ground you’ll cover. At the same time, keeping each article targeted on specific messages will boost organic search results (if someone is searching for that particular subject) and the targeted articles will boost credibility.

3. Use Tags, Titles and Meta Descriptions to Your Advantage

Beyond just the article itself, all blog writing programs allow you to customize the titles, keyword tags, meta descriptions, URLs, article categories, etc. Most of this is back-end stuff the site visitor will never see, so it gives you a lot of opportunity to maximize each article’s SEO appeal. Still, try to stay on target while incorporating a handful of general keywords that you use in every article (company name, geographic references, primary service/products, etc.).

When it comes to writing your business blogs and incorporating keywords and key phrases, remember these strategies. Find the right balance between the front-end elements (titles and article text) and back-end elements (keyword tags, etc.), and you will have a more successful blog. Ultimately, the goal is to first attract more readers (SEO) and then convert the readers with compelling articles.

To learn more about blogging for your business, contact NextGear Marketing today. Let us show you how to get more out of your business blog.

How to Repurpose an Existing Article for Your Business Blog

In the business blogging world, this is one of the tricks of the trade. It’s a way to generate new, engaging and/or informative content for your site without having to look too hard for a blogworthy topic.

In a way, it actually is the process of reinventing the wheel.

Say you see an interesting article online. It might be timely news, information about something relating to your business or consumer tips. However, you can’t just copy and paste that article or share a link to it. Sharing a link would take the reader away from your site and also means that the valuable content isn’t embedded on your site. Copying and pasting is simply a bad idea. Search engines are very sophisticated and having “duplicate” content on your site will actually work against you in the rankings. It is never recommended to copy and paste content from other online sources.

So, how do you take an existing article and make it unique content for your site? It is sometimes a tedious process, but it is worth it. Here are some helpful tips to consider.

1. Always Rewrite it From Scratch

Don’t copy/paste anything. Look at the original article in one browser window and start your own article fresh in your blog management portal (or even in a separate word processing program). You can say essentially the same things in your version of the article, but always use different wording and phrasing. Search engines can even recognized heavily “plagiarized” content, as well, so you have to be diligent when you rewrite anything. It should also go without saying that you’ll want to come up with a new headline for your version of the article.

2. Reorganize the Article and Any Lists

One good trick is to mix up the overall structure of the original article. Don’t follow the exact same outline of the paragraphs/sections or points made within each section. Whenever you see a list of information, bullet points, numbered tips or callouts, reorganize the order of the list and again change up the wording as much as you can.

3. Use Your Own Voice

Typically, your blog will have a “voice” that develops over time, and it’s usually an extension of your company’s overall brand identity. By writing everything fresh in your own style, that will help personalize the content and make it more unique to your site.

4. Inject Insight

Look for opportunities in your article to inject personal/professional insight or information relating specifically to your own products and services. By adding some opinion and personal commentary, it will enhance your credibility and personalize the article.

5. Don’t Do It For Every Article

It’s good to have one of these informational or topical (timely news) articles every so often—maybe once a month if doing a weekly blog. They usually provide ample opportunity to incorporate a lot of targeted keywords and SEO tags. However, if all your blog posts are along these lines, the content will get stale and lack personality. Look for other topics and article ideas that are more unique to the way you do business. Some examples include customer testimonial stories and case studies, employee profiles, company news, product/service information and industry training events attended.

We hope you find these tips helpful. For more information about managing a more effective business blog campaign, contact NextGear Marketing today!