Why You Should Use Recurring Article Themes in Your Blog

This week, I want to talk about recurring blog article themes and ongoing article series. These can be great to utilize over the lifespan of your blog content campaign.

I’ve been working with more clients lately to establish recurring themes. This is a different concept than what I call “recycling” article topics, which is about doing a different take on a topic you’ve already written about in the past.

It’s More of a Publication Approach

Recurring themes are more like sections in a newspaper or magazine. Think about how your favorite magazine has an opinion article from the same author every month. Or, there is a sidebar section that follows a similar structure and headline, but speaks about a slightly different topic each month. A monthly newsletter is another good example of this concept.

Monthly Themes vs. Recurring Article Series

This same kind of approach can be used in a blog very effectively. Earlier this year, I started working with a new client and we decided to try and establish a different theme each month. Each article posted that month speaks to a specific topic, but all tie back into an overarching theme.

I have another client who I started working recently. We’re only 5-6 articles into the blog campaign, but we’ve already established several recurring article ideas that we can keep coming back to periodically. Some are monthly. Some are quarterly. Some are less structured. Still, it will help fill out an ongoing content calendar because we have these recurring article themes to come back to when appropriate. Rather than trying to cram everything about a large topic into one article, we can break down into bite-size chunks and talk about very specific topics in an ongoing fashion.

Keeping Your Content Calendar Stocked

If you run a new blog article every week for a year, you will quickly find that it gets harder and harder to come up with new topic ideas. Having recurring themes is one method that will help keep you from running out of ideas as time goes on. You always have some themes to revisit and add to. Some of the content may overlap a bit and you may find yourself recycling some old messages, but that’s just fine.

In fact, another good aspect of recurring themes is that it will give you a lot of internal link opportunities. As you continue the theme with each new article, you can refer (and, of course, link) back to the previous articles in the series. Internal and external links are good for SEO and can also help keep visitors on your site longer as they jump between multiple articles. Just always set the linked article to open up in a new window/tab, so they aren’t taken away completely from the original article!

When you are planning out your blog and content calendars, consider recurring article themes and ongoing series. You will find your content calendars easier to fill out and you will also create some very engaging content that gives readers a reason to keep coming back.

For help with your business blog campaign, contact NextGear Marketing today.

How to Be Proactive, Not Reactive

I have numerous clients that I am working with regularly. Many fall into one of two broad categories. They are either proactive or reactive in nature, and it definitely affects my role as a marketing consultant and content provider.

Proactive vs. Reactive

Proactive means they are always on top of things and ahead of the game. They like to explore new ideas and think things through, which helps make sure we’re on the same page before working on various projects. It provides more time to strategize and develop materials.

Then, there are those who are reactive. This means they typically don’t know what they want until they need it. It’s a lot more frantic because projects end up getting rushed and the results are much less predictable.

I bet you can guess which type of client I prefer working with! Truth be told, many clients fall somewhere on a spectrum in between proactive and reactive, which is perfectly normal. Sometimes you need to rush a project that comes up suddenly. Other times, it’s nice to have plenty of time to work out the details in a more methodical fashion.

Proactive vs. Analytical

Really, this boils down to human nature. Some people are thinkers and planners, which isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes it’s easy to overanalyze things to death. “Paralysis by analysis,” if you will. Other people are procrastinators and like to fly by the seat of their pants. This way of life brings its own challenge. I talk a lot about finding balance on the NextGear Marketing Blog, and this is another instance where it helps to fall somewhere in the middle. That said, my goal is usually to try and get clients to skew more toward the proactive side of the spectrum.

It’s almost always beneficial to look before you leap or follow the carpenter’s rule of “measure twice, cut once.” However, if you stand there staring at your goal without ever taking any real action, you won’t get anywhere either. That’s why I prefer using the term “proactive” rather than “analytical.” It’s important to think about what you are doing, but still have to be willing to take positive and decisive action to achieve your goals.

Where Do You Fall?

Are you more proactive or reactive when it comes to running your business and implementing marketing strategies? Is there room for improvement? How can we help you reach your goals?

NextGear Marketing is here to help with your marketing needs, from graphic design and copywriting to blogging and web content services. Contact us today for more information.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of a Blog Campaign

This is something I get challenged with all the time as a professional blogger. Clients want to know that their blog is effective.

How to measure the effectiveness of a blog can be tricky. First, its impact—especially from an SEO perspective—is long-term. It will have a cumulative effect on the overall search engine optimization of your website and individual blog post views should increase over time, as well.

SEO Impact

The biggest appeal of having a weekly blog (or however often you post) is adding fresh, unique content to your site every single week. It keeps your website from becoming stagnant and it should help slowly but surely improve your Google rankings organically.

You can look at the analytics for the site as a whole once the blog has been running for awhile, and you can also review the individual page analytics for each blog post. Unless you strike gold with the most interesting and engaging viral post ever, don’t expect huge numbers for each post’s views.

Viewership Ebbs and Flows

If you share links to each blog post on your social media pages and send out in client emails/newsletters, you can expect a brief spike in views once the post goes up and your followers click through to read the full article. Then, it will likely lull for awhile. A good article will continue to get regular views. Studying the analytics is a good way to know which types of articles get the best response.

Other things you can look at is contact click-throughs and link click-throughs from each individual blog page. Secondary to the overall SEO appeal of blogging, you want to see some engagement. If people are opting in, contacting you, clicking through to other pages on your website or actually buying your products/services directly from a blog page, then you know you have exceptional content.

Think Long-Term

Like any long-term marketing campaign, it’s important not to panic or overthink during the early stages of a blog campaign. You should really run it for at least six months before even looking too hard at the numbers. Even then, you have to remember it’s going to have a more cumulative effect on the SEO for your website, in general. Some posts may not get as many views as others, and that’s okay. If your site is getting ranked higher and/or getting more visitors over time, then the blog is doing its job whether you realize it or not.

It’s the same with other general marketing campaigns like a direct mail campaign, outdoor advertising or print advertising. Unless it’s specifically a direct response campaign, it can be hard to measure the effectiveness of an ad campaign—at least in terms of hard numbers. Usually, you just know that business is doing better and people know your brand name. Again, it’s a cumulative impact that takes time to really make a difference in your market.

Business Blogging with NextGear Marketing

To learn more about blogging for your business and how to get the most out of your blog campaign, contact NextGear Marketing today. Blogging for small businesses is what we do, so let us show you how to do it right!

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.

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.

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!