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 Are Your Blogging Goals?

When writing a blog for your business, it’s important to set goals and stay focused on your objectives. Though you want your writing to feel natural, you also want to avoid “stream of consciousness” blogging like a teenage girl on Snapchat. Every article you write should have a targeted purpose, and all posts should work together to achieve big picture goals.

Let’s look at the three main goals you should be looking to accomplish with your business blog:

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Ultimately, a blog is one of the best ways you can boost your organic SEO results. It will provide fresh content to your site that’s added (hopefully) on a regular basis. The content will be informative, insightful and interesting. It will include strategic targeted keywords and key phrases that potential customers might be searching for. Your posts should also contain back-end SEO tags, titles, links and meta descriptions. All of these things will add up to positive organic search engine optimization that will only serve to enhance any additional SEO or PPC (pay-per-click advertising) that you are doing. In other words, SEO improvement should be a natural byproduct of a well-executed blog. That alone should give you enough incentive to have a blog for your business.

2. Reader Engagement

When your blog content is informative, insightful and interesting enough, it should engage your readers. No matter how someone comes across one of your blog articles, you want to leave a good impression. The articles should be well-written (spell check + grammar check) and have something worthwhile to say. In the process, you can share insights and details about your business without having to get too “salesy.” Avoid overloading the blog posts with repetitive keywords to a point where the article has no flow. There is a trick to including plenty of relevant keywords without it seeming like you are just forcing them in there. When you engage your readers, you will create a more positive brand relationship.

3. Customer Conversion

This is where things can really get difficult. Using your blog to convert people into actual customers will depend on the product/service you are trying to sell and your definition of “conversion.” If you have very inexpensive and desirable products, then you may get away with a more direct sales approach on your blog. If the conditions are just right, people may want to click through and buy something immediately after reading one of your posts.

Otherwise, you should avoid thinking of your business blog as a direct response sales tool. Think of your conversion goal as either creating a positive brand relationship as outlined in goal #2 above or as a very basic lead generator. Creating a positive brand message is a much more attainable goal, especially if your content is engaging enough to keep people coming back and reading your articles from week to week. Generating leads is not as easy, but it can be done and it’s certainly more achievable then making a final sale right then and there. Use calls-to-action in your blog articles that may entice someone to call, email, visit other pages on your website or fill out a contact form. Then, they can be put in your sales follow-up or CRM system to eventually try and close the deal.

A lot can be accomplished with a successful business blog, but it is important to set your goals realistically and to stay focused on your overall objectives as you are posting articles from week to week.

To learn more about business blogging or to get started with a NextGear Marketing business blog package, contact us today.

Business Blogging Basics: Captivation vs. Conversion

If you’ve read any of my other Business Blogging Basics articles, then you will already know the main point of this article. It is not really a “versus” issue. It’s an issue of finding the right balance between two important strategic approaches.

For the purpose of this article, “captivation” refers to the initial attraction of a site visitor. It’s just a less-clinical word for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), or how someone finds your blog article in the first place.

“Conversion,” on the other hand, refers to the desired action you want to happen after someone reads your article. You got them to your blog, so now what? How do you use your blog to convert them into a paying customer?

Captivation (SEO)

In the grand scheme of things, captivation is easier than conversion. A well-done blog will be loaded with SEO appeal thanks to a depth of content, fresh content added on your site and all the targeted tags, links and titles you should be including within each blog post. The main reason any business would have a blog is to boost their organic SEO results and attract site visitors.

In other words, improved SEO should come naturally if you write a good blog, use all the right tags and post new articles frequently.

Conversion

So, that leads us to conversion. How much of your effort needs to be put into converting a blog reader into an actual customer? This is where it gets tricky because even “conversion” can represent multiple goals:

  1. Buying a Product or Signing Up for a Service
  2. Filling Out a Contact Form
  3. Positive Brand Identification

Of course, #1 would be the ideal goal. However, it is also the toughest to achieve. Getting someone to buy something from you right then and there after reading a blog article or two is very difficult unless your product line is very inexpensive. Though you want to include at least one clear call-to-action in each blog article, you can’t go in expecting direct sales from your blog.

Numbers 2 and 3 are more attainable goals for most businesses. Positive brand identification is easily achievable with a good blog that provides interesting content and insight into the way you do business. If people walk away from reading one of your blog articles and feel a positive association with your brand, consider it a major victory—even if sales might not come right away. I don’t go rushing out to the store every time I see a Coca-Cola commercial, but I have a positive association with their brand that may affect my buying decisions later.

Filling out a contact form is harder to achieve, but it is a realistic objective. Someone may want to sign up for your newsletter/blog or get more information about a specific product or service being promoted. It’s a little less threatening to ask for someone’s contact info than to make a sale right then and there. They give you some info and then you can add them to your follow-up database. Ultimately, getting this lead is the first step in hopefully converting them into an actual customer. You may want to think of your blog as a lead generator rather than a sales tool. There’s a big difference.

SEO captivation should always drive your business blog and it is ultimately what is most important, but look at ways to spark customer conversions through engaging content and enticing calls-to-action. As always, when you find the right balance, you will have a more successful business blog.

For more information about business blogging, contact NextGear Marketing today.

How to Write Better Product or Service Web Pages

Detailed information about your company’s products and/or services is valuable content for your website. Your most important products or services should have their own featured web pages, and your navigation should be clear and easy to enable visitors to find the information they need about your specific offerings.

Why Have Product and Service Feature Pages?

Ultimately, a product or service page serves two primary purposes. One is providing information to someone who is interested in specific product or service offered by your company. Today’s consumers like to research online before they commit to buying, so you want to have that information readily available on your site.

The second purpose for a detailed product or service page is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Having a lot of details and keywords worked into the page content will be good for organic website traffic. Whether someone is searching without a brand in mind or they are looking for info about your products/services specifically, you stand a better chance of grabbing their attention and converting them into a paying customer if your page content is good.

So, what will an effective product or service page contain? There are several strategies you will want to incorporate:

1. Product/Service Details

This should go without saying, but you want to have plenty of details in there to properly represent what you are trying to sell, and of course, to help with SEO appeal. When it comes to tech specs for certain types of products, though, don’t bog down the page content with too much confusing technical language. Consider a sidebar chart/graphic or a bullet point list at the bottom of the page.

2. Brand Messaging

Always use every opportunity to incorporate your brand message. A site visitor may be there to find out information on a specific product or service, but you still want to sell them on your company as a whole. If they believe in your brand, then they are more likely to purchase your products/services.

3. Keywords

You should emphasize certain keywords and key phrases that are most likely to be searched in relation to the product or service being featured. At the same time, your content should flow and you don’t want to overload it with keywords to a point where it is confusing or awkward. There is a strategic method for naturally working in keywords and key phrases. You can also consider a bullet point list at the end of the page listing out product features or service options. This is a great way to use a lot of keywords and phrases without hindering the flow of the main content. Of course, use your page tags, titles and keywords on the back end of each page for optimal results.

4. Call to Action

Every page should have a clear and compelling call to action. Someone has visited your web page and read all about your great product or service. Now what? Give them a next step to take and tell them how they can purchase the product/service (a link to a purchase page) or who they can contact to get additional information. You can include multiple calls to action and links throughout the page so they always know how to proceed.

Page Length

Some product and service pages may be relatively concise and to the point as long as they convey all the key information and messages. Sometimes quality is better than quantity. Others may be much longer. It might depend on the complexity of the product or service being featured. The important thing is to have separate feature pages on your site for all the primary products and services you want to highlight. You will see a difference in your SEO and in your customer conversion if you do it right.

To learn more about custom product and service web content from NextGear Marketing, contact us today and we’ll help you get the most out of your web pages.

5 Simple Strategies for Good Web Content

How do you know if your web content is good? A significant rise in your search engine rankings can take a long time to develop and you don’t always get direct feedback from customers. In other words, results aren’t always immediately measurable. You have to be patient and remain faithful in your approach.

If you are taking the right approach to your web content, it is making a positive impact whether you can see it or not. So what is the “right” approach? Let’s look at five primary strategies you should be utilizing.

1. Quantity

Indeed, if you have a lot of content on your site, it’s good. It gives more ways for people to find you through web searches and it gives visitors a reason to spend more time on your site jumping from page to page.

2. Quality

Quantity is good, but you also have to focus on quality. Your content should be well written and make salient points. If you have a lot of sloppy content, misspellings and bad grammar, it can make you look bad in the eyes of consumers. All of your content must also be unique. That’s a more detailed topic of discussion, though, so click here to read more about the importance of unique content.

3. Frequency

I use the term “static content” in this article’s title because many business owners think they can just put up a website (even if it has a ton of content to begin with) and leave it be. You need to regularly add fresh content and/or make edits to existing content from time to time. A regular blog is a fantastic way to add a lot of good, relevant content. However you do it, new and “dynamic” web content will naturally give your SEO a strong boost.

4. Relevance

Get into the minds of your customers and write content that relates to their needs, fears and desires. If it’s relevant to what they are thinking, your content will resonate more with the people who actually visit your site. Remember, getting them to your site through searches, social media or other means is only one half of the battle. You still need to convert them into actual customers!

5. Focus

When it comes to individual blog posts and specific site pages, keep your writing focused on the subject(s) at hand. This makes it easier to work in strategic keyword placements and search tags. If the content is all over the place in one section or article, it won’t relate as well to the readers and it won’t register as high with the search engines.

These are just a few of the most important strategies you should be implementing when it comes to your company’s blog and website content, in general. To learn more about how custom content can help your business boost SEO and convert more customers, contact NextGear Marketing for a free consultation.