Time to Follow My Own Advice

I’ll admit I haven’t been as consistent with my blog posts lately as I should be. It’s been a busy summer. I’ve been on the road a lot. My work time is primarily focused on taking care of my clients’ needs. In addition, I’ve been spending and extra time strategizing and implementing ideas to grow my business.

However, it’s important to remember that a blog is a business-building tool. It increases website traffic. It creates more social media engagement opportunities. It ultimately converts more customers.

How Often Should You Run Blog Posts?

For my blog clients, I typically recommend posting once every other week at the very least. Most of my clients run a blog post every week. Some go the extra mile with two a week. The important thing is being consistent with whatever frequency you choose. Posting a blog randomly any time you think of a good topic or just doing it “when you have time” is not a good plan.

I definitely want to follow my own advice and start being more consistent with my regular blog posts like I used to be. Or, I need to consider outsourcing it to someone who does have more time than I do.

Outsourcing Your Blog

That’s why businesses turn to me and NextGear Marketing for my blogging services. They don’t have the manpower, time, focus or dedication to keep up with their own weekly blog posts. They hire a professional blogger who knows how to maximize SEO potential, integrate with social media and create more customer conversion opportunities. Outsourcing blog management is a more affordable, effective and efficient solution to a necessary marketing activity in today’s technology-driven marketplace.

Stay In Touch

As my own blog inconsistency shows, my clients always come first. I put their needs way above my own. Yet, stay tuned to this blog and I promise to be better at practicing what I am preaching. I will continue to share good ideas and strategies for blog management, web content, social media, print/direct mail and all forms of marketing.

For more information about business blogging services and other marketing help from NextGear Marketing, fill out this contact form or call (714) 348-0642 to speak with me directly.

The Top 8 Reasons to Hire NextGear Marketing to Manage Your Blog Content

I try not to get too salesy on this blog, but I am running a business and sometimes a little self-promotion is in order. If you have a business, you need a good website with a good blog. NextGear Marketing offers business blogging services that are affordable and effective. Let’s look at the top reasons why you should outsource your blog to us:

1. Affordability

Having a weekly blog written and managed by NextGear Marketing is a lot more affordable than you think. We offer different frequency plans to suit your budget and blogging needs. Call me at 714-348-0642 for current pricing.

2. Expertise

You could hire a part-timer or delegate the blog management to an existing staff member, but you are losing out on specialized expertise in the art of business blogging.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Having a blog means better organic SEO potential. You will have new content added to your site regularly and the content will be optimized for search engines and social media appeal.

4. Better Customer Engagement

A blog is not only about SEO, it is about engaging the potential customers who do read it. You will gain more regular site visitors, social media followers and customer conversions with a professional business blog.

5. Personal Service

I oversee every client’s blog personally. If you ever have a question, concern, revision, idea or anything you need to discuss, you can call or email me at any time. I’m always happy to help and will customize the plan and service to meet your specific preferences.

6. Custom Work

Every blog post written is done fresh to minimize repetitive/plagiarized content. There is no copying and pasting here. This is another benefit that helps with your overall SEO appeal.

7. Behind-the-Scenes Benefits

There’s a lot more to a blog post that you do not see in the article itself. There are meta descriptions, titles, SEO tags, keywords, links and many other components that go into an good business blog. These will all be handled for you to make your blog as effective as possible.

8. Variety of Posts

At NextGear Marketing, we don’t just do one type of blog post. We write articles on a wide variety of subjects pertaining to your business. We’re talking about service/product features, employee profiles, industry news and events, general information topics and more. A well-rounded blog is a better blog.

These are just some of the best reasons to make NextGear Marketing your business blog provider. Contact us today through this link or call me personally at 714-348-0642 for more information about all the blogging, web content and general marketing services we can provide.

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!

Hiring a Professional Blogger is Cheaper than You Think

There are several reasons why a business doesn’t maintain a weekly blog.

  1. They don’t know what they are doing.
  2. They don’t have the time or manpower to devote to it.
  3. They start a blog, but eventually it becomes less of a priority.
  4. They think hiring an outside provider will be super expensive.

I’ve seen all of these situations. Some business owners never bother to set up a blog despite all the benefits of having one (SEO, customer engagement, social media interaction, dynamic site content, etc.). Or, they set one up with the best of intentions only to let it fall by the wayside after a couple months. Before long, it is just sitting there collecting what I like to call “digital dust.”

Why You Should Outsource Your Blog

I know there are probably a lot of business owners who would prefer just to shop out their blog and let a professional writer manage it from week to week. It makes sense to do this because you are getting the blog written and tagged for SEO by someone who knows exactly what they are doing. There is a lot of strategy involved in a well-done business blog, so it pays to have a professional doing the work for you.

However, I also know there are plenty of business owners out there afraid to call or email us to ask about NextGear Marketing’s blog management services. It is true that I do not list the prices on this website because things change and I don’t want any listed prices to get outdated.

How Much Does it Cost?

However, as of the time of this article (May 2018), you can get a professional weekly business blog written for your company for just $299 a month (Standard Package). You won’t find many experienced part-timers willing to work for that kind of money. And, having one of your full-time staff members devote their time to a blog will probably cost you more when you factor in their overall salary, benefits and so on.

Hiring NextGear Marketing to write your blog is a very affordable option for a dedicated professional service. It’s also tax-deductible as a business marketing expense. There are no contracts with us, and you can cancel your service at any time. It really is that simple!

How it Works

Now, it is important to note that this price is based on you already having a blog set up on your website and that administrative access can be granted to NextGear Marketing in order to manage everything that needs to be done for each weekly blog post. First, contact your web developer to make sure a blog can be set up. For most, this will not be a problem. If not, we can help set up an outside blog site or build you an all-new site optimized for blogging.

The point is that outsourcing your business blog is much more affordable than you may realize and we’ll do all the hard work for you. NextGear Marketing also offers different blog and web content management plans, including two posts a month or as many as eight posts a month. Call for pricing.

Contact NextGear Marketing today for more information about our business blogging services.

Is Your Website Frozen in Time?

I’m an avid golfer and I’m fortunate to live in a place where I have access to great golf courses all year-round. However, during the colder winter months there is always a possibility of frost delays in the morning. Courses don’t usually let you play when there is frost on the ground because it’s bad for the turf when people are walking all over the frozen grass. It’s usually a minor setback and a small price to pay in order to be able to play golf in the winter.

When your website is frozen in time, however, it can be a major setback. You could be losing out on a lot of SEO potential without fresh content. Potential customers might be turned away by a dated site. Basically, you are missing out on great business opportunities if you let your website become stagnant.

I recently went through this experience myself. I write my own golf and travel blog and it had gotten seriously out-of-date. I originally built it on Tumblr because it was free and easy to use. I wasn’t intending for the site to grow as much as it did. Unfortunately, over time the Tumblr platform just couldn’t handle the amount of content, links and photos that I was posting. I eventually had to make a change.

It took a lot of work in my spare time to rebuild a new site on WordPress. I had to transfer all the old content over and rebuild each link one by one, in addition to updating the overall look and navigation presentation of the site itself. It was well worth the effort, though. I’ve already noticed a big spike in visitor activity and more social interaction because of the new site. I refused to let my website become frozen in time and it paid off.

Here are some tips to help you from letting your business website get outdated and ineffective:

1. Refresh Every Year

You don’t have to rebuild your site from scratch every year, but make it a point to go through it at least once a year. Update content, check all the links, remove outdated information, add any new relevant information and update graphics or imagery as needed to refresh the site as much as possible. If your site is old, it may be time to consider redoing it. If the platform is not mobile-friendly, it is definitely time to build a new site.

2. Add New Content Whenever Possible

If you have a blog, use it. Make sure you are posting new articles regularly and keep fresh content coming in. You will benefit greatly from the natural SEO boost that comes when you add content regularly to your site. If you don’t have a blog, add a blog page to your site and dedicate the resources needed to manage it. In fact, you can hire NextGear Marketing to run your blog. Our services are affordable and will take the stress of running a weekly blog out of your hands. By the way, if your web provider’s platform does not have a built-in blogging capabilities, that’s another sign you are probably due for a new website.

3. Focus on Search Engine Optimization

Older websites just aren’t optimized the way newer websites are. Even if you do no additional SEO beyond what’s already built-in, you will see an automatic boost in SEO by creating a new site on a modern hosting platform. However, you should never settle for the bare minimum. SEO should be a major priority. Whether you are building a new site or updating your current site, a thorough SEO review and strategic optimization should be top priorities.

4. Social Media Integration

The more your website is integrated with your social media pages, the better it will perform. Your site and your social media response will both benefit when they are working in harmony.

These are just a few of the ways to update your website and optimize it for better performance. Consumers are more savvy than ever and the technology continues to evolve daily. If you are not keeping up with the times, you are missing out on major business opportunities.

For a complimentary website content review or to discuss blog management services, contact NextGear Marketing today.

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.

The Value of Authentic Online Reviews

At the end of every month, I produce Online Reputation Reports for each of my NextGear Marketing blog package clients. Basically, I scan all review sites and pull reviews and ratings from that month. I compile them all into one simple report.

The reason I do this is because I want my clients to know everything that is being said about them online. Whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, it is important to stay in touch with your online reputation. Another goal is to encourage my clients to further encourage their customers to write more reviews.

Rarely will you find indifferent 3-star reviews online. Most people who want to speak out will only want to say positive things. Then, there is the other side of the spectrum—complainers who only want to write reviews when they have bad comments to make. Every once in awhile, you have to worry about “fake” reviews posted from competitors trying to bring you down. The negative reviews and ratings can’t be ignored, but they can be addressed.

Any time you have a negative review, use it as an opportunity to reach out to that person. Respond publicly if possible on the review platform, so others can see that you are proactively making an effort to rectify the situation. If a public response isn’t possible, at least reach out to them privately. If it is clearly a fake review, use a public response to call their comments into question. You have to do it tactfully, though. Still come from a position of rectification, but still let it be known that you don’t have their name in your client records. This is a subtle, yet effective way to show other users that this may not be a legitimate review.

Unfortunately, certain review sites that shall remain nameless (rhymes with “Help”) favor paying clients and filter out a lot of reviews/rating. As an avid golfer, there’s another similar site that comes to mind (rhymes with “schmolfadvisor”). You can always sort the list to show the most recent reviews first rather than their questionable “most relevant” reviews filter. Personally, I take all online reviews with a certain grain of salt, but more so on some sites than others.

The best way to combat negative reviews is with more positive reviews. The more you encourage customers to write online reviews, the more those negative comments and ratings get drowned out. Don’t resort to writing your own fake reviews. Authenticity is important and most savvy users can tell the difference between what is false and what is genuine. Just do everything you can to spark more reviews from all your happy customers/clients, and you will see your online reputation improve. This is what online reputation management is all about.

Odds are, most people willing to write reviews will have something positive to say. Even if 10% of reviews about your company are negative (which is a really high percentage), that means people are still seeing nine positive comments to every one negative comment. Those are good odds. By the way, if you are getting 10% or more in negative reviews, it’s time to rethink your customer service approach!

Encourage more reviews from your customers and ask them to be authentic. Have monthly drawings or offer future discounts to everyone who writes a review. This will spark more activity. More and more consumers are trusting online reviews before making their buying decisions, so use them to your advantage. Turn really good and detailed reviews into case studies and customer testimonial articles for your blog.

For more information about online reputation management or blogging with NextGear Marketing, contact us today.