Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I can’t believe we’re already almost a third of the way through 2019! I have been focusing on taking care of my clients and trying to grow my business. Sadly, that has left me neglecting one thing that can really help build my business: the NextGear Marketing Blog. That is why I want to make sure and remind any of my followers to sometimes do as I say and not as I do.

A Cautionary Tale

My own story is the perfect example of what a lot of small business owners do when it comes to their own blogs. They are good about it at first, but then it slowly becomes less easy to keep up with. Before long, it’s not a priority at all. I am so focused on taking care of my clients and doing other business activities that I tend to ignore my own advice and neglect my own blog.

Following My Own Advice

I may want to consider outsourcing my own blog content because that is honestly the best way to keep a blog effective and to stick with a desired publishing schedule. My clients turn to me to handle the blogs for them. This means helping find topics, coordinating content calendars, writing the articles, posting the articles on their blog portals and doing all the back-end SEO work that is also required to make each article as searchable as possible. Some clients will also have me post links to each article on their social media pages for more integration.

That’s the advantage of outsourcing the blog to an expert. Let someone like me do all the dirty work and keep your blog content humming along with professional writing, SEO knowledge and organization.

Put NextGear Marketing to Work for You

I may not remember to do my own blog every week, but that’s because I am focused on the needs of my clients. Let me do the same for you. You can rest assured that NextGear Marketing is here to get the job done right, and the prices for monthly blog packages are much more affordable than you might think.

Contact NextGear Marketing today for more information.

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.

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.

6 Types of Hashtags You Can Use in Your Social Media Campaign

We all know social media is very powerful in today’s consumer marketplace. There are many strategies you can use to maximize your social media impact. One is how you implement hashtags to generate more followers, get more likes and, ultimately, draw more attention to your products or services.

There are many different types of hashtag strategies you can use on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. When it comes to Facebook and Twitter, you do want to be somewhat judicious and not load up your posts with a ton of hashtags. Select the most relevant to your message or goals and then include those. If people are making comments, you can maybe work in a few more with each response.

Instagram is a little different and you can go a bit more hashtag crazy. It’s usually best to put the hashtags at the end of the post (after your main comment) or sometimes you can put them as a comment underneath if you don’t want your main message to get lost.

Here are 6 of the most common hashtag types that you can utilize in your social media campaign:

1. Brand Hashtags

You should always be looking to build up your brand identity in all types of marketing, and social media is no exception. Your business name, key product names, slogans and other mantras are all good to use repeatedly in as many posts as you can to help boost your brand message.

2. Calls to Action

Hashtags that provoke an action are very effective. Start off a hashtag with an actual verb and people will feel more involved. #talkabout_____ #learnmoreabout_____ #get_____

3. Chat Hashtags

Chat-related hashtags are very popular when you have a recurring subject and you want to keep the conversation going over multiple posts. Using a chat hashtag will keep followers involved and they will start sharing the hashtag themselves to generate exponential response on a particular topic.

4. Content-Specific Hashtags

Hashtags relating to content in your posts are very helpful in terms of SEO and general “searchability” on social media. They give people a better chance of finding you if they are looking up information on certain products or topics. Content-specific hashtags are especially helpful when you have a regular blog that you link to on social media.

5. Geographic Hashtags

Geographic-based hashtags are often underrated when it comes to social media marketing, but they can do a lot for you if you have a locally focused business or want to target a specific region with your posts. Cities, counties, states, regions, town nicknames, etc. are all easy tags to include that will help you with your geographically targeted marketing efforts.

6. Trending Hashtags

Sometimes you can start the trend or join on a trend if it relates well to what you are posting. Some trending hashtags will stay hot for days or months. Others may only trend for a few minutes. Either way, if you can tap into some trending topics in a natural way, you can see some residual attention coming your way.

These are just a few of the hashtag approaches you can use in your social media campaign to increase your exposure and grow your business. To learn more about social media marketing and content marketing, follow the NextGear Marketing blog or contact us today for additional insight.

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.