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!

What is Your Business About?

Pretty much every website will have some kind of “About Us” page. Whatever you prefer to title it, this page is more important than you realize. Unfortunately, a lot of site developers kind of slap the content for this page together because it’s less SEO-oriented in nature (compared to the service and product pages, blog posts, etc. that make up the bulk of the site).

The importance of this kind of page is found in the engagement qualities. It gives a potential customer a chance to learn more about who you are and what you do. If the content on this page is not presented in an engaging way, then you are missing an opportunity. That’s why I have put together this list of helpful tips to make your “About Us” page as effective as possible.

1. Don’t Go Overboard with SEO

It’s true that the “About Us” page is less about SEO and more about engagement. You can inject searchable keywords and you will want to optimize the page for search engines, but it’s rare for a web search to lead to this kind of page. Someone is more likely to click on it once they are already on your site. Therefore, you don’t want to go overboard with the SEO stuff. The content should be written well and it should connect with the readers. It should not feel like it was written by a bot trying to cram in one SEO keyword after another.

2. Tell Your Story

The way I like to approach the “About Us” page is to tell the story of the business. What is the history of the company? Who are the main people behind it? What is your service philosophy? When you can tell a good story, the content will be more engaging and readers will feel like they know what you are all about. That’s a good thing when it comes to building customer interest and loyalty.

3. Introduce Key People

As hinted at in tip #2, you will want to introduce key people involved in the company. This may be the founder(s) or owner(s) of the business. It might be key leaders such as managers and executives. The objective is to show a face behind the vision of the company. This makes it much more relatable than just spewing facts and figures.

4. Avoid Dependence on Bullet Points

One of the worst things you can do on an “About Us” page is to format the whole page with bullet points. It’s okay to have bullet points at the end of the page as a summary or include one section with a few short bullets to help break up long sections of copy. Otherwise, bullet points are much less personal than narrative text, especially when you are aiming to tell a story and engage a reader.

5. Mission Statements Are Overrated

I personally feel that mission statements are way overrated and really make no connection with a potential customer. So many businesses invest a lot of time to come up with the “perfect” mission statement and they all just sound the same. The language is always stilted and sounds like corporate speak. If your mission statement is brief and not so impersonal, then maybe you can work it into the page. Otherwise, it really isn’t going to add much to your site if you ask me.

6. Show Don’t Tell

One of the best pieces of marketing advice I ever got was that good copy should show, not tell. The goal here is to show what your business is all about with engaging content, stories and insightful information that’s written in an interesting way. If you just tell people the facts and figures in a straightforward way, there won’t be a strong connection. Again this goes back to more narrative writing compared to just bullet points.

These are just a few tips that will help you craft a stronger “About Us” page on your website. Whether it’s a multi-billion dollar corporation or a one-person operation, there is a real art to showing potential customers what you and your company are all about.

For help with all your custom web content needs, NextGear Marketing is here to help. Contact us today for more information.

I’m Living Proof Why You Should Outsource Your Blogging

I’m pretty transparent about the fact that I’m not as active on the NextGear Marketing Blog as I’d like to be. My first priority every week is making sure all of my clients’ needs are taken care of. In addition, I am always working to find new business. Then, if I have time I will put together a blog article like I’m doing right now.

My own situation is comparable to that of many small business owners. You have a lot of things to worry about and blogging often becomes an afterthought. Having someone in-house to manage the blog is nice if it’s a clear part of their job description. However, they may not have the proper writing skills or SEO knowledge that a professional blogger can provide.

In most cases, business blogs are started with the best intentions and then things fizzle out. It becomes less of a priority as you stay busy with other important business activities. That’s why it makes sense to outsource your blog content management to someone who knows what they are doing and can keep your posts consistent. Believe me, if I had the resources to have someone else manage my blog, I would. Until then, my clients always come first and this blog is a secondary priority.

If you have the means (and I should mention a weekly custom blog package from NextGear Marketing is incredibly affordable), then outsourcing your blog management makes perfect sense. You can have an expert doing the research and writing the articles for you. The articles will be optimized for SEO and ready to share on social media for additional engagement. All the heavy lifting is done for you and it won’t cost you much. It really is a win-win situation.

To learn more about professional blogging packages from NextGear Marketing and for examples of the weekly blogs I manage for all my happy clients, contact me today.

5 Tips for Recycling Old Blog Content

Inevitably, there comes a time in your business blog when it feels like you’ve run out of topic ideas. You’ve covered all the key things that relate to your business and that your customers might be interested in, and you don’t really have any new things to write about.

That’s okay. It happens to every blogger.

There is a real art to recycling old blog content and effectively repurposing it into new blog content. Here are some tips you can use:

1. It’s Okay to Recycle

You may do a new blog every week over the course of years. You are going to have to revisit certain topics, especially those that are highly searchable and of interest to your potential customers. It’s perfectly fine to write multiple articles about similar topics as time goes on. In fact, it’s recommended.

2. Understand How it Really Works

No one who visits your blog will sit there and read every single article. They might read the one they came for, and if you are lucky, they might click through a few more or come back later. Even your avid followers don’t have a long memory. So if you write a new article about a topic that you already wrote about six months ago, nobody will notice and nobody will care. They will just be interested in that new article.

3. Put a Fresh Spin On It

Another trick to recycling article topics is to put a different spin on the topic. Turn an informational article into a “tips” article. Inject a different opinion or point of view. Look for ways to approach the new article from a different angle than previous iterations.

4. Use Different Verbiage

This is especially important. Don’t just copy and paste content from the old article and consider it new. That doesn’t do you any good. Take the time to write it fresh and use different verbiage. This will help it count as new and unique content from an SEO standpoint.

5. Space the Articles Out

Last but not least, don’t do a bunch of similar articles back-to-back-to-back (unless it is an actual themed article series). If you are recycling topics, spread out the articles as much as you can so it doesn’t feel like you are writing the same thing over and over again.

These are just a few tips for how you can effectively recycle and reuse old blog article topics and repurpose them into new blog articles. It will be very helpful the longer you run your business blog.

For more tips and information about business blogging and web content strategies, be sure and follow the NextGear Marketing Blog and contact us today with any questions or requests you have.

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.

5 Tips for Using Featured Images in Your Business Blog

If you have a blog for your business, you must take advantage of using a featured image (or multiple images) in every blog post. The use of imagery can help draw in the reader, especially if your site uses thumbnail previews along with “teaser” text on a home page blog feed or on the blog page itself. A good featured image will also make a huge difference on social media when you are sharing article links and boosting posts.

Here are a few tips for using featured images from NextGear Marketing:

1. Take Your Own Photos

We’ll get into the use of stock imagery in a second, but another option is to take some quality photos of your own. Display your products, show your employees in action and take shots that represent your business and its personality. This can be one way to help your business blog stand out from competition using generic stock photos. Just make sure the photos are of good quality. If the photos look cheap, then it’s usually a poor reflection on your company.

2. Use Stock Photography

If you don’t have the resources or the subject matter to justify taking some of your own photos, you can effectively use stock photography. Make sure you are buying royalty-free images. Never use anything with limited rights. Some stock sites charge as little as a dollar per image, while others offer subscription services that allow you to download a certain number of images (or unlimited images) for a period of time.

3. Never “Borrow” Images from Other Sites

This is very important because it’s every blogger’s nightmare to get dinged for using a copyrighted image. Don’t just search Google images and pull whatever you want, even though it seems like the Internet is pretty much the Wild West these days. Eventually, you run the risk of getting caught with one or more rights-managed images. Best case scenario is you get a “cease and desist” letter/email. Worst case scenario is a huge bill for past usage rights—maybe even legal threats. In other words, be very careful about any photos or graphics you are using.

4. Name Your Images Strategically

Take the time to rename the image files with your focus keyword and your company name. Depending on your blog system, you can also add descriptions and/or captions. This is one more way to help with organic SEO on the blog post.

5. Look for Interesting Photos

Sometimes, a featured image might be a literal representation of what you are talking about in the blog article. In other cases, it may be more abstract or metaphorical. Finding the perfect stock image isn’t always easy. Don’t kill yourself looking for the photo, but give it some thought and find something that is eye-catching and at least somewhat representative of your blog topic.

These are just a few tips for using featured images on your business blog. If you have questions or need help with your blog, contact NextGear Marketing today!

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.