Happy Holidays from NextGear Marketing!

This will probably be the last blog article I post this year. And unlike usual, this one will be short and sweet. This is always a busy time as I prepare for holiday travel and work extra hard to make sure all my clients’ projects are taken care of before I hit the road for a few days to visit family during Christmas.

I just wanted to take this opportunity wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Thank you to all my clients, friends, family and vendor partners for your support throughout 2018. It isn’t easy getting a small business off the ground, but each year is better than the last and I appreciate anyone who has helped with referrals and leads. On that note, if you know anyone out there in need of marketing help, especially when it comes to web content and blogging services, let me know or give them my information. Anyone can contact me directly through this site or you can email me at keith@nextgearmarketing.com

Otherwise, I hope everyone out there has a safe, happy and memorable holiday season and here’s to making 2019 our best year ever!

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.

The Benefits of Boosting Blog Posts

So, you have a great blog for your business. You are posting a unique article once a week (or even more frequently). It has all the SEO tags, keywords and links to help you improve your website’s organic reach. You’re sharing the article links on Facebook and any other social media pages your company has. These are all great steps and necessary strategies to apply when running a business blog.

Yet, you are ready to take things to the next level. You want to expand your reach and get more people to see your blog. More followers generally lead to more conversions, so how do you get your articles in front of more people?

Boosting Blog Posts

One great strategy is to boost your blog posts. You don’t have to boost every single one. Some you may only boost a little. Some you may want to boost a lot if the content is strong and has a very targeted message. You can dip your toes in the water by boosting for only a few bucks a day. If the results are good and you decide to get more aggressive, you can raise your budget. Honestly, you don’t have to spend that much on social media to effectively boost a blog post.

The Perfect Example

One of my clients runs an auto repair shop and he is in a major push right now to bring in more domestic heavy duty trucks, SUVs and fleet service vehicles because they represent a better profit margin for his particular business model. With this in mind, I have been writing a lot of blog articles lately centered around this target market message. We’re featuring customer testimonial stories based on customers who own trucks and SUVs or are in charge of fleet accounts for local businesses. We’re writing service features and news articles highlighting new heavy duty lifts in the shop and a passion for working on larger vehicles. The articles are being tagged with specific SEO keywords like Ford F-150, Dodge Ram, GMC Denali, Chevrolet Silverado, etc.

Then, my client is boosting some of these blog articles on Facebook, again targeted at truck/SUV owners throughout his local area. Through keywords, interests and other demographic criteria, he is able to get very targeted exposure through social media.

The Results of Boosting

Ultimately, these targeted blog articles are seen by a lot more people than the company’s usual followers. More importantly, they are being seen by people who are likely to be the most interested in these specific topics. This leads to more blog traffic and eventually more customer conversions. It’s a very cost-effective solution.

Some blog articles may not need to be boosted, and like I said, some are more “boostable” than others. Usually, the more targeted the message in the article, the more effective it will be as a boosted post. It allows you to hone in on a more specific audience, which will generate more interested click-throughs.

If you have a blog and want to take it to the next level, or you need to get your blog started or moving in the right direction, NextGear Marketing can help. Contact us today for more information about blogging and social media integration.

The Importance of Website Maintenance

I just got back from the dealership where I dropped my car off for regular maintenance services. Oil change, tire rotation, brake inspection—you know, the standard stuff that every car needs every few months.

I have many automotive shops as blog clients, so I understand the importance of what they like to call “preventative maintenance.” I like to think of it as more of a proactive approach to car ownership. You can keep driving it until something goes horribly wrong and then you’re paying thousands of dollars to rebuild the engine or replace the transmission. Or, you can take care of the maintenance as recommended in order to help prevent major breakdowns.

Staying Proactive

I think the same approach is a good one to take when it comes to managing your website. You should be proactive with your site “maintenance.” For the purpose of this article, let’s talk specifically about content maintenance. I don’t want to delve into the technical stuff, though that’s just as important. You do want to keep your site up-to-date and running as smoothly as possible to prevent crashes, hacks and other bad technical issues.

When it comes to content management, however, it’s worth taking a proactive approach. I recommend scheduling time every 3-4 months (every 6 months at the least) to sit down and go through your entire website. Re-read all the content and make updates as needed. Perhaps something is woefully out-of-date or irrelevant, or you catch typos that were missed last time around. Maybe there is a product catalog or prices that need to be updated. You might have old videos, graphics or other imagery up that are low-quality and it’s time to remove or replace it. There’s always something that you can clean up to keep your website as sharp and relevant as possible.

Review and Update Everything

The same goes for going through your SEO tags, page titles, links and meta descriptions for each page. Take a look through everything. It helps you stay more familiar with all the content on your site and be a more savvy site owner.

Last but not least, take the time to rewrite some sections of content and add new content/pages as applicable. You’ll be amazed at how some fresh content added every few months will help your SEO and overall site traffic in conjunction with regular blog posts.

Time to Get Proactive

When is the last time you really looked over your entire website? If it’s been awhile, now is the ideal time for some good proactive maintenance. Then, you make that process a regular habit to go through it every few months (or delegate that duty to a team member or web services provider that you trust). You’ll have a much better website that will continue to stay up-to-date at all times.

NextGear Marketing will be happy to provide a full website review for free. And if you want, we can schedule regular content reviews and edits as needed. Or, if you want a business blog or to build a new website, we can help with any website content needs you have. Just call me at (714) 348-0642 or click this contact link.

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.

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!