Keeping Your Customers Up-to-Date

Normally, I talk about utilizing plenty of “evergreen” content to populate your business blog from week to week. However, times have changed and you will want to use your blog to keep your customers updated on what’s happening with your company during these unusual times.

Mixed Messages

A good blog will always be a healthy mix of news, current events, company updates, client engagement and, yes, some evergreen informational content. These days, the balance is shifting more toward the news and current events related to COVID-19 and how it is affecting your business.

Pretty much every business in the world is being affected by the coronavirus in some ways. In most cases, it has been a huge disruption—physically, emotionally and financially. Even as the economies start to open back up in the summer months of 2020, we’re still far from out of the woods. There is still so much we don’t know about what will happen the rest of this year—and beyond.

Time to Adapt

No matter what, any business that is reopening or any essential business that has been able to stay open this entire time is having to change a lot about how they operate. Face masks, social distancing, limited customers in a given space, non-essential goods that aren’t selling, services that can’t be provided, etc.—it’s going to be a major adjustment period for all businesses and their customers. Nothing will be normal anytime soon.

This is a great opportunity to use your blog, your social media and your other marketing resources. A lot of us have been watching more television than normal and I’m sure you’ve noticed the obvious tonal changes in commercials. Advertisers are changing their messages because they have to adapt to a changing culture—even if it’s just a temporary shift until this all blows over.

Refining Your Current Marketing Message

What is your business doing to protect its customers and staff? What new products and services are you offering during this time? How are your services being forced to change? Let your customers know through your marketing resources. Keep them up-to-date, educated and informed. People want helpful information right now and they want to feel safe and assured. Keeping them updated and providing helpful information will keep them engaged and help you build more brand loyalty. Your business may not be doing as well for awhile, but you can build equity over time by building trust with your customers.

Nothing is going to be easy about running a business in the COVID-19 economy, but it’s the reality we are all facing for the foreseeable future. You must adapt. You must change your marketing message. The good news is your blog, social media and other content will be a great way to communicate what’s happening with your business and relate it to issues that your customers care about most.

 

 

What Should You Be Blogging About During COVID-19?

Small businesses that are remaining open during the COVID-19 pandemic should still be blogging among other marketing activities. It is very important to keep your customers informed of what’s going on. Let them know you are still open and doing business, even if things aren’t exactly normal for the time being.

What if My Business Had to Close Temporarily?

Businesses that have been forced to temporarily close can also be blogging. You may consider cutting back on the frequency if budget is a concern. Some business owners are actually blogging more than ever right now because they have extra time to get involved. It’s still worthwhile to be putting quality content out there. You can let your customers know why you had to close, keep your employees up-to-date on future plans, provide helpful health and safety information for your community (whether it is related to your business or not), or just keep producing “evergreen” searchable content that will continue to help with your site’s organic SEO. Even though there’s no business right now, you are still building your web presence for when you ultimately are able to reopen.

What Should We Write About?

So, what should you be writing about right now? That is a good question to ask because there are different ways you can choose to approach it.

I can say that ignoring the elephant in the room (coronavirus) is probably a mistake. It’s literally the most important thing in the world right now. It’s a good idea to keep your customers, business partners and employees informed through this difficult time. Don’t be afraid to address how COVID-19 is affecting your business and what you are doing to deal with the challenges it presents (financially, physically and emotionally). This content will be very relatable and genuine, which can go a long way in helping build brand loyalty over time.

Stay Positive

Though you can get real in your blog posts, you still want to try staying focused on the positives. That may be hard to do, but it’s important not to add to the doom, gloom and panic already out there in the news. Talk about what’s going on and provide information, tips and resources to help others get through the situation. Of course, people will be coming to your website for insight on topics relating to your products and services. That should drive most of your content. Still, you can also just provide more general news, updates and information about what’s happening in your local community as it relates to COVID-19 “shelter in place” orders, social distancing, medical resources, etc. Don’t be afraid to provide something of value beyond just talking about your business.

At the same time, it’s still okay to weave in some more evergreen content that will have long-term SEO appeal. Coronavirus is the hot topic right now and will likely be for the next few months, but eventually (hopefully) it won’t be as relevant. Evergreen topics and information will always be relevant and will have value in the long run, even if it’s not as important while all this craziness is going on.

What Happens Next?

Nobody knows exactly what our future has in store. Coronavirus is likely to change how some businesses operate forever, while others will be able to quickly get back to normal (or at least a “new normal”) once the virus is contained and/or cured. For now, hang in there and stay safe. Keep your blog content flowing, but really think about what you what topics will have the most value (both short-term and long-term) to find the right overall balance of information to put out there.

Hopefully you find this blog helpful. If there is anything else you want to talk about when it comes to how to approach your blog during this unusual situation, contact NextGear Marketing today for a free initial content consultation.

Why You Should Use Recurring Article Themes in Your Blog

This week, I want to talk about recurring blog article themes and ongoing article series. These can be great to utilize over the lifespan of your blog content campaign.

I’ve been working with more clients lately to establish recurring themes. This is a different concept than what I call “recycling” article topics, which is about doing a different take on a topic you’ve already written about in the past.

It’s More of a Publication Approach

Recurring themes are more like sections in a newspaper or magazine. Think about how your favorite magazine has an opinion article from the same author every month. Or, there is a sidebar section that follows a similar structure and headline, but speaks about a slightly different topic each month. A monthly newsletter is another good example of this concept.

Monthly Themes vs. Recurring Article Series

This same kind of approach can be used in a blog very effectively. Earlier this year, I started working with a new client and we decided to try and establish a different theme each month. Each article posted that month speaks to a specific topic, but all tie back into an overarching theme.

I have another client who I started working recently. We’re only 5-6 articles into the blog campaign, but we’ve already established several recurring article ideas that we can keep coming back to periodically. Some are monthly. Some are quarterly. Some are less structured. Still, it will help fill out an ongoing content calendar because we have these recurring article themes to come back to when appropriate. Rather than trying to cram everything about a large topic into one article, we can break down into bite-size chunks and talk about very specific topics in an ongoing fashion.

Keeping Your Content Calendar Stocked

If you run a new blog article every week for a year, you will quickly find that it gets harder and harder to come up with new topic ideas. Having recurring themes is one method that will help keep you from running out of ideas as time goes on. You always have some themes to revisit and add to. Some of the content may overlap a bit and you may find yourself recycling some old messages, but that’s just fine.

In fact, another good aspect of recurring themes is that it will give you a lot of internal link opportunities. As you continue the theme with each new article, you can refer (and, of course, link) back to the previous articles in the series. Internal and external links are good for SEO and can also help keep visitors on your site longer as they jump between multiple articles. Just always set the linked article to open up in a new window/tab, so they aren’t taken away completely from the original article!

When you are planning out your blog and content calendars, consider recurring article themes and ongoing series. You will find your content calendars easier to fill out and you will also create some very engaging content that gives readers a reason to keep coming back.

For help with your business blog campaign, contact NextGear Marketing today.

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.

What Are Your New Year’s Marketing Resolutions?

The holiday season is upon us and it’s time to start thinking about your New Year’s resolutions. We’re not really talking about eating less or exercising more, though. We’re talking about your business. What new marketing ideas can you implement to make 2017 your best year ever?

First, you need to view your marketing as an investment. The more time, effort and money you put in, the better returns you will get. If you solely look at marketing as just another “expense,” then it probably won’t work for you like it could.

Next, it’s time to consider taking things to the next level. It’s a technology-driven world and the next generation of consumers aren’t going to respond as well to old school marketing tactics. You may already have a website for your small business, but is it dated? Is the layout mobile-friendly? Is there a lot of dynamic content? How is your SEO? Make the steps to update and upgrade your site to the modern age if you haven’t already!

For better content on your site, start a blog. It will give you new content on a regular basis, and if done right, it will organically boost your SEO appeal and web traffic immensely. It’s also a great way to stay connected with your existing customer base.

Likewise, make the resolution to utilize social media to the fullest. Is your business represented on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Google+ and YouTube? Maybe you do have accounts, but are you using them to the fullest? Get active with more posts and you will see an incredible difference!

Encourage more reviews from your customers. Follow up with your customers to get helpful feedback about their experiences, and then ask them to write reviews about your business online. Review sites like Yelp!, Google and YP.com (along with industry-specific review sites like RepairPal or Angie’s List) are huge with today’s mobile consumers. Put those reviews directly on your website, write customer testimonial blogs and post every positive review on your social media pages.

These are just some marketing resolutions you can make for the New Year. For a free marketing consultation to discuss specific ways you can maximize your business, contact NextGear Marketing today.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you from NextGear Marketing!

What is Blogworthy?

In the news industry, there’s always a question of what is “newsworthy.” The answer may depend on the type of media outlet and the audience they are trying to reach. The same is true when it comes to your blog. So, how do you determine what is “blogworthy” for your business?

Blogs are powerful marketing tools, and there are a lot of different topics that you should consider blogworthy. In fact, there’s a lot more you could be writing about than you realize. Any news or information that relates to your company, your customers, your industry or your community should be considered for a blog post. In this article, we’ll share a few specific ideas that should help you get more active on your blog.

Here are some blogworthy topics to consider:

1. Products and Services

From time to time, you’ll want to feature stories about different services or products that you offer. Frame them as informational articles (consumer tips, how-to, product reviews, etc.) and then relate the article back to your business. If you offer a warranty or any special services, feature them in your blog.

2. Employee Profiles and New Hires

Employee profiles are great ways to show a bit of your company’s personality and give customers a sense of who they are dealing with. They also make your employees feel appreciated. Do feature articles about current employees and write introductory profiles any time you hire someone new.

3. News and Awards

If something interesting happens at your company, it could be worth blogging about. Certainly, any time you get a new certification or award, it should be featured in an article. If your business is celebrating its anniversary, you can write a story about it and include some history about the company.

4. New Equipment

Did you get a new piece of equipment that will help you improve your products or services? Write a blog about it and show how it will better your business.

5. Customer Testimonials

Turn positive customer reviews into full blog articles. At NextGear Marketing, we do testimonial-based blogs more often than any other topic because they work on so many levels.

6. Community Involvement

If you are involved in the community in any way (charitable organizations, special events, sports team sponsorships, etc.), be sure and feature it in a blog. Include information about the organization, why you got involved and how you are contributing.

7. Industry Training

If you ever attend any industry conventions or training seminars, write a review of the event and post it on your blog.

8. Employment Opportunities

Do you have a job opening? Post it on your blog and provide descriptive job details.

9. Vendor Features

If you have vendors that you work with regularly, do a feature article about them, show how your relationship has developed and discuss why this vendor is helpful to you and your customers.

10. Promotions

Are you offering any current sales or special promotions? That’s another great blog article right there!

This is just a short list of ideas to consider when thinking about blog topics. Really, there is no end to what you can write about as long as you make the story relevant to your company and your customers. If you do that, you’ll be amazed at how powerful your blog will be.

For more information about blogging for your small business, contact NextGear Marketing today for a free consultation.