Having a written blog content strategy is what separates the good blogs from the truly great ones.
You basically double your chance of success with a written blog strategy. According to Content Marketing Institute, 60% of organizations with a written content strategy are effective, compared to only 32% of those with a purely verbal content strategy is effective. Blog content strategy is a necessity if you want to see true results.
Not only does a written plan increase your chances of success, but it also saves you hours of time you would have wasted on the wrong promotion strategies, writing about the wrong topics, and working with the wrong influencers.
Are you ready to save time, drive more traffic, and see more blogging success? Then, keep reading! Here are the five steps to a great blog content strategy:
Five Steps to Craft a Blog Content Strategy
- Define your goals.
- Perform some target market research.
- Come up with topic ideas and keywords to target.
- Create a content calendar.
- Build amazing content.
Quick preface: A good blog content strategy should answer three questions:
- Why are we making content in the first place?
- What content do we need?
- How do we get that content to accomplish our goals?
Let’s start with why.
Step 1: Define your goals.
If you don’t take anything else away from this article, take away goal-setting. Having a clearly defined goal will set you up to push through all the other steps, all the hours of writing, and all the obstacles bound to show up.
Your goal is your why, and the stronger it is the more success you’ll have.
So, how do you define your why… your blog goal? Answer these questions. Do you want to…
- drive foot traffic to your shop or office?
- increase sales or generate leads?
- educate prospects and customers on what you do?
- update your customers on what’s going on with your business?
- attract prospects from outside of your local area, such as clients from overseas?
- build a brand?
Choose no more than two or three of these objectives for your blog content strategy. Any more and your blog will become unfocused and won’t succeed at anything.
For example, I have a blog for my freelance work. My primary goal is to generate leads for my services, with secondary goals of educating prospects on what I do and building a brand around my name.
Be specific with your goals. Simply saying “get more traffic” isn’t enough. You need to include how much traffic you want and in what timeframe. A better goal would be “Increase sales by 15% in three months”. Very specific.
Once you have your why it’s time to figure out what kind of content you need. In order to do that, you must go through:
Step 2: Perform some target market research.
Let me ask you something; Have you ever taken a shower and you just couldn’t quite get the water to the right temperature? It was lukewarm, so you turned it just a hair, then it was scalding hot?
While frustrating, it shows you how a very small amount of effort can cause something to go from lukewarm to hot. You’ve heard this before – it’s called the extra mile.
This step is that small centimeter tweak that will take your blog from mediocre to great.
So, how do you do target market research?
For starters, ask yourself a few good questions:
- Where does my audience hang out online? (Certain blogs, social media platforms, forums, Facebook groups, etc.)
- What is their biggest gripe at work? (Maybe they hate their commute or their boss, or they’re bored, or they aren’t getting enough traffic to their website.)
- What sort of content or articles do they most enjoy reading? (Look at your Google analytics for your blog, if you have it. Which posts did the best? You can also use BuzzSumo to see what your competitor’s most shared articles are.)
The secret is to find out the underlying motivations of your target readers, then helping them achieve those goals.
Once you have an idea of who you’re writing for, next up is:
Step 3: Come up with topic ideas and keywords to target.
Let’s start with keywords:
Keywords are the bread and butter to an effective blog content strategy. Without them, you’re going to be hard-pressed to rank well on search engines. Without ranking on search engines, you’ll have an even harder time getting a lot of consistent traffic.
Despite the overload of information from alleged “SEO experts”, keyword research and SEO (search engine optimization) aren’t all that difficult.
Let me break it down for you in three simple steps:
- Find some keywords you want to rank for that have high search volume and low-ish competition.
- Write mind-blowingly good blog content that includes your main keywords in the title, body, headers, and image alt text (don’t overdo it, though. 3-7 times in an article is plenty, depending on the length).
- Work on getting backlinks to that article with your main keywords as the anchor text (i.e. if your main keyword is “marketing strategies”, you want the link to your site to be connected with the text “marketing strategies”). But be careful not to overdo this either. Too many optimized anchors might trigger Google in the wrong way.
Of course, there are plenty of other complications like page load speed, time spent on-page, and (for Bing, at least) the number of shares the article received. But, if you master the three things above, you’ll be on your way to the first page of Google.
Always try to target keywords, but don’t let them stop you from writing on a great topic.
Step 4: Create a blog content calendar.
A content calendar keeps you on track and creates a system to ensure your content is always top-notch and published on time. The best calendars also have social sharing and email marketing info baked in to make things organized and easy.
You can also use a free tool like Trello or Google Calendar to create your blog content calendar, but if you’re looking for a fully dedicated calendar with extra features to help you grow your blog, a tool like CoSchedule may be more helpful.
Step 5: Build amazing content.
You’ve got your keywords, you’ve created a content calendar, you know who you’re writing for. Now it’s time to actually build your content.
I say build, not write because great content isn’t just written – it’s assembled.
An amazing piece of content needs to be…
- Well-written (meaning proper spelling and grammar, and doesn’t use unnecessarily complex language or terminology.)
- Researched (meaning uses stats, case studies, and examples to show you’ve done your homework.)
- Media-rich (meaning plenty of high-quality and highly relevant images.)
- Formatted for skimming (meaning use plenty of headers, subheaders, bulleted lists, blockquotes, bolding, and italics.)
While it may be tempting to fire off your blog posts as they come to mind, having a written blog content strategy will save you hours of headaches. Plus, you’ll see way more success.
It only takes a few hours to put together an awesome blog content strategy. As the old adage goes, if you have four hours to chop down a tree, you stand a better chance if you take one of those hours to sharpen your axe. Or something like that.
This blog content strategy is the equivalent of sharpening your axe. You’ll be far more prepared and probably have more fun if you take the time to put it together.