Having a written blog content strategy is what separates the good blogs from the truly great ones.
I’ve been blogging professionally since 2012, and if it’s taught me anything, it’s that a blog content strategy is a necessity if you want to see true results.
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? If you’re a designer like me, it will most probably be one of the following:
Do you want to…
- increase sales or generate leads?
- educate prospects and customers on what you do?
- update your customers on what’s going on with your business?
- 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 focusing on knitting and the sister arts. My primary goal is to generate leads for my knitting patterns and books, with secondary goals of educating prospects on pattern design 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 target audience research.
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. – if you’re a knitting designer like me this will most probably be Ravelry!)
- What sort of content or articles do they most enjoy reading? (Look at your Google analytics for your blog, if you have it (you can read more about how to set up Google Analytics for your blog here). Which posts did the best?)
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: Find Topic Ideas And Keywords For It
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) isn’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 a 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.
The takeaway? 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. I’m using the free plugin WordPress Editorial Calendar for this purpose.
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, block quotes, 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.
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.
Have any questions about crafting a content strategy for your blog? Feel free to speak up in the comments section below.
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