Blogging, it seems like everybody’s doing it these days.
For good reason!
Blogging has the potential to generate massive amounts of traffic to your website, when done correctly.
The problem is that the vast majority of blogs are MISSING THE MARK COMPLETELY. That’s not to say that they’re not providing great information about topics they think their audience will be searching for, because many are. Instead, most are wasting valuable resources (think time and money) on publishing content that no one will ever see.
So, what can you do about it?
That’s where blogging strategy comes in; investing the time into developing a strategy and taking the necessary steps BEFORE you create content. But how do you develop your strategy?
Lucky for you, that’s exactly what I’m here to help with today. I’ll be walking you through the fundamentals of a powerful blog strategy, including:
- Defining Goals
- Developing Buyer Personas
- Analyzing the Competition
- Developing a Keyword Strategy
- Publishing and Distribution
- And much more!
Instead of wasting anymore time, let’s dive into what could (read:should) change the way you approach inbound marketing forever.
Are you ready?
Define Your Purpose/Set Goals
The first step to developing a highly effective blog strategy is to define the purpose of your blog and set your goals accordingly. When you know what you’re writing to accomplish, you’ll be able to outline a step-by-step plan that gets you there.
The most important question you need to answer is, “Why are you blogging?”
Every business will have a slightly different answer, but you should be able to clearly outline your reason for blogging. Defining the purpose of your blog will give you direction for every piece of content you create.
Without a thorough understanding of blog strategy development, it may be too early to discuss what types of goals to set. However, by the end of this article you’ll have a very clear understanding of the goals you’ll need to set and the actions you’ll need to take to achieve them.
Here are few examples of goals you may create for your content/blog:
- 2,500 new leads generated in a year from inbound marketing
- 10,000 monthly visits generated from blog content
- $15,000 monthly revenue tracked from inbound marketing
- Average on-page time of 2 minutes for my content
This list goes on. The important thing to remember is that goal setting is crucial to the success of any marketing or business activity, and blogging is no different.
An important aspect of your strategy revolves around defining your buyer personas.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of the person for whom your marketing message is being created, your ideal buyer.
Take what you know about your best customers and combine it with additional customer research to compile one or more buyer personas. Then use these buyer personas to create content with tone and context that appeals to them on a deeper level.
You can’t create one-size-fits-all content and expect it to reach people in the same way. Instead, focus your marketing energy in a single direction, at your buyer personas.
Analyze the Competition
Take a hard look at your competition to determine what type of content you need to be creating.
- Use tools like semrush to analyze your competitors and the keywords they rank for. These tools will give you access to the keywords they rank for and the position they rank in.
- Take these keywords and compile the most relevant into a list (you may want to organize them by topic). You’ll find that they rank for plenty or irrelevant keywords, ignore those.
- Plug those keywords back into a keyword analysis tool or do a Google search to see what ranks on the first page. Look for articles that can be improved, such as shorter articles with an image. Take note of any information that was left out or areas that need more explanation.
- Soon, it’ll be time to write, publish, distribute, and promote your standalone resource on the topic that represents the best post on the subject matter.
Top tip: Define your niche and discover popular content related to it with tools like BuzzSumo.
Keyword/SEO Strategy Part 1
From your list of your competitors’ keywords, you’ll be able to identify plenty of opportunities to drive traffic to your site. Depending on your business type/industry, your competition will vary. Choose keywords that aren’t so competitive that you’ll never be able to beat out what currently exists, but also deliver enough search volume to make content creation worth your while.
Look for keywords that have search volume that is worthwhile to your business. For example:
- A marketing blogger, who lives off traffic and needs lots of it to make writing worthwhile, will probably look for keywords that generate a search volume of 1,000 to several thousand.
- A marketing agency who, by signing a single client stands to make a significant amount of money, may find it worthwhile to write for keywords that only generate a few hundred (or less) monthly searches.
When performing your keyword research, remember these important factors:
- Authority sites like Wikipedia, government sites, and educational sites are going to be given a higher priority.
- Trying to outrank them can be nearly impossible so, especially when in the early phases of blog strategy development, don’t waste your time.
- Instead, look for keywords that bloggers and your competitors rank for already and work to unseat them.
Content Creation/SEO Strategy Part 2
Now that you’ve selected the keyword you want to rank for, it’s time to create your content.
Outline Your Post
Start by identifying the article(s) you are trying to outrank. You’ll need to create longer, more informative, more engaging content in order to do so.
Identify the key points that you’ll need to include by selecting the best topics from your competing articles. Compile an article that is a kind of “best of the best” resource, making sure that you don’t miss out on including any important points.
Write Optimized Posts
The full scope of SEO is beyond this post, but there are a few key ways to optimize your post that I’ll cover today:
- Use your keyword in the first and last hundred words of your post.
- Use it every 100-200 words throughout the rest of your post.
- Use related keywords (find them in your keyword analysis tool) through the post to help define your context.
- Ensure your post is a standalone resource on the topic so the reader doesn’t have to look elsewhere for information.
Use the following to increase on-page time (an important ranking factor) and get your content read:
- Increase click through with emotionally compelling titles.
- Use subheadings that easily convey the benefit outlined in each section.
- Personalize the content by including the words you, I, we, us, they, etc.
- Break up long blocks of text with whitespace and images.
Create Content for the Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
One thing that you’ll want to consider is what stage in the buyer’s journey your content is intended. Each stage will you require you to write different topics in a different tone. It’s important to create content for all stages in order to take full advantage of your ability to nurture your prospective customers toward a conversion.
Publishing and Distribution
Now that you have you post written, it’s time to publish and distribute. Publishing your content is fairly straightforward, but your job is far from over.
- Share your exceptional content with your email list.
- Post it on various social media accounts.
- Test which distribution methods get the most engagements on various types of posts, as well as the defining features of those posts (subject, title, headlines, images, etc.)
- Refine your approach to distribute your content where you know it will be best received.
Promotion is a key element of a successful blog strategy, especially for blogs that have little to no authority. While there are multiple ways to promote your content, promotion through industry influencers is one of the best. The subtleties of this delicate and detailed process may have been hyper-simplified for the purpose of this article, but the process looks something like this:
- Identify key influencers in your industry.
- Engage (read, comment, share) with their content .
- Share your content with them with the ask to promote it.
- Thank them, stay engaged with their content
- Repeat with new influencer
Massive resources have been written on content promotion, but I hope this gives you a clear first look into the process, as well as drives home the importance of this vital blog strategy component.
The Team (Who Does What)
Another factor you’ll need to consider when creating your blog strategy is who on your team will handle each part of the process. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of each team member around their ability to:
- Research keywords and competition:
- Publish and distribute
Take advantage of your entire team and their varied skill sets. A team of experts will certainly produce better results than one or two members attempting to juggle the whole process.
Frequency (Quality and Quantity)
The next variable you’ll need to lock down id your publication frequency.
How often will you publish? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?
There is no one-size-fits-all publication schedules, so there is only so much you can learn from the outside. You publishing will depend largely on your team’s abilities.
There are however, a few key pointers I can give you:
Go for quality over quantity – A lower quantity of exceptional posts will have a much more dramatic impact than a larger quantity of mediocre posts. Take the time to create exceptional content.
Quantity doesn’t affect rankings – As Google becomes more and more intuitive, your quantity has less to do with your ranking, so don’t publish just to make the search engines happy.
Your community will only wait so long – if you’re looking to develop a community around your brand, your blog is a great way to do so. While publishing just to publish is never a good idea, keep in mind that you’ll need to post regularly to keep your community engaged.
Determining Your Success (Metrics)
Now that you’ve built a powerful blog strategy that is ranking articles and driving traffic, what’s next?
Well, no marketing strategy is ever completely sound without tracking and testing. You’ve already set your goals, now determine which metrics you’ll need to follow in order to achieve them.
Which variables can you track to closely monitor the success of each post, your content marketing as a whole, and where they stand in relation to your predetermined goals?
This blog post represents an extremely valuable outline on how to create your own blog strategy. Now it’s your turn. Get out there and start creating the same kind of valuable content that answers your customers questions and solves their problems, but do it with the support of a powerful strategy behind it.
Here’s to your success,