Developing a blog content strategy can be fulfilling. The excitement of starting a blog and spreading your unique brand of content means there’s a potential to dive in and start writing without first carefully considering a plan of action. But there are millions of bloggers producing great content, and it’s essential that you find an audience. Without a good strategy, you could waste a lot of time writing content that nobody sees. And if you don’t get the results you’re hoping for, it’s only a matter of time before you give up. Before you start writing, consider developing a blog content strategy with these five characteristics.
Key Characteristics of Blog Content Strategy
Five strong characteristics to consider for any blog content strategy include:
- Clearly defined goals
- A well-researched market
- A regular publication schedule
- Quality content
Whatever characteristics you use, the most important thing is to make sure you write down your strategy and adhere to it. Of businesses that document their strategies, 60 percent consider their organization effective, while only 32 percent of businesses that don’t document their strategies consider their organization effective, according to Statistics from the Content Market Institute.
Creating a Blog Content Strategy
Creating your blog content strategy is the first step to success with any marketing campaign. Always ask yourself the key questions. Make sure you have a clear idea of the entire content writing and publishing process.
Define Your Goals
You already know how you intend to publish your content (a blog on your website), and you probably have a good idea of what you would like to say (core business ideas or concepts that resonate with your brand). But do you know why? In many cases, the end goal is to increase sales, but it pays to have a specific objective in mind, as it helps to shape the way you create your content. Common goals include:
- Improving your search engine rankings by having more information on the site for search engines to crawl. Websites with blogs have 434 percent more indexed pages than websites without blogs.
- Encouraging people to subscribe to your newsletter (gathering sales leads).
- Encouraging people to visit a physical store location.
- Engaging with existing customers to improve subscriber retention.
- Increasing sales on your online store.
- Building an online presence, and a reputation as an expert in your field.
- Keeping customers informed, or educating first-time customers so they make the right purchases.
By defining your goal, you’re also defining how you intend to measure your success. If you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, you can’t measure the level of success, and therefore have no way of knowing if you should continue developing your blog or adopt a new strategy.
Research Your Market
Good content comes from a foundation of good research. Don’t write what you want to write — write what your audience wants to read. For each piece of content, you need to define three core elements:
- Who is the audience? In most cases, it’s easy to establish your core demographic by mining your existing client data for valuable information. If you find most of your customers are middle-aged businesspeople with mortgages, then that already gives you a firm idea of the tone and style you should adopt for your content.
- What does your audience want to know? One of the best ways to figure out what people want to know is to find out what your competitors are up to. Enter the name of a competing blog into Google’s keyword planner to get a list of high-ranking keywords that serve as a springboard for your own content.
- What is your voice? Always remember that you need to innovate rather than imitate. Forecasts predict that by 2020 there will be 31.7 million bloggers in the United States alone, making it essential to find a way to make your voice heard. Analyzing the work on rival blogs is a good way of keeping your finger on the pulse, but if there’s already content out there on a successful blog, you need to find your own unique spin on the subject. Try to identify a viewpoint, opinion, or fact that your competitor has overlooked, and never underestimate the power of your own brand voice. Find new fun and exciting ways to catch a reader’s attention.
Create Quality Content and Release It Regularly
It doesn’t matter how good your strategy is if the content you’re creating is weak. You blog posts should be:
Make sure your writing is technically sound. Employ freelance writers and editors if you don’t have the skills to produce error-free content.
Even the best content in the world may fail to find a market if you don’t deliver it with style. Make the content fun, and make sure you’re using a tone that resonates with your demographic. Headlines are particularly important for hooking an audience. Aim for headlines that have between 6 and 13 words. Where possible, use headlines with numbers (for example, “25 Great Blog Titles, and Why They Work”).
As many as 43 percent of people skim blogs, so it’s a good idea to use a format that makes it easy to pick out key content, and to include images, charts, and infographics to impart information easily.
The main aim of content marketing is to position your company as a solutions provider. Your blog needs to answer the questions that people are asking, and everything you post needs to be factually accurate.
Companies that publish at least 16 blog posts per month get 3.5 times more traffic than companies that publish four or less blog posts per month. To ensure you maintain a regular schedule, develop a blog content plan. Your fans are sure to appreciate knowing exactly when you’ve got new content coming out, and by having a defined schedule it’s easy for you and your content team to stay on the same page and work efficiently.
Evolve Your Plan
Never stay still, because your competition won’t. When you defined your goals, you defined how you would measure your success. So, study the results. Measure your key performance indicators (such as sales leads, new customers, or subscriptions) to establish which posts are working and which ones have missed the mark. Feed that data back into your strategy, and refine your practices. As your processes continue to evolve, you’ll experience greater success, which helps to save on time and money in the long run.
Final Thought: Blogs Work
Despite the rise of other forms of marketing, blogs continue to be successful. 47 percent of business-to-consumer marketers and 45 percent of business-to-business marketers considering blogs as one of the top three most effective ways to distribute content. That success takes effort. To get the results your content deserves, you need to develop a blog content strategy.