You’ve read about blogging. You know how great it can be for generating traffic and increasing leads. So, now you’re ready to start blogging for business… you sit down in front of your laptop with a great idea, type it all out, add cool images, and publish it.
You relentlessly share it on social media. But nobody else does. Each day you check in to see the big traffic numbers you’re looking for… but there’s nada.
Zero shares. Three page views (probably from you). Tons of disappointment.
So now what? You know your content is valuable information and good quality. Why isn’t it driving results?
It’s a hard pill to swallow, but when blogging for business you can’t simply be a content writer. You have to be a marketing content writer.
What does that mean? It means creating a serious blog content strategy — and sticking to your planning guns for all your content.
Because let’s face it, blogging works. In fact, almost half of marketers say blogging is their number one most important content strategy. That means when it’s done right, it’s an extremely critical tool that can drive some serious results. But there is a formula.
Let’s talk about what powerful blog content strategy looks like. Here are seven basic steps to follow during content creation to ensure your posts become a valuable asset that will win you clients.
Blog Content Strategy Guide: 7 Basic Steps for Success
As a busy entrepreneur or owner of a small business, you don’t have time to mess around. This guide will give you the basics to take your content from words on a page to powerful content full of marketing strategy.
1. Create Target Personas Based on Research
If you want to draw in your audience, you need to create content specifically targeting them. So who are they? Tech companies? Sales representatives?
The more specific you can be the better. This allows you to delve into researching their exact needs. Answer their questions — write all your content based on what they’re searching for, and they’ll come right to you. Inbound marketing at its finest.
Imagine, for example, you’re a phone company that sets up small business wireless phone systems. Think about questions your target persona would ask. What would they type into Google? Probably things like:
- What’s the best small business phone system?
- What are the wireless phone system options for small business?
- What are some small business phone system solutions?
You’ve generated three great topic ideas for blog posts that you can now research. And they’ll help bring your target clients to you. If you can be a resource by providing your leads with valuable information they’re looking for, you’ll earn their trust before ever interacting with them.
2. Understand Your Buyer’s Journey
There’s one magnificent thing about content that isn’t often considered by new business bloggers. You get to hold your buyer’s hand and lead them down a specific path right to where you want them: buying your product.
But to get them there, it’s important to understand their journey. What gets them from thinking about your product to buying your product? That’s the difference between just writing a post and using blog content strategy. Use your words to seal the deal!
You already know what your marketing funnel looks like. Use it for your content, too! The key is to create content for each stage of the journey and segment your audience to explicitly target them with content they want during that stage of their decision-making process.
Let’s go back to our phone company example. Here are some different ideas for content to fit in each stage of their buyer’s journey. We are taking the client from awareness of the product to a purchase decision using blog posts.
- Visits & Leads (the Awareness stage) — In the beginning, you want to hit your visitors with insight as to why your services can benefit them. For our phone company, this could be something like “The Different Types of Wireless Phone Systems for Small Businesses.”. It’s informative and gets your client thinking right at the beginning of their decision process about what your services could do for them.
- Marketing Qualified Leads & Sales Qualified Leads (the Consideration stage) — At this point, your buyer knows they want your service. But they’re still deciding between you and competitors. This is the time to nail it down why you’re the best! The phone company could write a post about something like “How Small Business Phone Systems Have Evolved from Traditional Systems.” This would give them an opportunity to explain how their services are different from other providers and perfect for small businesses… their target.
- Opportunity & Customer (the Decision stage) — This is it! You’ve convinced your lead that you’re the guy for the job. But what about content that seals the deal? This is a great time to talk about how easy it is to use your product. Or what it would look like to get started with your service. Our phone company could write something like “A Quick Guide to Integrating Your New Phone System.” This would highlight benefits of the services being provided, but also minimize doubts the client has. This is your time to overcome those final inhibitions they have about buying.
This strategy works. In fact, half of marketers are currently learning to drive content to align with their marketing funnel because of how effective it is.
If you plan your content accordingly, it will have way more impact. You segment your audience to provide catered content they’ll want to read, drive them through your marketing funnel, and close more leads.
3. Research Your Topics (to Make Sure You Hit the Mark)
Just because you think something is a good idea for content at each stage doesn’t mean it actually is. Researching the topics is a critical part of blog content strategy. Raw ideas aren’t enough. After you brainstorm your topics for each stage and come up with suggestions, buckle down your best ones by following this process:
Create a System for Your Research
A consistent research system means you have consistent quality content. To do this, have specific things you’re looking for while considering your raw topics. Titles, backlinking opportunities, similar keywords, and interesting points to cover are a good place to start when researching your ideas. When you’re looking, make sure to consider all these things. Get a bit more specific by highlighting what you’ll want to cover and how. This’ll give you a better idea of which posts are going to be easiest to flesh out and most valuable to your audience.
When you’re looking, make sure to consider all these things. Get a bit more specific by highlighting what you’ll want to cover and how you’re going to do it. This’ll give you a better idea of which posts are going to be easiest to flesh out and most valuable to your audience.
Pick Your Keywords
Not all keywords are created equal. Once you’ve nailed down which content idea you’re going to go with, do your keyword research to find out the following:
A) What keywords the competition is using
B) Which keywords will be the most effective at getting your content seen by your target audience
You can use awesome tools, like the one on SERPS.com, to do this for free (woot!).
Identify What Similar Content Got Engagements
Use a tool, like BuzzSumo, to check out what similar posts have been made, how much engagement they received, and who backlinked to competitors. Then you can hit up the sites that gave the content backlinks to potentially get one for yourself. You’ll also identify which topics users are sharing most on social media (which you definitely want with yours, too!).
Check Out Relevant Conversations
Believe it or not, places like Quora, Reddit, and RSS Feeds can be an awesome place to do some topic research. You can enter in your keywords and see top results for questions people are asking about your exact topic… then answer them in your post! Now that’s a trendy blog content strategy.
Okay, you’ve got your blog topic, the keywords, and an outline of what will be a super valuable piece of content specifically designed for your target audience. Yessss. Time to move on to the next step.
4. Make a Content Plan + Editorial Calendar
It’s time to turn your content into an action plan! This is the step where you’ll see those ideas come together into one beautiful, organized strategy. Oooh, aaaaah.
Here’s what your editorial calendar should have as basics. This’ll make sure you get the most out of your content schedule.
- Publishing Date: Include your dates for each stage of the creation process in the calendar. Include everything from the day the idea will be conceived, to the day it’s researched, right through to editing, then the finale of publishing. All these deadlines are equally important.
- The Headline: Organize your content in a way that makes it easy to find and identify in your calendar… like a nomenclature system.
- Identity of the Creator: If you have a team working on content, this is critical. Make sure to acknowledge in your calendar whose responsibility each piece is.
- The Status: As it moves through the cycle, update your piece’s status. This’ll make sure your schedule stays on track and content doesn’t get lost in an in-between phase, like editing.
Once you’ve got your ducks in a row as far as what will be published and when, it’s time to decide what distribution will look like.
5. The Distribution Plan
Which social media channels will you use to promote this piece? Will you republish it on LinkedIn Pulse or Medium? How successful does it need to be in order to get repurposed?
This is the time to answer those questions. It’s good to have a few statistics under your belt so you make the best distribution decisions. For example, do you know what time blog reading peaks? And on what day?
Do some industry research to get an idea of where to start. And don’t forget to document your results! If you have a piece that gets thousands of shares, you need to know exactly when, where, and why so you can duplicate the process for future content.
The next step of successful blog content strategy will help you gather the relevant information to do that.
6. Be Consistent + Monitor Results
Follow a process for your content creation. Every. Time.
This ensures you’re regularly providing quality writing with a blog content strategy. No one wants fluff. If a subscriber reads a fluffy bogus article from your site, they may just hit the dreaded unsubscribe button. Even if you’ve provided relevant pieces in the past. That would completely squash all your future potential with them, and you’d lose all the hard work you put in with them up until that point.
Don’t be boring. Don’t be fluffy.
Don’t just publish your blood, sweat, and tears — then walk away. You have to follow up.
Check the traffic, the engagement, and the comments. Respond to feedback. Re-share. Answer any questions regarding the topic. Segment your audience based on interactions with the post.
And once you’ve gathered that information, use it to your benefit. Highly successful pieces deserve to get used more than once.
7. Repurpose the Good Stuff
If you have great content, why would you only use it one time? It clearly has a ton of value — milk it for what it’s worth!
Good marketers know this. In fact, almost a third of leading marketers systematically reuse and repurpose their old content. It’s all part of powerful blog content strategy.
There are a lot of great ways to do this. Here are a few ideas:
- Videos: There are some badass tools on the internet that allow you to make painless videos from your blog posts.
- Guides: Old blog posts are usually full of information that can be consolidated into a handy guide. These guides can be great email campaigns, as you know the information is super valuable. As a result, it’s likely to get you emails when offered up for free.
- Infographics: People love visual posts. Why? Because everyone’s in a rush and frequently want to skim over a pretty infographic rather than read a long, complicated blog post. In fact, infographics are liked and shared 3x more than any other content online. Sooo worth your time.
These are just a few simple ways to reuse great content. If you want specific free tools you can use online to repurpose your existing posts, subscribe to my newsletter. I frequently dish out free tasty tips on blogging for business. Including awesome tools for repurposing!
Go Forth, and CREATE!
You’re officially prepared for your quest to quality content.
Killer blog content strategy requires putting in some work. But when you slay, it’s totally worth it. And if you need some help, that’s cool too. I’ve got your blog content strategy covered! Contact me today to discuss your unique blog content creation needs. Together, we’ll turn your blog into relentless writing.