I created my first blog in 2012. I wanted a place to discuss issues I was passionate about. I didn’t have a blogging strategy or a long-term plan. I only published a new blog post whenever inspiration struck. Sometimes, I published a blog post once in three months. I got angry when I ran a Google search but didn’t find my content. No one told me about keywords, SEO, SERP ranking and all that stuff.
Today, I know better. The goal is to help you create a strategy that works long-term. In my last post, I wrote that “winging” your blog was a mistake. You need a steady stream of content.
Before writing a line of text, identify your audience, their core needs, pain-points, interest and more. Have you done keyword research? How do you promote your blog posts without a budget? If you have a budget what are the best channels to optimise your ad?
Blogging is a powerful tool. It will boost your brand if properly executed. According to a HubSpot research, brands that blog regularly increase ROI across the board.
If HubSpot’s research is true, why do many blogs fail? The answer is simple. Blogging requires a strategy and few people have a blogging strategy. It is not enough to create a blog and publish content when you please. Blogging is an art that requires dedication, patience and precision.
In my years of blogging and guest-writing for clients, I discovered some winning strategies. These techniques will earn you a steady stream of traffic and skyrocket your readership. Adapt them based on your business needs and experience.
Determine the goal
The first step of a blogging strategy is to establish clear blogging objectives. Decide on your long-term goals. Your blog is not just an outlet to share your company’s updates. It’s a platform to connect, solve problems, entertain and educate your audience.
Defining your content goals keeps you grounded. A blogging strategy ensures you do not veer off topic and clutter your blog with meaningless content.
Define your target audience
Your business blog is not for everyone. Identify your audience and write for them. If you own a wedding planning business, your audience includes brides and engaged couples. You shouldn’t blog about politics or sports.
In my personal blog, my audience is basically everyone who can read. However, my business blog is more exclusive and targeted at a narrow demographic. Knowing your audience shapes your content and ensure it appeals to them.
Think about your audience as an individual, not a group of people reading your blog post. When creating your blogging strategy answer the following questions:
- Why do people visit my blog?
- What challenges do they face?
- How can I help them solve problems?
- Which influencers do they trust?
- What type of content do they prefer? Copy, videos, images, infographics?
- Where are they getting their content now?
- How can I serve high-quality content?
What is your competition doing?
No, I am not asking you to be a copycat. But a popular adage says “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. Study them. Find out what they did to become successful. Use techniques that fit your style to improve your blog. For instance, analyse the posts of 20-30 of your competitors to see which one got the most engagement. Are there areas you can improve? Perhaps a new angle to explore.
Have a distinct voice
Choose a tone for writing your blog. It helps you showcase the personality of your business and express your brand, c. It could be quirky, creative, professional, conversational or happy. Your choice should depend on your audience.
For instance, if you own law firm, your tone would be professional and formal. Having a quirky or conversational tone may turn off your audience who are used to a different tone. Likewise, if you run a children blog, consider a relaxed and happy tone. Adopt a distinct persona and stick to it.
5 blog posts per week or one blog post every month? What’s the perfect number? Recent research found out that companies who blog 3-4 times a day are the most successful.
In this article, I stated that smaller and mid-sized blogs should start with 2 blog post a week and grow from there. Whatever you decide, consistency is key. Google loves and rewards consistency.
Build an interactive community
Apart from using your blog to educate your audience, have a conversation with your readers. Encourage feedback with comments on your post and social media. Reply to each comment on your blog. Send regular emails to those on your mailing list.
Promote your blog content
A great post is limited without reach. If you do not promote your blog posts, you’ve lost a huge opportunity to capture your customer’s attention. Content promotion is vital to the success of your blogging strategy. The “build it and they will come” mentality is one of the reasons why blogs with great content have little or no traffic.
You have to promote your content through different channels. Include easily-visible buttons that encourage readers to share your content.
I promote my blog posts on my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and my Whatsapp status. I also encourage my friends to share across their social media platforms.
On several occasion, I generated leads that would have not happened otherwise. You could borrow a leaf and promote your content through outlets such as:
- Social media accounts
- Third-party publishers.
- Paid traffic or PPC
- Influencer outreach
- Borrowed audience
- Email subscribers
What type of content should you publish?
Brainstorming is the fun part of a blogging strategy. Remember that your interest might not align with your audience. If you’ve defined your audience, you’ll know the various types of content to post on your blog. This is a list of content formats courtesy of Inbound Method.
The content you create should fix a problem, build a relationship, earn the reader’s trust and motivate them to take action. Actionable content makes the user feel like they’ve learned something from reading your blog. A lesson they can practice almost immediately.
Usually, these are how-to guides and tips. You’re solving the audience’s most immediate pain-point and positioning your blog as a reliable source of information.
You don’t have to be an authority to blog but it’s better you stick to an area where you’re knowledgeable about. Invite a guest blogger to create content in exchange for a backlink if it’s an area where you have minimal expertise.
Do keyword research
Create a list of short and long-tail keywords you want to rank for. While keywords are not as influential as they used to be, they tell Google what your content is about. You want your target audience to find your content for a specific keyword, not your competitors. Include the keywords your audience use in search queries. KWFinder is the best free keyword research tool and Ahrefs is the top paid tool.
Create a content calendar
A content calendar is a system that ensures you publish high-quality content on time. It allows you to make real-time updates, and organise all content asset. Ideally, new blogs with limited funds should have enough content to last the month. Bill Widmer offers more information here.
Establish measurement metrics
Once you’ve settled into a rhythm for your blogging strategy, you need to measure results. Metrics to measure include traffic, social media shares, comments and conversion.
How many leads and new email subscribers did you generate with each blog posts? Track your social media followers and those who contact you directly after seeing your content. The results show areas that need improvement and areas where you excel.
For instance, the post with the highest conversion is probably the most relevant to your audience. Knowing the medium which brings the highest traffic helps you direct more effort to that platform.
Consistent blogging is a great way to build your brand. A blogging strategy earns backlinks and drive crazy traffic to your website. You’ll become an authority and discover what works. It also helps you adjust your goals for your blog.