How to Develop a Blog Content Strategy
When you want your website and business to stand out from the crowd of your competitors, content marketing is key to success for many SMEs. Also, and perhaps more importantly, a well thought out blog content strategy will make it easier for search engines such as Google to crawl your site. They will see your site as a reliable, trustworthy place to gain information about relevant topics to your niche. Fresh and regular content will also tell them to keep coming back for more.
What is a Blog Content Strategy?
It’s no longer enough to put blogs on your website without thinking about the bigger picture. A well-thought-out blog content strategy will think about the broader goals of your site; what benefit will the blog posts provide to your audience, your website, and generating sales.
A blog content strategy will get you thinking about your objective for content marketing, where it sits in a user’s journey, and who your target audience is. It’s a strategic approach to your work and focuses on targeting specific keywords or topics relevant to your business.
How to Develop a Blog Content Strategy
When it comes to developing your blog content strategy, you should have a firm grasp of the aim of the content and who you’re targetting.
1. Aim of Your Content
Think about the following questions;
- What problem will your content solve for your audience?
- What do you want a user to do after reading this content?
- Do you want to become a thought leader or raise brand awareness?
- Do you want more traffic to the site and boost your rankings?
- Are you creating content to use as a specific step in your marketing funnel?
Make your goal tangible and clear from the start. Blogs can have different purposes, but overall, they should be leading to the same objective for your business.
If you are looking for brand awareness or becoming an industry leader, you should create longer sharable pieces and make them easy for your audience to share. You may want to focus on one or two key areas and create guides that people can keep coming back to regularly. Make sure you keep them updated.
If you want your content to guide users through your marketing funnel, make clear how they go to the next stage in their journey. Create content to share through industry forums, email marketing, and informative landing pages for paid social campaigns. Share the content on platforms where users are already thinking about buying your product or needing your service.
If the aim is to increase traffic to your website and keep a user engaged and on the site longer, you will need to consider the user experience of the site. Use relevant internal links to other thought leadership pieces, blogs, or pillar pages with top-quality content to keep a user on your site longer and wanting to return regularly. Internal linking is great for session acquisition and lowering bounce rates.
You can boost your rankings by targeting specific long-tail queries with these regular blog posts, and by creating a strategy around topic clustering, you can also increase the rankings of your site’s main keywords.
2. Buyer Personas
Spend time understanding your audience and how they can benefit from the products and services. Think about which forums or social media platforms they’re likely to use and the type of content they are interested in.
A few ways of obtaining information about your potential customers include surveys to existing customers, online forums, or insights from social media tools like Facebook to see what demographics the people interacting with your business fall into.
You can also look at your competitors and see the topics they write about and who they are writing for.
Remember to review your personas continually and if your business opens up to new service areas or has a new line of products, then start targeting additional personas with new content ideas throughout your strategy.
Finally, remember that not every post has to target every persona. Publishing regularly will allow you to publish different content targeting different personas.
3. Existing Blog Content
It’s a great idea to continuously review the existing content on your site and your blog. A regular content audit will keep your site relevant and reliable to your users. Conduct a competitor audit and see what your main competitors are doing that stands out.
If you have blog posts already, assign them to categories. Include tags and internal links to quickly help users find more relevant blog posts and service and product pages.
Monitor traffic to your blog posts, and if any are performing well, look at what keywords they are ranking for and their position in search engines. Similarly, review poor-performing blogs and see if you can optimise them further. It’s vital to optimise old content so factor this into your content schedule.
Creating Your Blog Content Planner
A blog content planner will allow you to stay on track to deliver the content needed for your site. To create the perfect blog content planner, map out the following;
- blog categories
- blog concepts
- the keywords each blog post is targeting
- internal links to include in each post
- How regularly you are going to publish
- Who will write each piece of content
- Which buyer persona you are targeting with each post
- Where to share the content once it’s published
We have created and are happy to share with you a 6-month blog concept template that can be downloaded and used to kick start your content strategy.
Mapping Out Categories and Building Your Topic Clusters
You want to ensure that your blog posts fall into specific “categories” relating to your business. These will be focused on your products and/or services and can be set up easily in most content management systems like WordPress.
Categories can work as topic clusters for your site, you can name them after a product or a service, and it will help cluster together all the blog posts about that service. You can link the blogs to one another and the main page on your site about that service. Internal linking will help both users and Google trust that your site is an excellent resource for information regarding your products or services.
Balance out the blogs you write across all your categories, and don’t focus on just one.
Developing Blog Concepts
Coming up with blog concepts doesn’t have to be difficult, and there are easy ways of working out what to write about.
- Data-Driven Blog Research – This is the most SEO friendly approach to content marketing and works if your main goal is to gain additional traffic to your site. Complete a competitor analysis to discover what long-tail queries your competitors are ranking for. Or conduct keyword research using tools like SEMRush, AHREFs and Keywords Everywhere to highlight what questions your industry has a good search volume.
- Questions Your Customers Ask – Check out the People also ask section on Google when you type in your main product or service. You can also use the autocomplete feature on Google’s search box when you start to type a word or sentence. Forums like Reddit can show you what people are talking about and the brilliant Answer The Public, which analyses that autocomplete feature to show you questions people ask about that topic.
- Annual Event Structure – Did you know National Doughnut Day is on June 3rd, and International Talk Like a Pirate Day is on September 19th? There is a National Day for nearly everything, and you are sure to find one that works for your industry to create content around. There are also the more well-known days like Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Easter and Mother’s and Father’s Day. You can also create blogs around the seasons if your industry changes by season. Make sure you balance this with relevant “evergreen” content throughout the year.
Working Out Your Blog Schedule
Google and other search engines look for fresh content on websites to know if those sites have regular updates. Regular content indicates that the website is a good source of relevant, recent information.
The key to a good blog content strategy is regular, good quality content or blogs. Don’t rush to write, for example, two blogs a week if you don’t have the time to make them meaningful for your audience. Rushing blogs can also make them difficult to follow, and our crucial tip is to start with a realistic schedule. Publish once a month to start and then build up to twice and, once you have established that flow, build on it further.
Writing the Content
If you don’t have the time or the capabilities of writing content, then don’t be afraid to delegate the writing.
If you have a team working with you who can offer their own expert opinions or dig deeper into specific topics, don’t be afraid to ask them to get involved. Even if they don’t work in marketing, they can bring a great perspective to the table and show their expertise to your audience.
If you don’t have anyone internal, you can always outsource to a freelancer or an agency to write your content for you. Hiring an external writer will cost you money, but it will free up your time to focus on your business.
Sharing is Caring
Hopefully, if you target relevant keywords, the blogs you publish will show in search results quickly. However, sharing your content across different platforms will support building your brand and its visibility across all channels.
The platform you share your content may be specific to the topic, the target audience or the type of content you are sharing. Make it clear what social media platform you will share each blog on at the start and include this information in your blog content planner. Blogs with excellent visuals can transfer well to posts to Instagram accounts, and those which dig deep into business work well to share on LinkedIn.
Your social presence can improve your credibility regarding ranking and website authority, so sharing across other platforms will help your website performance.
Building on Your Blog Content Strategy
Remember to monitor the performance of your posts and measure them against the goals you were trying to achieve from your blog content strategy. If your goal was to get more traffic to your site, use Google Analytics to see how many visitors you had to your website and how many users converted to sales/enquiries from the post.
Gather feedback and new ideas, and make sure you have somewhere to store these so that you can factor them into your strategy. Annual events repeat, and you may get feedback from a post that will help you develop a new idea for the event next year.
Brand awareness is more difficult to measure, but you could look at referring domains to see if people have shared the link to your post and look at variations in branded organic traffic, your referrals in analytics and your shares across social media.
Creating your Blog Content Marketing Strategy
When creating your blog content marketing strategy, there is a lot to consider, but it will be hugely rewarding if done right. If you need any help with developing or delivering your content marketing strategy. SQ Digital is an award-winning digital marketing agency with over 20 years of content marketing experience. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.