How to Create a Winning Blog Content Strategy in 7 Steps
A website blog is a vital part of any SEO or digital marketing strategy. It has the potential to increase traffic, build brand awareness, drive sales, aid your customers, and establish you as an authority in your industry. However, when done incorrectly, your blog content can also provide little more than add additional pages to your website that clutter up your directory.
In this post, we’re going to show you the fundamentals of how to create a winning blog content strategy in 7 steps. This will entail the processes of devising, researching, writing, and tracking your blog performance for the best results possible.
How to Create a Winning Blog Content Strategy?
According to a Content Marketing Institute study, 60% of businesses with a chalked-out content strategy reported achieving significant results, compared to only 32% who didn’t have any specific plan.
Here are a few easy steps to create a winning blog content strategy:-
1. Decide on the Primary Focus of Your Blog
While you want to create a blog with good intentions, you need to consider why you will be writing and publishing posts. Of course, the primary goal is to increase conversions. However, your business success matters very little to those who will be visiting and reading your regular posts.
However, that doesn’t mean that your blog should completely avoid any promotional intent. What we are looking for lies within a cross-section of what your audience wants to learn about and what your brand provides to alleviate those issues. Great content will not only educate customers on matters related to your field but should naturally lead them to conclude that your brand provides a valuable service that improves their life.
The easiest place to start is to ask yourself why readers would want to read your content. Consider the questions they ask and problems they search for when using Google. If you’re a personal trainer, your potential clients likely search for topics such as “how to lose weight.” As an authority in health and fitness, you could write a month’s worth of blog posts describing exercises and dietary tips that you would provide for your clients. If you work in business and finance, your audience may benefit more from the latest updates and trends related to that field.
Your answer to “why” will differentiate depending on your industry and the nature of your brand. However, the common theme is understanding the biggest problems that your customers face. Your blog then provides real, actionable information and solutions to customers that provide true value and boost your reputation.
During your process of deciding the purpose of your blog, attempt to come up with several unique solutions. This is because where you finally arrive will depend upon the research you perform in the next few steps.
2. Understand the Strategy of Your Competitors
As with many aspects of your business strategy, you need to be highly aware of what your competitors provide to your shared audience with their blog. Bear in mind that a blog content competitor may not be the same as a direct business competitor. There will be websites online that target mutual keywords with their articles, but do not necessarily sell or provide products or services that your business does. Nonetheless, these will be the challenges in your way that will make you work for your traffic and keyword rankings.
With this in mind, your team should take a few hours to review blogs on a wide variety of websites related to the matters you want to write about. Look at the topics they focus on, how they outline their content, and how they compile every article within the blog. You are looking for any opportunities for your blog to provide something completely new and unique.
By pinpointing an approach that distinguishes you from your blog content competitors, you’re already starting off with a unique value proposition. While audiences can find all kinds of articles based upon their query, they’ll only be able to get your brand’s different outlook on your website only. This is beneficial as it not only provides a strong foundation for keyword research but will actually allow your content to coexist and succeed independently of others.
Many brands make the mistake of adding blogs to their website only to copy the same old content you can find anywhere almost verbatim. It will take time, but look for those niche opportunities to create something unique. Even changing up the tone and attitude your company takes toward a topic versus competitors can provide a fresh, enriching experience for your readers.
3. Perform Extensive Keyword and Topic Research
Keyword research is your bread and butter when it comes to developing your blog content strategy. There are a variety of tools you can utilize to do this including SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz. These keywords serve as the basis for all topics you will choose to write about for your new blog.
While researching keywords takes time, it doesn’t need to be overly complex. Consider the main focus of your business and its industry. Then, begin to create a list of items that are immediately relevant to the products or services you provide. You won’t even need to come up with topics from these words or phrases, as most SEO software will also do this for you.
For example, a local computer repair company might list out keyword ideas such as:
- Hard Drive
- Graphics Card
- Power Supply
When you enter these keywords into an SEO tool, you’ll receive a variety of information from Google including average search volume, the number of clicks, the average cost-per-click, and the keyword difficulty (how hard it is to rank for a said keyword). There is generally also a place for search suggestions and questions that show what types of questions users ask containing that keyword. Suddenly “graphics card” can turn into strong topics such as “How do I choose the best graphics card,” or, “how to repair a graphics card.” Because this local computer repair company has a lot of expertise in this area, these can prove to be high-value topics to write about if the keyword difficulty is appropriate.
A way to research topics outside of SEO tools is to get in touch with your audience directly. Social media is another component of a successful digital marketing strategy that allows you to communicate with your customers and audience at any time. Customers are generally more than happy to share their input about a service, a brand, or simply a problem that’s related to your area of expertise. These issues could translate into great topics as your audience is explicitly communicating their desire to learn more in that area.
While keyword difficulty doesn’t mean you necessarily should avoid a keyword, it will give you an accurate picture of how likely you are to rank for it. This is especially true for websites and blogs that are new and have no history with Google’s search algorithm. For starting out, you’ll want to shoot for topics that are of reasonable difficulty, show a high search volume and click-through rate, and provide a lower cost-per-click. You can still choose to write about higher-difficulty topics, but it will take time and consistent effort, which leads us into our next step.
4. Build a Content Calendar
You’ve decided on the focus of your blog, performed the keyword research, and generated a lengthy list of topics. Rather than just assigning your team articles to write, you should instead collaborate and create a content calendar for your company’s digital marketing plan.
A content calendar offers a variety of benefits not just for your writing team, but for all arms of your marketing ventures. It is a monthly calendar where you can schedule due dates for topics, dates for posting, and the assigned team member. By keeping a strict outline of your regular blog posts, you can avoid issues such as duplicated or similar articles. Your writers will also have ample notice of what’s due to ensure that your blog is always on time and up-to-date.
Scheduling out your topics will also make it easier to visualize opportunities to group up subjects or create themes for your readers. As an example, let’s revisit our local computer repair company above.
They started their blog with an article titled “How to Repair a Graphics Card.” Based on the remaining keywords, they may also be able to write “How to Repair” articles on a variety of computer component keywords. All of these articles are related, which creates an ongoing theme that teaches readers how to work with a variety of computer components. As a result, readers that engaged with the first post have a greater likelihood of engaging with future, related articles. This can create the ongoing momentum you’re looking for with your content blog.
Grouping articles like this also naturally lends your blog to internal linking strategies. This is an SEO retention strategy to keep visitors on your site for longer by linking to additional pages that feature similar content to what they are reading.
Content calendars can also help you coordinate with other aspects of your content marketing such as social media. It’s that much easier to scout opportunities to promote and share blog posts on your social accounts when your various topics are outlined ahead of time. Your social media team can look for opportunities to generate shared traffic between your social accounts and your blog by capitalizing on grouped topic themes.
Finally, a content calendar also provides you with a visualization of other events throughout the year that you may overlook. Keeping your blog articles timely is the best way to avoid inadvertently making your blog appear static or outdated. Content marketing in 2021 is a dynamic endeavor and coordinating your content with trending topics is the best way to keep active audiences engaged.
5. Create Your Content Bible
While the previous steps focused on the development of the blog itself, this step will futureproof the process of how your writing team creates the actual content. These are the rules that your team creates that dictate the structure, flow, and style rules for every article that goes up on your website’s blog. While the idea of creating your own content bible or style guide sounds overwhelming, know that most publications use either the existing Chicago Manual of Style or AP Style as the foundation.
If you’re unfamiliar, a stylebook is a list of guidelines for how content creators should utilize text, grammar, punctuation, sources, and other miscellaneous rules. However, every brand still needs its own style guidelines for additional matters. These can include what tones or attitudes are acceptable to use, whether or not explicit content is acceptable, how humor should be handled, etc.
A style guide can make the difference between an amateur blog that casually features new articles and a professional writing outlet. It will ensure consistency across all of your pieces regardless of the writer and make your content easy to navigate for repeat readers.
It will also expedite the process of content creation by providing a template for all content as opposed to asking your writers to operate from a blank slate. The better they understand what you want from them, the more efficient content creation will be. This benefit will also apply to new writers that come into your company long after your blog is up and running.
6. Reinforce Your Written Content with Media
Everyday society shifts more and more to visual media as opposed to written text. Chances are that if you post a blog on your website that consists of text only, your readership numbers are going to be extremely low if not nonexistent. This is less of an indicator of the quality of your writing and more about the impact that original graphics have on marketing. That impact becomes exceedingly important for long-form articles where it becomes increasingly difficult to retain someone’s attention.
Original, custom-made graphics tend to generate the best results. However, investing in an account with a stock photo website such as Shutterstock or 123RF is a quick, cost-effective way to get your hands on quality, copyright-free images to use in your blog articles. Any visual will offer positive results by injecting color and meaningful breaks from larger ideas throughout the body. Using best practices with these images will also present additional minor opportunities to boost your on-page SEO and potential search rankings.
In addition to images, alternative forms of media can have profound impacts on your traffic and conversion rates. This includes custom infographics that colorfully summarize and illustrate the key takeaways of your articles. It can also include personally-made and edited videos that in some way support the core message of the written content. You can further minimize your bounce rate by notifying readers that there is an infographic or video within the title or the beginning of the article.
7. Track Results and Adjust Your Content Plan as Necessary
Content marketing is indeed a long-term marketing endeavor, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start tracking your performance immediately. The process may not be as clear-cut as calculating your ROI on your latest paid ad campaign, but it’s possible when you know which metrics to examine.
You can start by using free tools like Google Analytics to keep a close eye on the traffic that visits your website. You’ll be able to analyze which channels visitors use to discover your site as well as what keywords they are using in search. If you capitalize on high-volume keywords and use best practices to provide high-quality content, you should start to see an organic traffic increase with time. If you are not seeing an increase in visitors from your targeted keywords, it can be a sign that your content strategy requires a revisit.
Another indicator of your blog performance to look out for is the number of signups you have on your mailing list. There are few indicators more indicative of your audience’s level of interest in the content you create. Your website and blog should feature some way to subscribe to the blog or sign up to receive notifications of new posts.
Additional ways to measure your blog’s impact are to monitor the average time on page and average pages per session by the user. A 3,000+ word article takes on average ten minutes or longer to read, but your sessions will likely be shorter due to skimming. If the user is also making an effort to visit more pages, it can be an indicator of interest in the content you provide.
Finally, you can track the performance of specific blogs by setting up custom goals within Google Analytics. This is practical when the article aims to not only inform but to drive visitors to perform some sort of action. This could include filling out a form or making a purchase within the store. You’ll be able to track which users complete this goal when accessing the site through the blog post. Be sure to provide plenty of call-to-actions in these types of posts to ensure your goal conversion rate is a proper indicator of your content quality.
If one or more of these indicators shows less than desirable results, then it will be time for you to revisit your content strategy. Experiment with new types of content or survey your audience on social media to learn more about what type of content they’d like to see. In addition to this, use tools like Google’s People Also Ask to look into commonly searched questions that are related to your targeted keywords.
How to Create A Winning Blog Content Strategy Conclusion?
The biggest mistake we see people make when approaching their blog is not giving it the attentive and consistent strategy it deserves. Understand that even a great content blog will take up to six months to gain traction when starting from scratch. However, your results will vary depending on how effective your blog content strategy is for your brand.
Research your content competitors and look for any window of opportunity to differentiate your blog from others online. This unique foundation will lend itself to creating new and original content that serves your readers even when your competitors target the same keywords. Try to focus on keywords with a lower difficulty that still demonstrates a high search volume. Don’t hesitate to look at commonly searched questions on Google to gain topic ideas or utilize the additional features within your chosen SEO tool.
After you narrow down what you need to write about, start to schedule those ideas into a content calendar. Stick to this plan as much as possible, but allow for flexibility to account for real-world events or trends that might be relevant to your industry. Then, create a style guide for your present and future writing team to ensure quality throughout every new article. Be sure to support all of your written content with engaging high-quality media that lends itself to shareability.
Finally, track your key performance indicators using Google Analytics. Pay attention to figures such as traffic, average time per session, additional page views, and your conversion rates for any relevant custom goals. Give your strategy the appropriate amount of time, then make adjustments if the analytics don’t support your current approach.
With consistent effort and an honest approach to your content, you can create a winning blog content strategy that elevates your website above the rest in Google search rankings.