Blog Strategies 101: How To Create A Blog Content Strategy
No business should be blogging without a well-developed blog strategy. Having one will help you stay on track with your content and maintain the same quality throughout everything you post. Today, you’ll learn what blog strategies are, why they are essential, and 11 tips on creating your own!
What Is A Blog Strategy?
A blog strategy is, in essence, a plan of what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it through the content you publish on your blog. A majority of successful blogs have some sort of strategy in place, where they decide what topics they’ll be covering and how they will tackle them, well in advance of actually writing and posting the content.
There are lots of things that get included in blog strategies, and while some do heavily depend on the type of blog you’re creating, here are some of the essentials you’ll need to consider:
- What are your goals/why are you creating this blog?
- Who is your target audience and why is it that specific demographic?
- What topics do you want to cover and how do they relate to you as a person or brand?
- Who is your competition and what are their strategies?
- Are there any keywords or phrases related to your content?
- When and how are you going to publish and distribute your posts?
We’ll be covering all of those questions later to help you gain a better understanding of how to create your own blog strategy!
How Do Blog Strategies Work?
The main thing that blog strategies do is to help you achieve your blogging goals faster by keeping you on track with your content creation. If you plan everything out before actually starting to write, you’ll find it much easier to successfully appeal to your target audience and to create high quality content.
You can think of a blog strategy as a sort of essay plan – you use it to make sure you hit all of the points you want to mention and that you use all the right techniques, to save you time when doing the actual writing and to gain better results!
Blog strategies can also help you track your growth and progress as a blogger. You can create strategies surrounding certain milestones or developments within your blog, and should also be able to somewhat adapt your original strategy as your blog gains popularity and exposure.
Creating Your Own Blog Strategy
Now, if you’re a bit unsure of how to go about creating your own content strategy, keep reading! Below, we have to step by step tips on how to create a blogging strategy that works for you, as well as some questions that you’ll need to ask yourself before starting.
1. Determine your goals
The first step to any blog strategy is deciding exactly what you want to achieve. This will heavily depend on what you want your blog to be about, but the most common goals include increasing sales or exposure, earning an additional income, or educating your readers about a specific topic.
Having a goal, or set of goals, in mind will help you to develop the rest of your strategy. This is because everything else you decide to do will depend on your goal – if you want to educate people about something, there’s no use in using a strategy that’s better suited towards promoting a product!
Whatever your goals are, make sure that they’re realistic. Simply wanting to “get rich and famous” because of your blog isn’t exactly impossible, but it does take a lot of work and smaller milestones to get there.
2. Know your target audience
Next, you’ll need to know exactly who your blog will be targeting. Like with determining a goal, this will help you narrow down the techniques you’ll implement, as some are better suited to one demographic than another.
For example, if you’re targeting working-age professionals, you’ll be much better off creating content that’s professional and related to the industries they work in. Meanwhile, targeting younger people will usually mean having to adopt a more laidback style and talking about their interests rather than careers.
Don’t stress too much if your target audience is relatively broad or super niche – the reason you’re creating a blog strategy in the first place is to make sure your content reaches your target audience, no matter what!
3. Set yourself a budget
While blogging is generally a pretty cheap marketing tool, there are still some expenses associated with running a blog. You’ll need to first decide on how much money you’re willing to invest in your blog, which will vary dramatically depending on its purpose – someone blogging for fun will be much less likely to invest a lot of money into the blog than someone who is looking to become rich and successful.
Once you have a ballpark budget, make a list of all the features you’d like to have on your blog and research their prices. If the total falls under your budget, great! You can keep the rest or invest in some extras to make the blog better. If you go over budget, however, consider whether you need every single feature on that list or if you can extend your budget a little. Here are some of the most common expenses associated with running a blog:
- Hardware costs, ranging from $0 to $3,000 and being very dependent on the computer/laptop you already own
- Hosting costs, starting at about $3 per month
- Domain name costs, ranging from $0 to even thousands and being very dependent on whether someone already own the domain name
- WordPress theme and plugin costs, ranging from $0 to $300 in total
- Email marketing tool costs, ranging from $0 to upwards of $40
- Website security costs, costing up to $250
- Advertising costs, ranging from $0 and $1,000 and being very dependent on the type of advertising you use, if any
Things like buying a domain name and hosting the actual website are unavoidable, and will definitely cost you some money. If your blog will simply be a hobby, you can get away with investing less than $50 into it since you probably won’t need complicated plugins or super intense security measures. However, if you’re looking to start a professional blog, you may be looking at much higher costs than you’d originally expected, so make budgeting a priority when creating your blog strategy.
4. Decide on your topics
This will be a huge part of your content strategy. Planning out exactly what you want to talk about will give you the opportunity to assess how much you know about certain topics, and if they’re truly worth talking about on your blog. You can simply brainstorm some ideas and pick the ones that closely represent you or your brand, then weigh them up against what you know about your target audience.
Ask yourself questions like “Will they be interested in this?”, “Will this topic answer important questions/provide important information?”, “Has this been done before?”, and “How can I make this unique?” to make sure that the topics you pick out are suitable.
Make sure to make a plan if you want to promote products or services, or announce new launches too! Even though those types of posts may seem simple, you’ll need to make sure they still provide enough relevant information and aren’t too “salesy”, and making a draft will definitely help you with that.
5. Brainstorm content formats
Once you’ve decided on the topics your blog will cover, you’ll need to pick out some content formats. There is a huge range of formats to choose from, with some being more suitable than others, depending on what you’re talking about. Below are just a handful of the formats you could use:
- Opinion posts
- How-to’s and guides
- Product and service reviews
- Case studies
- Q&A sessions
- Press releases
- Demonstration videos
- Lists and listicles
- Interviews with team members or field experts
- Resource lists
- Memes and humorous posts
- Customer testimonials
- Original research
- Content submitted by customers
When picking a content format to use on your blog, make sure to remember who you’re targeting – somebody in their 30s is much less likely to enjoy a meme than a teenager, and a teenager probably won’t care too much about a press release.
6. Research your competition
This is another huge part of successful blog strategies. Whatever you’ll be writing about, you’re sure to have at least one other competitor, so you need to be able to outshine them with your content.
A great way to research what your competitors are doing, is to go onto their blogs and look through their content. While you may not want to give them additional site traffic, it’s really important to know what they’re doing so that you can improve on it, so get reading!
Look at the type of content they post, when they post it, what the audience engagement is like, etc. Also, while their target audience may be very similar to yours, try to identify any differences in the demographics to make sure you target the right people. If you find a tactic they’re using is incredibly successful, consider taking and adapting it to your own content, but make sure to never outright copy it – it’s bad practice to rip off other people, even if they’re your main competition!
7. Identify keywords and phrases
When it comes to the blogging world, keywords and phrases are incredibly important. They’re what determines how close to the top your blog gets in search results, and how often people will stumble upon your content. While some people can get lucky and have their content blow up without putting much thought into the keywords they include, it’s good practice to consider them when creating your blog strategy.
There are various websites that can help you identify the most popular keywords associated with the topic you want to talk about. They’ll usually show you exactly how often people search for it, and how much competition there is within that topic. If you want to succeed, we recommend looking for a mixture of popular and niche keywords, to avoid having too much competition but to be popular enough to survive an already heavily saturated market.
Once you’ve researched some keywords, create some sort of list of which ones you think will be the most important. You can then refer to that list whenever you’re creating content, and pull specific words and phrases from it to make your writing more sophisticated and easier to discover.
8. Establish a publishing schedule
All of the most successful blogs have a pretty consistent posting schedule. They’ll upload a set amount of blog posts each month, on the same days of the week, sometimes even at roughly the same time of the day!
While you don’t have to go to that extent, you should definitely create a basic posting schedule that you can share on your blog. That way, your readers will know exactly when to tune in for a fresh dose of content, and your posts will do much better than if you were to post them randomly. Posting whenever you feel like it will mean that a percentage of your readers may not see the new post for a few hours, or even days, which can lower your search result ranking – search engine algorithms detect how much traffic blogs get directly after posting something new, boosting the blogs that get a lot of traffic and lowering the ones that don’t.
A schedule will also help keep you accountable for the work you have to put in. Knowing that you need two blog posts fully written and formatted by 7pm on a Friday evening will give you enough time for research, writing, and any edits, lowering the chances of bad quality work or a missed upload!
9. Know how you’ll promote the blog
Simply having a blog that exists on the Internet won’t guarantee you success, even if you implement every other tip from this article. You’ll need to put in the work of promoting your blog, and getting the word out there that you’re creating content, which is why you should include this sort of planning in your blog strategy.
One great way of promoting your blog is through your social media, though you will have to adapt your technique depending on your online presence. If you’re someone who already has a pretty large online following, you can simply link your blog on your profile! However, if you don’t really have many followers online, you may need to start networking with other people that are blogging about similar topics.
The point here is that you’ll need to carefully consider what content you’ll be creating, and the facilities you’ll have to promote it. You can create different versions of a blog strategy that represent different stages of your online growth, i.e. the “early” stages would involve networking and promoting in other people’s comments since your presence is still small, while “late” stages would involve simply making a story or linking your blog for your followers to check out once you gain more exposure.
10. Consider getting together a team
This will really depend on what exactly you want to achieve with your blog and how successful it will become, but it is important to keep in mind. There may come a time when you will need to have multiple people working on the blog and assign them roles, or you already have a team of people and don’t really know how to get started. Whatever your situation with your blog turns out to be, it’s good to have this planned into your blog strategy so that you don’t get overwhelmed by a sudden influx of responsibilities.
If you already have a team of people to work on the blog, you’ll need to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each person. This will help you correctly assign roles to everyone – you won’t want someone who’s a great writer to be responsible for the web design, or the tech expert to be writing your content!
If you don’t already have a team but are thinking about getting some people to work with you, take a look at your own strengths and weaknesses first. Identify what you will be able to be responsible for, then list off every other responsibility that will need to be fulfilled by someone.
11. Learn how to track your progress
While it may not seem super important right now, it’s good to know exactly how you will be tracking your progress (and hopefully success!) long before you start posting anything on your blog. This sort of thing will prove vital whenever you’ll need to update or change your blog strategy to meet your current needs.
This will also help you actually achieve your goals, as you’ll be able to see in real time if the strategies and techniques you’ve implemented are paying off. Already having a set of metrics that you’ve chosen to use to track your progress will save you time later down the line, as you’ll be able to narrow down what you’re looking for without having to look through every single piece of data.