Getting a written blog content plan is what distinguishes the good blogs from the very great ones.
Basically, you double your chance of success with a published blog plan. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 60 percent of companies with a written content strategy is successful compared to just 32 percent of those with a solely verbal content strategy.
I have been blogging professionally since 2013, and if have been taught anything at all, a blog content plan is a must if you want to achieve good results.
Not only does a written strategy improve the chances of success, but it also saves you hours of time you would have spent on wrong promotion tactics, writing on the wrong subjects, and working with the wrong influencers.
Are you ready to save time, push more traffic, and see more growth in blogging? Keep reading, then! Here are the five steps to the strategy of great blog content:
Here are Seven Steps to Build a Blog Content Plan
This guide will be divided into five steps:
- Define your goals.
- Perform some target market research.
- Run a content audit.
- Come up with topic ideas and keywords to target.
- Choose a content management system.
- Create a content calendar.
- Build amazing content.
Quick Preface: A good content strategy for blog should answer this three questions:
- Why are we making content first of all?
- What kind of content do we need?
- How are we going to get the material to achieve our goals?
Let’s get started with the “WHY”.
Step 1: Define your goals.
If you don’t take anything else away from this post, take the goal-setting away. Having a clearly established objective, you will be set up to go through all the other moves, all the hours of writing, and all the challenges that are bound to occur.
Your goal is your why, and the greater the success you will have.
So, how do you describe your why, I mean your blog goal? Please answer these questions. Do you want to …
- Drive foot traffic to your store or office?
- Increase revenue or lead generation? Educate prospects and clients on what you are doing?
- Update your customers on what’s going on in your business?
- Are you drawing opportunities from outside your local area, such as overseas clients?
- Build a brand?
Choose no more than two or three of these targets for your blog content plan. Any more and your blog will become unfocused, and nothing will succeed.
I have a blog showcasing my photography work, for instance. My primary objective is to create leads for my photography services, with the secondary goal of educating prospects on what I do and creating a brand around my name. – Lanre Oladejo
Be clear to your targets. Simply saying “Get more traffic” is not enough. You need to consider how much traffic you want and in what timeframe. A better target would be to boost revenue by 15% in three months. Quite specific.
When you have got your why, it’s time to find out what kind of content you need. To do so, you need to go through:
Step 2: Perform some target market research.
Let me ask you something. Have you ever had a shower, and you just couldn’t get the water to the right temperature? It was lukewarm, so you turned it on your hair, and then it was scaling hot?
Although frustrating, it shows you how a very small amount of effort will cause anything to go from warm to hot. You have heard this before, it’s called the extra mile.
This move is a tiny centimeter tweak that will take your blog from mediocre to fantastic.
So, how are you targeting market research?
First of all, ask yourself a few good questions:
- Where does my audience hang out online? (Some websites, social media sites, forums, Facebook groups, etc.)
- What’s their greatest hold at work? (Maybe they dislike their way around or their boss or they are lonely, or they are not getting enough traffic to their website.)
- What kind of material or posts do they enjoy reading the most? (Look at Google Analytics for your blog, if you have one. Which posts did the best? You can also use BuzzSumo to see what the most shared articles of your competitor are.)
To give you more clarity, we asked a content expert for his thoughts on target market research. Here’s what he advice:
“Almost every organization knows the demographics of its consumers (i.e. who they are). But they know nothing about their psychographics (i.e. why they buy).
Effective blog posts follow the theory of copywriting of the old Problem Agitate Solution (PAS). They begin by presenting the root issue that the reader is facing. Then they stir up the issues by digging into the symptoms and pain points. Finally, they offer a solution (whether it’s a concept, a tip, a hack, or simply positioning their product/service as a solution).
But you can’t do it effectively without knowing (1) what the readers are trying to do, (2) what’s stopping them from doing it, and (3) what’s going to happen to them if they don’t do it.
Find the answers to these three questions (using polls, interviews, etc.) and you will be able to build blog content that does a lot more than just pile up social shares.”
The key thing is to figure out the fundamental motivations of your target readers, and then help them achieve those goals.
When you have got an idea about who you are writing for, the next thing is:
Step 3: Run a content audit.
Most people start with blog posts, but if you want to venture out and try to make other content pieces, consider the ones you want to make.
For example, if you have been writing a weekly blog for the past year, creating an ebook that will distill all your blog posts into one final guide will be one way to distribute knowledge in a different format. We are going to go through a variety of different forms of content that you can use further down the page.
If you have been in business for a while, review your content marketing activities and the performance of the last year by performing a content audit. Find out what you should do better in the coming year and set new targets to achieve. It’s a perfect time to match your team’s priorities with the rest of the organization’s goals.
Once this is resolved, you move to the next phase:
Step 4: Come up with topic ideas and keywords to target.
Let’s start with keywords here:
Keywords are bread and butter for a successful blog content strategy. You are going to be hard-pressed to score high on search engines without them. Without a search engine score, you are going to have an even tougher time attracting a lot of consistent traffic.
Despite the overload of knowledge from supposed “SEO experts,” research on keywords and SEO ( search engine optimization) is not all that difficult.
Let’s break this down for in three easy steps:
1. Find some keywords that you want to rank for with high search volume and low competition.
2. Write mind-blowingly good blog content that includes your main keywords in the title, body, headers, and image alt text (don’t overdo it, though. 3-7 times in an article is a lot, depending on the length).
3. Work on getting backlinks to the article with your keywords as anchor text ( i.e. if your keyword is “marketing strategies,” you want the link to your site to be linked to the “marketing strategies” text). But be careful not to overdo it, either. Too many optimized anchors could prompt Google in the wrong way.
Of course, there are many other problems, such as page load speed, time spent on the page, and (for Bing, at least) the number of shares obtained by the post. But if you master the three points above, you are going to be on your way to Google’s first list.
That been said, you don’t need to base all of your topics on keyword research.
I asked Shola Akinkumi, a content strategist and consultant, about her take on coming up with topics. Here’s what she said to me:
“Keyword research is a fantastic way to come up with fresh ideas and content opportunities, but SEO does not drive the whole content strategy. It should take into account, but not entirely, the issues and the message of your content. You may see an opportunity for a particular keyword, but then you should combine that information with your knowledge of your target market and people to write the best possible content.” – Shola Akinkumi
I didn’t let her leave that spot. I pressed for an example instead. Here’s what she said:
“I wrote a blog post about the book “trying to cross the Chasm” and applied the lessons of the book to different startups. The SEO for book is unlikely because it’s a really popular novel. So, Amazon and a number of links connected with the author will always be the first.
However, the post was highly popular and had a lot of traffic simply because it offered realistic and real-world examples for start-up leaders to grasp a particular concept inside the book.”
The take-away? Always try to target keywords, but don’t let them stop you from writing on a great subject.
5. Choose a content management system.
Have a system where you can build, manage and monitor your content, otherwise known as the Content Management System ( CMS). Some of the main components of content management include content creation, content publishing and content analysis.
With the HubSpot CMS, you can prepare, produce, publish, and calculate your results in one place. Another common CMS is WordPress, which you can add to the HubSpot WordPress plugin for free web forms, live chat, CRM access, email marketing, and analytics.
6. Create a content calendar.
The content calendar keeps you on track and provides a mechanism to ensure that the content is still up-to – date and released on time. The best calendars often have social sharing and email marketing details baked in to make things coordinated and simple.
To help clarify the significance of this move and how it plays a part in your overall blog content strategy, I asked an investigative journalist and content marketing manager at DigitalAll, what he thinks about developing a content calendar. Here’s what he said to me:
A great content calendar offers you a bird’s eye view and the team’s editorial process is built into it. We found this mix for our team in Asana.
It helps us to make real-time notifications, to coordinate all content assets, and to have end-to-end visibility on who is working on what, when each piece is due, and for what person and stage of the funnel each piece of content is. This helps us to switch from a half-baked concept to a pitch, a column we’ve created where the writer can @ their editor if they’re stuck or ready to edit their first draft.
You can also use a free tool like Trello or Google Calendar to build your blog content calendar, but if you are looking for a completely dedicated calendar with extra features to help you develop your blog, a tool like CoSchedule may be more helpful. This is your decision, though. For example, here at Techynita, we have been using Asana very successfully since the blog’s rebirth.
Step 7: Build amazing content.
You have your keywords, you have built a content schedule, you know who you are writing for. It’s time to actually create your content.
I say create, not compose, because great content isn’t just written, it’s assembled.
A wonderful piece of content needs to be:
- Well-written (meaning correct spelling and grammar, not using unduly complex language or terminology.)
- Researched (meaning uses facts, case studies, and explanations to prove that you did your homework).
- Rich media (meaning a lot of high-quality and highly appropriate images)
- Formatted for skimming (meaning a number of headers, subheaders, bulleted lists, block quotes, bolding, and italics).
Although it might be tempting to fire your blog posts as they come to mind, having a written blog content plan can save you hours of headache. Plus, you will see a lot of progress.
It’s just take a couple of hours to bring together a terrific blog content plan. As the old adage goes, if you have four hours to cut down a tree, you have a better chance if you take one of those hours to sharpen your axes. Or something like that.
This blog content technique is similar to sharpening the axes. You are going to be a lot more organized and potentially have more fun if you take the time to put it together.
Do you have any concerns about creating a content plan for your blog? Feel free to communicate in the comments section below.