Consistent blogging remains one of the best ways to establish your brand and grow your audience. As you share your expertise, you give potential customers and clients valuable insights that inform purchase decisions.
The best way to ensure that your blog continues to perform in the coming year and beyond is to start now with planning a comprehensive content strategy. Creating a strategy now will ensure that you make the most out of your current resources and it will give you the opportunity to expand your reach in a measurable way.
Planning Your Content
Many people think that planning content for blog starts with figuring out topics. My approach is a bit different; before I start thinking of topics, I like to look at the various audiences I want to reach and see where those audiences are engaging and who/what they are engaging with. Oftentimes, this will lead you right into the sorts of topics that your audience wants as you’ll see the type of content that resonates and gets the most response. However, there’s another aspect to consider: your sales funnel.
Ideally, you’ve already figured out where your blog falls when it comes to filling your sales pipeline. Maybe you’re using your blog to grow your email list, or maybe you’re using it to inform retargeting campaigns, or in some instances you might even be using it in conjunction with other marketing initiatives to qualify sales leads. Whatever purpose your blog serves, before you start writing content you need to answer these questions:
- Who is this blog post for?
- What action do I want readers to take after reading this blog post?
- When do I want them to take action?
- Where people most likely to engage with my content?
- Why should they trust me/take action?
- How am I going to measure the success of this campaign?
For example, let’s say you’re running a crafting blog and based on your audience research you’ve decided to write a post on easy-to-make teachers’ gifts. Let’s run down the answers to the previous questions:
- This blog post would be ideal for busy parents.
- We want readers to make one of the gifts we blogged about, and to sign up for more ideas.
- We want readers to make these gifts before an upcoming holiday.
- Busy moms are likely looking on Pinterest for their crafting ideas.
- We have step-by-step instructions that show just how well the gifts turn out.
We can measure the success of this campaign by:
- Using hashtags for our crafts and tracking hashtag usage for the gifts
- Measuring signups to our email list from this blog post
Going forward, you might also want to track such things as:
- How many people purchase crafting kits from us after signing up to our email list?
- How many blog posts (on average) does a person read before becoming a customer?
- Where are our most-engaged buyers finding our content?
In this way, you can start to drill down on the types of content that have the most impact on your bottom line.
Organic Traffic Opportunities
Of course, even the best content is pointless if no one sees it and paying for attention through advertising campaigns can quickly get expensive. Well-done SEO can help your blog appear higher in the search engines, but that’s only valuable if you rank well for searches that your customers are making.
Optimization Tactics to Consider
Voice search—smart home devices are becoming more and more popular, which means more people are searching by asking questions. Consider writing blog posts (or webpage content) that answers frequently-asked questions in order to get in front of customers using this type of search.
Local search—if you have a local storefront, including location information can help Google to include your store in location-based searches while people are on the go.
Structured data—this gets pretty technical, but you can add code to your web pages and blog posts to help google find locations, reviews, content types, and more. Study up on schema and include them where appropriate.
Mobile Friendly or Mobile First?
Here’s the deal: having a mobile-optimized site is a basic requirement for all blogs. People spend a lot of time browsing the web on their phones and tablets, so if your site isn’t easy to navigate on those devices, you’re losing out.
But should you put the mobile experience before the desktop experience on your site? Well, it depends. A quick dip into your Google Analytics setup will tell you if you get more visitors from desktop or mobile, but you’ll likely want to consider more than just traffic numbers.
User engagement, email signups, sales, and other data will help you to understand where your most valuable traffic comes from. Once you know the answer to that, you can decide whether to prioritize mobile optimization.
Hit Publish? You’re Not Done Yet!
So, you’ve researched your audience, come up with a great topic, written a stellar blog post and double-checked to make sure it’s got the right keywords and all the proper code in place. You’re ready to publish—but you’ve only just begun!
Content marketing is essential if you want your blog to succeed, and that takes just as much planning (if not more) than writing up your initial content. Be prepared to promote each piece of content that you produce and sharing it to social media is only the start. Some ways you might promote your blog posts include:
- Partnering with influencers to help spread the word to a wider audience
- Running advertising campaigns
- Promoting your content through a third-party newsletter
- Guest posts on reputable sites
- Press releases (when you have newsworthy announcements)
- Multimedia content that references your blog (podcasts, video channels, webinars, etc.)
The tactics you use will depend on your goals for the content and how best to reach your audience.
Bringing it All Together
If you’re looking at this post and thinking “whew, this blogging business is a lot of work!” you aren’t alone. Fortunately, there are ways to make it easier and to streamline the content creation process.
My favorite way to cut down the time I spend on creating content is by creating repeatable processes. By systemizing the way I create blog posts and other content, it makes it easier for me to produce consistently high-quality work without wasting time.
For example, I have a 15-point checklist that I go through each time I create a blog post. It covers everything from setting goals and making sure analytics are in place, to creating the social media content for sharing the final piece, and everything in between. I also have a checklist I go through for promoting blog posts, and another for creating presentations.
Once you have your systems in place, you’ll be ready to set up your content calendar and tackle your blogging in 2019 and beyond! Don’t forget to check in on your performance regularly and commit to making adjustments in your strategy to optimize your results.