Blogs are a proven way to increase website traffic and grow your business. In fact, Hubspot’s data indicates that consistent blog posts help businesses increase ROI. Now keep in mind, one single blog post won’t make you millions of dollars in sales overnight. However, when that blog is part of a larger overall strategy, it can be a key part of your success.
Blogging takes time and effort. Before you open up a Word doc and start typing, you need to put some thought into what you’re planning to blog about. Every business that is successful with blogging has a detailed strategy in place.
Your blog strategy helps ensure you’re creating content that will attract new customers and help nurture your existing leads. A successful blog strategy positions your business to be in front of people searching for products or services you offer. It’s all about helping educate and establish trust among your customers and leads.
If you want to use blogging to increase your sales and reach more people online, here are some tips to help you get started!
How to Develop A Blogging Strategy
A lot of work needs to go into a blog post before you write it. Here are some quick tips to help you build a content strategy:
Define Your Goals
Your first step when building a blog strategy is to define your goals. After all, without any goals in place, how do you measure success? There can be a bunch of different goals related to your blogging efforts. For some businesses, it may be to get more website traffic. For others, it’s to create a library of content to share on social media or have sales reps share with prospective clients. Perhaps you want to help boost your brand awareness and SERP rankings and use your blogs to rank better for certain keywords or phrases.
Whatever it is you’re hoping to get from your blogging efforts, make sure it’s known. Better yet, make sure your goals are SMART. That means they’re – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound.
Understand Your Audience
The next thing you need to do is study your target audience. Take some time to think about your ideal customers and what kind of content would appeal to them. You need to understand what kind of content it is they’re searching for. Then you need to consider where they’re most likely to find it and engage with it. Finally, think about what kind of questions they have, the pain points they experience, and how you solve their needs.
Doing all of this will help make sure you’re on the right path to building a successful blog strategy. Otherwise, you might find that you end up wasting time studying and creating content that doesn’t appeal to your audience and thereby gets little to no engagement.
Now that you know your goals and what kind of blog content you want to share with your audience, it’s time to do an audit. Trust me—this won’t be painful like audits at tax time can be. This is an exercise to evaluate the content you currently have compared to what you need (based on your audience research).
Once you’ve identified which areas or subject you need more content produced around, take some time to study the competition. What kind of posts already exist around those topics. What are their strengths and weaknesses? How can you improve upon the knowledge and thought leadership that’s already available online?
By taking time to audit both your content and that of your competition, you can use this information to build a more thought-out and detailed blog strategy.
Brainstorm New Content
At this point, you’ve set some goals, studied your audience, and evaluated the current content landscape. Now it’s time to fill in the blanks. What are some of the content gaps you’ve identified?
During this stage of the process, you can start to build a list of potential topics to include in your blog strategy. The number of blog posts required is up to you and what you need to reach your goals. A good rule of thumb though is at least a couple posts a month to ensure you’re creating new and fresh content consistently. This can go a long way in helping improve your website’s ranking on search engines for different keywords and phrases you hope to rank well for.
If you need help with different kinds of posts to create, keep reading below to see some examples of popular blog formats and structures.
Once you’ve got a list of blog posts and topics to write about, it’s time for some keyword research. There are plenty of different tools and websites available to help conduct your research.
Google’s keyword planner and trends tools are both great options to see what terms people are searching for and find alternative words or phrases you might also want to include.
Build a Schedule
Once you’ve got a list of content and topics in place, have taken time to understand your audience, and know what keywords to use, it’s time to build a schedule. This will be different for every business and it all depends on the time and resources you have to dedicate towards writing, editing, optimizing, posting, and sharing your blog posts.
If you’re like a lot of small businesses, you might not have enough time to do all of this and focus on other parts of your business. If that’s the case, you may want to consider finding a marketing agency to partner with and outsource your content writing.
Types of Blogs Posts to Write
If you need some help planning blog posts for your strategy, here’s a list of popular blog formats to use.
Lists are arguably one of the most popular types of blog posts around. These aren’t just meant for websites like Buzzfeed to rank the top food dishes in each city or ESPN to do draft rankings. Lists are a great way to make information digestible and highlight the importance of different things related to a specific topic. Lists are an easy but effective way to build traffic and make gathering information simple for the reader.
These types of posts are a great way to educate and explain things to readers. People use search engines like Google to help answer their questions. Creating how-to guides that do just that are a great way to get found by people who need solutions you can offer.
Checklists work similarly to list blog posts in that the information is easy to comprehend and skim through. When you create checklist blog posts, you outline a series of steps the reader needs to take to reach their goal.
People love social proof. If someone is considering making a purchase or hiring you to complete a service, case studies can help build trust. Case studies allow you to demonstrate how you have solved similar problems for other customers and show proof that you can deliver the results they’re seeking.
Comparisons or Versus
Chances are if someone is researching your products or services, they’re looking at your competitors as well. Creating blog posts that compare your products/services against the competition allow you to highlight different benefits and ways you offer the better option to go with.
Better yet, these types of posts can help your website appear when someone is researching your competitor and may not be aware of your company and what you can offer them
Having guests write posts for your blog allows you to share a different perspective and leverage that person’s audience. When your guests publish posts on your website, they’re likely going to promote it within their own network which can lead to crossover and new traffic.
Besides the added benefits of collaborating and sharing new ideas, guest writers can also help you save time by contributing to your content marketing efforts.
Interview blog posts are a great way to share content backed by an expert. You don’t always have time to write and research a topic for your blog post. By instead interviewing an expert and letting them generate the content, you can mix things up and give your audience a fresh voice to learn from.
Similar to guest posts, this type of blog post has the potential for increased traffic and new connections as the interviewee will likely want to share the article with their audience.
The Hub and Spoke Model
The hub and spoke model is a type of content marketing strategy focused around a topic cluster. With this type of model, you start with a main topic or article to write about. From there, you develop a series of posts focused on sub-topics to the main one. Each of these sub topic articles links back to the main one and use similar keywords and variants.
For instance, a landscaping company may use this strategy and start with a main article about residential lawn maintenance. From there, the sub topics could focus on different aspects of that including fertilizing your lawn, aerating and overseeding, seasons tips, killing weeds, and watering tips among others. As you can see, each of the subtopics related to general lawn maintenance and would link back to the main article.
Want to read more about the hub and spoke model and how to use this in your blogging strategy, check out a great article we previously published and keep learning! What is the Hub and Spoke Content Strategy and Why Should You Use it?
Ready to Build A Strategy That Works?
Building an effective blog strategy takes some work, but can do wonders to help meet your business goals. Of course, if you need help developing that plan or need a team of writers to create your content – we’d love to work with you.
Our team of content strategists, writers, and editors can help you develop content to meet your goals and ultimately drive more organic traffic to your website!