To succeed as a blogger, you must have a roadmap showing you how you will get from where you are, to achieving your blogging goals.
Unfortunately, many people do not have a blogging strategy, and move from one blogging task to another, simply trying out what’s trending today, but to no avail.
Actually, only about 65% of bloggers have a documented strategy, the rest choose to fly without one.
Sometimes bloggers create some form of content strategy, but then get too busy writing to follow it properly.
Many people find the prospect of creating a strategy to be too confusing. If you are one of these people, do not fret.
This is the reason why we have come up with this actionable blog strategy creation process.
The idea is to break down the process into manageable parts that you can create and follow, one step at a time.
Let’s start by understanding what a blog strategy is and how why you need it.
Simple Definition of a Blog Strategy
Although it can be considered to be like a business plan, a blog strategy is a broad roadmap showing your path to achieving the goals of your bog.
It does not focus on the finer details of how you will run your blog, but it can look at several areas that your blog will operate in.
It can lay out when you want to create your own products, the type of affiliate programs to join, the sponsored posts you will write, and so much more.
In this article, we shall look at the most important area in your blog, and that is your BLOG CONTENT STRATEGY.
This is about creating a strategy for all your posts. Your content is what ties up your whole blog into a powerful tool, so it is a crucial area that must be planned for.
The Ultimate Content Marketing Strategy for 2021
Is a Blog Strategy Really Necessary?
Yes, you do need a blog strategy if you want to have a clear path to realizing your goals.
Remember that you should treat your blog like a business if you want to make money from it. A business needs a plan in order to succeed.
Even if you are simply bigging to inform people and become an authority figure in your niche, you still need a plan to show you how to get to the end goal.
For example, take two bloggers, Jack and Jill. They are both blogging about the same thing and competing for the same audience.
Jack wants to fly by the seat of his pants and does not have a strategy. He plans to publish every Friday, but he often misses his publishing date because he gets caught up in other things.
He does not know what to write and simply picks up a topic that seems to be “Nice” and “Newsworthy”.
Although he wants to join an affiliate marketing network, he simply never gets to write the reviews required to market any of the products he wants to sell.
Jill, on the other hand, has a blog strategy. She publishes blog posts every Friday without fail. She sends out a newsletter every Monday and queues up all social media posts by Wednesday without fail.
She has all her blog titles planned ahead and does keyword research in advance. In all her newsletters she has a resource section for sharing important affiliate resources with her readers, thereby advancing her affiliate marketing efforts.
Within a period of one year, Jill is more likely to perform better than Jack.
Most people in the blogging industry today behave like Jack.
It does not mean that Jack will not make some money in the long run; he may land a topic that goes viral and he gets the much-needed traffic to his blog.
He will also write some affiliate marketing posts and make some money in the end, but he will not have the kind of momentum that Jill has.
If you act like Jack, then the following actionable steps to creating a blog strategy will teach you how to become more like Jill.
6 Actionable Steps to Creating A Blog Content Strategy
The first 3 steps are very important for someone who is just starting out writing a blog.
If you already have an established blog, it would be great if you went through the steps and see if you can tweak your blog to have some direction.
#1: Define your goals
Before you write your first word on your blog, you should have a clear vision of what you want to achieve from blogging. This will define how you go about creating the rest of your strategy.
You cannot have a successful blog strategy if you cannot have a clear vision of the end goal of your blog.
- Whether you want to be a reputable figure within your industry.
- Whether you just want to have some income from the side
- Whether you are raising funds for a long-term cause
- Whether you want to earn a full-time living from your blog
- Whether you just want to write for fun
You must have a clear vision of what you want to achieve from creating your blog.
When you have a clear vision, you may now proceed to create specifics of your strategy.
For example, if your end goal is to make a living from your blog, then what is the scenario that plays out in your mind?
Think about the amount of money you want to make per year and then decide how many hours you will need to spend on your blog to meet that goal.
Action to take: Jot down the main goal of creating your blog and use numbers and figures that are sensible. Also, set a target date for meeting your goal.
#2: Identify Your Niche
Once you have a clear vision of your goal, you should now pick your niche.
If you already had a niche in your mind, then think further and see if it will help you achieve your goal.
If you want to earn a living from blogging, then you don’t have a lot of time between starting your blog and monetizing it.
You need to pick a niche that will be easy to monetize.
However, in as much as you want a niche that you can monetize quickly, you need to think about the passion you have for working in that niche.
You need to pick a niche that you will enjoy writing about for the long term.
Action to take: Write down the niche in which you want to operate in. If you are not sure, then wrote down a list of niches and then start ranking them depending on how much you love them and their potential for monetization.
#3: Pick Your Target Market (aka Target Audience)
Although the niche you pick will give you an idea of the target audience, it is advisable to narrow it down within the broader audience that you have.
For example, imagine that you have picked “Exercising for beginners”.
The target audience is those people who are starting out adopting an exercise regime to keep fit.
However, you should narrow down this class of beginners as follow:
- Are they male or female?
- What is the age group that you are targeting?
- What kind of work o they do?
- Where do they live?
- And so many others.
These factors will determine the language you use on your blog, the topics that you will create, the exercise products that you recommend, and the kind of advice they will best respond to.
The factors will also affect issues such as your blog color theme, social networks to disseminate information, etc.
Here is another example:
You may write content that is targeting females who want to start getting fit, within the ages of 30 and 40, living in America.
Or you could write about men in their teens, who are not yet employed and live in Europe.
One thing that you must not is that narrowing down your niche does not mean that others outside your bracket will not follow your blog.
The aim of this process is to have a core target audience; other people who love it are welcomed too, but your aim will be writing for your core target audience.
You can create user personas for the people that you are targeting. This will help you in setting segments within your chosen niche and creating content that appeals to each segment.
There are various methods and tools for creating user personas, so you may check them out too.
HubSpot has a great “Make My Persona” tool that you can use to identify your target audience.
Action to take: Write down your core target audience by narrowing down your niche, and also list down the factors that affect the narrowing process as mentioned above.
#4: Lay Out Your Keywords and Conduct Thorough Research
The next step is to lay out the kind of keywords that your target audience uses when they conduct searches on search engines. These are the keywords to use in your blog content and titles.
“Keywords” are the short phrases that people use when they type in a search on Google.
When you consider the niche that you are writing about, you may quickly come up with keywords that you might use.
In the example we used above, keywords that might apply are:
- Exercise routines for beginners
- Exercise machines for beginners
- Best gyms to join as a beginner
- Home exercise routines for beginners
- … and others
When conducting research, you have to find the keywords that aptly fit your niche and make sure that there is little competition around them.
When considering “competition” in keyword research, you look at:
- Keywords that have a lot of people looking for them
- Keywords that are not used too much by your competition that you have a lower chance of getting ranked high on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
There are various tools that you can use to conduct keyword research. It is best to familiarize yourself with them so you have keywords that will advance your blog’s performance quickly.
Soovle is a great keyword research tool since it collects information about keywords from all search engines in one place. You get results about keywords from Google, Yahoo, Bing, YouTube, and others.
Action to take: Identify all keywords that are relevant to your niche and do keyword research to find those that have little competition so you can use them in writing your content.
#5: Come Up With A Content Calendar
A content calendar is a powerful tool that you can use to plan your blog posts.
In the calendar, you can come up with a list of articles that you would like to post, the keywords for each article, the publishing dates, and a lot more.
There are various ways to create a content calendar.
You could opt to use free online task management systems, which help you get organized and even give you alerts about the tasks you need to do.
You may opt to organize your calendar using a spreadsheet.
You may also prefer to have a printed content calendar that you may jot down your ideas.
The main aim here is to have several blog posts lined up and you have a visual roadmap of how the content flows and relates to one another.
A content calendar not only lists down the blog posts but also email newsletters, social media posts, guest post opportunities and so much more.
The calendar can list the affiliate products that you want to promote and how you will review them.
A content calendar can be used to create groups of people who will receive different kinds of information from your email newsletter promotion process.
Use certain types of posts for different days to make your blog interesting.
For example, you could write beginner exercising posts on Friday, which they can try out over the weekend when they have the time.
Then you can have a round-up on Monday, so they can compare what they did with what they should have done over the weekend.
Then in the middle of the week, you could write some tips which could help your audience fine-tune their exercise routines over the next week.
Action to take: Create a content calendar and write down your content for at least one month in advance.
List down the keywords to use for each, after conducting keyword research as mentioned in step 4.
Also, plan for emails and social media posts that you will write well in advance.
#6: Add A Monetization Plan
Today, almost all bloggers want to make money from their blogs and this is why you have to create a plan for monetizing your blog.
This is the point where you include monetization in your blogging strategy.
In making your monetization plan, you need to know some of the best and quickest ways to make money blogging.
Use Affiliate Marketing: This is where you market products and services belonging to other people and making a commission for every sale you make.
Join advertising networks: This is where you earn money from ads placed on your blog. This is great if you have a lot of traffic coming through your blog.
Create and sell your own products: creating digital products such as eBooks and software is a great way to monetize your blog.
Write sponsored content: You can also earn some money when you write blog posts sponsored by an advertiser.
Give premium services: You can coach or consult for people who visit your blog and are looking for a deeper understanding of the issues that you talk about.
Run an online course: You may also create a course and sell it to people who would like to improve their lives using your tired and tested methods.
You can choose to use one of these methods or a combination of many.
For example, you can opt to write sponsored posts for advertisers who are already running ads on your site. This way you get money from the advertisements as well as the sponsored content.
This is why you need to write your monetization plan at the same time as you are writing your content strategy because they have to run hand-in-hand.
Action to take: Choose a monetization method, if you are not yet using one, and then see where in your content strategy you can incorporate it. If you want to write a sponsored post, figure out where it will fit in your content calendar.
Take Positive Action To Implement Your Blog Strategy
Once you have your blog strategy laid out, at least for the coming month, then it is time that you started implementing it.
Follow the content calendar religiously and make the posts on the dates you have earmarked for them.
Start with a clear vision of your goals, niche, and target market.
Do your keyword research and write down topics that you want to write for the coming month.
Add the monetization techniques that you will use for the coming month.
Make sure that you have the time to write the content that you have laid out in your strategy and calendar. Sometimes you can set aside time to do all the content and simply schedule the publishing dates.
You will be amazed at what you will be able to accomplish when you have a content strategy that you follow to the letter.
NOTE: Blogging can be fluid, so you can allow some leeway if you have to make some changes along the way.
The content strategy, though a formidable document for blogging success, should not be set in stone. It can allow for adjustments.
Bonus Tips on Content Strategy
Although you have covered the main aspects of creating a content strategy, there are a few other important areas that you should be aware of, even if they don’t form the core of your strategy.
Research your competition: If you want your content strategy to give you an edge over your competition, you must take a look at what they are doing, and see how you can take advantage of gaps that they do not cover.
Blog voice and format: You need to be clear about the voice that you will use on your blog. Will you be writing formally or informally?
You need to know what the average length of your blog posts will be. Long-form blogs are favorable since they contain in-depth information which users prefer; People want answers included in one blog post.
What will your Call-To-Action be? This is an important aspect of writing each blog post and cannot be added to the blogging strategy, but it is something you should think about even before you start writing a post.
Measure your blog’s performance: Although this may not form your overall content strategy, you should measure the performance of your blog regularly.
You could do this every month so you can tweak your blog to perform better in the following month.
Blog statistics or analytics are crucial in identifying weak areas in your blogging strategy.
Maybe, you are not doing enough in promoting your content, or you are using the wrong channels to promote it.
Blog statistics will identify these weaknesses for you so you can rectify them.
If you already had a blog that is running, you may reoptimize it so that it starts performing better.
Ask any successful blogger and he or she will confirm that they do have an actionable blogging strategy that they follow.
They did not just sit down one day, start churning out content on their blogs, and somehow achieved success.
You need a blog content strategy that factors in the niche you are working in, the target audience, the goals of your brand, and how best to monetize your blog.
Some of the steps mentioned above may seem rudimentary, but you have to approach them in an organized manner.
The blog strategy is the foundation of the kind of content that you will have on your blog.
It will be easy for you to write content when you have a clear roadmap ahead of you.
You don’t have to stumble along, looking for topics that will appeal to your target audience.
Although most newbie bloggers think that there is a big “mystery” towards achieving success as a blogger, there is none.
All you have to do is be methodical in your approach to blogging.
Create your blog content strategy now.