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I Need A Blog Post Strategy Too?!

Effective blogging strategy incorporating keywords to rank on search engines

A blogging strategy? Isn’t blogging just sort of off-the-cuff writing and commenting? Aren’t blog posts a bunch of informal tips and tutorials? Isn’t blogging a running tutorial between the author and their readers? Can’t I just write as issues come up?  These are some of the misconceptions when it comes to blogging. Of course, you can proceed with your blog under these assumptions, but here’s why that’s not such a great idea.


Respecting the Blog

As we previously discussed, blogging is an important component in a digital marketing strategy. Like anything else in business, to do it right, you need to approach it in a more methodical and well thought out way than you might have previously thought. Aside from a random oil gusher in Texas, nothing spontaneously erupts to produce fantastically successful results. As we learned with the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race. The plan is so important. How do you make one?


Benefits of Blogging

As we have previously explained, a well-executed blog will:

  • Drive traffic to your site, bringing new customers and increasing your ranking on SERPs (search engine results pages).

  • Educate your new and existing customers, bringing value to them as you raise your status as an authority in your field.

  • Increase overall awareness of your business – what you do, what you sell, your niche, and your brand.


Set a Plan

To accomplish all these glorious benefits, a carefully crafted strategy is called for. Successful businesses do not leave things to chance. Care and planning come at every stage. From a management standpoint, a plan clearly delineates responsibilities and holds everyone, even the big boss, accountable. A blog strategy will keep your blog on track to accomplish your primary objectives of achieving your overall business goals laid out in your business plan or strategy document.


Blogs are actually a stealth weapon in the marketing mix. Used properly, it will catapult your business to a front and center position in the digital marketing arena.


Table of Contents


Millions of Blogs!!

There are over 7 million blog posts published worldwide every day! That is an absolutely astounding number and all indications point to that increasing by leaps and bounds. This makes it easy to become overwhelmed, throw up your hands, and say, “I cannot compete!” But, DON’T do that! You are perfectly capable of breaking through the clutter and rise to coveted spots on the search engine results pages. Commitment and understanding critical elements in achieving that goal are the keys.  


Standing Out

How can you make YOUR content stand out to be noticed, ranked, and read? Those who publish more often seem to get noticed more. In fact, 69% of those who post once a day report positive results for their businesses. However, posting more than that, say several times a day, may degrade the positive effects. In reality, most businesses post less than that. Once per week seems to be the average. Still, that’s a lot of content required right there. With so much at stake and so much effort that would need to be expended, it is crystal clear that a strategy is not a “nice to have”, but essential. So, what do we write?


Topic Generation, Not Yet...

Most people would dive into the idea generation phase right now to come up with topics to write about to hit the ground running with a potential minimum of 52 blog posts per year. However, it really is time to step back and take a deep breath and do some foundational work. It is so important for making sure that your blog gets off on the right foot. Here is a mindset you need to get into first.


Blogging Strategy as a Variation

A blogging strategy is just a permutation of a business strategy. Though it is not as formal, it has all the hallmarks you would expect.


  • Define who you are;

  • Identify your niche;

  • Lay out your mission or vision;

  • Research your competition, and

  • Measure your success.


However, when it comes to a blogging strategy, there are some unique tweaks to the above parameters. A blogging strategy is a general map of what your blog is and where it should go.


Business Plan Template Tweaked to Blog Strategy

You should be asking yourself, your employees, and even your customers these questions. The more research and investigation you do, the better, the more powerful, the more relevant the results. Here are some guidelines:


1.   Define the purpose of your blog i.e. your blogging goals.

 

a.   Key question would be - what is the number one reason for setting up a blog?

The vast majority of businesses enter the blogging arena because they want to be given a precious spot on the search engine results page (SERP). As they compete to break through the clutter, as we have discussed in a previous blog post, can be a tomahawk. However, there are other reasons for blogs such as branding, adding value, and building authority. These goals need to be clearly laid out at the outset.


b.  What do you hope to achieve through your blog?

You should have in mind at least 2 measurable goals for your blog and name them in your planning document. Examples for this are: number of unique visitors, number of new visitors, time on page, conversion to sales, number of newsletter sign-ups, downloaded guides, requests for more information, and reader engagement are some possibilities.


2.   Create your voice and identity. Here is where your niche takes center stage.

 

a.   What is your persona? What is your brand?

What is the image of your brand? Do you have a supportive persona or authoritative or a combination of both? You may want to be thought of as a company that is super professional or a business that is like a family to its customers. Companies should decide if they want to be more formal or folksy. Clues to this are found in the company mission statement, the image that they present to the public, and the training they provide to employees that interact with their customers. Your blog must neatly conform to all this. Many companies develop style sheets to ensure consistency.


b.  Explain what makes you unique in the field?

When people go into business, they often do so because they think they can do “it” better than others in the field. Existing businesses have to continually reevaluate their niche and make sure it still holds true or needs updating. Your business needs to exude this in all its publications and actions. Of course, a blog needs to clearly communicate and reinforce this.


3.   Identify your target audience. Who are they? What do they need to know?

 

a.   What are their demographics and psychographics?

It is critical to understand the profile of your consumers for every aspect of your business. You need to know who they are in order to speak their language. You need to tailor your products and messages to them and they need to hear and understand you. Of course, writing to them in a blog format, whether it be with words or images, you need to be clear on both their physical demographics and mindsets.


b.  What effect would you like to have on people?

There are blogs that are specifically designed to highlight a business and its niche in that field. They can even add to the branding that you are an authority in that area. However, there are also blogs that are specifically designed to educate the public. Their goal is to add value the readers by providing them with useful and timely information.


c.   What channels do they use for their information?

Of course, the most important thing is for you to be able to connect with your target consumer. To do that, you need to know where you can find them. Having a full profile of them with not only their hard demographics of age, gender, and income, but also their likes and dislikes including the channels they turn to for news and information.


4.  Research whether your competitors are blogging and whether they are doing it right.


a. Even with all the blogging that is going on, you would be surprised to learn how many of your competitors have not caught on yet.

Perhaps they are so busy building the business itself that they have neglected the marketing. Also, many are intimidated by all things digital and shy away from utilizing this powerful tool. Of, they may know about it, but do not have the manpower or budget to deal with it. They may be advanced enough to have a website, but don’t have the capacity to have a fully functioning and optimized blog attached. So, it is important for you to know: are they blogging? And, how often are they blogging?

 

b. If your competitors are blogging, what formats are they using?

As we know, the “wall of words” is not the way to go these days. Are your competitors using visuals and formatting to publish blogs that are read, valued, and shared? See what they are doing that works and build off of their success. Or, learn what they are doing wrong, and do it right!

 

c. What platforms are they using?

The format is one thing, but the platform is perhaps even more important. That is the playing field that you need to bring your game to. Is the competition there? You’d better get out there if they are. Better yet, if they are not, establish yourself as the leader in that space. Keep supplying fresh content so that you become the source of information for whatever you do. Google will stand up and take notice which means you will be paraded in front of your audience too. Win/win!


5.  Do your keyword research.

 

a.     People search for things in all sorts of ways. When you type in the search window, you are inputting the keywords you want the search engine to search up for you. Some are obvious and some are quite unique. In the past, marketers would look for short tail keywords, then long tail keywords. The trend today is shoot for the searcher’s intent rather than a specific keyword.

 

b.     In any case, there are so many tools on the market today to help you find relevant keywords to focus on. Find one you like and that fits your budget. Also, your experience in your business will help you generate some good solid keywords. Don’t underestimate your experience and intuition.

 

6.  Construct a blogging schedule. Content calendaring is critical here.

 

a.     A big part of scheduling is understanding what content to post where and when. Most people do not understand the vital role that calendaring plays in running a blog. The publishing of posts has to be synchronized with other marketing efforts such as newsletters, social media posts, whitepapers, and other promotional marketing material. The interplay between your blog posts and other marketing efforts takes a great deal of coordination. As such, it is important to invest a great deal of time in laying everything out clearly and scheduling everything out like clockwork.


b.     Though you have spent a great deal of time setting up your editorial calendar for your blog as well as all your content needs, continually reassessing your calendar is also crucial. You need to be flexible enough to be able to move around the chess pieces to address any issues that arise in your industry or the world at large.


Showing that you are up to date on the latest goes a long way in showing your clients that you are professional and cutting edge. Luckily, regularly posting to your blog forces you to keep current with trends and best practices which, in turn, shows your customer base that you are highly professional. In that vein, you can publish your unique take on anything in your industry. That is a great way to stand out as well.


7.  Track your success.

 

Go back to your original goals. See the measures you considered to be important when setting your goals and keep track of those. There are so many tools, free and subscription, that can help you understand what is and is not working for you. Fortunately, in this digital age, flexibility is totally doable. If something is not yielding the results you like, you can always change it.


Write It Down!

As you can surmise, we enthusiastically support a company’s effort to document their blogging plans. There are several templates that help you do just that. We can offer some suggestions, but we encourage you to choose one that speaks to your business and your employees. Use the one that you are most comfortable with. The actual form is less important than the exercise of writing it. Asking the key questions will ensure that the essential information is included. With over 65% of bloggers actually laying out a strategy, you will be in an elite, professional group once yours is set.

 

 Write Content Solutions was started by Phyllis Lehman who has a passion for writing and helping small businesses succeed so they can compete with bigger players. The internet is the great leveler. You can swim with the big fish! Contact us at 516.855.8551 for all your content marketing needs. We will make sure you feel heard and provide you with the highest quality content for your business.

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