10 steps to creating a content strategy for your blog

Setting up a blog is only the first step in a long journey to creating great content. The most successful bloggers have a plan and strategy that guides their what, when and why of content. Here’s how you can do it too:

1 Plan for success:

What do you want your blog to achieve? More subscribers? An increase in page views for advertising purposes? Building brand trust, likeability or positioning yourself as a thought leader in your field? Whatever it is you must set yourself a goal: if it’s more subscribers – how many do you want? If you want recognition from your peers - who are they?

2 Work out who you’re talking to:

Before you type your first post you need to think about who you’re talking to and understand why they care what you’ve got to say. There are thousands of blogs out there – with regular and loyal readers. How can you make your blog a new edition to their daily/weekly read?

3 Express your personality:

Rip up all the rule books that school ever taught you about writing. Write how you speak and write from your heart. Show the human voice behind your brand. Maybe you’ll choose to be witty, satirical or just educational - whichever approach you take be consistent.

4 Stand out from the crowd:

Work out what makes your company unique and write about it. Is it your expertise, the data you hold or perhaps you have a creative flair? What do your customers like about you? Find your angle, something that is different from your peers, and cultivate a voice and tone that makes your blog unique. Read our interview with Finnish marketing entrepreneurs, 33 Company, on how they do this.

5 Create an editorial calendar:

Newspapers and magazines wouldn’t be without them. An editorial calendar will enable you to schedule news-style stories depending on the time of year, an annual sporting event or industry highlight. This combined with an ideas collecting app like Evernote (which enables you to store articles you’ve read/are saving for later) helps you to combat writer’s block and gives you a structure to your year.

6 Vary your content:

Remember that the written word is not the only form of content that can be carried on your blog. Mix it up a bit – from list posts, link round ups, photo showcases, opinion pieces, infographics, video-logs, interviews, cartoons – there’s so much you can do to keep your readers interested.

7 Have a publishing schedule:

Adapted from Content Marketers Ann Handley & CC Chapman book “Content Rules” you can create a formula, like theirs (1-7-30-4-2-1) to suit your needs. Broadly it means 1 = tweet something of value daily, 7 = write one new blog a week, 30 = create a meatier post (perhaps an interview) monthly, 4 = publish a piece of research quarterly.

8 Find your influencers:

These are people who will talk about your content within your industry. You can identify who they are and how influential they are by the number of engaged followers/fans they have on social media sites by looking them up on Wefollow or Lissted. These people are successful because they continually post, tweet, reblog and highlight content that helps their followers.

9 Distribute & promote:

It could be the greatest piece of prose or the most creative of Instagram images – but if no one sees it or reads it – it’s a waste of your time, energy and money. Socialising your content on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or other social sites is the organic way of reaching out to your fans and followers. But this takes time (especially if you’ve not got lots of people following you, yet). So opting to pay companies like Outbrain – that post links to your headlines on relevant blog sites or national news sites - is a faster way to achieve greater coverage.

10 Reel your readers in deeper:

The piece they’re reading on your site is the hook… but to keep them reading more you need to reel them in. Companies like Outbrain do this cleverly for national newspapers/magazine sites – by recommending further posts based on the viewer’s trends. You can do it more informally by cross referencing previous blogs on your site in every post. Very much like the way Wikipedia does on its site – continually including internal links between articles – which captures readers for longer.

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