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How to Create a Winning Blog Content Strategy?

Blog Content Strategy (1)

Having spent the last few years developing a multi-million dollar content website portfolio, I’ve found that few things have been more vital to my success than creating an effective blog content strategy.

After all, this isn’t the Field of Dreams we’re talking about here. Just because we build it (our blogs), that doesn’t mean they (visitors) will necessarily come. 

Instead, building a successful blog that generates traffic and revenue requires setting a goal. Strategically planning out how we will achieve that goal and, most importantly, putting that plan into action is needed.

I don’t want to repeat the tired old mantra that failing to plan is ultimately planning to fail, but it is true that without a content strategy in place, your approach to blogging is going to be akin to the old adage of throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks. It’s a needlessly time-consuming approach at best and outright ineffective at worst. 

But what exactly is a blog content strategy? How do you create one, and what does it need to include to ensure that you’re ready to start a blog that succeeds?

It’s those questions and more that I’m going to answer in the following guide.

What is a Blog Content Strategy?

A blog content strategy is exactly what it sounds like:

Blog post content strategy

A detailed plan that will help you to determine what you want to achieve with your blog and display the process by which you’ll achieve it.

While this may seem like just an extra step between getting started and getting your awesome content out to the world, it’s worth considering that without a strategy in place, that content may end up being simply spewed out into the void with nobody ever knowing it exists.

Yes, I know, that sounds a little extreme, but there’s some truth in it.

IN 2020, Ahrefs conducted a study that found that almost 91% of all published web pages receive absolutely zero organic traffic whatsoever.

Considering that there’s said to be some 7.5 million blog posts published every single day, that’s an awful lot of content that is destined to remain forever unread. 

It doesn’t have to be this way for you.

By putting a strategy in place, you’re giving yourself the best possible chance of ensuring that the blog you worked so hard to create actually gets seen, gets read, and gets you the results you want. 

With that being said, let’s look at how it’s done.

How to Create a Winning Blog Content Strategy in 8 Steps?

winning blog content strategy

The good news is that although creating a winning blog content strategy may take some time, it’s not a complicated process.

Instead, you’ll find that you’ll have everything you need to succeed by following the simple seven-step process below.

1. Set a Goal

The first and most fundamentally important component of your strategy is a clear objective about why you want to create your blog in the first place. 

It pays to approach this from the audience’s perspective and your own, to overarching goals for your brand, business, or website. 

You can do this by asking three key questions:

set a goal for blogging

Why Does Your Blog Exist?

Forget about page views, SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings, and generating X amount revenue by a Y deadline for the time being. Answer this question while keeping your audience in mind.

 What purpose does your blog serve for that audience?

What problem does it help them to solve?

What value do you provide for readers?

When you choose a niche for your blog, what motivated you to choose this particular one over the countless others you could have picked?

For example, I started this blog because I feel that I have a wealth of knowledge and experience in creating successful, profitable content websites and wanted to help others do the same. 

So, if I answered this question, I might say:

The reason my blog exists is to help creators build revenue-generating blogs and content sites in a way that is simple and effective.

How Will You Provide Value?

Here’s where you start to think about your goal in terms of actual content.

Let’s say you’re starting a cooking blog, and you’ve defined yourself, noting that you want to educate people about creating healthy meals that taste good.

The next question is, how are you going to do that?

You might answer, “By providing recipes that are easy and affordable to make.

And if you’re creating a personal blog about your experiences of training for a marathon; you might expand upon your reason by saying:

“The reason my blog exists is to share my journey and inspire others to run a marathon by offering captivating stories and practical lessons that I’ve learned.”

For my blog, I might say that I’m going to provide value to readers by, comprehensive, easy-to-follow, and easy-to-apply advice; on all aspects of creating a successful blog.

 What Result Do You Want From This?

What’s your basic objective from this blog? 

Are you starting this blog to build a brand?

To establish yourself as an influential, authoritative voice in your niche?

Is it your goal to drive sales for your products or services?

To generate revenue via ads or affiliate links?

To raise awareness of an issue or start a campaign?

Do you simply want to have your thoughts and opinions heard?

Putting the answers to all three of these questions together will be easy to create a clearly defined goal. It will help guide and shape not only the rest of your content strategy but also the content itself. 

Going back to our healthy cooking blog idea, for example, the answer to those three questions might result in a goal that looks like this:

Establish myself as an authority figure in the world of affordable, healthy eating and generate new business and branding opportunities by creating simple, cost-effective recipes that even those with limited cooking skills can create easily.

Whereas our marathon blogger might say that her goal is to:

Inspire people to take up running by sharing my personal marathon training journey through regular posts on a blog that generates $500 a year in affiliate links to products and services that I use.

To cut a long story short here, setting a goal like this is akin to setting a destination on your GPS.

It tells you exactly where you’re going with your new blog. The rest of your strategy then defines how you’re going to get to that destination, in other words, how you’re going to achieve that goal. 

2. Come Up With Blog Post Ideas

Now that you know what you want to achieve, it’s time to come up with some compelling blog post ideas to help you achieve it. 

Here’s where you’re going to start thinking seriously about your audience, the types of content they enjoy, and the problems you can help them solve. 

There are a number of ways you can do this: 

Keyword Research

Keyword research is always a great starting point for determining the kind of content your audience is searching for. 

There are so many excellent platforms to help you with this, and I’ve offered my recommendations in my guide to the best keyword research tools. But for this post, I’m going to demonstrate what I’m talking about by using the free Keyword Magic Tool from SEMrush. 

To begin, head to:

https://www.semrush.com/analytics/keywordmagic/start

In the search box provided, enter in a keyword or phrase related to your niche.

Semrush

This brings up a whole range of related keywords and phrases based on real terms that people have typed into search engines.

keyword research list

You’ll notice that some have a high search volume, which means that many people are searching for that specific keyword, while others have a low search volume, which means those terms aren’t as popular. 

You’ll also notice a column labeled “KD%,” which stands for Keyword Difficulty, with the level of difficulty you’ll face ranking for that particular keyword defined as a percentage.

As a general rule, you’ll want to consider a mixture of both high and low-volume keywords when coming up with your content.

Low volume keywords are generally easier to rank for but don’t generally attract the most traffic, whereas high-volume keywords attract scores of traffic but take much more effort to rank well. 

You can experiment by typing in different keywords you want to rank for into the Magic Tool. Look at the popular search terms it generates, and make a strategic decision about which of those search terms you want to rank for. It is indeed an approach that will undoubtedly create a tonne of blog post ideas right off the bat. 

If you want to learn more about doing this, I put together this guide for keyword research. 

Use Google’s People Also Ask

Now that you’ve got a few search terms to try typing one of them into Google and look at the box labeled ‘People Also Ask.’

People Also Ask

Taking the results I generated below, I picked “how to create a successful fitness blog” and noticed that the majority of the People Also Asked results relate to generating revenue from a fitness blog. So if I wanted to target current and potential fitness bloggers, I might come up with some blog post ideas to teach people how to monetize their fitness blogs and what kind of income they could expect to generate. 

As a side tip, the People Also Asked section is also a good source of inspiration for coming up with subheadings and Frequently Asked Questions. 

Eavesdrop on Discussions

Head to Reddit subs, Facebook groups, and online forums related to your niche. Search for niche-related hashtags on Twitter or do likewise on Linkedin.

What are people talking about?

What kind of questions do they have that you could answer?

What kind of problems are you facing that your blog could help them solve?

Think about it: 

For all the keyword research you could do, there’s no greater source for finding out what your audience wants to read about than your audience itself. 

By the time you’ve done all this research, you’ll be able to create an extensive list of blog post titles to write about. 

3. Structure Your Content into Cornerstone Content and Regular Posts

So, you’ve done all the recommended research, and, in doing so, you’ve come up with a potential list of 50 blog posts ideas. 

Now, it’s time to think about how you might begin to structure that content. Obviously, not in terms of the individual posts themselves, but how posts feed in and out of each other. You can build up a kind of hierarchy of internally linked blog posts. 

Start by picking a small handful of blog post ideas that you really want to focus most of your attention on, usually the kind of posts that have the biggest potential for generating traffic, or at the very least, the kind of titles that are going to answer most of the questions your audience has in a single post. 

These titles will be your cornerstone content posts, which, as the name implies, means they’re the posts that serve as the very foundation of your website. As the creators of the Yoast SEO plugin explain it, cornerstone content typically takes the form of longer posts. Longer posts provide a comprehensive overview of everything related to a specific subject, with insights from other blog posts that you can then link out to.

To use the earlier fitness blog idea, you might decide that “How to Start a Fitness Blog” is your cornerstone content.

This will contain a little bit of everything somebody might need to know to start their blog. 

Each section of that post can then refer readers to a separate post for more information.

For example, your cornerstone content might explain things such as:

  • How to create a logo for your fitness blog
  • How to source images for your fitness blog
  • The best WordPress Themes for Fitness blogs etc.

All of these make for great posts in their own right, and, naturally, you’d link back to your cornerstone content in those posts. 

Since internal linking makes a big difference to the success of your blog, it’s essential to start thinking right from the beginning about how your posts might logically link together.

4. Create a Content Schedule / Calendar

Both consistency and persistence are key to your long-term success with blogging. 

Content Schedule / Calendar

After all, if you’re swept up in a flurry of inspiration and post 10 blogs in a single week, then leave your readers with no new content for a month while you work on other content. That’s not going to benefit anybody.

So, with your extensive list of blog posts now organized into a logical structure, it’s time to create a schedule and determine when you’ll publish each post. 

When is the Best Time to Publish a Blog Post?

There’s a lot of information out there about the best days and times to publish your blog posts, though if you read enough of them, you’ll find that even the industry’s top experts can’t exactly agree on when that is. 

Some days it’s weekday mornings, with 9 AM – 10 PM being the optimal time. Others say that it depends on your goals, with the best times for publishing posts with affiliate content being different from those best suited for gaining social shares.

Ultimately then, this may be something you want to experiment with within the early days of your blog, trying out different days and times and checking your analytics to see which ones produce the best results. 

Alternatively, you might be able to take a pretty good guess based on what you know about your audience.

For example, if you’re creating a blog about running, you’ll probably know that most running events take place on the weekend, with the majority on Sundays. So, if you had a post about recovering from a race, you might want to schedule that on a Sunday afternoon or Monday morning when more people are likely to need that kind of content.

Why Consistency Matters with Blog Scheduling?

What matters more than pinpointing down a precise time and day to post is that you’re consistent with it and create an ongoing schedule of content that flows out regularly.

If you decide you’re going to post on Thursdays, for example, be sure that you schedule a new post to be published every Thursday for weeks and months at a time. You will observe that your loyal readers come to learn that you’re going to have new content for them to read when Thursday arrives. And thus, more likely to head to your site in eager anticipation.

Having a regular, consistent schedule also simply ensures that your blog never looks dormant or completely dead. 

If readers see that you’re providing information they want and you do it regularly; there’s a greater chance they’ll subscribe to your blog. May follow you on social media, or, at the very least, bookmark you.

If they get to your site and see that you haven’t posted for a while, they may assume that you’re no longer running your blog and never both coming back.

How a Blog Calendar Helps With Content Creation?

Having a blog calendar doesn’t just help to ensure that you’ve always got a regular batch of completed blog posts to publish. It actually helps you to track the progress of each of those posts before they go live. 

Along with the title of the post and the planned publication date, you can also update the status as each post goes through the stage of the creation process, including:

  • Idea only – not started yet
  • In draft
  • Final post written
  • Images and external media added
  • Proofed and edited
  • Ready for publishing.

This ensures you never lose track of where you’re up to. It can prove particularly invaluable if you have multiple writers and/or editors working on your blog team. And this guarantees that everybody knows what tasks have been assigned to them.

5. Establish Your Blogging Identity

By blogging identity, I’m talking about all of the identifying features, which would mean that, even if a reader couldn’t see your blog logo or name anywhere, they would still recognize a post as coming from you.

The question I’m getting at here is what are the features that make your blog unique and help you stand out from the crowd?

Things to think about here include: 

Your Blogging Tone of Voice

Are you going to write in a friendly and lively style, or will you be more blunt and matter-of-fact?

Are you going to use lots of jargon and write at a high level, such as you might if you were creating a blog for experienced computer programmers? Or will you keep things simple as you probably would if you were talking about the same subject for a beginner audience?

Your Content Creation Guidelines

Are you writing in first person (I, me) or third person (we, our)?

Will all the words in your titles and subheadings be capitalized or just the first one?

Will each post require statistics, figures, and relevant external links to back up what you’re saying?

If you’re writing in English, will you be using American English or switching to British English which is used in more countries worldwide, for greater appeal?

Post Templates or Structures 

You might find it helpful to create a template, or at least a recommended structure, for each type of blog post that you want to create. 

For example, if you’re going to be writing in-depth reviews of individual products or services, you might decide that each post should be laid out the same way with the following structure:

  • Introduction
  • Overview of the product/service
  • Key features
  • Pros and Cons
  • Alternative products/services
  • Conclusion.

You can save these templates as documents that can be edited or, if you write directly into your blogging platform, as a draft post that can be copied and modified.

Blog Post Visuals

Where will you source images for each post?

Should the images be resized to certain dimensions for the sake of usability and page load speeds?

Will each image have a caption?

What are your rules for alt tags?

What about featured images/post headers?

Decide on these identifying features, and you’ll stand a much better chance of success when it comes to building your brand and gaining recognition as a recognized voice in your niche. 

 6. Create Your Content 

With all of the above in place, you’re now primed and ready to start creating quality content. You know exactly what you’re going to write about, how you’re going to write it, and what key things you need to include in each post.

how to create content

At this stage, you may want to have some additional rules or guidelines in your content strategy to help you out.

Depending on the nature of your blogging process, this could include:

  • Always pitching a draft version to an editor for approval before working on the final copy
  • Always running your finished content through tools like Grammarly to check for proper spelling and punctuation
  • Always ensure that each post contains relevant internal links.

7. Determine How You’ll Promote Your Blog Posts

While everything we’ve looked at so far will undoubtedly help you to increase the level of organic traffic your blog generates, there are still plenty of benefits to be had from thinking about how to promote your blog far and wide. 

how to promote your blog

Think about which social media platforms your audience is most active on and when you can post your new links for maximum engagement.

Think about whether you’re going to start an email list or what other methods you could use to get even more eyeballs on your content. 

 8. Track, Analyze, and Improve

By now, your blog content strategy has everything you need to start posting all of your great content, but that doesn’t mean you’re done with the strategy itself. 

It should also contain information about how you’ll continue to improve your blog to drive more traffic or achieve whatever goals you have in place. 

Will you use tools like Google Analytics or another tool to regularly track how your posts are performing?

What Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will you use to measure the success of each post. 

What does the success of one particular type of blog post or keyword focus versus the failure of other posts and keywords tell you about what your audience really wants and how you can provide it?

Try things out, look at what’s working and what isn’t, and continually refine and fine-tune your blog content strategy to further build on your success. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Writing a Blog Content Strategy

Ans. An effective content strategy aligns your goals with the needs of your audience to help you create content people want to read, which will, in turn, help you increase traffic and/or generate revenue.

Ans. A blog content strategy should be a written document that can be edited and revised as your blog grows. While it doesn’t need to be the biggest document in the world, it does have to be comprehensive so that you can be sure you’ve thought of every last detail for your posts.

Ans. At a bare minimum, your content strategy should include a goal for your blog, as well as your post titles which you’ll present in a content schedule or calendar.

Creating a Winning Blog Content Strategy – A Final Word of Advice 

Look, I get it:

If you’ve read this guide, then you’ve probably reached the conclusion that creating a truly effective blog content strategy is something that takes a fair amount of time and effort, and you’d, of course, be entirely correct.

You have even started to question whether it’s even worth it, determining instead that all that time creating a strategy is time you could spend doing what you really want to be doing; creating your blog posts. If that sounds like agreeing, allow me to leave you with one final piece of advice. 

Yes, creating a winning content strategy takes time, but it’s better to spend that time now on creating a strategy that you can actually use to get people to read your posts than it is to spend all that time creating a post that may join the other 91% of web pages that nobody ever looks at. 

Do this now, and you’ll be much better equipped for success down the line. 

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