You have a lot to say, but you aren’t quite sure how to say it. In fact, you’re not even sure who you want to say it to, and what they want to hear. For a blogger, this can be dangerous.
After all, your content is everything. It can draw traffic to your website – from search engines, social media profiles, and other blogs – and turn loyal readers into some of your highest-paying customers. It can bring you from a business nobody to a credible and trusted industry leader.
So, where should you start? That’s where content strategy comes in.
WHAT IS A CONTENT STRATEGY? AND WHY DO YOU NEED ONE?
In simplest terms, a content strategy is a broad term for the planning, development, and management of your website’s content. It seems very technical, yes, and many parts of it are. But a content strategy is a necessity if you want your blog to really take off and attract the right audience.
In fact, having a clearly defined content strategy can offer your blog a number of benefits. For example, it can:
- Help you to clearly define your niche. This will improve the quality of content you create and bring in traffic that is more likely to convert.
- Set you up as an industry authority. With the creation of audience-focused content, you’ll be seen as an authority figure.
- Increase your search engine rankings on Google, Bing, and more. The higher you are on search engines, the more traffic your blog will receive.
In short, a content strategy provides a purpose and plan for creating the content that you do for your website and blog.
3 STEPS TO HELP YOU BUILD A TRAFFIC-DRIVING CONTENT STRATEGY
There’s no doubt that a traffic-driving content strategy can be one of the best things you create for your blog. However, the process doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, you can get started in just three steps. Let’s take a look.
1. Consider Your Audience
The very first aspect to consider when creating content for your blog is your target audience. Essentially, who do you want your content to attract? This is a critical question, and it deserves a well thought out and researched answer.
As a blogger, it’s your job to define who you want to reach. Even more importantly, it’s your job to reach them. How can you do this?
There are a few steps you’ll want to follow to be sure you have the full picture of who your audience is and what they’re looking for in terms of content. They are:
- Create an audience persona. With tools like Google Analytics, you can gain an understanding of your current audience’s demographics. You can then either shape your content to fit that demographic, or change it up to more accurately target the demographic you want to target.
- Do your keyword research. Online tools, such as KWFinder, enable you to learn which keywords are most searched within your industry. You can then use the tool to find keywords that both target your audience and rank you well on Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).e
- Practice social listening. What is your audience talking about on social media and other popular industry hangouts? With this knowledge, you can create content that answers their exact questions.
- Engage with them. On industry forums, blog comments, and social media – your audience will tell you exactly what they want to know more about, as well as how you can help them.
- Perform market research. For example, audience surveys can help you understand whether your current content is hitting the mark, as well as what your audience would like to see in the future.
By the end of this process, there are two questions you’ll be able to answer with confidence. First, who is my target audience? Second, what problems do they need solved? With the answers to these questions, you can then move onto the next step in building your content strategy.
2. Develop Your Marketing Strategy
Not to be confused with a content strategy, a marketing strategy helps you to answer the big questions:
- Why are you creating content?
- Who are you creating content for?
- How can your content help them in ways other content cannot?
These answers will – in both small and large ways – guide your overall content strategy and your content creation process. But how can you even begin to answer such questions?
Foremost, clearly define your goals. For example what can you offer your audience that no one else can? What types of content (e.g. blog posts, articles, guides, reports) will help you to achieve this?
Of course, you’ll then need to determine your content management system. How will you create, store, manage, and publish your content? Platforms such as CoSchedule and WordPress enable you to do this all in one place.
3. Develop Your Content Creation Plan
Finally, it’s time to outline your content creation plan. As you may have guessed, this has to do with the actual creation of your blog’s content (including blog posts, articles, email newsletters, etc.).
Content, of course, is the lifeblood of your blog. It’s what attracts your audience, as well as keeps them coming back for more. Additionally, it can establish you as an expert in your niche. This is essential to expanding your brand and really standing out in your industry.
To develop your content creation plan, there are two steps to take. First, you need to define your core types of content. These will be your brand’s pillars, and they should offer value to your readers. Some common types of content include blog posts, guides, white papers, tutorials, etc.). Choose three main types.
Second, it helps to build a detailed content calendar. This is an excellent way to prevent writer’s block, as well as hold yourself accountable to creating content. Not sure where to start? I highly recommend The Content Planner, though there are many other paper and online options to consider, too.
Building a content strategy for your blog from the very start is the only way to be sure you’re creating valuable, high-quality content that aligns with your goals. Your strategy will provide a powerful framework on which you can build as you grow.
Do your have a content strategy for your website? What elements from above will you be sure to incorporate?