How to Develop a Web Content Strategy for Your Blog
You should have read it for at least the tenth time. If you use a blog as a tool for your independent publishing venture, the blog is your business. For others, it may be your marketing machine, publishing tool, or other names.
But every time I write about strategy, I need to drive this point home. And I will never stop until I receive no more email from people who want to cut the fluff and go straight to the money talk.
Well, I’ll be happy if the money talk they refer to is web content strategy for their blog, but it isn’t. Oftentimes, the topic they want to know is how to get overnight riches by blogging.
Forget that for a moment. In this post, instead of writing about how wrong most bloggers are, let’s focus on how to do this right. Don’t hold your breath though. Web content strategy is not a buzzword by all means. In fact, the name may sound a bit boring.
The Why Part
Simply put, web content strategy is your plan for content production to achieve one or a set of goals, either for your web site or blog.
It is not just random ideas that you want to put out over time, but also the sequence that creates an order. It may be much easier to churn out a piece of content over another, but how do you do it with an impact is also part of the strategy.
Having a blog content strategy and following it as close as possible will accelerate the growth of your blog. For some bloggers who intend to create content-laden blog around a certain topic, a strategy allows them to create a rich resource for the community as quickly as possible with their existing time.
With no strategy, you tend to repeat yourself. Or worse still, shooting in the dark without even knowing where the target is.
Compelling content is one thing. I’ve seen a bunch of blogs with it, but still the bloggers struggle to take it off the ground. Channeling content toward the right direction, as it turns out, is really the missing ingredient in most blogs.
And this is where content strategy can help.
Keys to a Successful Blog
You heard it numerous times. You need to follow your passion or interest. That will help you win in the long run.
The rest is about creating compelling content. For that, you need to understand your audience. You need to write authentically. You also want to do it consistently. If your audience starts to respond, it is your responsibility to make them feel like home.
Make your blog a comforting place to come back for discussion or more content. And yes, not all blogs, in my opinion, need to enable blog comments. If you choose blog comments as a way for the audience to get back to you, learn how to do it right.
Sounds simple? It does. The most difficult part is in getting all the attention you deserve. In this high-noise world, you need to do something extraordinary to get your message through. You can learn all the blog promotion tactics I know by reading the article.
As I put this in context, by now you should be able to see how blog content strategy can help you create order. It also solves many troubles that most bloggers have, such as writer’s block and how to create a worthwhile show for your blog readers and subscribers.
Whether you are just getting started or you have been blogging for some time, you can start this process. Don’t worry, it is just a simple 3-step process, but the result can be powerful.
1. Know the Purpose of Your Blog
Many bloggers when asked about it, don’t know how the answer right away. There lies the problem. If you want to create a business with or out of your blog, you need to engage the readers with your blog posts.
Getting them a tidbit of information may help, but where the piece of content fits in in the big picture determines whether your existing audience is going to stay with you or not.
This blog, for instance, strives to provide technical and strategic support for newbie and seasoned bloggers and web site publishers in general. Admittedly, that’s a big thing to chew at once, so I have to start somewhere.
I realize that we don’t live in an ideal world, but at the very least I know where I want to bring this blog to and the role of content, my audience (you) and how every piece contributes.
Without a doubt, something will change, perhaps even radically but one thing for sure is that you can get involved in making this blog a better resource for everyone.
2. Give What They Want, But Serve a Need
If you read any marketing book, you should know that people rarely make a buying decision based on their needs. They do it because they want to. After the purchase, they make an adjustment as to why they buy so that they seem to be logical.
Albeit the fact, I still believe that the key to building a business is not to serve a want. By all means you should give them what they want with your content. If they want to know how to grow roses, give quickstart information so they can apply immediately and get in motion.
However, you are still obliged to nail down a need and go for that as the base for your business. To take an example that I’m most familiar with, i.e. my business, I regularly create blog posts about how to make money blogging.
Over the long haul, I focus on how to create useful web content and build multiple streams of income from existing audience. People who have realized that money from blogging doesn’t come so easily will start appreciate the real value of such information.
And that’s where the money really is.
How do you know what’s the audience wants and needs? The Internet makes it almost too easy for this kind of task. No longer do you need to spend time and money to research the market. The only thing you’ll need is to immerse in the topic you are blogging about.
Now you can just visit discussion boards and dig through the archives to learn a bunch of stuff about your target market. And as your blog develops, the more you engage with other forum regulars, the more you’ll learn about them.
Keyword research tool is also a way to predict the kind of content search users really want to look for. That is the easy part though. It takes deep understanding about the users to create the right content that satisfies wants and needs.
The process may sound simple but as much as any blogger expects to get it perfectly from the start, this is truly a combination of both science and art.
No one can turn 100 percent of the visitors into loyal readers and customers. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Knowledge and experience certainly count. And that sets the direction of your blog and whether you will be able to make it or not.
Rather than trying to satisfy everyone, try to zero in on a segment of the market and make them relate to you most.
3. Create Strategy to Fulfill Your Blog’s Purpose
Based on the information you’ve collected in the first and second steps, now it’s time to create a strategy that brings the most impact.
As I wrote earlier, you can always pick an idea, turn it into good content and regularly update your blog that way. But even that may become quite monotone, both for you and your audience.
Article series, for instance, builds anticipation. It gives the readers more complete information that you can’t otherwise give in a single blog post.
Contests and group writing are other interesting examples. They help you establish conversations and build community with your blog. However, it is important not to overuse them.
Can you imagine a blog with a new contest every week? I bet you’ll agree that the tactic will soon worn out and become ineffective.
This is another part where everyone does it differently. Even if you follow the exact same system, most likely your contest is going to be different from other bloggers.
Your job as a blogger is to find an interesting combination of various content formats and engagement methods. Effectively this will not only attract interested readers who want information from you, but also establish a bond that is unique to your community.
Most bloggers simply have to satisfy the need of the audience and let the crowd lead the way. People will often show you which kind of product they want to buy, of which you can step forward and fulfill that for them.
But still people expect you to lead in a way that they want to be part of. A blog is a great tool for this and your strategy creates the path to reach there from where you are right now.
Remember that being entertaining, in addition to useful, can make your blog really stand out. I know some bloggers who inject personal stories in such a way that enrich the reader’s experience and involvement. That certainly a tactic worth trying.
Whenever you are with your blog, web content strategy can help your blog reach the destination you set faster. And most likely in a more interesting way.
A good content strategy is not a set of rules. It should be flexible. In fact, you should expect it to change regularly. Just that with it, you always know where you want to go at certain point of time.
Another tool that can definitely help is a blog editorial calendar. If the content strategy is the map, blog editorial calendar is the path you plan and set on paper to reach your goal.
Combination of both can really lay a solid foundation on which you can build your blog. If you’ve ever in the position of wondering what to write for your blog, you know how valuable this can be. Best of all, every post moves you closer to the blog’s purpose instead of just random post to fill in the schedule.
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