You need content strategy for your blog
Writing for the sake of it is no longer an option. Not in social media and, above all, not in your blog. That means that, before you start your own blog, particularly if it is a professionally-oriented blog, you should devote time and effort to the creation of a good content strategy.
Design and the visual aspects of your blog are essential, of course, and you should focus on them too. Choosing a good template (wordpress or whatever system you prefer) will be a nice start not only to get visits, but to prevent users from leaving at once because they find your blog “hideous”. Colours, the way posts are displayed (several formats are available: horizontally, vertically, using scroll)... and so on are fundamental aspects to be taken into account.
Once you have finished this (which will provide you with visitors, as we said before, who don’t leave at once) what matters the most is having content that is good enough (high-quality content) to cater for the needs and desires of your visitors. If you have such content, visitors will stay in your blog. How can you achieve that? By creating an excellent content strategy.
What do I need content strategy for?
There are thousands of blogs on the Internet. Easy-to-use tools, such as wordpress or blogging, have contributed (a lot) to almost everybody having access to creating content and telling about their experiences.
This is a wonderful thing, as it has also fostered the need to improve the quality of what we write. There’s “plenty of everything” and there may always be somebody who writes better than you, who is more experienced than you or who knows better about what users need. Never forget that.
This is the fundamental reason why you need content strategy for your blog. You simply can’t post the first thing that comes to your mind, no matter how great you consider it to be. And of course, you can’t just post it at a time when the content will be the least effective.
What, when and how, in terms of posting, are extremely important, and now they are more important than ever.
Where shall my strategy begin?
Step 0 when creating your blog involves setting your main goal. This will be the driving force for your content, the reason why you will be writing periodically. What’s that? Make your brand known, generate indirect sales, just write about what you like...
Your goals are suitable, no matter what they are, just because they are yours. From then on, you will be able to craft your strategy. That’s where we start.
Once step 0 is over, the first thing you need to analyze and determine is: which will be the area and the subject to be discussed in your blog?
At this point, you will have many doubts: should I open my blog open to many subjects? Should I zoom in to a particular subject and become an expert in the field?
There are many possible answers to these questions. In order to solve the conundrum, you will need to do market research and find out about what you want to write.
Perhaps, if you are planning to provide content in the technology field, you may broaden your area to several different categories, thus offering several solutions to users.
On the other hand, if you are thinking of writing about tourism, a more widespread subject, it would be better to focus in just one aspect and become a specialist. (These are just examples, the real question can only be answered by means of in-depth research).
Once you have chosen your subject, you will need to divide the prospective audience into several groups.
Who do you want to write for?
Make out a general profile (or even better, a very personal profile) of what you want your target audience and your readers to be like.
The more you know about them, the more you will be able to tailor the contents to them, and success will be greater. Age, location, job, likes and dislikes, life timings, educational status...
All this will help you know them better.
Remember that the more you know about somebody, the more you can provide them with what they need and ask for.
Now... stop! You already know why you are going to write and create a blog (goal), what you are going to write about (subject) and whom you are going to write for (audience)... and here comes the one-million-dollar question: What is your value proposition? What will be the driving force in your blog?
This, no matter how petty it may seem, is a fundamental issue when it comes to the content you generate. At all costs, don’t let your blog become a burden, something you “must” take care of, because your writing will show that and your readers will find it out.
If your blog is not a passion, if it doesn’t help you improve, if it doesn’t empower you or if it doesn’t become an outlet for your creativity... then you’d better avoid writing or hire somebody to do the writing for you.
As we mentioned before, there are many blogs on the Internet, and you should try and manage to be the best.
Your value proposition is essential, and this is what you should work for.
Demand for content
Having said that, let’s move further on with the strategy. The following step involves the demand for content. Current issues come first in 99% of the subjects around us. You need to listen to what is being said, what is happening and, of course, what your readers need to know.
And then you should give it to them. Write for them, to be useful to them and to help them find in your blog something that may really help them solve a situation in their lifes.
By doing so, you will manage to get them back and to add your blog to a frequent-use toolkit in order to find answers, and above all... You will get them talk about you! How can I know all that? By listening to your users in social networks, and of course, by monitoring your competitors.
They will be monitoring you as well, and you should take them into account as wise sources that are also able to identify the needs of readers.
Take a look at what they write, when, how, and the best of all... try to move forward and be the first to provide the content, as a premiere.
Once you have finished the aforementioned analysis, you may create your content strategy, in which you will include all subjects you may write about, which will become interesting posts.
Analyze the most relevant keywords that will help your SEO positioning and will keep your post in searches.
Keep images into account as well (remember that images are the first thing in your text that may attract your readers, and help them decide to start reading your post) so spare no time, efforts or resources in achieving excellent graphic images.
Last but not least, add a calendar to your strategy on how to publish your content. It’s not so much about publishing a lot and publishing every day, but about establishing a periodicity and sticking to it. If you can’t write posts every day, then just don’t do it: set a timing that is easier for you to comply with.
Perhaps 2 posts a week are more than ok for your blog, but make sure to generate a routine. Always publish on the same days and, of course, at the same given time. Let your readers know beforehand when the content they are waiting for will be available, and this will increase their loyalty.
Now you can really start creating the content strategy for your blog, something as basic as having a place to write your posts.
Don’t jump head-first into it, plan ahead before you take any move and this will help you avoid disappointment and failure. It’s much better when you stop before and think than when you need to stop later on to correct mistakes (the latter is much more demanding and effort-consuming).
Remember: content, its quality and usefulness are key points. Don’t get too worried about creating much content with little sense: quality is much better than quantity. You may start doing research now... writing will come later.