The importance of a blog content strategy
Blog-writing is still the #1 most effective strategy in marketing your content and promoting your website. Businesses that post every day have a 5 times higher traffic rate return than those that post less frequently.
While it’s true that from an SEO perspective, blogs build authority and bring in greater traffic figures, from a broader marketing and user-focused perspective that’s not enough. You don’t want that traffic to bounce back out if they click through to find mediocre content. You want to engage the audience, provide them with useful data so that down the line they will remember this positive interaction with your brand and return when they’re further down the buying funnel.
This kind of positive experience and interaction takes planning. Let’s look at how to create a great content plan.
The anatomy of a great content strategy template
The simplest way to get started on your blog content strategy is to use a simple Excel sheet to quickly layout the information and share and collaborate across your team. The columns you add to the sheet will depend on the needs of your strategy, but a good place to start is to include sections such as ‘Date’, ‘Topic’, ‘Keyword Focus’, ‘Internal Links’, ‘Author’ and a ‘Comments/Idea’ section. You can download a handy template I’ve created here to get you started – some more details and explanation is provided within. White Chalk Road’s blog content strategy template.
How to identify topics people want to read about
Now to populate the spreadsheet with some topics that are really going to add some benefit to your website, your customers and potential customers alike. There are so many different ways to come up with topics, but try these for starters:
Address issues you know your customers care about
What’s the best way to find out your customers top concerns and queries? Your sales and/or customer service teams of course – they deal these queries on a day-to-day basis. Talk to them or Look back in your customer service records for issues customers ask about. These questions or concerns from customers give you volumes of information regarding what people care about, especially your customers. So keep a list of complaints or issues that you can work through one at a time.
Another thing to remember is that social media is quickly becoming more of a customer service tool than a marketing tool for business. Look through customer posts, comments and mentions to see what customers are saying about you or asking about your product/service and address these on the blog.
Ask your readership directly
Post a survey on the blog, on your social channels and distribute through your database asking customers what topics they would like to see addressed on your blog. This communicates that you care about what they think and helps you ensure that your topics will engage readers.
Don’t limit your thinking to the written word
If you think certain topics are better tackled visually – either with infographics, images or videos then add these to your plan. These elements often get significantly more engagement, in terms of time on-site, commenting and sharing.
As search engines can’t pick up on the content of images and videos in the same way they can text, you may think these are less beneficial for SEO. However, this is not the case – you just need to think outside the box a little. Ensure your image include optimised alt text, accompany your infographics with comment on the statistics and have your blogs transcribed and post the text below the embedded video.
Address all stages of the sales funnel
Not everyone will be coming to your site ready to buy or even to make a decision. Think about your customer personas and make a list of the concerns at all stages of their buying journey. These can include:
- RESEARCH: In the first stage of shopping, customers tend to look up basic information about their intended purchase. This is where they will likely interact with you first, so as discussed above, offering them useful and helpful information will give them a great first impression of you as a brand that is helpful and caring.
- COMPARING: In the comparing stage, customers compare different brands of products. To address this aspect of the sales process, have side-by-side comparisons of your product and your competitors. Don’t forget the power of video in this stage to condense a lot of comparison info into easily digestible information.
- POST-PURCHASE: Don’t forget about your customers after they have bought with you. Provide useful information on how your product or service can improve their lives or fill needs they may not have originally bought it for. Tips, tricks, cheats, add-ons and free advise will keep customers coming back, improve your reputation and word of mouth referrals.
If you are ready to get started, download our free strategy template, and get your content moving in the right direction!