If you want your blog to be as successful as it is personally rewarding, then the creation of quality content must be the centerpiece of your strategy. Though promotion and marketing are essential in bringing readers to your blog, it’s the unique and value-packed posts that will keep them engaged, sharing, and coming back for more.
Of course, you don’t have to weigh yourself down with pressure to make each blog post a revolutionary reading event. However, there are some key strategies you should apply to every piece of content you create to ensure you’re delivering maximum value to readers while impressing the search engine algorithms that will help drive traffic to your site.
The following guide will take you through each important step of a solid blog content strategy.
Research: how to ensure your blog content is relevant
A great place to kick your research off is with the blogs and websites that are already authorities in your niche. Make a list of these sites and then head over to Google’s Keyword Planner. Here, you can select “Discover New Keywords” and then you have an option to “start with keywords” or “start with a website.”
If you already have some keywords in mind, enter one on the “start with keywords” tab and then add the URL for one of the websites on your list to the filter. This will give you a table featuring the top-performing keywords on the site along with the average monthly searches and the level of competition you’ll be looking at.
If you don’t have any keywords in mind yet, click on the “start with a website” tab and enter one of the URLs on your list to get all their top-performing keywords.
Once you have a list of viable keywords, start searching for articles on your list of authority websites so that you can get a feel for what’s already out there, what makes the content engaging, and whether there’s anything missing that you could address on your website.
Be sure to go through the comments for each of these posts as this is where you’ll find all the questions and disagreements people have. Though you will likely find a lot of spamming and trolling, you will also stumble across plenty of inspiration for creating valuable blog content
Other tools you’ll want to bookmark for your blog research:
- Quora – This site is where you will find the internet’s most pressing questions. Enter your keywords into the search bar and you’ll be gifted with all the questions people are asking about the subject. Answer these questions on your blog, and you’ll be providing the content readers are hoping for.
- Industry-specific forums and subreddits – Like Quora, these pages are packed full of all the questions people need answers for, making them valuable resources for blog post inspiration.
- BuzzSumo – This tool will show you all the top-performing content relating to your keywords, allowing you to see what’s already out there, what’s likely to perform well, and what gaps you can fill.
- Ask The People – Enter your keyword into this search tool and it will deliver visual representations of the questions people are asking on the topic.
- Keyword Tool – An excellent free tool for keyword research that doesn’t even require that you set up an account, making it quick and easy to use.
- KWFinder – Fantastic for novice bloggers, this tool does more than just help you research keywords. Enter the subject you’re keen on writing about and KWFinder will deliver the easiest keywords to rank for.
Brainstorming: the secret to coming up with unique article ideas
Though your content strategy must involve research, this is not the only way to come up with ideas that will be relevant to readers. As an expert in your niche, your mind is a valuable resource filled with ideas and concepts people don’t yet know they need to hear about.
Of course, not every thought that occurs to you will be gold, so your best strategy here is to write everything down in a journal. Ideas have a sneaky way of coming to you in the least convenient moments, so be sure to keep a notepad in reach at all times. That way, you’ll be ready to capture them as they come.
Dedicate a couple of hours each week to reviewing your ideas and researching them to see what’s already out there. Add the good ones to your content schedule. With time and practice, you’ll develop a sixth sense for what’s going to resonate with your audience.
Reinvention: how to create truly valuable blog content
You don’t need to create a reality-shaking paradigm shift with every blog post. However, you do need to add something new to every topic you write on.
From your research, you will likely find that the most-searched topics have also been written about by countless other bloggers before you. This doesn’t mean you can’t add your voice to the mix, but it does mean you have to offer readers something novel.
One of the best ways to do this is to use your personal experiences. No-one will ever have the same stories as you, meaning the insight you gained from them is guaranteed to be unique. Add to this the fact that, as a species, we’re wired to love storytime, and you’ve got a recipe for a powerful blog post. Stories make your content far more captivating for your audience than straight advice or industry-speak, and they allow you to be more creative and thoughtful with your language, making it wins all around.
Another great strategy is to ensure you’re subscribed to journals that are relevant to your industry. For example, a fitness blogger should consider subscribing to scientific journals that regularly publish health studies, while a hunting enthusiast may want to subscribe to nature journals. This will allow you to work the latest scientific findings and industry-specific revelations into your blog content.
In addition to these strategies, you should also consider going deeper than your competitors have. Many bloggers fall into the habit of skimming the surface with the content they provide. Don’t be afraid to go deeper.
Imagine you’re researching a topic and you find a bunch of articles that give you a vague sense of things and then one kickass post that gives you every bit of detail you were looking for in a logically laid-out format packed with content that’s fun to read. Where will you be going next time you have an interest in that subject matter?
Formatting: the importance of SEO in content creation
Let’s take a moment to dive into the best strategy for designing your posts. Fortunately, modern search engine algorithms have become so sophisticated that the best formatting for search engine optimization (SEO) will also give your readers an enjoyable experience.
Here are some quick and dirty pointers for formatting your blog posts:
- Create engaging titles – The title is your first hook to attract reader attention, so it needs to contain your keyword and be structured in a way that grabs attention. If you’re not confident in your title writing capabilities, this free headline analyzer is a great tool for testing ideas and honing your skills.
- Keep paragraphs short – Though news of our shrinking attention spans has been greatly exaggerated (it’s better to think of them as evolving and adapting rather than shrinking), it is true that we prefer digital content to be in bite-sized pieces. This makes empty space a blogger’s best friend. Keep your paragraphs at around one to three sentences in length and you’ll improve your read rates.
- Break content up with subheadings – This tactic allows readers to skim your content, understand it at a glance, and then dive into the sections relevant to them. In addition to improving the human experience, it allows you to naturally reiterate your keywords (particularly longtail keywords) and boost your rating with the search engine algorithms.
- Include external links – If you’ve referenced and sources or statistical data, be sure to add a link within the text (set to open in a new tab). These links add authority to what you’re saying while connecting you out to the great wide web.
- Add internal links – Wherever relevant, link readers to other content on your website. This will keep humans engaged (thus boosting time on site and page views) while revealing the logical structure of your website to search engines.
Organization: how to create a posting schedule for your blog
Believe it or not, the way you add content to your blog has an impact on how search engine algorithms treat it. Blogs that feature a steady stream of new articles tell the algorithms that they’re organized, authoritative, and growing. This allows them to rank higher than competitors who are writing content whenever they feel like it and uploading sporadically.
This doesn’t mean you have to create a new post every single day, but it does mean that you need to set yourself a schedule and stick to it. Consistency is key.
Depending on your budget and personality, some organizational tools you may wish to consider include:
- A physical planner – Some people just work better with non-digital planning tools. If you’re a hands-on person and you prefer to work with tangible tools, consider getting yourself a planner.
- Google calendar – This free tool can be accessed via your Gmail account and allows you to create your own editorial calendar, giving you the option to add email reminders and popup notifications.
- CoSchedule – If you’d like to upgrade from the basics of Google calendar, CoSchedule offers a blog calendar that you can get as a standalone or as part of a marketing suite. The latter option allows you to handle your content and marketing schedules in one place. CoSchedule offers a free trial so you can see whether it’s worth the swap.
- Monday or Slack – If you’re working with any freelancers, these project management tools allow you to organize everything intuitively, giving you an instant snapshot of the big picture while allowing you to drill down into the finer details that will get you there. You can monitor progress on projects and keep everything on schedule.
Where to next with your blog content?
Once you’ve got some killer content cracking, it’s time to start sharing it with the world. To get started on this, check out our comprehensive guide to promoting your blog.