8 Steps to Create a Successful Blogging Strategy
While evolving with technology, blogging has still been one of the best and easiest ways to establish a strong branded web presence. However, ever since the birth of the Internet, blogging today has become more competitive than ever.
Considering a few blogging statistics, the Internet today is packed with over a billion blogs posting well over 40 million posts a week; that’s over 150 million posts a month. Capitalising among this behemoth count can be highly competitive and struggling.
That’s one of the prime reasons why 55% of bloggers adhere to a documented blogging strategy before proceeding with their blog. A decent blogging strategy has been the underlying story of almost all successful blogs and bloggers. And that effectively touches many aspects of blogging, from how to start a blog to promoting and growing with disciplined consistency at its core.
But then, what exactly is a blogging strategy, and how to formulate one? Let’s have a closer look.
What is a Blogging Strategy?
Blogging strategy can be understood as the task of planning and deploying a blueprint layout of how to proceed with the process of blogging in the long run. This includes defining the tasks strategically with strict time constraints based on thorough statistical & empirical analysis of relevant data and information.
Sounds too jargonish, right? That sounds more than just a formal definition; however, the rest of the details will be covered in an elaborative fashion in the sections to come. For the time being, understand that blogging strategy is the process of planning and strategising the complete task of running a blog to make it results-driven, goal-oriented, and successful.
At the end of the statement, the term – date and information refers to the analytical outcomes of our research & analysis that you perform, with the base being web and search analytics.
Strategy formulation for blogging depends on various factors that essentially involve the industry or niche in the blog to be built. However, creating and implementing an effective blogging strategy can be generalised for all cases and be used with the desired tweaks and adjustments.
There are countless articles and posts on selecting the domain, server and other etceteras of starting a blog. This post is intended for viewers who are already into blogging or are planning to get involved and have a basic understanding of the “how-to-setup” thing when it comes to blogging.
So without wasting any more time, let’s deep-dive into the Steps needed to formulate and define a successful blogging strategy.
1 – Define the Prime Intent of Setting Up Your Blog
Whether initiated as an individual or a business, a blog is always set up for some reason or intent. Whether it is informing the visitors about a particular topic or niche, whether it is about building a community of like-minded demographics, or nurturing leads regarding your products or services, a blog has its reasons for being deployed.
So before setting up the blog, you must answer the purpose you are setting up the blog for. Here are a few suggestions that can help you out and define the purpose of your blog:
- Share information as an industry expert or a subject matter expertise, or in generalised – magazine form;
- Build a community;
- Inform visitors about your business-related products and services, or share consumer stories of product/service use; (or, in other terms – enhance branding);
- Nurture leads with your product or service through value-driven and valuable information.
- Generate revenue and turn it into a direct source of income;
- Grow your brand (business or individual) through content.
Realising your blog intent would clarify your vision in defining the goals and setting appropriate and scalable targets.
2 – Define Targets and Set up Timelines
Once the blog’s intent is set, it is time you start defining your targets and setting up timelines for those goals. The primary intent of this step is to narrow down the intent you had set up in step 1 and refine it to quantifiable, scalable figures.
The metrics related to the blog’s web analytics can be used as the key performance indicators for quantifying the goals. There are several KPIs that measure your blog that you can use for creating and setting up your goals. Some of these KPIs can be:
- total monthly visitors;
- total unique visitors in a month;
- clicks on CTAs (Call to Action);
- conversion/lead generation via forms;
- earnings from AdSense or similar services;
- earnings via affiliates, etc.
You can easily use these KPIs to set up scalable and achievable goals. Scalability makes the goals more practical and achievable when done with some sensible considerations of the influencing factors.
3- Do Your Analysis and Research
This is one of the extensive steps needed to set up a blogging strategy. So to simplify the whole thing, this step is divided into 3 phases:
Phase 1 – Analyse Your Target Audience – Learn About Their Needs & Wants
One of the critical things to understand here is that when it comes to content, whether in a specific niche or general terms, you can never find that ‘one-size-fits-all’ technique or formulae to satisfy your audience.
The concept of gaining authority among the audience is directly related to the problems they face and how you can solve them with your content. So decide a tone for your content and do some research to review what your target demographics can be searching for.
The best places to conduct such research are platforms like Q&A websites (Quora, Yahoo Answers, and Fluther). Besides, social media can be a good source of knowing what can be trending among people.
Pro Tip: Use tools like BuzzSumo to get a thorough and routined update on what topic is trending among your industry’s web audience, and use those statistics for your content strategy.
Phase 2 – Analyse How Your Competitors Are Performing
When doing your research, don’t ignore your competitors. Make sure you have a list of a handful of them to keep an eye on!
These competitive websites, at times, can be some of the best sources of inspiration for creating your content. And with tools like SEMRush Competitive Gap Analysis, you can also work your way to find out your competitors’ weak spots and capitalise on them to create your upper hand.
Doing the research also helps us understand what experiments competitors do with their web content from time to time, which can be highly time-saving when doing those experiments yourself for testing!
Also, remember, when reviewing your competitors, do keep track of how they distribute and promote their content outside their website. Track the keywords and hashtags they target, analyse their timings of posting, and their frequency to work your way around to understand their overall approach.
Tools like Competitive Analysis – AHREFS, Competitive Research – SEMRush, Open Site Explorer – Moz, and Competitive Research – SpyFu come in handy in doing the research efficiently. These tools also offer a flexible and ergonomic user interface that highlights the essential metrics, and detecting the data and information of value is never a problem!
Phase 3 – Select the Topics That Trend – Back Them in Content with Proper Keywords
While Phase 1 & 2 will already bag you with loads of valuable information on what topics to choose for your blog content and which topics to workaround, you will still need to do a bit of (in fact, a lot of) keyword research to find relevant and related terms that get searched by people online.
Again tools such as Google Ads Keyword Planner, UberSuggest Neil Patel, Keyword Research – SEMRush, and Keyword Explorer AHREFS are some of the best to do your research.
Make sure you document your data in proper excels and spreadsheets for further manual analysis as it will be needed in further stages, especially once you start seeing growth on your blog.
4 – Devise an Executable Content Calendar
Once the above steps are executed, you’ll be ready with plenty of data to perform further operations. We mean to devise a feasible and executable blog content calendar by further operations.
Try assuming a timeline of 45-60 days while formulating your content strategy. Depending on your resources available, you may feel free to shuffle with the frequency. Bloggers can easily cover up to one post a week in writing individually, so try to keep a minimum frequency of at least 4 to 6 posts a month.
Make sure to arrange those topics and posts per the keywords and the trends. While it may seem content, creating a blog content calendar is just one side of the story. Strategising things means staying ahead of time.
This would require you to go beyond the simple blog post content calendar and instead extend it to a formal and complete (as much as possible) Editorial Calendar.
An editorial calendar would include a complete set of content that needs to be generated alongside the blog content to cover up for promotional activities, including social media and email (newsletters and promotional) and third-party distribution channels.
5 – Start Creating Your Content – Maintain Quality and Consistency
While it is a prominent part of a blogger’s job to create healthy and consumable content on a routine basis, the factors of consistency and content being valuable for readers in terms of consumability are the prime matter of concern here.
You can read thousands, if not hundreds, of case studies on blogs that failed to capitalise after gaining traction due to inconsistency or because of failure to generate high-quality content.
And you would not want your blog to be a part of those case study lists. So no matter how small the frequency you set for blog posting, make sure to deliver value to the reader of your blog with your content. Whether working on content yourself or letting a team take command, you will have to ensure that quality measures are taken care of while creating content.
Good content demands a thorough understanding of the topic backed by sufficient researched data, so make sure that the blog posts qualify these formal aspects.
Work on topics like How-Tos, Complete Guides, and deliver valuable statistics and facts related to the industry; try to use topics that help you justify your subject matter expertise in the industry.
In the meantime, maintaining consistency is equally important. Search engines like Google have their criteria for prioritising those blogs in search engine result pages that are consistent in their posting schedules and update their blog content regularly.
Just like a curious subscriber will wait for your blog posts to get updated with new content on a routine basis, failure of which may affect their relation and perception of your brand, the same can be said for search engines. You may lose traction over SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) if you don’t routinely deliver content.
6 – Select Your Promotional Channels and Define Your Approach
Today, hardly any blog works with the concept’ post good quality content, and people will come. If you do so, there are high chances that you will again lose your post along with the six million-plus posts that go live every day.
To avoid this mistake, make sure to promote your content on the right platforms and mediums and at the right time.
Keep promotion at the heart of your strategy when you blog. Deliver equal weightage in terms of priority besides creating content as it can turn the tables and help you see compelling results from the first day.
In terms of promotion, there are many activities that you can perform. The list includes (but is not limited to) the traditional social media promotion, email market campaigning, SEO link building, collaboration and outreach.
Besides, the PPC campaigns can also be effective in some cases where there is a sufficient budget allocation for it and when there are higher returns guaranteed. However, depending on the industry type and nature of the blog, this may or may not be required, so it is not covered in whole.
Outreaching and collaborating with niche-relevant and fellow bloggers is also an effective means of gaining healthy exposure on the web and getting promoted in front of the target audience. These two tactics have been widely used and are equally effective in delivering desired results when done the right way.
7 – Monitor Post Publishing & Post Promotion Outcomes
Measuring the performance of your blog post-publishing and post-promotion is as crucial as formulating and executing the blogging strategy. The monitoring process at this step will help you understand how your strategy has performed in its calendar cycle.
Analysing the search and web analytical metrics also helps us realise the possible faults with our content strategy and also helps us get conclusive in our A/B testings.
These figures help document feedback on “To-Do’s” and “To-Improve’s” and help structure a more robust blogging strategy.
Several free and paid tools help you get general analytical feedback from your blogging and promotional campaigns. Here is a list of useful ones that are commonly used and will surely help you a lot in your blogging journey:
Search Analytics – SEMRush, AHREFS, SpyFu, Google Search Console, Bing WebMasters, Moz.
- Web Analytics – SEMRush, AHREFS, Google Analytics, Bing Analytics, Moz, WooRank for SEO Audits.
- In terms of Email Campaign Analytics – MailChimp, Klaviyo.
- User Interactivity HeatMap and Screen Recorder – HotJar, CrazyEgg.
- Social Media Campaigns – SEMRush (Paid), HootSuite, Platform’s default Insight & Analytics actions like Facebook & Instagram Insights, Pinterest Analytics etc.
8 – Scale-Up
Executing a concrete blog strategy assures higher probabilities of achieving your goals and, in cases, even outperforming the goals depending on how well you execute it.
While considering promotion, focusing on a couple of digital marketing channels usually does the trick; however, that’s just a word for the starters. The most common outcome is saturation in metrics and KPI growth in such cases.
For instance, if you have already been doing social media promotions, maybe its time you start exploring the possibilities of scaling it up with paid ad campaigns and influencers or maybe building a community of your own with a group; in case it’s link building, maybe you would want to outreach and connect with community and subject matter experts in a more extensive fashion;
Investing your time and resources in new marketing and promotional approaches helps and would save you the ugly guilt trip of not trying to say the least.
So you will have to adapt to new things sooner or later; however, do your internal analysis and appropriate resource allocation before investing in one! An unplanned approach may result in a complete waste of resources, and you wouldn’t want that to happen.
I hope these steps find value in helping define your blogging strategy. With that said, I wish you happy blogging!