Content has established itself as a successful means of attracting customers and earning a loyal following. However, developing a content strategy is daunting for anyone starting out, especially when looking at long-established sites with many followers. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was anyone’s blog.
It takes time to build a thriving content strategy. To help you find a strong start, we’ve developed a list of tips to build your business’s blog and help set it up for future success.
1. Determine Your Values
Your blog is a direct channel to your customers and prospects, and in that way, it’s also a reflection of your company. It gives you a unique opportunity to share your opinion and showcase the values you stand by when growing your company.
Knowing your values and using them to form the intent you have with your blog provides a foundation by giving you something to turn to whenever you get stuck. Even if they’re not a regular topic you address in your blogs, they influence further decisions and establish your integrity and credibility.
2. Decide on Your Initial Target Persona
Knowing who you want to reach also affects your stylistic decisions because you want to tailor your message in a way that will resonate with them. If your values help guide your blog on a philosophical level, then your audience guides its style and aesthetics. Using your style guide to codify how these two areas overlap makes it simpler to replicate and easier to scale when you bring on more people to help write it.
Your audience will change and grow over time, but you want them to be the people who will benefit from your product. You want to align the platforms and manner of communication around their preferences.
For instance, if you’re targeting executives and upper management, you want concise, informative, and somewhat formal tones because you’re reaching people on the go. Including videos or podcasts that people can consume flexibly (or while they work on something else) will also give you more pathways to reach them than simply when they’re in their email inbox.
3. Set Long-Term Goals (Divided into Smaller Goals)
Building your content strategy goes more smoothly when you have something to strive for, as it helps you stay on track with your plans. You want to set a long-term goal, such as having a set number of subscribers within 2 years. From there, you want to set smaller goals or benchmarks and work backward to develop a plan to achieve them.
Developing content is an assembly line of output, and when you’re working on it day in and day out, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. Breaking down your strategy into manageable pieces simply prevents your process from becoming overwhelming. These smaller goals can be a breakdown of subscribers. Especially in companies where a small number of people manage a lot of content, it helps to keep your goals well within reach.
4. Make a Freewheeling List of Titles
Creating titles is often a lot of fun, but also intimidating when you need to make dozens of them. Usually, one of the best approaches is to write a lot, then choose a few. Furthermore, expect your titles to go through various iterations before you choose what gets published. Even then, you may change the title while it’s live to get something that’s catchier to send to people.
The two things to look for when researching titles are:
What are people searching for?
What are your competitors posting?
Check your competitor or similar sites to get ideas on what topics to cover. Also, use what resources you have available to find keywords and what topics people search for online. Choose the keywords you have the best chance of matching and use them as a basis for the titles you choose. That will give you inspiration for what to write about, then it’s a matter of making it stand out. You want the title to be clear about what it’s addressing, but to be fun and lighthearted in its presentation.
5. Write About What You Know
As a reflection of your business, you want to demonstrate your expertise by writing about your industry and what you know about it. That lets you show off and make yourself a trusted resource in your field while also making your task simpler because you already put in the legwork to know what you’re writing about. It could also make your writing feel more natural, as you will be able to put your personal voice into it.
Writing about what you know also keeps your topics within the scope of your industry. It’s good to write about topics that directly pertain to your business, but it also allows you to touch on topics that can help customers without being part of your sales.
For instance, you can provide information that forms a basis of understanding of what you offer and do, helping resolve smaller issues that don’t require hiring someone. That way, you can provide a helpful service more efficiently, as the customer will be satisfied that their pain point is resolved and the company could use that time to focus on other customers. Furthermore, if the customer has a more serious issue to address, they will be more likely to come to you because you solved their initial problem so well.
6. Experience and Have Fun!
With any ongoing task, your blog will benefit from experimentation with new topics, title formats, and different distribution paths. There are few strings attached to blogs, so if something doesn’t work, it will likely only go unnoticed. At worst, you simply remove it from your site. But chances are, your experimentation won’t address anything controversial, just things that are slightly off the mark.
The way you want to experiment is by choosing topics that are a little out of your wheelhouse and see if they gain extra attention. Using A/B testing on different titles to see which ones take more notice will also tell you what you’re doing right and what you can change. These both give you more insight into your audience and their interests. Meanwhile, using new distribution platforms, like email and social media, will help you find the best ways and best times to send out content to get noticed.
7. But Follow-Up With Metrics
Regardless of how you implement your strategy, backing up your ideas with data is the best way to know how your content will perform. For blogs, you can use CRM software to determine how many people visited your page, how they got to the page, as well as other information such as how long they stayed or if they clicked on anything else. That will help you learn what your most popular posts are, as well as which encourages action.
Your metrics on emails or social media posts sharing content are also highly important. Knowing results for those is how you get insight for A/B testing to know which titles or posts perform better. You can use them to adjust your strategy and style to adhere to what people respond to best.
Let Your Blog Develop Its Own Style
As you work on your blog, you want it to develop its own identity, though it will always be an extension and reflection of your company. Its voice speaks for you and gives you a direct path to addressing clients and sharing what you know. You can change it and adapt as your company grows, keeping them on the same page while you work to hit your stride.