Imagine you walked into a restaurant and were simply handed a long list of everything the restaurant had to offer. Appetizers were mixed in with entrees, which were interspersed with desserts, salads, specialty drinks and even beer and wine offerings. The likelihood is, you would find this highly frustrating and unless their cuisine was absolutely divine, you would likely not dine there again. The point is, it doesn’t matter how great what you have to offer is, if you make it difficult for clients or consumers to get what they need, you won’t stay in business long.
A blog can be a great marketing strategy for a number of reasons, but if your blog isn’t strategically designed and organized well, it will largely be a wasted effort. Here are 5 steps to creating a brand-building blogging strategy.
1. Consider the need
No business is likely to succeed if no one needs or wants what they have to offer. The same is true of your blog. Before you sit down to write a blog or contract content, you need to consider what it is your clients and consumers want and need. If you are a large business, you can conduct market research, but even the smallest of business have access to an almost unprecedented look into the minds of their clients and consumers via social media. The best way to figure out what they want is to read everything they write. You can check reviews on both competitor websites and your own as well as doing keyword searches to see what people are writing. If you want people to read your content, you need to address the actual issues they are having or meet a need that they have in some way.
2. Create a blueprint
Once you know what people want to know about, you want to create a comprehensive guide. Not only will you want to link to other sites, but you will want to make sure you also provide plenty of internal links to other content on your site. You also want to make sure you aren’t posting blog after blog covering the same topic, which means you will want to create a schedule for when you want to post certain blogs about certain topics. Almost all businesses and industries will have certain hot topics or controversial issues. You don’t want to simply avoid these entirely, but you do want to weigh in carefully. You should pepper in your hot topic posts sparingly with your helpful hints or educational posts.
3. Contract or create a range of content
Blogs don’t need to just contain written content. In fact, you can draw a much wider audience by using video, animations, infographics and even compelling photos. You may even use a wide range of sources to create your content for you. Yes, you can repost a video created by someone else, but you will get far more mileage out of creating one or having one created for you. There are a wide range of sites like fiverr where you can contract to have videos or animations made or make your own with services like Animoto or Moovly.
4. Use a multi-user organizational system
Whether you are creating your own content or working with others to create content for you, you will want to develop a system for curating your content that can also help you post, move and organize your content. For instance, you may have a blog on tap that is scheduled to post later in the month, but an industry event suddenly makes it immediately timely and relevant. If you are using a system like Office 365, you can use OneDrive to collect and store content, as well as allow multiple users to edit or curate content. You can automate emails through outlook and see in a glance what is scheduled to post in an Excel spreadsheet. When you need to post something that becomes immediately relevant, you can access it from anywhere, post it, send it out in a mass email and update your spreadsheet so everyone can see at once the changes you made.
5. Test, tweak and develop
A good strategy is always going to be interactive, largely because your audience is unlikely to respond in ways you expect them to, no matter how much research you put into developing your strategy. The good news is that advanced analytics can actually tell you how your content is landing with your audience. Analytics can tell you who is interacting with what content and how and where it is being shared. The best part about modern analytics is that it can actually follow content across platforms to tell you how and where it is being shared or interacted with the most. This will give you a better idea of who your target audience actually is, so you can tailor even more content specifically to that audience. You may have an idea going in of who your target market is and you may create content for that market, only to be surprised that you are an even bigger hit someplace completely unexpected. Analytics can help you see what is actually happening versus what you originally thought would happen.
There are few things in life that will ever be effective without a good strategy. We create to-do lists because they help us effective organize how we accomplish our daily tasks. A restaurant menu is divided into sections to help you effectively and efficiently find what you are looking for. Without a good blogging strategy, you are likely to find yourself without an audience.
BIO: Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about the latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters