learn the business of blogging – always free
Defining a clear content strategy for your blog is essential to your success. Personally, it took me a while before I realized I needed to sit down and establish publishing goals for each of my blogs. No matter what your niche is, a content strategy will grow the audience of your blog when implemented properly.
A solid blog content strategy will encompass: knowing your mission, defining your audience, organizing your ideas, and establishing a publishing schedule.
Start with Why
The first step is to start with why. Why did you start your blog in the first place? Why do you continue to write? Why do you write each article and how does it help your readers?
Understanding your mission and reading it back every once in a while will help you stay focused when writing each post.
I’ll give you an example and share the “why” behind Blog Ambitious:
I write the blog Blog Ambitious to provide my readers with the tools to create and manage profitable blogs. I do this because I want to empower others to create financial independence the way I did through blogging. I believe that blogging knowledge should be free and I want to share my breadth of knowledge with the world.
See? I keep this mission in mind with every article I publish.
Define Your Audience
After you know your “why,” it’s time to start thinking about your “who.” Who do you write for? Many bloggers make the mistake of thinking they write for “everyone.” This is a rookie mistake! You can’t be everything to everyone. It’s better to serve a small group of people REALLY well, than a large group of people just okay.
Personally, I write for women in their 20s who come from low to middle class backgrounds, like me! This is why I publish guides on starting blogs in popular female niches like fashion, beauty, and home decor.
Create the persona of your ideal blog reader, even if just in your mind. Who is your target reader? What do they do for a living? What does their income look like? Are they tech-savvy? What characteristics drive their actions?
If you don’t know who your audience is, try looking at your social media followers or follow the blog links of your comments. What do these people write about? Do they share their frustrations online? Can you write about and potentially solve some of their problems?
Getting to know your audience can be incredibly valuable from a business perspective. Make an effort to connect with your audience, no matter how small, and learn their motivations inside and out!
Organize Blog Post Ideas
When I first started blogging, I had a very long Google Doc with a list of topics I wanted to write about. I would scan the list and write about the one that seemed most interesting to me that day and try to publish it when I could.
Now that I treat my blog as a business, I have created an Excel sheet for each of my blogs with my post ideas sorted by “Category,” any notes for myself to use once I begin writing, and finally, a “Status” column to mark down when I’ve completed it. Some of my Excel documents are so large, I have one Category per tab in that sheet!
Whatever your method is, find a way to organize your blog post ideas by Category and keep track of them once they are done so you can see where you’re making progress and where you need to pick up the slack. I use Google Sheets for this, but you could also use Asana or Airtable to accomplish the same task.
Establish Cornerstone Content
Once you have your blog post ideas organized, go through each category and determine the one or two articles that encompass the vast majority of the topic to serve as Cornerstone Content. It could be a post you’ve already published or still just an idea in your head.
Cornerstone content, or pillar content, comprises the “core” of your blog. It’s the articles that encompass the big picture in a detailed way, often the longest and most comprehensive articles you have on that topic.
Cornerstone content is important for SEO as it establishes you as an expert on that topic. It covers indispensable information that is necessary for your audience to understand what your blog is all about!
You should have at least 3 posts of Cornerstone content on your blog, but I like to have at least 1 per category.
Stick to a Publishing Schedule
Now that you have a long list of blog post ideas, it’s time to create a realistic publishing schedule that you can stick to.
As a new blogger, I had no idea it was important to “plan” my content out. I thought of new post ideas the day of publishing, churned them out, and went about my day. If a post took off, then great! If not, it was on to the next one. I never stopped, took a step back, and realized that instead of publishing 5 or 6 articles one week, and nothing the next, I should space them out evenly and give myself room to breathe!
Blogging where the wind blows you is fine if you never want to be more than a hobbyist. But, if you want your blog to become a business, like me, then you NEED to start treating it like one. Running a business means planning.
Planning means setting up an editorial calendar and sticking to a realistic, steady publishing schedule. I love using Asana‘s calendar view for my editorial calendar because I can visually organize each of my blog posts, see when they’re due, and quickly move them around when needed.