“I don’t know what to write!” Have you ever sighed and said these words right after opening a blank sheet of digital paper? You bet.
This is a bad sign. Whether you write for your brand, business or for other people – it pays to have a content strategy that will allow you to get out of the cycle.
Imagine knowing what to write today, the next day, or even the next tuesday of next month – that is only one of the many benefits a content strategy will bring to your business. And if you’re looking to sell your service or product, your content strategy could make or break your success.
According to Content Marketing Institute, 60% of organizations with a written content strategy are effective, compared to only 32% of those with a purely verbal content strategy being effective. Content marketing strategy can be the foundation for a nonexistent integrated digital marketing strategy
So if you’re looking to start today and get ahead of the competition, here is a simple five-step-process that I’ve personally used to build a content strategy for my own blogs and clients:
1. Define your goals & objectives
Why do you blog?
If you’re looking to write for fun, then go ahead and just write. Don’t bother with the rules.
But if you’re looking to write to build your brand, sell your products or promote your services, then you’ve got a head start. Start your content strategy by creating SMART goals.
“Increase blog traffic” is good. However, “Increase blog traffic by 10% in one month” is better.
List three important long-term and short-term goals for your blog.
As the popular saying goes:
“Failing to plan is planning to fail”. Alan Lakein
2. Develop a Buyer Persona
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customers. Having buyer personas and knowing their buyer’s journey drives content creation.
Hubspot has great templates you can use to get started.
Customers ask different questions in the different stages of the buyer’s journey. When Tom, for example, has been made aware of the problem, his next step would be to educate himself further. You wouldn’t write “What is Digital Marketing” to Tom, when he’s already asking “How can Digital Marketing help my Real Estate business?”. Lastly, when Tom is ready to buy, he will be asking questions like “Why should I hire Roselle for my Business and Digital Strategy?”
3. Find topic ideas and target keywords
From the buyer persona you’ve developed, find topic ideas with the questions that your audience asks.
Now that you have the persona and the right questions that your customers are asking. This step will be a breeze.
Go over your questions, list down topic ideas for each of the buyer’s journey and research the right keywords to target. Performing keyword research is extensive. But here is a beginner’s process from Moz.
Having great content is great. But when your audience cannot find your gems, then the blog should have been better off not written in the first place.
4. Create a content calendar
Plot your topics in a calendar, identify the buyer’s journey of each topic, and track its progress. Here are free editorial calendar templates created by Hubspot for you to get started.
5. Follow your schedule and WRITE
“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” George S. Patton
Now that you’ve come up with a basic content strategy for your blog, it’s time for you to write. Build the habit of churning consistent content. And the fact that you’ve planned for your strategy would transform you into a content machine. You are already there.
By this time, you should be thinking how easy it is. And yet when you do try to create one, you’ll understand that creating a content strategy is not as simple as you think.
Planning out your content strategy even before developing your content allows your blog to have coherent and consistent content. The editorial calendar is not your strategy. You need to have a good understanding your audience and where they are in their buyer’s journey. Lastly, having the content planned out pushes you to write. Just write. Have fun!