A strategy is an action plan for achieving a goal.
For example, say you have a weight loss goal. You want to reach a certain weight. The strategy would involve your eating plan and your exercise plan. It might be a daily routine, but more likely it’s a weekly routine. You’re going to looking at specific things to eat that will help you reach a certain weight and you’ll organize those options into a routine. And you’ll do the same with exercise. You’ll gather different exercises that will help you reach your goal and organize those into a weekly routine.
So, a blogging strategy begins with a goal. For businesses that are blogging or that are considering blogging, the goal usually includes one or multiple of the following:
- More website traffic
- More brand exposure and awareness
- More customers, more sales
Ultimately, everything in marketing is aimed at increasing sales. So with a blog you’re usually looking to attract more potential customers to your brand that don’t know you exist. But part of it could be about earning more trust from current customers so they purchase more from you, thus increasing sales.
So that covers the typical goal for a blog or business blog.
How do you create a strategy to achieve the goal(s)?
1. What Does The Target Audience Need?
Google states that with their Search product that they want to help users quickly find the best answers to their questions. It’s obviously nuanced, but every time someone uses Google they’re looking for information. Often, they have a question and they want an answer.
For you as a business, your target audience has questions and they’re often using platforms like Google or Facebook or YouTube or whatever to find the best answers. Google needs answers. Another term for “answers” is content. Content comes in text, audio and video.
Blogging is one way to provide text answers for users.
Your audience is asking questions. You can use Google’s own keyword research and keyword tools to find insight into this area. You can talk to existing customers and see what questions they have. You can read other industry blogs. You can look at those blogs and read the comment sections. You can look through industry forums to see what conversations your audience is having.
2. How Can You Provide What They Need?
You can build an entire blog strategy around providing answers to the questions your audience is asking. You likely have years of experience in your field. Use that experience and knowledge to provide the answers your audience is seeking.
You can also look to others in your industry for answers. You can work with employees, colleagues, vendors and many more folks that can help bring knowledge that your audience will find valuable.
And you’re also learning more about your industry all the time. You can share your experience and knowledge that you gain along the way with your blog. As you learn it, share it with your audience so they can learn it too.
3. How Much Can You Provide?
Every content industry has general standards for quantity and frequency. There are exceptions to any general rule, but audiences typically expect a certain flow for any type of content.
For example, musicians used to release about one album’s worth of songs each year. Of those, about 3-4 would be singles. For a new artist, a single may have a life of about a full year. For a star, those songs would rise and fall faster making it possible to have 3-4 hits per year.
If a musician releases fewer songs per year their audience starts to wonder what is going on. And if the musician starts releasing more often their audience will struggle to keep up.
With business blogging, you’re looking at a minimum of one post per month and a maximum of one post per day. And really I would say that you’re looking at a max of one post per business day.
Blogging is often more work than anticipated. Especially for someone that already has a full time job. Consider who will be in charge of creating blog content. You may need to bring on additional resources.
4. How Can You Make It Unique?
Let’s say you’re in the auto industry and you want to create a blog post to answer the question, How to change a flat tire.
There are only so many possible answers to that question. So how do you make your answer unique so that your audience wants to consume yours instead of the competition…
One way is to add unique stories. Tell your story of how you had a flat tire and how you changed it. Share a few details about what was going on leading up to the situation, during the situation and after the situation.
You don’t have to overshare or provide too much content. But adding a personal touch makes your blog content unique.
5. How Often Should You Assess & Refine?
If you’re starting a blog from scratch I would set up analytics on it from Day 1. But then I would focus on creating content for at least six months to a year before you really dive into the data. For one, you’re going to need time to get into a creation routine. That requires your full attention.
For example, if you’re aiming for one post per week you’re looking at 52 posts for a year. That’s 52 questions to identify and 52 answers to provide. You have to figure out the routine for doing that.
After a year you’re going to have a routine down pretty good. Now you can look at the analytics and see what posts are getting more traffic and engagement and you can refine your strategy for Year 2.
In short, a blog strategy is your attack plan for how you’re going to provide the information your target audience is looking for online. That includes a process for how you’re going to identify what they want. It also includes a plan for how you’re going to provide that information for them.
In general, most blogs would do well to focus on question and answer format with added personal touches like stories. Start here and you can make tweaks as you go along and get into a good routine.