7 Actionable Steps for Creating a Successful Blog Strategy
Creating a successful internet marketing strategy is a hot topic when it comes to business growth plans.
At no other time have we seen such an influx of content, social media, and collaboration from businesses taking their online presence to further levels. In fact, you could probably say that we've seen a complete transformation of content in the online space in a matter of just 2-3 years.
Thought leadership has taken front space, not in the form of print, but online - and it's not enough to just be online and have a blog. Businesses must be intentional in a space that's growing increasingly competitive. It's not enough to simply be.
When it comes to online marketing, I firmly believe that being intentional is key to success. So, how do we get there?
Here are 7 actionable steps for creating a successful blog strategy.
Make sure to grab something you can write on or record with as you go through this exercise!
1. Understand Your Purpose
Being intentional requires that you understand who you are as a company, your goals, your story, and how your blog strategy fits into all of that.
Takeaway: Write a paragraph or two describing your purpose. Make sure to answer questions like:
- Why does our company exist?
- Who are we trying to reach?
- Why are we trying to reach them?
- What is our story and how can that be communicated?
Going through this process will help you not only understand your purpose, but it will help you think through the best ways to communicate that purpose through your story - through content.
2. Understand Your Audience
Do you know who your best customers are?
It's important that you have your ideal buyer personas built out in a way that's clear and in detail for you and your writers. The purpose of your blog is to reach a certain audience. As a business, that will be for your ideal customers. Content is a great way to pre-qualify your audience by addressing their pain points and needs. This helps move them further down the sales cycle and gets them closer to making that purchase with your company. Here's a helpful article on creating buyer personas to get things started.
Takeaway: make sure to document the following...
- Your ideal customer
- Their pain points/ needs
- The journey they take to make a decision to buy your product/ service
3. Understand Your Competition
Who's active in your industry?
Understand how your competition is going after customers and record it. How do they write? What keywords are they ranking for? Do they use PPC? If you understand what your closest competitors are doing it can give you an edge on how to provide information for your audience.
Takeaway: document your competition
- Research at least 5 of your closest competitors
- Analyze their content and how they communicate to their audience
- List information gaps they may not be covering that you could provide
- Understand what keywords they are ranking or running Adword campaigns for
Tools: SpyFu (Keyword Data, PPC, & More), SEMRush (Competitor Keyword/ PPC data), Moz (Open Site Explorer - Link data/ Domain & Page Authority), Marketing Grader (Hubspot - Overall Marketing Tactics/ Content)
4. Understand Your Rankings
You should have a list of where you want to go for rankings. It's important to have your buyer personas documented before this step, because they should be informing what keyword themes you go for. Your customers and potential customers all have specific search habits. You'll want to understand those and intentionally build your content strategy around ranking for those keywords.
Takeaway: document your keyword goals and current rankings
- Understand the search terms your audience is/ would use
- Plan out your content based on those terms and your ability to rank for them
- Write naturally. Google is getting smarter all the time so there's no need to sound wooden with keyword usage
If you're not sure where to start, here's an article on how Google understands search intent with keywords.
Tools: SEMRush (Listed above), SpyFu (Listed Above)
5. Understand Promotion
You'll want to know two things - where and how will you promote your content?
Takeaway: Here are the items you'll want to document
- Which distribution platforms work best for your industry (Social and otherwise)
- What media works well for your industry (presentations/video/ pictures/ quotes/ etc.)
- What relationships you should pursue and nurture (Industry Influencers/ Promoters/ Peers/ Competition)
Writing takes time when it's being done well. It's important to make the most of your investment by understand the platforms and people that are key in reaching your audience. Here's a helpful introduction on How to Become a Thought Leader with Social Media Marketing.
There are a variety of tools that can be used, but the social posting tools listed below can help get you started on your journey.
6. Understand Your Roles & Capacity
Who is going to be in charge of what, and who will they be accountable to?
For every section of your marketing strategy you can have 1 or more people fulfilling that role. this means...
Takeaway: understand your team's skill sets, capacity and assign content marketing roles
- Who will be in charge of writing/ editing
- Who will manage keyword research and development
- Who will oversee the promotion strategy
- Who manages the editorial calendar
- Who handles your media
- Who analyzes and reports on the results
- How often you can post & when that will be
Often times, these roles will overlap and people will end up wearing a couple of hats. It all depends on the size of your team and the skills you have available. For example, you may end up needing to outsource some of these roles to have a cohesive team.
7. Understand Your Results
You've already laid out your goals. How did that go? It's important to understand the impact of your activities. In most cases, we like to hold our activities accountable to sales. This means closing the loop with our sales department and making sure we have the tools in place to understand the impact of our activities. Here's more information on how to build a successful internet marketing strategy.
Takeaway: analyze and report the impact of your activities internally
- Have strong enough software in place that can report on this - we recommend Hubspot since their software allows us to close the loop effectively with ourselves and our clients.
- Understand which metrics are important for reaching your goals - this could be traffic metrics, user engagement, leads, sales, links, or any number of things. It all depends on the purpose of your content and what you want to accomplish.
- Make sure data is reported and available to key roles - we recommend that your whole team be in the know on how their efforts are impacting company goals. It's helps foster collaboration and help encourage everyone as a whole when goals are hit.
- Encourage collaboration on solving problems when goals aren't achieved
- Take the team out to dinner when they do achieve their goals
The most effective route to success is a joint effort of both intent and action. I hope you found this helpful - here's one last tool to help you with launching and measuring your own remarkable marketing campaign. Let me know what you think!
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