Do you ever wonder if you're on the right track?
Do you wonder if you’ll be in the same place as are now in a year's time?
It's natural to have doubts about what you’re doing. Especially when you’re starting out. You’ve been told over and over again not to expect results in your first year. So you’re living on faith and hard work.
But that’s the problem. You don’t actually have any evidence that you’re on the right track. What if you don't have the right strategy? How would you know? Because you can't expect results this early anyway.
And so it goes…
If you're not careful it becomes a downward spiral. You end up almost paralysed, not sure whether to keep doing what you're doing or find a new strategy.
So I decided to look at what some other bloggers are saying about strategy.
Ramsay starts of this article with a good point: the overall strategy for successful blogging is not that complicated or difficult.
The key lies in being consistent and not getting distracted.
He says that successful blogs all have a number of things in common. Here they are:
- Get your own domain name and host
- Do some competition analysis for your niche
- Plan your brand, look and feel
- The importance of headlines that grab the reader’s attention
- Focus on one simple Call To Action
- Build an email list as a matter of urgency
- Link out to valuable tools and resources
- Write long articles
- Stand Out From the Crowd
Nicholas begins with an old advertising adage that a customer needs to see your ad 7 times before they buy.
He reasons that blog posts are basically ads (for you and your brand) – so you need to have your readers see your blog posts 7 times.
Here are his strategies for achieving this:
- Create pillar posts (3,000 – 5,000 words) for each category on your blog
- Create sub-posts for each tip within your pillar posts
- Strategically interlink your pillar articles and specialty articles
- Point your pillar posts to a squeeze page
The key to this strategy is point 2 – creating sub-posts for each tip within your pillar posts.
When you do this it creates a mini-network of content within your blog.
Every time you add a sub-post to the pillar post, that mini-network becomes stronger and more valuable (to the reader and to you).
Sonia Thompson asks a good question:
When publication day rolls around, do you have a post ready? Or do you frantically scramble at the last minute to figure out what you’re going to write?
In other words, do you just create random content at the last minute?
This article sets out the key steps to creating a content strategy that works.
Start By Knowing Where You Want To Go
What’s your goal?
To be a digital nomad? To throw in the 9-to-5? To build your list? To bring in more customers?
Be clear about your goal.
You’ll also need to identify some milestones, so that you know you’re making progress towards your goal.
Get To Know Your Readers Inside Out
You might think this all about demographics and market research.
It’s partly that, but mostly it’s about using imagination and creating an imaginary relationship with your ideal reader.
Set Up a Conveyor Belt of Content
If you’re thinking this is a production line of blog posts, not quite.
It’s more like a process for moving your readers along the sales funnel from ‘Stranger’ to ‘Reader’ to ‘Subscriber’ to ‘Engaged Loyal Fan’ to ‘Customer’.
Finding Your Ideal Content Format
Is it audio, video, or text?
If it’s text, is it blog posts? And what sort of blog posts? Listicle, case study, tutorial, definitive guide?
Spend some time thinking about what format is best suited to your ideal reader.
Choosing the Right Channel
How are you going to promote your content?
This will depend what stage your reader is at. If your reader is a Stranger a guest post would be a good choice.
But if your reader is already a Subscriber, a post to your email list is the way to go.
Building Relationships By Staying In Touch
This is what people mean when they talk about ‘Consistency’ – it’s almost become a mantra of successful blogging.
Regular emails are vital. Frequency isn’t so important (could be weekly, bi-monthly, or even monthly) as consistency.
Picking a Promotion Strategy
It’s a rule of thumb that you should spend as much time promoting your blog post as you spent creating it.
Sonia Thompson identifies 6 possible promotion strategies:
- Paid Traffic
- Influencer Outreach
- Borrowed Audience
- Email Lists
- Social Media
Using a Call To Action
This can be a hash tag in a social media post, a bio in a guest post, an invitation to comment in a blog post, and so on.
It’s amazing how often you see a blog post full of helpful tips, but lacking an effective CTA.
Here are the main takeaways from these three articles.
- Be consistent (i.e. publishing blog posts at predictable intervals)
- Focus on just one Call To Action per web page or blog post
- Build an email list
- Write pillar posts with sub posts
- Strategically interlink your pillar posts and sub posts
- Get to know your readers
- Be aware what stage of the funnel your reader is at (stranger or subscriber?)
- Build relationships with your readers
What’s your content strategy? Do you have some different techniques? If so, let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!