Sometimes when people start a blog, they have an idea in their head of using it as a hobby, uploading content when they want with no real strategy. However, they also want to earn an income. These two approaches do not mix, and this is why having a content strategy when starting a blog is important.
Firstly, if you blog without a content strategy, do not feel bad. Until the past few years, even some of the biggest companies in the world did not factor digital content in to their overall marketing strategy. Today however, it’s a priceless tool to have in your armoury.
What is a content strategy for blogging?
Just because it uses the word ‘strategy’, there is no need to be concerned about what building a content strategy could involve. Put simply, a content strategy allows you, the publisher, to plan, develop and manage your content.
This may involve sitting down with a cup of coffee and a pen and paper, and simply jotting down some subjects of blog posts you wish to write once you have started a blog. However, it pays to go in to more detail and really begin to think about the content you create.
A content strategy can focus on:
- The subjects you cover
- The timing of your posts
- Your tone of voice
- How you will find the information for each post
- Who else may be involved
These are all important aspects to plan, as if you plan on a daily or weekly basis, you will soon find that you’re missing opportunities to produce content for your new blog simply because you cannot access what you need to.
A key component of a content strategy is a content calendar. As the name suggests, this allows you to build up a schedule of content that you can publish once you start a blog. There are several advantages to creating a calendar. Perhaps the main one is that you can have a clear plan of what content should be published when.
This should be married up to any key events that may be happening within your subject area. If there is a huge event in three months’ time, do not wait until a couple of weeks before to create this content. Research it now and begin writing it. Resources you may need for the blog will likely be more readily available months in advance, rather than the week before.
Another added benefit of creating content much earlier than required is for SEO. If there is a big event taking place in six months, blog about it now and get some pages set-up about the very subject. It gives the search engines a chance to index this content so that when the event arrives, you’re going to be competing on the key terms much more competitively.
Another advantage of this content calendar is that you are able to plan ahead for times when there may not be much going on in the subject area that your blog is about. What about when you’re on holiday, or if you’re unexpectedly unavailable to write your blog for a week? Having a supply of content already written and on-hand gives you room to breathe as well as ensuring any content you produce won’t be hurried out and irrelevant, but instead all tied in to the bigger picture.
Sense of direction
As a blogger, it is this bigger picture that you should never lose sight of. Having a content strategy allows you to clearly plan and forecast what content you are producing and when. If you plan this out in to a spreadsheet, for example, it allows you to very clearly see which topics you are covering, how often and in what detail.
This will then make it easier to identify areas you need to blog a little more about, or perhaps subjects areas that you are missing altogether.
Blogging, as with anything in life, is all about the planning.