Blogs are a powerful digital marketing tool: they provide useful content for your audience, build brand awareness, establish your business as authoritative and boost your online visibility. By establishing a thorough and effective blog content strategy, you will be better positioned to produce top-quality blog posts all year round.
Here are our seven steps to creating a blog content plan:
- Identify Your Goals
- Understand Your Audience
- Review Your Successes and Failures
- Organise a Content Plan Management System
- Brainstorm Blog Ideas
- Conduct Keyword Research
- Identify Internal Linking Opportunities
What is a Content Plan?
A content plan illustrates the digital content that your brand aims to produce and share over a given time period. Content marketing is important for your business, and some examples of digital content include social media posts, infographics, videos and blog posts.
Blog posts are a fantastic way for your business to improve visibility online and build trust with your audience. They enable you to share knowledge and advice in a detailed way. Therefore, you should take the time to create an effective blog content strategy.
How to Create a Blog Content Plan in 7 Steps
Step #1 – Identify Your Goals
Before you start brainstorming content ideas, you need to identify your goals. What business goals do you want your blog posts to help you achieve?
Remember that smart business goals are SMART business goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
Step #2 – Understand Your Audience
If you want to understand how to write a content plan, you’ll need to understand your audience.
Be sure to build buyer personas for your business, which you can do in four easy steps. Your buyer personas will help you to understand your audience, which, in turn, will help you to understand what they want from your blog posts.
When creating your buyer personas, you should consider the following as a minimum:
- Demographics (age, gender, location, life stage etc.)
- Job or career path
- Pain points and challenges
- Aspirations and motivations
Step #3 – Review Your Successes and Failures
One of the best ways to improve your blog content strategy is to review your previous blog posts.
Identify the blog posts that performed the best and achieved the highest levels of engagement. What makes these posts stand out?
Likewise, analyse your blog content that didn’t perform to your expectations. Don’t be disheartened by underperforming blogs; instead use them as an opportunity to be better.
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure” – Bill Gates
If you’re new to the game or are searching for more insights, have a look at the top-performing posts from your competitors. Don’t copy them, but use them as a source of inspiration.
Buzzsumo is a helpful tool for this; it allows you to plug in a keyword or webpage and displays the top-performing content.
Step #4 – Organise a Content Plan Management System
Now that you understand why you’re writing and who you’re writing for, you can begin to straighten out your content plan management system. Having a solid content management system is crucial for successful blog planning.
First, identify the time frame of your blog content plan. You may want to plan one month at a time, divide your year into quarters, or look at the entire year as a whole. Take on whatever approach works best for your business; just remember to keep on top of it.
Next, identify which team member is going to take on the responsibility of blog content planning. It is good to appoint responsibility, and therefore accountability, but be sure to support whoever is taking on the task.
Then, choose a platform that works best for your content team. We recommend selecting an online platform that can be easily accessed, shared and updated by everybody responsible for content. An online platform also enables your team to access the content plan remotely.
Blog writers need to be able to see what they’re supposed to be writing, and when. They should also be able to update the content strategy to share their progress. Fellow team members can keep track of updates and be sure not to repeat content.
Step #5 – Brainstorm Blog Ideas
With your blog content management system sorted, it’s time to start blog post planning.
Firstly, you need to look through all of your existing blog posts to identify gaps and to be confident that you won’t create duplicate content.
Then, begin the blogging brainstorm. Note down any initial ideas you have for your posts, considering how they would enrich your customers’ experiences.
Look at the time frame that your blog content strategy covers, and identify any major public holidays or more niche, industry-specific holidays that you could create content around.
Research global and local events, especially industry-specific ones, that you could write blog posts about, too.
Also, think about questions that your blog posts could answer. Google’s related queries can serve as a great source of inspiration. Likewise, Answer The Public is a useful tool that shows you commonly searched queries that include your target words.
Keeping your blog active, consistent and current is really important for your customers and for SEO. However, this doesn’t just involve creating new blog content; it also involves republishing old blog content to keep your posts optimised and up-to-date.
Step #6 – Conduct Keyword Research
Keyword research is a vital component of any blog content plan. Keywords are the words, phrases and questions that people search for on search engines. Your blog posts should optimise keywords to improve SERP rankings and visibility.
When conducting keyword research, it’s useful to focus on terms that have low competition, so your blog post has a better chance of ranking highly on Google. It’s also good practice to include a mix of shorter, more generic keywords and more niche, long-tail keywords.
Step #7 – Identify Internal Linking Opportunities
Once you’ve decided your blog topics, you should add internal links to your blog content plan. Internal links are hyperlinks that lead to another page on the same website.
Internal linking is a useful SEO strategy that you can incorporate into your blog posts. To do this, identify older blog posts that you could link to from your new blog posts. Just make sure the links are relevant, useful and not forced.
Blog posts are a vital component of your content marketing strategy. Done right, blogs will help you get found online and will serve as a useful resource for your customers. By taking the time to create a blog content plan, you will be in good stead to consistently produce excellent blog content and bring older blog posts up-to-date.