Does your blog content actually have a positive impact on the bottom line?
2.7 million blog posts are published every day. To stand out, you need to create a remarkable blog. To impact the bottom line, you need to be more strategic about your content creation.
You need to think, analyse and plan. This is before even writing a single word. But what things should you consider?
In this post, I reveal 5 essential things you need to know before writing any blog post. Understanding these will help you create more strategic blog content that drives results. Are you ready to create effective blog content? Let’s get started.
1. Know your goal
What is your reason for blogging? Enjoyment for the writing process is not enough if you want to create strategic content. You need to know how blogging will help you meet your wider business goals and the tactics you will employ to enable that.
Before writing a single word for your next blog post, you need to understand the ultimate goal in writing this specific post. Without a clear objective, you cannot measure the effectiveness of your blogging efforts.
Blog content is often top-of-the-funnel content with an awareness-generating objective. But you can also create middle- or bottom-of-the-funnel content. In fact, your blog could incorporate different content types for different stages of the buyer journey. In that case, each content type would carry a different objective.
Action point: Ensure you establish a clear objective for each blog post. Then map each objective onto a specific KPI. Make sure each objective fits into a wider strategic goal that is consistent with the rest of your marketing strategy.
2. Know your audience
You need to write your content with a specific audience in mind. This will ensure you avoid the tragic production of generic “me too” content that attracts everyone and no one.
Who is this audience? Your blog posts should aim to attract prospects—people who may be ultimate buyers of your product or service.
How can you write content that is attractive to them? You need to create content that is tailored to their needs. To do that, you need to put yourself in their shoes, and get in touch with their needs and wants. Who are they? Where is your reader in the buyer journey?
Action point: Create personas for your different audience types. This will help you identify segments of your audience that you wish to attract with your posts. Then consider how your content can help them out.
But prospects aren’t the only people you should aim to attract. Also, consider making your content attractive to key influencers in your industry; although they might not be direct buyers, they can offer excellent free promotion for your content.
3. Know what you want your reader to do
How can you identify a good action for your reader to take? For this, you need to go back to your business objectives and identify the specific role blogging plays. The reason for this is simple: The desired action for your reader should directly feed into these objectives. For example, if you are blogging to grow an email list, ensure you have a compelling call to action to sign up to your newsletter.
Convention usually leaves the call-to-action till the end of the post. But if you are smart, you will find ways to incorporate this into different parts of your post. For example, say you want your reader to sign up for your email list. You could create a compelling content upgrade that is directly relevant to the post in the middle of your content. The benefit? Your audience will find it useful and you will gain more subscribers due to the high relevance of your content; it’s a win-win situation.
Action point: Decide what you want your reader to do after reading your post. Do you want them to make a comment, read another post, or join your email list? Whatever it is, make this clear. And make it easy for the reader to complete this action.
4. Know what content your competitors are creating
To stand out, you need to create content that offers something truly different. To do this, you need to know what content your competitors are producing.
How can you create truly original content? The most obvious way is to create content that offers novel insights never before heard. But with so much content on the web, this can be a tough ask.
Luckily, there is an easier way. Maybe you could add your unique experience to offer new insights to a well-trodden problem. Adopting a distinct voice is another great way to provide an alternative angle on a popular topic.
But there’s another reason to assess what content your competitors are creating. It provides insight into which topics perform well with the target market…and which do not.
Action point: Assess competitor content. Identify what performs well and how you will make your content distinctive.
5. Know the hallmarks of effective blog content
A lot has been written about how to create effective blog content to meet specific objectives such as driving traffic or reaching a global audience. Whatever your goal, the most important thing is creating high quality content that offers real value. This means your content must be relevant to the reader, provide original insight and offer useful takeaways.
Your content also needs to be shareable. This requires having a compelling headline. But to avoid disillusioned readers, you need to deliver on the promise made in your headline. Also, encourage sharing on your favorite social media networks by featuring highly visible social share buttons.
Make your content easy to navigate. The fickle nature of today’s average web browser means they scan quickly and click away even quicker. So, help your readers out by highlighting the key points. How? Use sub-headers, bullet points and images to separate your content into digestible chunks.
Action point: Know what steps you will take to ensure your content is valuable, shareable and navigable.
Getting to grips with these 5 aspects will provide a strong foundation for creating more strategic blog content. What are you going to do next? Maybe you want to create a detailed blogging strategy or conduct an in-depth assessment of the best performing blogs in your field.
Instead, do this: Take these insights and go out and create your own original unique content. Be inspired by others, yes. Take insight from others, yes. BUT lead by your own objectives, your own ideas and your own experiences. After all, what works for one person may not work for another.
The most important thing to know is what works for you. This can only come from the practice of learning by doing. Once you have created your content, assess what draws traffic, shares and comments…and what doesn’t. Then ask why.
From this assessment, you’ll be better equipped to create strategic blog content that meets the needs of your audience and your own business goals.
What are the things you consider before writing a blog post? Are there any other aspects you think are crucial besides those mentioned here? Let me know in the comments.