A content strategy is the key to a successful business blog. Do you know how to build a content strategy for your blog? Find out in this blog post.
How to build a content strategy in 6 steps
You’re ready to start a business blog. Or you want to revamp the current one. Great. Your first step is to pick your favorite topic, do some research, write the blog post, then hit publish. And you’re done…
Until the next week. You repeat the cycle. And then again for following weeks.
On the fifth week, you have no idea what to blog about. But it doesn’t matter anyway, ‘cause your blog hasn’t gotten any traffic since your first post. This blogging thing isn’t for you.
And so you abandon your blog for months, until you stumble upon some blogging statistics that are hard to ignore. You decide to try again.
Does that story sound familiar?
If so, you might be suffering from ‘blog randomness.’ The only way to fix that is by building a game plan:
A content strategy. But what is content strategy. According to Wikipedia,
“Content strategy refers to the planning, development, and management of content—written or in other media.”
Below you’ll learn exactly how to build a content strategy for your business blog.
Side note: this post is a bit lengthy. Here’s a handy checklist version for your convenience. Checklist: How to build a content strategy for your business blog. Download here.
1. Identify your target audience
Who exactly are you creating content for? That’s the first question you need to answer when building your content strategy.
Having a specific audience in mind will help you choose more effective topics for your business blog. Otherwise, you’ll end up posting random content that’s catered to anyone and everyone (in other words, no one).
This leads to useless blogs on business websites.
Foundation Inc created a fantastic guide on choosing a target audience for B2B. Here are the basic steps:
- Identify your core offering and value proposition.
- Build detailed buyer personas.
- Do more research to fill the gaps.
2. Where does your blog fall in the sales funnel?
Think of a sales funnel. Now think back to the point when you decided to start your business blog. Why did you start? What goal were you aiming for?
Was it to make readers aware of your brand? Then you are at the top of the sales funnel.
Or perhaps it was to provide them with solutions to their specific problem. If so, you are in the middle of the funnel.
Maybe you wanted to guide them in making a buying decision. You wanted to convert them to customers. Well, then you are at the bottom of the sales funnel.
The answers to these questions will form the basis of your content strategy.
3. What information do readers need at that level?
Now that you have a clear goal for your business blog, it’s time to decide what content you need to provide to reach it. When choosing blog topics for your content strategy, focus on answering their specific questions.
Top of funnel
At the top of the sales funnel, people are looking for content that educates them on the issues they are facing. They are not quite sure what their problem is, but they are experiencing symptoms. So they need content that will help them to identify their problem.
Take a saas business offering marketing software, for example. At this stage, their target customers might have questions like:
- What makes good marketing software?
- Why is my current marketing software not working for me?
To make readers aware of your brand, help them to identify their issues. Educate them.
Types of blog posts at this level could include:
- List posts
- Industry news
- Curated content or Round up posts
Middle of funnel
At the middle of the sales funnel, people know the problems they have. Now they are looking for specific solutions to solve them. They need content that tells them exactly how to get from problem to solution.
Using the example from above, questions at this level might include:
- How to choose the best marketing software for my business?
- How to choose the right software provider?
To be the go to business blog for your target customers, tell them how to solve their specific problems.
Here are some ideas for types of blog posts:
- Detailed guides
- Embedded how-to video tutorials
Bottom of funnel
At the bottom of the sales funnel, people know their problems intimately, and they know how to solve them. Now they are ready to choose a service provider. At this level they need content to help them make a buying decision. Your content strategy should focus on providing such information.
Their questions now would look something like this:
- What are the features offered by provider A versus provider B?
- Is provider A more suitable for my business model than provider B?
To convert your readers to buyers, prove to them that your service is the most suitable for their needs. Some examples of blog content for this level are:
- Case studies
- Customer interviews
- Product reviews
Psst! Want this blog post in a simple checklist format? Handy checklist: How to build a content strategy for your business blog. Get it instantly.
4. What blog topics will give them that information?
Okay. Now you know where your blog falls in the sales funnel, which means you have a solid goal for your blog. You know your target audience. And you also know what kind of information you need to produce to reach your goal.
Your next step is to come up with specific blog topics that focus on the information your target audience is looking for.
To do this, you need to:
- Learn what specific questions your target audience has.
- Choose blog topics that answer those questions.
Of course this requires some research. Here are some tips to help you choose topic ideas:
a) Put yourself in your target readers’ shoes.
As the VP of marketing for your company, you realize that your current marketing software isn’t getting results, but you are not sure why. What questions do you start asking?
Write them down.
b) Use Google’s “people also ask” and “related searches” features.
To build on your list of questions from above, plug each one into Google, and look at the other questions people are asking. Add those to your list.
c) Group your questions into broad topics.
For example, “marketing software types”, “marketing software provider”, “marketing software basics”, “marketing software pricing”, etc.
d) Use Quora for more ideas.
Enter your main topics in Quora search, and review the (usually long) list of related questions. These are high quality questions from real people seeking solutions.
Pick the ones you find relevant and add them to your list.
e) Plug your main topic categories into a keyword research tool such as Google Keyword Planner.
This will help you select your main or head keywords. Your list of questions already cover long tail keywords.
Select keywords with your desired search volume and competition. The perfect search volume varies from business to business, depending on niche.
f) Review your list of questions to answer the 5W’s and 1 H (who, what, why, where, when and how).
Go through the questions in each topic category. Ensure there is a question addressing each of the 5W1H questions.
Take “marketing software types”, for example. Some questions could be:
- What types are available?
- Who is already using this type successfully?
- Why is this type recommended?
- Where can it be found? Where does it fit in my marketing plan?
- When is the best time to invest in this type?
- How to choose the best one?
And there you have it. Your content strategy includes a list of topic ideas, tailored to your target readers in a specific part of the sales funnel.
5. How often will you post?
Research shows that businesses that blog 3 to 5 times per month get two times as much traffic as those that don’t.
The more often you post, the more traffic you will get. But how often should your business be blogging? Good question. Consider your available resources.
How many bloggers does your business have or intend to hire?
How often can you post content without sacrificing quality or becoming repetitive?
The answers to these questions will determine your ideal posting frequency.
6. Where will you promote your blog posts?
Finally, you are on your way to learning how to build a content strategy for your business blog. Let’s talk promotion!
If you want people to see your content, you must promote it. Simple. Consider the questions below for some ideas.
Where does your target audience hang out?
Google? (Hint: yes they do). Then focus on SEO to ensure you show up there.
Social media? Then build a social media strategy and get social.
Quora? Create an account and start answering questions in your niche.
Forums? Make an account and join the conversation.
And you are done! You have a well-targeted content strategy for your blog. Well almost.
The final step is to plug your blog topics into an editorial calendar, like this one, to stay organized.
And there you have it. The complete guide on how to build a content strategy for your business blog.
Want this blog post in a simple checklist format? Handy checklist: How to build a content strategy for your business blog. Get it instantly.
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