The Blog Content Strategy That Makes Coming Up with New Blog Post Ideas a Breeze …
When speaking about blogging, In Search of Excellence author Tom Peters says …
“It’s changed my life. It’s changed my perspective. It has changed my intellectual outlook. It has changed my emotional outlook. It’s the best damn marketing tool by order of magnitude I’ve ever had.”
Online marketing expert Seth Godin has stated that it doesn’t matter if anyone reads your blog.
Godin says the reward actually comes from the “humility of writing it.” It forces you to become part of the conversation even if “it’s just in a small way.”
“If you’re good, people will read it. If you’re not good, you’ll get better,” Godin says.
These are a couple of reasons why writers like you are sold on blogging. Blogging is a low-cost but powerful way to market your freelance business and is yet another copywriting service you can offer clients.
So while you’re sold on blogging, you still have one big question …
How can I consistently think up new topics to write about each day?
At first glance, it almost seems like an impossible task. After all, that’s a lot of different topics for a lot of different days.
Well, I’ve got some good news for you.
It’s not that difficult at all … if you take the time to map out your blog content in advance.
A blog content plan simplifies, organizes, and structures your content and post schedule.
Without one, your blog survival chances are weak at best.
Sure, you’ll start off strong, but after a while, your topic ideas and blog posts will taper off.
Once a day turns into once a week, which turns into once a month, which turns into not at all.
Today I’m going to talk about how to create a rock solid blog content strategy. One that will have you blogging (either for yourself or a client) for years to come.
The first thing you do is …
Define the Goals for Your Blog
Write down why you are writing your blog. Is it to attract new clients? Make money? Or perhaps your main goal is to enhance your reputation within your industry. Or it could be a combination of all three.
Also define what makes your blog unique. What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? What makes it special or different from other blogs? Maybe your USP is that you’re a retired stockbroker and your goal now is to expose investing secrets Wall Street doesn’t want you to know about. Or perhaps you love to travel and your goal is to give people tips on how to travel the world on a limited budget.
Define Your Audience
Ask yourself the following questions:
Who am I writing for?
What does my typical reader look like? What do they care about? What keeps them up at night? What problems do they want solved? How can I help them?
For example, if you’re a freelance copywriter and your goal is to promote your business with your blog, you would target and write to potential clients for your copywriting services, not other copywriters.
Determine the Post Schedule of Your Blog
Before putting together your actual blog content plan, you need to determine how often you will be posting to your blog.
Are you going to post every three days? Every day? Twice a day? Just on weekdays? Just on weekends?
How often you post can have a big impact on your rankings with the search engines and the number of people who read your blog.
If you want to become a leader in your industry, you’ll want to post a minimum of once a day each weekday. For basic marketing goals, the minimum number of times you should post per week is two or three.
If you plan to only post once or twice a month, it will be very difficult for your blog to gain any traction with both the search engines and readers.
The greater the frequency of your posts, the higher visibility and more impact your blog will have.
Create Your Blog Content Calendar
There are 11 main steps to do this.
Step One – Get a Calendar
The first step is to get a calendar. For an online version, use a digital calendar program like Google Calendar or the calendar in Microsoft Outlook. (If you don’t want to use either of those two, type “online calendar” into Google and you will come up with a list of sites that offer a free calendar service.) If you use WordPress, you might want to use the WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugin. If you’re more comfortable using a physical calendar, you could invest in a Day-Timer® planner or a white board and map out days and months on it.
Step Two – Personal Schedule
Highlight any personal events and deadlines on your calendar. For instance, if you are going on vacation for a week, you should highlight that week as a reminder that you’ll need to preplan your content for those days.
Step Three – Holidays
Type “Holiday Calendar” into Google. Then, for the month you are preparing, list all the holidays into your blog calendar. You do this because you might want to tie your content into a particular holiday such as Christmas, Columbus Day, or Labor Day.
Step Four – Unofficial observances
There are many “unofficial observances” days that make interesting subjects for your blogs. Add these to your calendar. (You can find a list of “unofficial observances” here.)
For example, the first Sunday in May is “World Laughter Day.” If you’re blogging that particular day, you could talk about World Laughter Day and recite an amusing incident or conversation you had recently.
Or if you’re doing a blog content map for August, you might want to mention that August 13th is Left Handed Day. You could maybe talk about famous left-handed people or the inconvenience left-handed people sometimes face.
When using this as an idea starter, be sure to connect the “unofficial day” ideas to the overall blog theme or post topic.
Step Five – Marketing Calendar
Look at your (or your client’s) marketing calendar for product launches, promotions, webinars that are scheduled to take place.
For example, if you’re writing a freelance writing blog, and you’re launching a new e-book, block off some days leading up to your launch to discuss topics related to your upcoming e-book. If you’re writing for a client and they have a webinar or event coming up, block off days at different intervals (for example, one month out, three weeks out) as well as the days leading up to it to talk about topics related to the webinar theme. Be sure to include an invitation for them to attend with your blog post.
Step Six – Friend Days
Next, look at events your friends that have products or services related to your blog theme have planned for that month. You can either do them an outright favor by mentioning an event or product they are promoting, or establish an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” relationship with them — meaning you talk about their event in your blog and they reciprocate by talking about events you are holding in their blog.
Step Seven – Affiliate Partners
Same thing with any affiliate partners you may have. If one of them is putting on a webinar or has a new product being released on the 23rd of the month, add it to your calendar and block off the days leading up to the 23rd to promote it.
Step Eight – Establish themed days
Next, you may want to assign a theme to individual days of the week. For example, you might want to designate every Friday as “Question and Answer Day.” Every Friday, you would either answer questions you’ve received from readers (or you could make up a question and answer it if you’re just starting out). You could designate every Monday “Inspirational Monday” and perhaps post content that inspires people and gets them pumped up about the week ahead.
Step Nine – Set up your series ideas and posts
Think of ideas that you can turn into a blog post series. For example, if you’re a copywriter and marketer, you might want to write a series of blog posts that would dissect how to create, build, and maintain a profitable email list.
Let’s say you create a five-part series. You could either run this over the course of a week (if space permits) or every Wednesday for the next five weeks.
Step Ten – Historical Dates and Milestones
Add any relevant historical dates or milestones. Historyorb.com lists prominent events that occurred on each day throughout history. If you have a specific day you need to fill, check to see if you can tie a person or item into an interesting story or idea for your blog post.
Let’s say your blog is about art … the fact that Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa was exhibited in the United States for the first time, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. on January 8, 1963, might be the subject of an interesting post for your next January 8th blog post. If you blog about sports, your next August 16th post might be about how Sports Illustrated was first published on that day back in 1954.
Step Eleven – Fill in the blanks
Check where you still have spaces and start brainstorming ideas. In two weeks watch for my next article where I’ll give you a list of 21 different ways you can come up with more ideas to keep your blog always full and always interesting. In the meantime, you can fill the better part of your calendar following the first 10 steps here.
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