Content Marketing

Planning a Blog Strategy for Content Marketing

CopyPress

Published: September 14, 2022 (Updated: September 19, 2022)

They say content is king. And, while it is, that doesn’t really tell us what content we should be producing. While focusing on creating detailed articles will help you get views, without a content marketing blog strategy, we won’t know what to focus on in the first place.

Simply put, creating content for content’s sake won’t get you particularly far. Instead of writing about everything under the sun, you should concentrate on high-reward content for your business. Finding out what your customers are looking for and molding your strategy to accommodate will help you secure more leads and convert them to paying customers.

Today, we’re walking through content marketing blog strategy, with topics like:

What Is a Blog Strategy for Content Marketing?

Generally speaking, a blog strategy for content marketing is all about creating and distributing high-value content across your connected platforms. In this case, content can stand in for any format, be it video, written, podcasts, long-form articles, or something else entirely. While all of these content forms come in handy, most of the time, you’ll be focusing on creating content marketing in the form of blog posts.

By creating a continual stream of blog content, you can get your brand’s name in front of your customers. Whether they’re directly searching for your content or stumble across an article you’ve written that discusses some industry trends, everything builds up your brand awareness. Although content marketing can come in hand forms, always attempt to create a consistent tone across all formats.

Why Is a Blog Strategy Important for Content Marketing?

One of the main reasons blogs are so important for content marketing is that this type of content works. Businesses with active blogs get approximately 67% more leads, with new customers stumbling across their content. Alongside generating new leads, a wide base of useful content also makes customers more likely to trust a brand.

A typical customer will read through three to five pieces of content before reaching out to the sales team. Without lots of blog content for users to find, your customers could struggle to build an understanding of your brand and what it offers. What’s more, an effective blog strategy can provide a range of benefits to your overall content marketing plan:

  • Brand Visibility
  • Generates Natural Traffic
  • Provides a Compounding Return On Investment (ROI)
  • Blends With Other Marketing Streams Easily

Let’s break these down even further.

Creates Brand Visibility

When you start a company with customers and no following, it’s hard to get people to trust you. If people don’t recognize or trust your brand, they’re unlikely to buy from you, making it difficult to get anywhere.

A comprehensive blog strategy in your marketing plan is one of the best ways to generate brand visibility. By creating content that your customers are searching for, they’ll naturally find your pages. Instead of coming face to face with a brand they don’t trust, they’ll find free information about a topic that they’re interested in.

The more content you produce, the higher your chance of your customer’s first interaction with you being overwhelmingly positive. Providing high-quality educational articles that benefit your ideal customer base goes a long way. While a slow burner, becoming a helpful voice in your niche can be a great way of winning over customers.

Generates Organic Traffic

Another benefit of a blog strategy in content marketing is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO practices make your content rank well on Google, using keywords, effective structuring, and a range of other tactics to secure a top spot.

With content marketing, your articles will naturally begin to rank better over time. As more people read them and other websites link to them as sources, you’ll start to creep up the rankings. Instead of actively fighting to gain more traffic, your educational content will start to pull its own weight.

Over time, all of the content on your site that helps your audience will start to pull in new leads. A customer might search for “top 10 marketing trends,” find an article you’ve written and published on your site, and move into your content marketing funnel. As a natural way of generating traffic, content marketing is a fantastic stream to focus on.

Provides a Compounding Return On Investment (ROI)

When running a PPC campaign, you’ll have to continuously shell out money to see a return. Often, the more you put in, the more you get out. This tends to be the truth with most marketing forms—apart from content marketing.

Content marketing, especially when posted to your company blog, lasts forever. So something you write this year can still be ranking high in five years. Quite simply, the ROI you get with this form of this marketing tactic only improves over time. As there is no ongoing cost of content, you’re able to access a potentially endless form of advertising.

If your educational content is in-depth and well-written, you could slowly work your way to a top spot on Google. Even just getting on that first page results in an incredible boost in traffic. Moving from the 11th spot on Google to the 10th spot results in a 143% increase in traffic.

What’s more, an effective content marketing blog strategy can truly last a lifetime. By building up your articles, producing increasingly specific breakdowns, and always giving value to your customers, you can access endless potential. Efforts you put in now will pay off in dividends when it comes to content marketing.

Compliments Other Content Marketing Strategies

As marketers, we all have our favorite marketing avenues to focus on. While some of us love focusing on social media content, others prefer Facebook ads. No matter what stream you prefer, content marketing can always easily fit into your strategy.

Let’s say you’ve recently published an article on your company blog. From there, you can post a small snippet of the article to your company’s Twitter account. People that are interested in the content can click on the post to then go and read the article. Alternatively, you could include a stat from an infographic you’ve created in a marketing email. With content marketing, the opportunities for cross-platform integration are endless.

How To Plan a Content Marketing Blog Strategy

Although you might be set on how great content marketing seems, many people aren’t too sure where to get started. As content is endless, it can seem overwhelming when looking for a place to begin.

To help you out, we’ve created this six-step guide to creating a blog that compliments your content marketing strategy. Each of these steps covers a different part of the process, taking you from an empty blog to one that’s continually posting insightful content.

1. Use Customer Research To Personalize Content

Over the last few years, personalization has become one of the biggest trends in marketing. Unlike other industry trends, we think this one is here to stay. Whether it’s recognizable brand advertisements on every page or a YouTube ad about something they just Googled, personalization is everywhere. What started as a general rejection of this has swiftly become total acceptance.

These days, consumers want to come across personalized content. In fact, an Epsilon study showed that as many as 80% of customers are more likely to buy from a brand that uses marketing personalization. With this in mind, creating an effective blog strategy should always start with your customers.

The world of data analytics comes in handy here, with your business likely having demographic information about who your customers are. But beyond demographics, you want to take a peek into the psychology of your users. A great way to do this is to take a look at your current content and its engagement. What do your customers find most interesting? Take stock of any content you’ve written before and see which of the following topics strike a cord:

  • Emerging trends and reviews
  • Original research and unique insights
  • Industry tutorials or commentaries

Beyond that, try to discover more about your customer’s consumption habits. Find information on the devices they use, the time of day they read content, and where in the world they’re based. Building up a comprehensive understanding of the underlying interests of your customers will help inform your blog content production strategy going forward.

2. Research the Competition

Understanding who and what you’re up against is always a great idea if you want to work your way to the top. Doing competitor research using tools like SemRush can help you discover what content strategy is working for others. Our content analysis tool is another resource you can use for your competitor analysis.

Especially when you’re just getting started with your content marketing blog strategy, knowing more about certain formats that are working for your competitors will give you a leg up. In certain industries, educational guides are more popular. In others, quick listicles that fire off information are preferred. Knowing what’s hot in your industry gives you a huge piece of the content marketing puzzle.

Alongside article types and structures, competitor research can also give you an insight into which keywords your competitors are ranking for. Make a list of similar businesses in the field, see what they’re doing, and then take that research onwards to the next step.

3. Do SEO and Keyword Research

SEO lives and dies by keyword research. Keywords are either words or small phrases that Google uses to index your pages. By including certain keywords throughout an article, a search engine will know to recommend your article when a user types those phrases into Google.

Keywords are how search results work, with this being one of the most important elements of getting traffic to your content. Due to its importance, keyword research is going to be a large portion of how you form your content marketing blog strategy. You’re going to be looking for phrases or words that have a high search volume with low or medium competition.

If you’re not sure where to start, this is where your competitor research comes in. By knowing what keywords your competitors are focusing on, you can better plan for keyword research for your blog strategy. Equally, think about what your business offers. Try to brainstorm words and phrases associated with your company. There’s a range of keyword research tools that can help you here, both free and paid:

  • Semrush
  • Google keyword planner
  • Answer the public
  • Surfer SEO
  • Ahrefs

Once you’ve collated a list of keywords, you should find out more about their monthly search volume and how difficult they are to rank for. Prioritize keywords that have higher search volumes and lower competition. That said, you’ll often find the best content opportunities as a sweet spot between these two metrics.

Jotting down these keywords can give you a lot of content areas to start with. Next, we’ll discuss how to narrow them down and pick the best content options for you.

4. Create Pillar and Cluster Blog Posts

A large component of content marketing blog strategy is being able to use data to create topic clusters. Let’s say you’re a digital marketing business that offers SEO services.

The central pillar content you’ll create is going to be all about SEO. But, the term “SEO” has a lot of competition, meaning you’ll need to create more specific content if you want to rank. With this in mind, you could create a second cluster of articles. This second layer is still about SEO, but every so slightly more specific, with articles connected to local SEO, technical SEO, and so on.

From there, you could go one layer further, creating articles around local SEO tools, strategies, and trends. Creating a pillared content structure like this allows you to continually generate new ideas and refresh your blog content. Here’s an example of this strategy from Semrush:

Semrush pillar pages and clusters concept map for SEO

Image via Semrush

A fantastic blog strategy for content marketing involves continually producing content that covers a broader extent of keywords. While the term “SEO” might be hard to rank for, you’ll have an easier time ranking for “best SEO practices for email marketing.”

This is due to what is known as the search demand curve. As keywords get longer, a customer is less likely to search for them on Google. With less monthly traffic, there is also a great deal less competition from others writing about these topics.

Graph from MOZ that shows the Search Demand Curve of Keywords.

Image via Moz

One major part of a blog strategy in content marketing that people overlook is creating content across the entire search demand curve. If you only target the top 10 keywords, you’ll have a hard time making a dent in the niche. Equally, if you only target a keyword that 15 people search for each month, you won’t be seeing much traffic.

Much like full-funnel marketing, your content marketing strategy should focus on creating content across the spectrum. Armed with your keywords and a general pillar page and cluster structure, you’ll know exactly where to begin.

5. Plan Your Content Calendar

Creating a content calendar is more of a symbolic step in the process. Instead of having a long list of keywords, search volume data, and competitor insights, you’ll be able to start planning exactly when you’ll post certain articles. There are two approaches you can take to plan out your content calendar.

A cluster-based calendar allows for a batch of content around one aspect of your business. Once you’ve planned out the first cluster, you can then move on to the next one. Continue until you cover all the main pillars. On the other hand, a demand-based calendar focuses on producing content that has the highest demand first. Work through the articles that are most likely to gain traction. Here, take into account what your customers enjoy and search volume keyword data.

Whether you’re posting once a week or several times, a content calendar will help you keep your content blog strategy in line.

6. Start Content Creation

Arriving at this step, you should have a fairly good idea of what content you should be writing for your business. If you’ve done effective competitor research, you may even know what article structures will work best for your industry.

Content writing is about putting together everything you’ve learned so far. Some keywords spell out the content you’ll need to produce. For example, if you want to rank for ‘Best Apple Pie Recipe’, you’ll probably need to write up a recipe. But, other keywords won’t be so straightforward.

If you’re not sure where to begin, a great free tool is Google. By typing your chosen keyword into Google, you’ll get a list of articles that are currently ranking. As an example, when searching for “SEO Strategies”, we get the following results:

Taking a quick look, four of these articles are listicles, moving through a number of tips. The other two follow a how-to format. With this in mind, you’ll have a strong idea of which article structure works best for your keyword, allowing you to hit the ground running.

What Should a Content Marketing Blog Strategy Cover?

Although you may be focusing on a singular keyword, that doesn’t mean your article should only address that one thing. Each piece can be valuable for getting more related long-tail keywords into your article. Think about it like this: if you want to rank for “chocolate cake,” you could also focus on keyword phrases like:

  • How to make chocolate cake
  • How to bake chocolate cake
  • Best ingredients for chocolate cake

You could even include a small FAQ section where you answer questions like ‘Can you make a chocolate cake without oil?’ in order to capture an even larger audience. Especially considering the recent Helpful Content Update from Google, structuring your content to hit as many common search questions as possible can be a great strategy.

Above all, remember to provide value. There’s no point in creating an article that reflects content already available online. You want to stand out from your competitors and provide a valuable experience to your readers.

Ultimately, by sticking to a blog strategy for content marketing and posting regularly, you’re able to build brand visibility, engage your audience, and secure new leads. And by creating a pool of keywords for your content, you can shape your business blog into something truly wonderful. A successful blog strategy for your content marketing plan can be key to providing quality content that people will browse for years to come.

Looking for additional insights into creating a winning blog strategy for your marketing plan? Be sure to subscribe to the CopyPress newsletter and stay on top of industry updates, marketing trends, and expert advice on content marketing.

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