Is your company blog getting the results you want? If not, it’s probably time to revisit your blog content strategy.
Much like your overall content marketing strategy, a blog content strategy sets the direction for your blog. Your audience is the compass. The blog content plan is the map.
In this article, I give you 7 steps to build that map. Use them to get your blog to a sunnier destination: higher search rankings, better engagement from your audience, and so on.
Why Do You Need a Blog Content Strategy?
If your blog includes a mishmash of press releases, random editorials from leadership, and high-level listicle-type pieces, it’s time to clean up your strategy. Your blog is not a recycle bin!
With so many sites competing for attention, it’s not enough to post something regularly. You have to post content your target audience wants to read. That content also has to align with your overall content objectives and integrate the right keywords in the right ways. Oh: and don’t forget internal and external links. And backlinks. I give you some resources for that later in this post.
If you want to use your blog as a company diary, that’s fine, but don’t expect much traction. If you want your company’s blog to engage your audience and help improve your site’s performance, start with these basic components of a smart blog content strategy.
1. Define Your Target Audience.
Who are you writing to? That’s your audience. Most of your blog content should be written to and for your audience. Not to you, not to your boss. Them. Your marketing team may already have your audience(s) defined. Great! You have a head start. If not, here are a few characteristics to consider:
- Company size
- Job title
- Approx age range
Once you have your best-case customer(s) sketched out, consider where they’re stuck. This is your in. Put yourself in their shoes and ask:
- What are their interests?
- What are their goals?
- What questions do they most commonly ask about your product/service?
- What challenges do they face that your product/service can solve?
Query your sales team for useful insights to these questions. If multiple prospects ask the same question, or present with the same concerns, you’ve got your answers.
2. Define Your Goals and Objectives.
What do you want to accomplish with your blog? I’m sorry to say, you probably won’t get any paid customers directly from your blog. But it may play a role in helping your company achieve certain business goals. Example goals include:
- Increase website traffic
- Increase downloads for a piece of gated content
- Build brand awareness
- Educate your audience on a topic related to your service
Your content objectives spell out how your blog content supports these goals. For example, content about a current regulatory issue will draw attention to your company’s regulatory consulting services. A blog article summarizing a webinar topic, with a call to action to sign up for the webinar, will attract visitors to the webinar landing page.
3. Analyze existing content.
Think about those audience pain points. Now sift through your blog for any old articles that address those challenges. Update those articles for some quick-win content.
Next, take note of content gaps. What is your content not addressing? There’s your starter topic list for upcoming blogs.
Finally, analyze the numbers. Which articles have performed well in the past? Write more content in that theme. To get this info, use a tool like Google Search Console or one of the many SEO tools out there (Semrush and Ahrefs are two of the most popular).
4. Get a plan.
You know who, you know why, and you have a good start on some topic ideas. Next you’ll need to break this down into specifics.
Based on your blog goals and audience pain points, identify at two to three content pillars. These are over-arching themes your content centers on. When you have pillars, it’s way more easier to come up with topic ideas.
For a CRO, therapeutic areas or industries may serve as pillars. For a SaaS company, it could be data integration or data management challenges.
Next, flesh out topic ideas for the next 1-3 months. Good starting points include “why” and “how” statements, lists, and best practices. Address challenges but don’t dwell on them. Offer solutions.
Finally place the pillars and topics into a content calendar. You can use something familiar, like Google Calendar, or a dedicated content calendar tool. If more than one person contributes to the blog, consider a tool like Trello that helps you schedule and assign tasks.
5. Conduct keyword research.
Keyword research is a topic in and of itself. For your blogs to rank well in search, you’ll need to identify and integrate keywords and phrases relevant to your target audience and pillars.
Google Keyword Planner is a good place to start. Look for high-volume, low-competition keywords. Integrate those keywords in your main title (H1), subheads, and throughout the body copy.
For a crash course in keyword basics, I recommend the keyword research course on Semrush Academy. The instructor, Greg Gifford, makes keyword planning and research easy to understand and fun!
6. Promote your blog content.
Share your published blogs via an email newsletter and your social media channels. If you post on LinkedIn, provide enough context so that your followers can engage. You want them to read the blog, but you also want them to comment and share your post.
Bonus tip: focus first on the channels you own: your email list, your Slack and Discord channels. That way, you’re promoting content to people who already have an interest in your products and/or services. And those folks are 3.5x more likely to share your content on social according to blog expert Ryan Robinson.
7. Measure your results.
Use Google Analytics and/or other analytics tools to measure your content’s performance over time. Just don’t expect results next week. Content strategy is a long game. Measure from monthly and quarterly. Review traffic, engagement, and conversions to identify which pieces of content perform best. Refine your plan as needed.
Blog Content Strategy Top FAQs
FAQ: How often should I publish? As often as your bandwidth allows. If you can publish twice a month, fine. Once week, great. If you only have time to get one article a month out the door, that will have to do. I’ve worked with plenty of B2B companies with one-person marketing teams. I get it. Do what you can. And if you have the budget, outsource.
FAQ: What about repurposing content? Yes please! You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every blog article. Create blog articles that summarize your gated content (white papers, case studies, solutions briefs, webinars) with a CTA that points readers to the full piece. If you’re in a scientific field, use it to summarize your recently published studies with a link to the full paper. Use it to recap keynotes and panel discussions that your experts participate in. Use it to point to a cool infographic. The options are many and give you an easy way to keep your blog active.
FAQ: What about ChatGPT? Any conversation related to Google and writing these days comes back to ChatGPT and large language models. If you haven’t used it, I urge you to start getting familiar with this tool now because it’s not going away.
But DON’T rely on this thing to 100% write for you. Use it to answer questions, to generate ideas, to start an outline, and maybe—if you know how to give it good prompts—produce a rough early draft of something. Sign up for The Prompt newsletter to get advice on creating good prompts.
For B2B technology and life sciences companies especially, content produced by ChatGPT must be revised by a human so it provides enough in-depth, evidence-based, current information to keep readers engaged (ChatGPT doesn’t have access to stuff after 2021 right now). Your content must be revised by a human so it matches your company’s voice and tone. It must read like a human wrote it. Add stats to back up your claims. Add quotes from your CEO. Add context and human-ness.
Blog Content Strategy Extra Credit
When you’re developing your blog content strategy, think about your audience and how they might find you today. But also think about how the GPT family of tools will change search moving forward.
You must build your brand. Get known by name. And build your community. Don’t rely on social alone. Build your email list, your Discord channel, whatever. Why?
Finally, let’s talk about backlinks. As you’re planning content, consider dedicating time to create long-form blog posts. Think “ultimate guides,” expanded how-tos, and similar. Base them on original research if you can. Think about creating content that’s specific and comprehensive enough to be linked to by trade publications in your field. Getting backlinks is a multi-step process, and many of them don’t necessarily apply to B2B medical and clinical technology companies. But if you’re curious about the world of backlinks, check out the massive amount of content offered by Brian Dean of Backlino (recently acquired by Semrush).
If you’re overwhelmed by all this or simply strapped for time, consider outsourcing your blog content and blog content plan to an experienced content strategist and writer. Someone with expertise in both strategy and writing will take the planning off your plate. They’ll also know how to write specifically for blog posts; meaning, integrating keywords appropriately, using attention-grabbing headlines and subheads, and closing with an enticing CTA.
Are you ready to take your company’s blog up a few notches? Let’s Talk.
PS: If all of the above was helpful, or if you have a tip to add to the list, please leave a comment below. I respond to all comments from humans. : )