A lot of information about building a successful blog covers topics like choosing a niche/topic, getting traffic, and monetizing the blog. All of these things are important, but ultimately a blog is nothing without its content.
Regardless of what topic you choose to cover with your blog, and regardless of how you attempt to make money from it, quality content is essential. In this chapter I’ll talk about developing a content strategy and how you can set your blog up for success.
Types of Posts That You Will Publish
One of the first things that you’ll have to decide in regards to a content strategy are the types of posts that you will publish. There is a great deal of variety from one blog to another when it comes to the type of content. Some examples of different types of content that you could publish are news, opinion, controversy, humor, lists, tips, tutorials, videos, links to articles from other sources, and interviews. I’m sure there are even more possibilities, those are just some examples. In addition, depending on the types of posts you choose you may also have to decide on a length or a level of depth. Are you posting quick tips that can be read in just a few minutes? Or are you publishing lengthy, in-depth tutorials?
Of course, it is likely that you will publish a combination of a few different types of posts rather than sticking with only one type of post all the time. However, it’s important to think about the types of content that you will publish because it will impact how readers and visitors view your blog. Use your content strategy to establish the reputation and the image that you want to have.
For example, if you want to be known as the go-to source for news and information in your industry you will probably want to focus on brief news-related posts. In order to become the go-to source you’ll need to get the information out quickly. Getting the information out in a short post will be more effective at helping you to become known as the go-to source than taking the time to write a longer opinion post about your thoughts on the news event itself. While you are doing that, others will be publishing the news and they’ll be the ones who become known as the go-to source. That being said, I don’t recommend any authority blogger to focus on breaking news. It’s simply too difficult for most one-person operations. I chose to use it as an example because I think it is a clear scenario where the content strategy is important.
Another example, if you want to become known as respected authority on dieting, you may want to focus your posts on tips, lists, and opinion pieces. With the tips posts you can share helpful information in brief posts that your readers will be able to read quickly and apply to their own lives. Lists could be helpful for things such as foods that can good or bad for specific scenarios (such as, 10 foods for adding protein to your diet). Opinion pieces could be published periodically to share your own thoughts and opinions from your experience, which can help to show your level of expertise and to build your reputation.
The types of content that you choose should also be influenced by how you plan to monetize the blog. If your plan is to sell products, to sell services, or even to promote affiliate products, your content strategy should focus on helping you to establish yourself as an authority or expert on the subject. Once you have established some name recognition and have developed a good reputation with your readers and visitors, selling products and services will be a lot more profitable. When readers respect your opinion and value your expertise, they’ll be much more responsive to anything you offer, even if it is someone else’s product that you are recommending as an affiliate.
So in this scenario you would want your content to help establish your expertise and build a name for yourself. You’ll also want to focus on interacting and connecting with your readers, which will help to build that trust that you are after. You can do this by actively responding to comments and encouraging communication from your readers, by interacting with them on social networking sites, by responding to emails that you get from readers, and by keeping their best interests in mind when making any product recommendations.
As I’ve mentioned before, blogs will evolve over time. So just because you decide to focus on a particular type of post (or to not focus on a particular type of post), that doesn’t mean that you can’t change or adapt in the future. As your blog grows you should evaluate your content strategy from time-to-time to make sure that it is still a good fit for where you want to go with the blog.
Going right along with the types of posts that you publish will be the need to determine your posting frequency. It is highly recommended that you remain active and consistent with your blog posting. That doesn’t mean that you have to publish on the same days of each week or that you have to publish at the same time of each day, although some bloggers choose to follow this type of routine. What’s most important is that your readers know that you are active and that they can have an idea of what to expect from your posting frequency.
What you want to avoid is large gaps between posts and erratic posting. You certainly don’t want your readers to ever wonder if you have disappeared or abandoned the blog, and that is what can happen when you go a long time between posts, especially if you normally post more frequently.
It’s impossible to say that there is one right approach when it comes to posting frequency. Some very successful bloggers publish once a week, or even less. Others publish multiple posts per day. The frequency that is right for you will depend on a few factors, including the types of posts that you are going to publish (how long it will take you to produce them and how long it will take visitors to read them), how you plan to monetize the site (if you’re selling ads you may need to post more frequently to boost the number of page views), and of course, how much time you have available.
In general, for most authority blogs, publishing 1 to 3 new posts per week tends to work well. That is a generalization though, you should attempt to find the right number for you, your blog, and your audience. Of course, this doesn’t need to be a rigid standard that must be followed strictly, it’s more of a guide that can help you to stay on track.
From my own experience I have found one of the best strategies is to always have at least a week’s worth of content, if not more, ready to be published at any time. So if you plan to publish two posts per week, aim to always have at least two posts finished and ready to publish.
In the early days of my blogging I would write a post and publish it immediately, usually with nothing else in the queue. The problem with this approach is that it puts more pressure on you to come up with a post simply because you need to publish something new. You may find that you are writing posts just to have something new, and the quality drops off. I found the quality of my posts to improve when I worked ahead because I didn’t feel that pressure to quickly produce a post just to get something new on the blog. Also, it can be helpful to wait on new posts for a few days before they are published (this isn’t possible with all post types, especially for breaking news). There may be times where you re-think something in your post or you may need a little extra time to proofread. Writing posts and publishing them immediately can lead to more errors and more revisions to posts after they have been published.
General Topics That You Will Cover
As I mentioned earlier, authority blogs tend to cover a broader range of topics as compared to a made-for-AdSense blog. Part of your content strategy should also include the topics that you want to cover. This is another thing that can and will evolve over time, but it’s good to at least have a starting strategy.
If you have specific products in mind that you would like to promote from your blog, whether you will be producing your own product or an affiliate product, you should take that into consideration when deciding on topics to cover. Even if your product will take some time to develop, you’ll probably want to start publishing some posts on topics that are very closely related to your product so you can start to build your reputation and authority in this specific area. When you do launch the product or start promoting an affiliate product, these posts in your archives can serve as landing pages. You can edit the posts to include promotions for the product with either a link to a sales page or a “buy now” button right in the post content.
Be Ready and Willing to Adapt and Evolve
While having a content strategy is important, it’s likely to eventually need to change in one way or another. It may be that you want to start experimenting with new posts types (such as videos), post topics, or change up the posting frequency. Being willing to adapt is an important part of sustaining blog success and growing your blog’s readership.