A blog is an easy tool that can keep your website fresh with new content and keep readers regularly coming back to visit you. Although it might seem as if it’s a lot of work, managing a blog schedule and posting regular content can be easy to do, if managed correctly.
In this post I want to walk you through the basics of managing your blog content, regardless of whether you are large organisation, or an independent writer managing their own site, the same techniques and approach will work.
Sometimes blog posts are part of an overall business strategy known as content marketing. The basic principle is to attract customers and sell your products by building a base of followers, who respect your opinion and appreciate your expertise on the subject matter.
As the name suggests it depends on the production of good quality content, that is produced on a regular basis. That however can be the biggest challenge, finding the time and the resources to produce both good quality and regular material. That’s where a content strategy comes in.
Similarly if your blog is theme related and trying to provide information, eventually there will be too many posts and pages for readers to read everything, and they will need more guidance and direction if they are to find relevant material. A content strategy can be useful in this situation to link articles together and refer back to older posts that might still be useful.
Develop a Content Strategy
A content strategy allows the business to choose key themes or topics that will be covered by the blog posts over a specific timeframe, say for example during the next month. The content can be broken down into smaller topics, so a month spent on nutrition might have a week on healthy foods, another week on easy to cook meals, a third week on healthy nutrition on a budget and so on.
By choosing to write on themes this can also save time on research and sourcing relevant reading material, because all the reading will be done on a particular topic at once. Similarly the blogs can be promoted on social media sites that are interested in the themes, so nutrition can be targeted to food related discussion groups and forums. The following week’s topic can also be mentioned in the social media promotion. Potential new customers might want to sign up to a newsletter to ensure that they don’t miss the next blog.
Some sites suggest using a template to develop the content strategy, however these can be very complex and technical to use. A simple template could look like the one I devised below for this blog article. As you can see this is post 2 of three related articles.
This is simply a tool to help plan a number of blog posts on related themes, to make sure that you aren’t simply writing the same thing for each one. It can also be used, as I have done here, to remember to link back to previous posts and articles that have already been written. These could be on previous related issues, or they could form part of a new series of articles that are interconnected.
Including New Content
In the content strategy example that I have provided I have also highlighted which affiliate products I will be using and promoting in each post. These are also referred to as external links along with outside websites and resource materials that I have used.
The affiliate links are usually products that I want customers to look at and which are related to the topics that I am writing about. By listing them in a content strategy it ensures that each new post is looking at different products, so readers don’t get exactly the same message, each time they read a different article from the site. All readers should be getting added value every time they read something new that I’ve written.
The other types of links mentioned are internal links. These refer to other posts on my site that I might refer readers to if they want more information on a particular topic. There are a number of advantages to having linked posts like this, firstly the readers will hopefully stay on the website longer and continue to read other relevant posts.
Secondly through the internal links readers can be guided round the website and move onto other related topics without having to keep going back to the home page and starting from scratch. Through the internal links provided in each article they will be able to read about different products and services that may also be of interest, without having to search. This is particularly useful once the site begins to get bigger and holds several hundred posts.
Sometimes the hardest thing can be to just sit down and write. In theory once the strategy has been developed the writer knows the direction to go and can start to produce the material. However it can also be easy to procrastinate at this stage. Sometimes it is better to sit down with a stop clock or watch and say – ’30 minutes I’m just going to write on this topic without interruption’.
Another strategy to assist with writing in a structured way is to build a keyword framework which can be useful as a way to focus the writing on a particular theme or word. A keyword framework simply lists two or three keywords or phrases that you will include in the text or in headings. Using this method it should ensure that you stick to topic and don’t wander off onto a different theme.
Keywords are also a useful way to link with your social media and other promotional strategies. The same keywords can be used in promotional headings and tweets so that when readers finally reach the blog page, they aren’t suddenly surprised and find that this wasn’t what they were looking for.
Promote Your Content
The content might be very good but if nobody sees it and reads it, does it matter how good it is? The purpose of creating new content is not just to add to your website, it has several other reasons that are vital to your business.
- You can promote the content through social media and attract new customers.
- You can reconnect with previous visitors who may have been looking elsewhere
- It can raise your rankings in Google searches so that people will come across you through the internet
- It can maintain existing relationships with customers so that they remember you if they are thinking of buying something in the future
- It can promote your expertise and authority so that existing customers might promote your work
Your promotional strategy doesn’t end once the post is displayed, all your hard work and writing will be around for a long time hopefully, and so it needs regular promotion. This can also be done through using newer blog articles in the future and linking back to this article. Or you can use repeated posts on social media and change the heading or picture that goes with it.
Other options for promotion that can be used later on could include collecting several linked posts together and publishing them, as a guide or a downloadable e-book that readers can sign up to.
Managing your schedule
Trying to produce regular high quality content can be a challenge for many companies, especially if they don’t already have a content writer on their staff team. However the content strategy that has been developed will outline which topics need to be covered and how often blogs should be produced. Developing a timetable to keep you on track might be useful for example.
– produce draft of blog by Tues,
– proofread on Wed,
– develop social media posts, Thursday
– publish blog Thurs- (ongoing respond to comments, and social media posts.)
There is no magic trick to producing lots of good quality content, it just needs to be written. Having completed the above points they then need to be repeated and repeated again. At the same time there needs to be social media strategy to continue to promote the content that has been previously been written whilst also updating it with links to the newer articles.
Whatever your approach (and I’d love to hear other suggestions) once you start and blog on a regular basis it will become a habit, and hopefully one that will be hard to break!