Too many bloggers do not have a clear blogging strategy. They just jump from one task to another and try the latest ideas they’ve heard of … and never get far.
If it sounds like you, do not feel bad. Even among professional business-to-business marketers, only 65% (just over a third) actually have a proven strategy.
Maybe you’ve tried to be strategic in the past, but it all seemed overwhelming: getting your head around revenue generation and traffic and everything else that goes into developing a blog.
Or maybe you’re trying to figure out a content strategy – but all your plans fell apart as soon as you were busy and did not find time to write.
Today I will break down with creating a blog strategy for you. We take everything step by step so you can build your strategy without getting stuck or overwhelmed.
Let’s start by realizing what we want to do – and why.
What is a blog strategy?
A blogging strategy is not as formal as a business plan. Nor is it usually focused on the small details (like how exactly you want to close each blog post). Instead, your blogging strategy is a broad map of how to reach your blogging goals.
Your blog strategy can cover a lot of different areas, e.g. When you need to create products, what type of affiliate products you want to promote and more.
In this article, I will focus on an important part of your blog strategy – your blog content strategy. This is about the posts (and / or other content) you publish on your blog. Your content links to all other areas of your blogging strategy, making it a great place to start.
Why you need a blogging strategy (and 6 steps to create one) in 2021
Note: Please note that some of the links below are affiliated links and at no extra cost to you I earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products and services that I have personally used and are behind. When you use one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me, which helps me run this blog and keep my in-depth content free for readers (like you).
Why you need a content strategy for your blog
Imagine two bloggers. Let’s call them Andy and Bella. They both blog in the same niche for the same audience.
Andy does not have a strategy. He intends to publish a new post every Monday, but often gets busy and does not publish anything.
He is often unsure of what to write, so he just chooses the topic he is thinking about or in the news. He keeps getting started with affiliate marketing but never manages to write the reviews he has in mind.
Bella, on the other hand, has a blogging strategy. She publishes a new post every Monday without error, sends out a newsletter every Wednesday and queues a week of social media updates in line every Friday.
Through keyword research, she knows exactly which articles are likely to help her target audience – and bring traffic to her blog. She has a “Recommended Resource” section in each newsletter where she shares an affiliate resource she loves.
Which blogger is likely to succeed after a year? Obviously it’s Bella … yet, most bloggers behave more like Andy.
Andy’s blog will not necessarily fail. He may be lucky with a post and get a flood of traffic. He will eventually get to write some affiliate reviews and bring in a bit of money.
But his blog is definitely more of a hobby than a business. There is no real momentum against Andy’s goal.
If you’re more like Andy than Bella, do not worry. We will discuss exactly what you need to do to create your blog content strategy.
6 steps to creating your blog content strategy
Let’s get your strategy started. If your blog is already up and running, you may have already completed the first three steps – but I strongly recommend at least reading through them if there is anything you need to adjust.
Step 1: Define your goals
Before you do anything else, find out what you want from blogging. This will inform your entire strategy.
It is impossible to figure out how to create a successful blog if you do not even know what “successful” means to you.
Do you want to build a reputation for yourself in your industry? Do you want some money on the site? Do you want to raise money for a charity or a cause? Do you want to earn a full time job? Do you just enjoy writing for fun?
All of these are valid goals. You can choose one of them or come up with another goal that resonates with you.
Once you have determined your broad goal, start thinking about details. Let us e.g. Say that your goal is to earn a full time blog. What does it look like for you?
Maybe you want to e.g. Make $ 35,000 / year (median US salary) work during school hours. Or maybe you want to earn at least $ 100,000 / year, but you are happy to work a 50-hour week.
Task: Write down your main goal for your blog using goal numbers or numbers, if it makes sense to do so. You may also want to specify a target date.
Step 2: Choose your niche
Once you are aware of your goal, it is time to choose your niche. If you already have a niche, stop and think about whether your niche is fully compatible with your goal.
If your goal is to make money (especially full time), you will choose a niche that is easy to make money on.
However, it is important not only to choose a niche because you think it will make money. Unless you are highly motivated by money alone, you will probably choose a niche that you can enjoy writing about in the years to come.
If you need a little help at this stage of blogging, check out my in-depth guide to choosing a blog niche.
Task: Write down your niche. If you are unsure, write a list of possible niches and rank them based on (a) what you enjoy best and (b) whether they are likely to help you reach your goals.
Step 3: Identify your target market
Who is your blog aimed at? Sometimes your target market (aka target audience) will be indicated by your niche, but most niches will have several possible audiences.
Let’s say your niche is “fitness for beginners.” Your target market is clearly “beginners” – but you want to go beyond that. Ask yourself:
Do you write primarily for men or women? How old are your readers? What country do they live in? What are their political views? How much education do they have?
All of these factors will affect the topics you cover, the products / services you recommend, the advice you give, and even the way you formulate things.
They will also affect things beyond your content, e.g. The color scheme, branding and the social networks you use to promote your blog.
For example, a beginners fitness blog may be aimed at “women in their 40s and 50s in Europe, left-leaning, college-educated, or higher.”
Another may be aimed at “men in their 20s in America, only right-wing high school diploma.” These blogs will probably look very different.
Note: You can – and will – have readers that do not suit your target market. It is all right. What matters is that you have a core target market in mind. Other people are also welcome to come to your blog … but you do not tailor your content specifically to them.
Task: Write down your target market, and incorporate at least some of the above factors.
Step 4: Perform keyword research
The next step is to find out what keywords people in your target market are likely to use, related to your blogs niche.
“Keywords” are not complicated. They are simply words or (more often) short sentences that people write in Google.
You can probably think of a whole lot of keywords from the top of your head. For example, if you blog about knitting patterns, some keywords would be:
Knitting Knitting Patterns Free Knitting Patterns Dress Knitting Patterns Sweater Knitting Patterns How to Knit a Christmas Sweater
Keyword research is the process of finding keywords and figuring out which keywords to base content on.
Essentially, you will find keywords that (a) have lots of people searching for them, but (b) are not so popular that you never have a chance to get your content to the top of Google.
There are lots of techniques and tools you can use to help and I have a detailed article here with everything you need to know about keyword research.
Task: Go through the Keyword Research Wizard, then enter 10 or more keywords that you can use to create content.
Step 5: Create a content calendar
A content calendar is simply a list of upcoming dates and the content you plan to publish. With your calendar at hand, you can come up with lots of blog post ideas all at once, perform keyword research and even schedule an entire batch of posts.
There are lots of different options for creating your content calendar. Some bloggers use a simple spreadsheet. Others use a task management system like Asana.
You can even use a sheet of paper. What matters is that you plan what you want to send, when, in advance.
Your content calendar can contain more than just blog posts. You may want to include newsletters, guest posts, and other content that you would like to create on a regular basis.
You can even plan to create more in-depth free resources, maybe once a month or once a quarter.
It is also a good idea to include content promotion in your calendar as this is part of your blog marketing strategy.
It can be as simple as planning a few social media posts to share your content or a list of who to email about specific content.
To make your content planning faster, you can choose a specific theme or type of post in different days or weeks.
For example, you may have a “beginners” post every Monday and a “top tips” post every Friday, or you may always have an “expert roundup” post the last week of each month.
Want My Free Blog Strategy Plans?
Take my free blog planning bundle (in Google Doc format) today.
Task: Plan your upcoming blog posts for the next month using the keywords you researched in step 4. If you can, go ahead and schedule the emails you send to your list.
Step 6: Plan your revenue strategy
If you are hoping to earn a living as a blogger, you have thought a bit about revenue generation when choosing your niche. But now it’s time to think about how to best integrate revenue generation into your blogging strategy as a whole.
These are some of the key ways in which people make money blogging:
Many bloggers use a combination of methods, although some blogs only make money on one method.
It is important to think about how you plan to monetize your blog so that you can rework this into your content plan.
For example, if you Promoting affiliate products, you can write review posts – but you can also look for opportunities to mention these products in other posts.
Task: Choose a method of revenue generation (which you already use or want to use). Look for at least 3 pieces on your content calendar where you can add a section or link that can help you make more money through this method.
Execute your blog strategy
Set aside time this week to form your blog strategy. Don’t worry about making it perfect – your strategy is not stony. You can review and change it based on your actual results.
Start by becoming aware of your goals, niche and target market. Then do enough keyword research to plan your next month’s content. Make sure you are also working on some revenue generation options.
Finally, end time each week to produce the content you have planned. (Aim to complete it ahead of your scheduled release date just in case you get sidetracked.) You’ll be amazed at how much you can achieve in just one month.
And don’t worry, your blog is not up and running yet or you need help setting it up properly. Just go on to my complete guide on how to start a blog and make money.
Want My Free Blog Strategy Plans?
Take my free blog planning bundle (in Google Doc format) today.