You want to create a successful blog, but nothing you try seems to be working. Or maybe you’ve had a go at creating a blogging strategy or an action plan, but you’re just not quite getting anywhere.
I get it, that’s frustrating. I’ve been there myself.
In this post, I’m going to walk you through the importance of having a clear strategy for your blog to get traffic and generate revenue. And I’m going to walk you through the six steps it takes to create one that’s actionable and reasonable for you to take action on today.
This will be applicable no matter the type of blog you want to create or where you are in your journey today. And, as I said, we’re going to go step-by-step so that you won’t get stuck or feel overwhelmed.
Let’s do it!
What is a Blogging Strategy?
First and foremost, what is a blogging strategy?
It’s not this nebulous thing that can’t be defined. A blogging strategy is simply a clear map that will take you towards your goals. It’s not a formal business plan. It’s more simple than that.
And we’re going to focus more specifically on content strategy because having the right content – the content that will bring you readers and will convert those readers into subscribers and customers – is what will drive impact across all of your major blogging goals.
If you can get your content right, then the rest comes much more naturally.
Reality check: Having a blogging strategy increases odds of success
Here’s the reality: bloggers with a strategy are going to succeed much faster. Without a clear strategy, it’s hard to gain momentum and feel motivated to keep showing up and putting in effort on your blog when you’re not seeing the results come.
So now let’s talk about how to create a blogging strategy – this clear, simple, straightforward roadmap that will get you to your goals.
Step #1: Define your blogging goals
Without having a really clear endpoint that you want to get to, it’s hard to ever make any real progress towards anything.
So what do you want from your blog?
Examples of goals could be something like boosting your reputation in your industry, generating a meaningful amount of side income so you can plan for some extra vacations or save up to buy a home.
Or maybe you want to raise money for a charity or an important cause to you. Or perhaps you want to build up momentum to get full-time as a blogger to earn a full-time living from your website.
On the other hand, maybe blogging is even just a simple pleasure for you. It’s a hobby, an outlet for your creative writing efforts.
What’s important about having a blogging goal is that you start with a more generalized one – something top-level – from which you can later get more specific.
And an example of that could be something as simple as earning your first $10,000 from your blog within 12 months. Or maybe something like earning $30,000 in the next couple of years by using your blog to book freelance clients.
Whatever that may be for you, it’s important to really clarify what your goal is.
Task: Write down your goal. And I mean, write it down on a physical piece of paper or online in some sort of task manager so you have a really clear focus.
Step #2: Pick your blog’s core niche
Your blog’s niche is a topic area or subject matter that you personally identify with something that you have some interest in and ideally some experience or some skills related to it that’ll help you to create content quickly and be able to impact your readers in a positive way.
Now, keep in mind that you want your niche to be about subject matter that you can probably write about for years to come. Something that you’re not going to be immediately burnt out by if you’re not getting quick results. This needs to be something that you have a personal interest in.
And it’s important to note that your niche should also fit your goal. It needs to be a niche in which you can generate some income if making money from your blog is something you care about.
Niche examples: Finance, writing, travel, food, photography…
Examples of blog niches you could pursue based on your interests ideally are things like personal finance, writing, travel, food, photography, parenting, whatever your interests may be.
There are going to be other people out there that have similar interests and are seeking answers that maybe you can help provide for them.
Tip: The best niche engages your interests & can profit
Ultimately, you want your niche to live in the intersection of your own personal interests and some profit potential if you want to make money from your blog in the long run.
Task: Write down your niche. Keep in mind that this is something that may grow, change, and evolve over time, as you personally do the same.
Step #3: Identify your target market
Who is your blog for? Who are the exact people that you want to create content and solutions for?
Think about geographic characteristics, like gender, age, geographic location, political interests, education level – things that will indicate what your readers are thinking about in their own personal lives.
Tip: Think ahead about how you’ll get in front of these people
Take this a step further by thinking about where these types of people already spend their time online. And these are going to be the websites where you want to eventually guest post or maybe the social media platforms that you want to be most present on.
It’s important to really think through how you’re going to get in front of these specific readers in order to even bring them back to your blog and build a relationship with them and eventually monetize your content.
Task: Write down exactly who your readers are – your ideal readers – because these factors will play into the kinds of content that you create and how you interact with these people when they do arrive on your blog.
Step #4: Conduct smart keyword research
Keywords are the types of phrases and terms that your audience is typing into major search engines like Google.
These are the problems they have, the questions they’re asking, and the ways in which you can create content that answers those questions.
Keyword research is the backbone of deciding what possible topics you might write about for your blog. And you always want to validate these kinds of topics with real research based on how many people are searching for these topics a month.
Tip: Focus on keywords that’ll attract only the right readers
And it’s important that you write about keywords that your audience is searching for answers about, rather than just attracting the wrong people that you don’t necessarily want on your blog or care to interact with in a way that you want to build long-term sustainable relationships with.
So strive for that sweet spot of finding keywords that are active and popular but not too popular to be able to rank on the first page of Google.
Task: Write down 10 keywords that you want to create content about and research them to make sure that they have real audience demand out there and that you can create this type of content out of personal interest, skills, and experience that you have as well.
Step #5: Create a content calendar
This will inform exactly when you’ll publish the articles that you’ve already researched and brainstormed and then decided you want to create.
But what’s most important about having a content calendar is that it makes your ideas real. It sets out a timeline for when you’re going to publish.
Your content calendar should also include some ideas for promotion based on the topic of the specific article at hand.
Where should you be promoting it? Where do you want to guest post to link back to it and draw some readers from a related website? Which social platforms do you want to invest some time in creating content for?
These are the kinds of questions to think through before you hit publish, so you’re not left wondering: hmm, what do I do next?
Task: Plan out all of the posts for the next month or two, depending on your publishing frequency. And let’s say you publish one post a week, plan out just a month using the keywords that you planned for already, and see how that feels.
Step #6: Plan for future monetization of your content
This is going to be relevant regardless of where you’re with your blog today. Even if you’re just in the very early days, you want to at least be thinking through how this content that you’re writing right here right now today, can eventually be monetized.
That’s why it’s important to integrate monetization into your content plan from day one.
Monetization ideas: Affiliates, digital products, blog ads, sponsorships, selling your services, and more…
You can monetize your content through channels like affiliate marketing, by selling your own digital products like e-books or online courses, by advertising, having display ads on your site, by sponsored posts going out, and by getting deals with brands that want to reach your audience.
Or maybe you even have services of your own that you can sell as a way to quickly begin monetizing your content as people come to your site.
Task: Add monetization ideas to each content idea in your calendar. Tie each specific blog post to a potential way that it might make money for you just so that you have a foundation for how to think about your content eventually generating revenue.
Summary: Creating a Blogging Strategy
Creating a blogging strategy can be easy, but it needs to adapt over time. It’s something that I want you to get clear on now.
If you can define clear goals to decide on your niche and identify your target market, you’re already halfway there.
Do your keyword research, dive into content planning, and think about monetization as you’re going. That’s the backbone of any good substantial blog strategy.
And yes, it’s something that will grow and change over time. And it should adapt to real-world factors based on how people are resonating with your content and the ways in which you grow as a person as well.
So once you’ve developed this strategy, set aside the time to begin writing and publishing your content so you can promote it, bring people to your blog, get to know them, and work towards that monetization goal.