How to develop a content strategy for your blog
If you’ve read my articles before, you’ll know that I’m big on planning your content and creating content calendars. Making myself a schedule to follow helps to keep my productivity up.
I’m a lazy person. If I don’t know exactly what I’m meant to be doing, I won’t do ANYTHING.
But what if I told you you could create your ENTIRE content strategy before you even start your blog. Your first and last posts. And all the ones in between. No random posts on what you had for dinner or that cool new hat you bought.
Blogging can be overwhelming when you first start.
Even though you KNOW it’ll take a while, and you really love your niche, there’s so much to do.
As humans, we instinctively try to protect ourselves from failure. In blogging that translates as obsessively checking our stats, even though the blogs only been live for three months.
If you already know what you’re going to write, you’re more likely to stick at it. Sure, that last post didn’t go viral, but this next one might.
For my next project, I’m preparing all the content before I start. Well, there are two posts up there, but that’s it.
It helps to start a project when you know there’s going to be an end. Of course, there doesn’t have to be an end. But you should aim to cover every aspect of your niche in a set number of blog posts.
How many articles does your blog need?
First, you need to decide how many blog post you’re going to have on your blog. This is pretty niche-specific. If you have really narrow niche and don’t have much in the way of competition, you could get away with as few as 30 blog posts.
Now, bear in mind that the fewer blog posts you have, the better they have to be.
Those 30 posts are going to have to be consistently ranking number one on Google if you want to be making some decent money.
If your primary method of monetisation is going to be affiliate marketing, your writing needs to be on point and you need to be linking to some big-ticket products. Should the products you link to really resonate with your readers, you could make a lot of money.
Personally, I plan to write about 150 posts for my new blog. I plan to write 200 for my house plant blog, purely because there are so many different types of plants, all of which require their own page, as well as articles on plant care.
What articles should I write?
Keyword research is a skill, and you will improve over time. However, I ould still recommending trying to pick all say, 150, post topics before you begin.
It’s likely that you’ll find that you can cover 2 topics in one blog post, but there was something that you forgot.
Don’t worry if you find yourself repeating yourself a lot — some key ideas naturally crop up in multiple blog posts. In my plant blog, I talk about overwatering A LOT.
When you’re a few months in you can check your analytics and either delete or rewrite the posts that aren’t working.
Writing overview posts and then separate posts on each point can be a good way of interlinking your posts, and encourages your readers to read more of your articles. It’s also more user-friendly than forcing people to read articles in a slide-show format.
I would start with a blank page and try to come up with 100 possible ideas for blog posts. Then go to google and plug the topics in. Using those results comes up with a keyword that you think you might be able to rank for.
For example, if you were blogging about vegan recipes, you might start with ‘vegan lasagne’. Impossible to rank for. So try gluten-free vegan lasagne, or nut-free vegan lasagne, or soy-free vegan lasagne.
This part can be disheartening because there’s so much information already out there (especially, I’m afraid, for recipes). You just have to keep going. Try linking together two niches, like vegan and keto, vegan and elimination diet, vegan low fodmap,
If few people are writing about it (look for mainly low-quality search results, like forums), but some people are searching for it (does it autocomplete on Google), then you may have got yourself a winner.
Set an evening aside to scroll through Quora to see what questions people are asking related to your niche, and then put them in Google and have a look what crops up. Can you beat it?
Reddit and Answer the public are also great free tools you can use to do your keyword analysis.
When you’re doing your google keyword research, you’ll probably notice the same people cropping up again and again. Click through to their sites and read their articles. See if they have any that seem a bit crappy — can you write a better article than them?
Search volume to these very niche keywords is probably quite low, but if you’re ranking on the first page of the SERP, then you will get traffic. All you need is a trickle of traffic (and it will be a trickle for the first few months) to get started.
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, just in case they’re writing about a section of your niche you never considered.
Have you covered everything?
Once you have your list of 150 article ideas, read through each one. Could someone totally new to your niche find out everything they need to know?
You could even ask someone familiar with your niche to read through your ideas and see if you missed something.
Think about monetisation methods — do you have key articles you could push affiliate products on? Is there the potential to create a course? Maybe make some printables in Canva?
Now you can start writing your articles
It can be overwhelming, having 150 articles ready to be written, but I find it removes some of the stress.
If you like, you can prep all your articles before you start to write them —research, plan them, add subheading, images, etc, first, and then just fill in the gaps.
I do like to batch my work like this, though admittedly I tend to do 10–20 at a time. However, since I’m at home for three months, perhaps I will prep all 150 (or 200, I haven’t decided). I could probably get the bulk of the work done in a fortnight.
Of the prep, I mean, not the actually writing. I’m not mad.
What happens when you get to the end?
Weeell, it depends. If it turns out you’re sick of your niche and never want to see it again, cool. Leave your site up but don’t touch it. Wait a year, whack some ads on it and hope it makes you a millionaire.
Or, you could get to work starting an email list, making lead magnets, funnels, that kind of thing. The niche I’m going into is saturated when it comes to courses and such, so I’m going do the ads, affiliates, and printables, route.
With that being the case, my goal will be to increase traffic. Google analytics will become my ally. I’ll use the results to find the posts that aren’t working, and rewrite them until they do. The posts that are working will be either used to promote affiliate products or if that’s inappropriate, I’ll link to other posts that are.
I hope this was helpful and makes creating a blog seem a bit less overwhelming.
If it confused you further, I feel you. When I first started blogging I wanted to blog about me. But the days of posting what you ate and expecting an audience are long gone unless you’re already famous, or the way you live your life is of interest to other people.
The best advice I can give you when creating your content strategy is to think about how people actually use Google, not how you wished they would (it’d be lovely if everyone just google my name and house plants, but alas, no).
My new blog is in a SUPER competitive niche, though I think I have a unique-ish spin on it. The plan is to create all the content and then just leave it, probably to do another blog.
What can I say? I love to blog.