How to Create Blog Content Strategy

It’s imperative that small business owners understand how to create a killer blog content strategy. As a small business owner myself, I understand the propensity to skip the strategy and just write the blog post. However, as a digital marketing professional, every client I work with benefits from a clearly defined blog content strategy! 

Table of Contents

According to Internet Live Stats, there were 5,952,374 blog posts written today alone; the average is seven million blog posts published every single day. Ahrefs published a study that found that 90.63% of all web pages get no monthly organic traffic–none, at all. And because I can’t say it any better than Ahrefs, here’s the long and short of it:


“Without a clear strategy, you might end up creating blog content for the sake of creating it—without it getting any traffic and doing any good for the growth of your business.

A solid blog strategy will help you be in the 9.37%.” – Ahrefs

 

When doing free site audits for photographers, I often see them blogging for the sake of documenting sessions but not blogging strategically. Instead of spending time blogging for the sake of blogging sessions, I suggest you create a killer blog content strategy that will effectively serve both your clients and help you nurture leads.

For me, it’s easier for me to do things both personally and professionally when I get rewarded after…we’ll unpack that with the therapist again soon, lol! So in addition to the glass of wine I’ll have when I post this, I also need to see a reward for my business. Finding ‘rewards’ for writing for your business starts with defining your goals.

Define your blog goals

Defining your blog’s goals is Phase 1 when creating a killer blog content strategy. 

Everyone’s basic blog goal is to drive more traffic to your site, so check that off your list, it’s a given. When working with clients to create blog content strategies, I like to focus on these quantitative goals: 

  1. Driving more traffic to the site with specific quantitative goals (page views, time on site, etc..)
  2. Converting visitors to qualified leads
  3. Updating visitors about company news and product releases
  4. Educate prospective customers about product offerings and services
  5. Telling the brand story

Define Your Audience

Defining your blog’s audience is Phase 2 when creating a killer blog content strategy. Figuring out your blog audience is an essential part of planning blog content. Defining your blog audience is a three part process. The first part should be based on data found in your Google Analytics account, the second part is creating audience profiles, and the third part is defining the user journey.

Audiences based on data

Using Google Analytics you can filter to blog posts and then see which demographics and audience segments utilized your blog during their buyer journey. With this information you can compile audience profiles based on demographics, preferred channels, content types, etc…

analytics demographics overview

Based on my experience with newborn and family photographers, I think the audience profiles might look like this: 

Newborn Client

Demographic: 24-35 yrs old

Income: Willing to Invest

Want’s high quality newborn photos to document the birth of their new baby.

Likes high quality prints

Family Client

Demographic: 28-45 yrs old

Income: Disposable Income

Want’s quality family photos to document the growth of their family and kid’s milestones. 

Likes high quality prints and albums for grandparents

Family Client – Grandparent

Demographic: 45-75 yrs old

Income: Disposable Income

Want’s quality family photos just because. 

Likes high quality prints and digital downloads

Occasional Family Client

Demographic: 24-45 yrs old

Income: Budget-friendly

Want’s family photos occasionally, more likely to book a mini session

Likes digital downloads

Audience Profiles

Now that you have used your site’s data to determine a few audience profiles, I suggest using Donald Miller’s Story Brand-free exercises to define the audience in a way that’s more meaningful while writing. These exercises help you define each audience segments’ needs, challenges, pain points, and even preferences. 

If you haven’t heard of Donald Miller’s book, Building a Story Brand, I highly recommend you grab a copy!

screencapture mystorybrand 2022 06 16 11 32 17

User Journey

With all of the information you’ve collected in this phase, you can now confidently map out your user journey. By defining the user journey, you’ll have clear goals about what types of content to create in your blog content strategy in phase 3.

To create a user journey, imagine a funnel with three parts:

  1. Attract an Audience
  2. Nurture your user base
  3. Convert users to customers
  4. Engage

 

For this example, let’s take one of the audience segments we pulled and fill in a content funnel with the types of content that audience segment might need in order to move from site visitor to client. 

Family Client

Demographic: 28-45 yrs old

Income: Disposable Income

Want’s quality family photos to document the growth of their family and kid’s milestones. 

Likes high quality prints and albums for grandparents

Decide On Content Types

Defining your blog’s content is Phase 3 when creating a killer blog content strategy. With the user journey funnel complete, we can determine the types of content necessary at each stage in order to create a conversion. 

Popular content types include:

  1. Case Study
  2. New Lead Education Posts
  3. Client Education Posts
  4. Client Portfolio Posts
  5. White Paper/Free Download

Research the Competition

Researching the competition is Phase 4 when creating a killer blog content strategy. Armed with the knowledge of your audience segments and the types of content you need, it’ll be easier to strategically evaluate the market and competition. When evaluating competitors, it’s more important to keep an eye out for things they’ve not done. 

We’re not trying to do what the competition is doing; we are trying to do something different, and if there’s any crossover with what they’re doing, we have to do it better. 

The truth of the matter is that if you were to copy a competitor’s strategy, you’ll always be behind because you’ll end up competing for SEO real estate around the same topics, ideas, and keywords. 

In order to stand out in competitive markets, it’s important to tackle subjects that your competitors haven’t blogged about yet. 

Without the aid of paid tools like Semrush to evaluate competitors, here are the things to look for when researching the competition:

  • What are they doing well?
  • What are they not doing well?
  • What types of content do they use?
  • Are there any key pieces of blog content that they haven’t written?

 

Conduct Keyword Research

Conducting Keyword Research is Phase 5 when creating a killer blog content strategy. Now that we understand our audience segments, the types of content they need, and what topics our competitors have and have not covered, we can begin keyword research.

 

Many small businesses skip this step because it is more tedious, but if you want to rank blog posts for certain keywords, it’s vital that you understand keyword research. 

 

In order to conduct keyword research, it’s important to understand the different types of keywords, what keyword intent is, and what tools to use to do the research. 

Types of Keywords

search demand curve1 1
For the purposes of this blog post, we’re going to focus on two types of keywords, seed keywords/fat head keywords and long-tail keywords.

Seed Keyword

Seed keywords are broad, general terms that describe topics relevant to your audience. They’re called seed keywords because they’re used as the starting point in coming up with topics.

  • Make a list of your products and services:
    • Newborn Photography
    • Lifestyle newborn photography
    • Family Photography
    • In home family photography

Long-tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords have lower search volumes but higher click through rates because they answer questions or are more specific to the keyword intent. In order to come up with long-tail keywords you need to brainstorm related keywords from the seed keyword list. I start with Who-What-When-Where-Why and then expand my topic ideas.

    • Brainstorm related ideas/topics for each service–essentially creating subtopics.
      • Newborn Photography
        • What to wear for newborn photography
        • When to book newborn photography
        • Who’s the best newborn photographer
        • Why do I need a newborn photographer
        • Posed vs lifestyle newborn photography
        • Safety concerns for newborn photography
        • How to pose newborn for photos
      • Family Photography
        • What to wear for family photography
        • When to book family photography
        • Who’s the best family photographer
        • Why do I need a family photographer
        • Posed vs lifestyle family photography
        • In home family photography
        • How to pose for family photos
        • Best locations for family photos 

 

  • Search related terms
    • Use the tips found in this blog post to search for related keywords, paying special attention to the ‘Related searches’ section for other keyword ideas.

RELATED SEARCHES

Keyword Intent

There are four keyword intents, navigation, informational, transactional, and commercial. 

 

    • Navigational intent: Trying to find something (e.g., “NPS Photography website”). Other navigational intent keywords might include: login, pricing, training, certification, etc… In these searches, the person knows where they want to go but they don’t know how to get there. Brand name searches are gold!

 

    • Informational intent: Trying to learn more about something (e.g., “Who’s the best newborn photographer?”). Informational intent keywords answer questions like who-what-when-where-why. Other informational intent keywords include: history of, best way to, anatomy of.., what … means, how to…, why..

 

    • Transactional intent: Trying to complete a specific action (e.g., “best newborn photographer”). Other transactional intent keywords include: …reviews, …vs…, best.., top #…

 

    • Commercial intent: Trying to learn more before making a purchase decision (e.g. “book a lifestyle newborn photographer”). The commercial intent keywords tend to include: buy (online), coupon/coupon code, deals, free shipping, etc…

 

 

With an understanding of these keyword intents you can further add to your expanded list of brainstormed keywords to create content that better serves your audience segments.

Keyword Research Tools

There are many great tools for executing keyword research, my favorite is Google Ads Keyword Planner. 

 

In my Keyword Research Course, I walk you through how to use free tools to do in-depth keyword research, exactly like I do it. For the purposes of this post, I’ll post a brief explanation to get you started.

Keyword ideas StefanieMorris.co Google Ads results video

How to use Google Keyword Planner

  1. Login to ads.google.com
  2. Select ‘switch to expert view’ to bypass setting up a campaign
  3. Go to ‘Tools’ > “Keyword Planner”
  4. Select “Discover New Keywords”
  5. Change the location from ‘US’ to your DMA region or city
  6. Add one of your seed keywords & search
  7. Collect the relevant keywords into ad groups labeled by seed keyword
  8. Search the related longtail & brainstormed keywords adding those to the seed keyword group
  9. Repeat for each seed keyword creating separate ad groups for each
  10. Export the forecast & evaluate

Blog Content Structure - Categories

Blog categories are essential topical buckets that are usually named for seed keywords or content types. By strategically creating blog categories, you will effectively organize your site to allow users at various user journeys to find the information that serves them best. When creating a blog content strategy, it’s important to map your content ideas to fit one category. 

 

When optimizing categories for SEO, make sure that the category title includes the keyword, the url includes the category title, and that the meta description of the category includes an SEO’d description ~160 characters that uses the keyword. 

Build Your Content Calendar

Now that you’ve followed all of the steps above, it’s time to organize the content ideas into an editorial calendar. I personally use a modified version of Asana’s Editorial Calendar to do this.

How to use Asana’s Editorial Calendar to Create a Blog Content Strategy

  1. List all content ideas
  2. Create a tag column for categories and add one category to each content idea
  3. Create a second tag column for stages of the user journey such as: attract, nurture, convert, engage
  4. Organize the ideas mixing the ‘stages’ tags to ensure that you’re regularly posting content for each stage.
  5. Schedule each content publication date
  6. View the dates in Calendar view to double check cadence.

Optimizing Blog Content

When optimizing blog content there are several considerations, formatting, length, CTA, and keyword optimization.

Formatting

Good blog formatting can help your reader absorb more information and keep them on the page. Use subheadings, bulleted lists, graphics & images, etc… to break up longer text.

Expert suggestion: while you’re writing, add 3 callouts such as a list, a faq, and/or a how-to section within your content. These give you three easy ways to promote the same content. 

 

Length

Depending on your goal and topic, the length of the blog post will vary. For photographers, I prefer to see 3-10 paragraphs. 

 

CTA – Intent

Keep the audience segment in mind while writing your blog post and make sure each post includes a CTA.

 
Where to include Keywords for Optimization
  • Title
  • Meta Description
  • URL
  • H1
  • H2
  • ALT text
  • 1st Paragraph
  • Internal Linking
  • Last Paragraph

Blog Content Strategy

Leave a comment and show me your blog content strategy–I’ll be one proud mama! 

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