I'm so happy to have Krista Rae on the blog today. She is the WordPress developer and strategist behind the new look of Successful Blogging.
Creating a defined blog strategy is one of the most valuable actions you can take for your business. In doing so you’ll create a plan of action for yourself, a clear direction for your readers, and a more profitable blog.
How wonderful would it be to know exactly what you need to write each week for your blog and newsletter? Or to know exactly which items to include on your sidebar and even what order those items should appear in.
And from your readers’ perspectives, wouldn’t you love for them to have clear paths to follow? Paths that lead them from first-time readers to loyal fans and customers?
Those are a few reasons that having a blog strategy is beneficial.
And while a blog strategy is important, it’s not an easy thing to create. Crafting the perfect strategy takes time, focus, and hard work. Today we’ll go over the four most important parts of your blog strategy.
Clear High-Value Goals
The number one thing you can do to create a profitable blog strategy is to define high-value goals. I have my blog strategy clients start by identifying the main goal of their blog and business. They then go on to choose three smaller supporting goals.
These four goals will then influence every other decision in your blog strategy.
To ensure that your goals are worthwhile, it’s important to ask yourself the following three questions for each goal:
- Will this goal keep my audience engaged and moving through my content?
- Will this goal build trust with my audience?
- Will this goal keep my business moving forward?
If you answered “no” to any of those three questions it’s time to take a step back and make sure that you chose the correct goal. To learn more about choosing high-value goals, check out this post on setting high-value goals for your blog strategy.
After you’ve defined your high-value goals, you can use them to take actions to improve your blog content and layout.
Get started by making a list of the actions you can take to reach each goal. For example, if one of your goals is to grow your email list you’d list actions such as adding a new blog header with an opt-in, adding an opt-in incentive to your sidebar, and adding some information on your free course and an opt-in on your Start Here page.
Next, it’s time to prioritize all the possible actions you've identified. The point of this step is to avoid overwhelm. Sorting everything based on effort, effect, and cost will give you a good idea of what actions you should start with to get the most out of your time and money.
To set your high-value goals and identify which steps to focus on first join my free 8-day course, Jumpstart Your Blog Blueprint!
Focus For Yourself
Next, you want to make sure that you have a clear focus for yourself. This aspect of your blog strategy closely relates to your goals, but is more focused on you. Here is where you want to make sure you know where your blog and business are going and what you’ll need to do to get there.
The biggest struggle I see with this aspect comes from those who aren’t quite sure what they should be blogging about to sell their product or service. Maybe you’re someone with 3 or more topics you’d like to blog about, but don’t want to have a separate blog for each.
It is possible to be successful with multiple topics on one blog, especially if your topics share a target audience, but it’s important to be organized and consistent. Without consistency, both you and your readers will end up confused and less engaged. Take the time to clarify your ideas and identify how you can separate them, making it easy for your readers to focus on the topics they care about.
In doing so, you’ll come up with a plan for yourself. Things like:
- How often you’ll post
- Which topic(s) you’ll advertise on your homepage
- And what will give you the most benefit in your sidebar and footer.
Without a clear direction, each post, newsletter, and social media update will become a struggle so it’s important to define a clear focus early on.
Focus For Your Audience
After finding focus for yourself, you’ll want to make it easy for your audience to navigate through your content. Most importantly, you want your audience to feel as though everything you do works together.
Have you ever been on a blog and struggled to decide what to do first? You start out by clicking all the shiny buttons only to find yourself with 15 tabs open, becoming overwhelmed, and closing them all? I’ve been there. It’s exciting until you need to decide where to start.
To give your audience a clear focus, choose one main call to action for each page. Each of these calls to action should support one of your high-value goals. For example, if one of your goals is to grow your social media following, the main call to action in a blog post could be for your audience to share on Twitter. Or if you want your homepage to increase email opt-ins you could include a large banner image with a strong call to action and an opt-in button for a free course or workbook.
To take it a step further, each call to action should feed into a path that you’ve created. A path is something that leads your audience through valuable free content up to paid content. These paths are beneficial for both you and them. You’ll increase conversions while your audience is consistently shown material that is relevant to them and their needs.
I like to create paths in reverse order.
Take one of your paid products and services to be the end of a path. Think backwards and decide what kind of free material your audience would need to discover, be interested in, and want that paid product. The last step before your paid material should be some of your most high-value free content, such as a workshop, free course, webinar, or actionable workbook.
Then, take another step backwards and decide what kind of easily digestible free material would lead into your workshop or free course. Things like blog posts, Periscope broadcasts, and social media updates are great options for this step.
The most important part of your path is to have at least 2-3 steps before your paid content is presented. Your free material is used to prove your expertise, give great value, and show your audience that your paid material is important for them and their business.
Creating these paths will keep your audience focused and ensure your blog content fits together.
A Strong Message
The last thing I want you to think about when developing your blog strategy is the overall message given by your blog. This message is given through your content (blog posts, newsletters, workshops, Periscopes, etc.), your calls to action, your social media accounts, your branding, and more.
A reader shouldn’t leave your blog feeling empowered to improve their design only to look you up on Twitter and see that you’re talking about how to increase your social media following. Consistency is key to the above points of focusing yourself and your audience. While it may seem simple, it’s easy to let yourself stray from your original goals.
Where Will You Start?
Now that you know about the most important parts of your blog strategy it’s time to get to work. Where will you start? Let us know in the comments!
Krista is a blog strategist and WordPress developer who helps female creatives elevate their business, increase conversions, and boost engagement through crafting strategic blogs. She uses personalized, goal-driven strategies to set her clients apart from the competition and highlight their unique offerings. Learn more over on her blog!