In this Chapter I am going to cover something that will keep your blog alive – yes the content on your blog.
Without content – I mean, high quality, useful content – your blog won’t exist. And even if it exists, if the content is not of outstanding quality, it will not attract attention from your readers and prospects.
So I am sure you understand the importance of blog blog content.
Let’s see how you can start creating the right content for your blog that’s not only useful to your readers but also is useful to your business.
Step 1: Identify your target audience
So how to write good content for your blog?
Content creation starts with identifying your target audience. I know that can put off many beginner bloggers.
You could have loads of content ideas – but if those ideas either doesn’t suit your readers or if they are not going to be useful to them, you cannot expect to succeed in blogging with that kind of content.
You should put your audience first in whatever you do with your business – and content is no exception!
You create your content for your readers. You want them to do business with you.
So you have to make your content impressive and useful to your readers.
In order to do that you have to identify your readers first!
If you have started a blog in one particular niche, narrowing down to your specific audience will be quite easy. But it doesn’t end there.
You have to get really precise about your reader profile.
You need to know their demographics (gender, location, profession, educational qualification, age and so on) and psychographics (what are their preferences, what blogs do they read, where do they hang out online, and so on).
Once you’ve done this, move on to the next step.
Step 2: Identify their problems and pain points
This is the crucial part in your content marketing strategy. You have to clearly, precisely and deeply know about your readers’ problems and pain points.
After you have profiled your reader, it will be much easier for you to identify their problems, challenges and struggles.
In order to identify this, you might have to hop on to a social media platform like Facebook (hint: search Facebook groups), or sites like Quora.
You need to identify what people are struggling with! Make note of the exact wordings people use when asking for help or asking a question.
You will need these phrases when you create content for your site.
Step 3: Have a content marketing strategy
And here comes the even more crucial bit – having a content marketing strategy in place!
You run a business. You have a specific group of readers for your business.
You help them out with your useful content. You help them overcome their issues and challenges. You help them improve their knowledge on topics.
But it doesn’t end there. You want your readers to take action. You want them to do business with you.
That’s the point, right?
Without a content marketing strategy in place, you won’t be able to convert your readers into customers, no matter how useful your content is.
So how to have a strategy in place?
You need to first know your blogging goals. Why do you blog? What is the ultimate purpose?
- Do you want people to sign up for your mailing list (so you can promote your offerings later)?
- Do you want them to buy your product?
- Do you want them to click on a particular link and fill out a form?
- It can be anything – this purely depends on the purpose of your blog.
But if your high quality blog content is not aligned with the goal/purpose of your blog, all your content marketing efforts will be wasted!
While you see that your content is useful to your readers and is right for them, you should also pay equal (and even more) attention to how it is useful to your own business.
Don’t ever publish one more piece of content if it does not serve the purpose of your blog! This is super super important!
Step 4: Come up with blog post ideas
Many bloggers find this bit quite challenging. It is indeed challenging but not as hard as you think of.
If you use the right tools and set aside time regularly you can have a constant supply of blog post ideas right at your hands!
I’ll share how I do this exactly in this section.
First, you need to provide fodder for your brain. Your brain needs input in order to produce output (blog post ideas).
How can you provide fodder to your brain? There are a lot of sources indeed (remember, the internet is quite vast).
But I won’t overwhelm you with a 100 ways to do it. I’ll just share what I use.
Step 4.1: Subscribe to other blogs in your niche!
Simple, right? Keeping up with happenings and hot topics in your niche is the first and foremost thing you should do.
Apart from helping you to get blog post ideas, doing so will make you vigilant – you will keep yourself up to date with anything that happens in your niche.
But how do you do it?
Pick a handful of blogs and have one system in place to keep up. I use Feedly for this.
Whenever I come across a blog that I find useful and resourceful, I just add it to my Feedly app.
By the way I use the app on my Mac and also on my phone – so I can keep myself up to-date even on the go.
I have categories in Feedly to organise those blogs.
So whenever a new piece of content is published in any of those blogs, I will get a notification on my Mac.
The number of unread items will be displayed in the dock and whenever I have the chance I catch up with those.
I usually clear the unread list by the end of the day!
Step 4.2: Quora
Quora is a great place to get blog post ideas. Just create an account and add your interests (topics).
Or you can even search for questions on any topic by using the search field on the site.
I use the Quora app on my phone and get notified of new questions in my areas of interest (categories/topics).
When something strikes, I take note of that in my favourite app (more on this later).
Being the owner of DoSplash I use it heavily to generate blog post ideas.
I also use BizSugar.
I browse the new submissions every day and take note of any interesting items.
Step 4.3: Pocket
While Pocket won’t help me with sources, I put everything I should read later in this app.
For instance if I quickly check out the Feedly app while taking a short break, and if I find something interesting but don’t have the time to read it fully at that time, I put that into my Pocket account.
Thus my list adds up.
Whenever I’m dry of blog post ideas, scrolling through my Pocket account has never disappointed me!
Step 4.4: Gather motivating pieces in one place
Getting notified whenever your favourite blogs publish is one part of the story.
Be it Quora or the blogging communities or Feedly or from Pocket, you need to collect all those motivating pieces in one place.
I use Evernote for this.
If it is the whole blog post that has motivated me, I clip it as a whole into Evernote.
If it is a passage or a point, I just put it as a note inside Evernote.
Of course I use appropriate Notebooks and tag my notes – else you will end up with an unmanageable pile of clips and notes that you won’t use any time soon.
Step 4.5: Set aside time to generate blog post ideas
You must allot a specific time every week or every month, or once in a quarter to come up with blog post ideas.
All your sources, tools and apps that you use and all the notes and clips you have will be of no use to you unless you use them to generate actual blog post ideas.
For this you need to make time – you cannot do it whenever you feel like doing so or whenever you have the time!
I usually do this once every quarter.
I review my collections at Pocket and Evernote, brainstorm for ideas and write down my blog post ideas in a diary I keep for this sole purpose.
Since I have multiple blogs, I have separate sections in my diary to write down blog post ideas for each blog.
Step 4.6: Optimize those ideas
Now, having a running title is not going to help you so much. In fact, if you do this in batches (which you should), you will find most ideas pointless when you look at them after a week or so.
You won’t know the motivation behind each idea and what you had in mind as the structure of the blog post when you wrote down that idea.
So it is a must that you optimise the ideas almost right away.
I use Trello for this purpose.
I have separate boards for each of my blogs. And inside each board I have cards that are categorised based on the status of the blog post.
To be written, Writing completed, Post published – these are the cards.
Inside the To be written card, I add each blog post idea, and in the description section I add the necessary information for that blog post topic – it can be either the outline for the post, or the main points as well as the reference/motivation.
This way, even if I look at a particular blog post topic after a few weeks, I will exactly know what I had in mind and what I should write on that topic.
If you are wondering about how to write a great blog post, this tip will help you do that!
Step 5: Have an editorial calendar
Now comes the crucial bit. You have all the ideas ready for your blog’s content.
You even have the outlines and necessary references. All you need is to write those blog posts and publish them, right?
Sounds pretty easy, right?
I don’t think so!
I’ve been there so many times and have yet failed, despite having everything ready in my fingertips.
It is because I lacked a system that will keep me committed to get those pieces of content ready!
Even if I have everything ready, I need to sit down and write the actual blog post – only then that blog post idea, and all the work done to generate it will become meaningful.
Do you agree?
And in order to make you do that, you need an editorial calendar in place. You can use any tool of your choice to put your calendar in place.
Some prefer having a physical/paper calendar (you can also download templates from the internet), while others prefer an online tool.
I use Asana for this. I have a separate project called Editorial Calendar, and use the Calendar view of this project (set as default).
Since I use Asana also for collaboration with my team, having my editorial calendar in it helps me to assign the blog posts to the appropriate staff for formatting, images and other polishing before they can be scheduled for publishing.
And, since I have the blog post titles assigned to specific dates, I have a clear idea of how much content I need to work on, which posts should be ready by when, how many posts should I prepare until next month and so on.
Since I have this right in front of me – I can give no excuse, but I am committed to sit down and write everyday to make my publishing schedule work exactly as it is in the calendar.
In order to make your writing more effective I have a little tip in the next point.
Step 6: Work in batches – start writing your content
Working in batches helps you to make the most out of your efforts. You do something in one sitting and once you finish that you will have completed work for a few weeks ahead.
Instead of switching back and forth between tasks, and instead of forgetting certain tasks and rushing to meet the deadline, working in batches helps you to deal with something and keep things ready for a few weeks.
I follow this for writing blog posts.
Since I have the editorial calendar in front of me, I know the exact amount of content I need to produce for the next 2 weeks. I then sit down and get it done in one shot.
I do the basic formatting, on-page SEO and assign it to staff on Asana so they can do their bit, get it approved from me and schedule it on the day it has to be published.
Once the writing and my part of optimization is done, I get that off my view.
This helps me in focusing on other things until the same task needs my attention next time. Such a relief, right?
Without working in batches, I will have to constantly switch back and forth between tasks and also the chance of missing deadlines is high in the chaos.
That’s it! That’s exactly how I do it, and have managed publishing in a handful of my blogs and in my niche sites.
Having a system in place works. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or use fancy tools every time.
Just follow what works for you every time, rinse and repeat.
Next Chapter is about promoting the blog content you’ve created and published!