4 W’s and an H: Blog planning in 5 steps

Introduction

Although by nature blogs have a certain spontaneity about them, an effective company blog is meticulously planned and consistently executed.  Planning ensures you meet your marketing goals by publishing quality content on a regular schedule.  Your subscribers and interested readers want to know when they can expect new content from a source they have come to trust. business blog planning

The blog plan sits within and supports your greater content marketing strategy.  However, a company blog is such a valuable marketing asset that it needs a plan of its own.  A plan that describes:

  1. Why you blog – Goals and objectives
  2. Who you blog to – Market and audience research
  3. What you blog about – Keyword research
  4. When you blog – Production scheduling
  5. How you blog – Promotion planning

This post will examine each step in building a blog plan.

Blog planning in 5 steps

1. Why you blog – Goals

The first step in any plan is to set goals.  In a blog plan, goals for the blog should support the company’s business goals as well as the goals of your content marketing strategy.  Goals like generating leads and building thought leadership.  By establishing goals and objectives for your blog in general and for each individual blog allows you to understand what success looks like.

2. Who you blog to – Market research

Market research helps to define your audience and assess your competitors.  The more you learn about your audience, the better able you’ll be to provide the content they want.  By understanding your competitors, you can craft better content.

Audience research

Getting to know your target audience is key to crafting relevant content.  You need to learn what:

  • people expect from blogs in your niche;
  • kind of content do they find useful and exciting;
  • benefits do they expect to receive from your blogs; and
  • makes them tick and compels them to keep coming back for more.

It may not be easy to define your target audience when you have no blog subscribers.  One way to get an idea of what your audience wants is to conduct a survey.  Ask what your audience wants more information about.  Ask what they like about your blog and what other blogs they like.

Competitive analysis

As well as understanding your audience you need to understand your competition.  How are they promoting their content?  What are they blogging about?  By having an insight into their content strategy, you can fine-tune your own.  Find your own unique voice in your niche.  You can only do that if you know the competition.

3. What you blog about – Keyword research

While there are many sources of ideas for topics to blog about, you can boost your search results by using keywords to come up with topics.  That means carrying out keyword research.

Start with main your main keyword.  Keyword analyzers suggest keyword combos then rank them on # of searches a month.  You should check out related words and terms.  Search on semantically-related words like the individual components of water treatment systems.

Long-tail keywords – 3 to 4-word phrases, will get you less traffic but more targeted searchers.  When they find your page, they are more likely to become a lead because the search was more focused.

business blog planningYou can find keywords and phrases through the auto suggest on Google.  When you type in a keyword or phrase, a dropdown list will display previous search phrases.

At the bottom of the Google search page is another source of keywords.  Google provides a list of other search terms and phrases that are similar to the current one.

By basing the topics on keywords and featuring the focus keyword in page titles, headers, alt tags, and images you can optimize your blog for search engines.  Be sure to provide links back to your power pages – products and services, and a call-to-action that encourages further engagement.

So, certainly, contact your sales team and find out what questions are being asked.  Join and follow forums in your niche, paying attention to problems being discussed.  Just be sure to research keywords regularly to keep you blog on the first page of Google.

4. When you blog – Production scheduling

The production schedule for your company blog fits into content calendar of your greater content marketing strategy (that further establishes thought leadership and builds trust by publishing white papers, case studies regularly.)business blog planning

You may want to plan posts in a series with a contextual lead magnet at end of each.  Start with big ideas based on market and keyword research, and then keep subdividing until each topic is based on one compelling idea.  Plan to post weekly to begin with but that is really a minimum.  Hubspot found that B2B businesses who blog at least 20 times per month have five times more traffic than those who blog less than four times per month.  Just keep it at a frequency you can maintain consistently.

5. How you blog – Promotion planning

The whole point of a blog is to get your posts read by as many people as possible.  That requires promotion.  The first place to post you blogs is on your company website, of course.  But there are other ways to get your information out to your audience.

Share each post on all your social media channels.  Have your employees send it out to their networks.  Send updates out to your email list with links to your recent post.

Set up your blog so readers can subscribe to get regular updates.  Allow social sharing by including those buttons on the blog.

Your blog is well planned, and you are consistently publishing quality content.  Be sure to get it read by as many people as possible by promoting it effectively.

Conclusion

Follow these 5 steps and you will have a plan that describes:

  1. Why you blog – Goals and objectives
  2. Who you blog to – Market and audience research
  3. What you blog about – Keyword research
  4. When you blog – Production scheduling
  5. How you blog – Promotion planning

Implement this plan consistently and reap the rewards!

Next week’s post examines how to make sure your blog is readable and visually appealing.

Do you have a blog plan? Is it documented and implemented?

 

If your team is already working to capacity delivering quality services to your clients, how do you manage to produce and consistently deliver a quality blog every week?  WATER COPY can help!  I provide blog writing services that will keep your content machine running smoothly.  Contact me to discuss your blogging needs.

CONTACT A BETTER BLOG WRITER

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