Developing Content Strategy
Welcome to using blogging to win business. Here, you’ll start to create your content strategy, and then the content that’s part of the strategy.
In the last few tracks, we worked mostly on client facing pages. Now, it’s all about blogging. By the end of this section, I’d like you to have your blog started, with a few new pieces of content. And if you already have a blog, you’re going to focus in on client-facing content that is useful for them and eventually lucrative for you. 😀
We’re going to start by strategizing, and then we’ll move onto planning content. And if you need feedback on your work at any time, don’t forget you can always come to one of the drop-in sessions for this course.
Activity 1: FAQs about blogging
Let’s start with some questions people ask about blogging:
Q: Does blogging still make sense?
A: Yes, businesses that blog get more leads and sales. If your writing is a business, you need to blog.
Q: What platform should I use?
A: WordPress, ideally, but if you’re using another site platform, then you can use the blogging software built into it. We covered setting up a site in WordPress in the track on creating or optimizing your website.
There are also a bunch of other options depending on how you want to play it. For example, Medium is a great site for testing ideas. If people like and respond, then you know you’re onto a winner.
But if you have limited time, and want to start with a professional online presence, it’s better to just start blogging on your own site.
Q: Who am I blogging for?
A: If your blog is for your business, you’re blogging for clients NOT other writers
And if your blog is driving a campaign to promote your book/writing or become influential online, then you’re blogging for your ideal readers and audience NOT people who are doing the same as you.
Q: What should I include in my blog?
A: A few suggestions:
- Portfolio entries
- Client information
- Behind the scenes
Here’s my blog as an example.
Note that this is just a starting point. You know your audience and what they will respond to.
Activity 2: Add a blog to your site
Today’s task: add a blog to your site if you don’t already have one. On WordPress, all you have to do is:
- Create a page called Blog
- Go to the settings for reading and set that page as the blog home page
- Next, write your first post – welcoming readers and telling them what to expect. You can pull some of this from your home and about pages, but make sure most of it is original for SEO purposes.
If you need help with setting up your blog, check out these guides from WPBeginner:
- How to Create a Separate Page for Blog Posts in WordPress
- How to Start a WordPress Blog – Easy Guide – Create a Blog (2021)
And this guide from SmartBlogger:
Activity 3: Plan content around your core services
In Track 1, we looked at your key clients and the possible services you could offer them. We’re going to use those as a starting point for creating your content plan. Ideas to consider include:
- What do most clients ask about your services?
- What can you tell them that will help you work with them better (not necessarily the same thing)?
- What are the gaps in knowledge you see?
Use this to start writing down some content ideas – at least two ideas for each service area, or six in all.
Stuck for inspiration? Here are some other ways to get more creative:
The article cited on the last slide is now here: Creativity Alone is Not Enough!
Activity 4: Validate your first content idea
By now you should have some notes on content ideas. Now it’s time to validate those ideas. In other words, we’re going to see if they make sense.
- Go back to your ideas for the first service area (remember, you should have at least two). Go to Buzzsumo to see who’s been writing about those topics. You can do a limited search for free or sign up for a few free searches every day. Just plug in your target phrase (for example “digital marketing”) and see what comes up as the most shared content. Make a note of any titles that make you want to read. You can also check out popular content by searching on Google, though this won’t give you the sharing information.
- Don’t read the content at this stage, but use those titles as inspiration for your own take on the topic. You are unique, so the stories you tell and experiences you share are unique, even if the basic topic is the same. Write down a few possible headlines for your topics.
- Use CoSchedule Headline Analyzer (free to use if you provide your email) to work on a headline for each topic till it scores 70 or above. That score meas the headline is very readable, and more likely to attract your target customers. Here’s how it works:
Activity 5: Finalize headlines for content plan
Repeat yesterday’s exercise with your other two client-topic matches:
- Search on Buzzsumo or Google
- Come up with your own headlines on the topic
- Keep tweaking them in the Headline Analyzer till they get a good score
By now you should have 2 draft headlines for each of 3 service areas: 6 potential blog posts in all. Look at them and pick the top three pieces of blog content you want to create. You’ll need those for the next learning track.
These will help you to level up your blogging game. While you might not use all the advice now, especially if you’re new to blogging, you’ll get a sense of what’s possible in blogging to build your freelance business. For each resource, write down one tip you think you can implement. This will be a checklist as you get more confident about blogging for business:
- Planning your time for blogging. Here’s how I write. You’ll have to see what works best for you. “Tips and Tools for a Productive Blogging Workflow”
- How to turn your blog into a content hub by Sue-Ann Bubacz – How to Bling Your Blog and Feed That Hog! Sue-Ann Bubacz
- Additional reading on content strategy 11 Steps to Create a Content Marketing Strategy to Grow Your Business
- A content promotion checklist, which is included in this post How Airtable Runs Our Content Marketing Behind the Scenes
- Guidance from one of my early online mentors, Yuwanda Black How to Write Content That Sells: 7 “Must-Know” Tips Every Copywriter Should Heed
- This content marketing guide I wrote a while back which talks you through some of the stuff you need to think about as you market with content. REVEALED: Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing 
Feel free to discuss any of these with me in the next drop in session.