Blog Content Strategy & How To Plan The Big Picture
In last week’s issue of THE EDGE, I talked about how I am doing a content audit at the Blog Marketing Academy. It is one of my big projects for the next several months in terms of content. It is a 3-pronged project:
- Deleting really old, inapplicable content that no longer applies, doesn’t fit the brand, etc. In many cases, redirecting to something more updated.
- Updating useful posts, making improvements, adding video version, then re-publishing.
- Identifying content “gaps” that haven’t been properly covered and creating new content to fill the gaps.
Part of doing an audit like this is re-visiting the overall strategy and then making changes to make your blog fit your current, modern strategy.
On a related note, in just the last week, I’ve had 2 strategy session calls with clients where one of the items of discussion was their overall content strategy. One client was more or less starting from scratch with his cohesive strategy. The other client told me about his plan to create 6 “pillar posts” and then kick off from there. But, I stopped him and gave him the same advice I’m about to tell you.
See, this client was concentrated more on the numbers with his plan. He said he wanted to create 6 posts and make each of them at least 1500 words long and, to him, that was a blog launch plan. It was based on a compilation of advice from various “gurus” of blogging out there. But, see, it isn’t a strategy.
Get THE EDGE Sent To You Every Monday!
Be sure to subscribe (for free) to have The Edge sent to you automatically every Monday morning. There’s some extra goodies in the email version you won’t find here in the archives. Just sayin’. 🙂
You will not be redirected from this post when you subscribe, so you can keep reading.
There’s a difference between strategy and tactics.
Tactics are the smaller things you do. The little things done in order to execute part of a broader strategy. Executing random tactics without a strategy can easily waste your time. Worrying about little details like the number of words in a post and how many of them to write is a focus on tactics without direction.
A strategy is the broad plan one devises in order to tackle an area and expand.
In our case with a blog, our content strategy is a broad, cohesive plan that will guide the overall approach to the blog with the goal of making an impact in the marketplace (specific to your niche, of course), gaining decent traffic, then being able to convert that traffic into something meaningful.
A content strategy guides the overall body of content that is your blog. It is a long-term plan. Sometime that guides what you are intentionally working on when you choose your topics, your category structure… and even the details of each post you create.
At the top level of your content strategy, you need a structure.
Instead of thinking about “pillar posts”, think in terms of content silos.
A silo is one of those big, tall, cylinder tanks used to store things. But, in terms of content, we can think of a silo as a major topic. A sort of category or container under which you will file a series of future blog posts, guides and lead magnets.
Your blog strategy starts with your silos. And you should determine those silos based on the top interests of your particular market.
I have 6 silos in my own strategy that I am using as part of my content audit. They are:
- Membership sites
- Business ownership
- Promotion & traffic
- Marketing automation
- Planning & Launch
- Platform building.
Your’s will be different. Both of the clients I talked to about this last week were chiropractors. They do different things, but both are in that general alternative medicine arena. So, some silos might be things like back pain, joint pain, tight muscles, etc.
You want to select your silos based on what your target market is most interested in. Align it around the problems they wish to solve. With more specific markets, your silos could be specific. In spaces with a lot of potential interests (like mine), your silos may be broader categories. But…
It is important your silos are in alignment with that YOUR market needs and wants. And here’s what you’re going to do with those silos:
- You will create a major flagship post or reference guide to go on top of that silo.
- You will cover more specific topics of each silo as future blog posts and videos. Esssentially, use it as a category. Plan future content around adding more value to each silo.
- Create a lead magnet (or more than one) to go with each silo.
- Create an offer for each silo, or take your primary offer and re-position the marketing “hook” for each silo. This way any content within that silo will serve as “top of funnel” content to get people into your sales machine, but specific to their area of concern/interest.
You see how this works?
You see how a blog and a sales machine (and the business as a whole) kinda “click” together?
So, with those 2 clients, the advice was to develop a global content strategy based on content silos. Determine what those silos will be, then work on creating the flagship posts to go on top of each one. 5 or 6 silos is typically enough. If the list gets too long, it can be overwhelming and too tough to manage.
Keep in mind, too, that we’re applying the Redwood Strategy to each of these posts. You don’t have to “get it right” from the beginning. You WILL be re-visiting these flagship posts over and over again and making them better.
So, back to my own site and my content audit…
I am re-aligning my overall body of work around my content silos. Making updates, filling gaps, and setting up these silos. In due time, these silos will take more obvious shape on the public site and each will have a nice, dedicated content rich landing page. Complete with targeted call to actions, highlight of the main flagship post, top posts I select for each silo, and then smaller blog posts filed under each one.
The blog will not inherently be date-based. It will be silo based.
This kind of structure makes blog marketing really effective.
It provides a structure to things rather than feeling like you’re just on some hamster wheel pumping out crap because the calendar told you to.
Don’t get mired down in little tactics and word count quotas spewed out by “gurus” That’s not the right thing to focus on.
You start with strategy. And you build from there. And, in the case of an existing site like mine with a lot of stuff, you can re-align it based on your strategy to make it work for your business going forward like it never has before.
If you’d like to hop on a call to discuss YOUR global content strategy and how to put it together, you can always book a strategy session call like those 2 clients did last week. While I cannot outright tell you what your silos should be (you’re the expert in your niche, not me), I can help you work out the overall strategy as well as answer any questions about how ti implement it from a technical perspective. Click here to learn how to book.
Couple weeks ago, I signed up for InstaWP. Now, this won’t be applicable to everybody, but if you find yourself testing things on WordPress, this can be handy. It allows you to quickly spin up WordPress sites to test things out without having to worry about setting it up on your hosting. And, the sites automatically expire unless you tell it not to. One cool feature is their Chrome extension that allows you to 1-click test any theme or plugin from the public WordPress repository. You don’t have to clutter up your main site just to see if some plugin does what you want. Instead, you can 1-click install it to a blank WordPress install, see if it will do the job for you, and then the test site will just auto-delete. Snazzy.
Gravity Forms is teasing their upcoming library of pre-built forms that will be available in version 2.7. They’re definitely trying to provide a more user-friendly, guided setup for Gravity Forms for this version rather than just throwing you into the deep end.
WP Rocket has announced price increases. Big reason for it is inflation and certainly they’re not alone in increasing their prices due to this. Existing customers will see no change, though, and are grandfathered into their current pricing. Despite the increase, WP Rocket still remains a solid buy since it is indeed a quality plugin (see my WPRocket review). Altough I will say… PerfMatters does more than WPRocket (except for caching) and is more affordable. See my review.