I stopped using paid ads to grow my business nine years ago. My goal was to prove the pudding and sell my company’s brand just through content. There could not have been a better plan for a content development agency like mine.
I focused solely on content for two years, during which time I did not pay for a single ad. By the conclusion of the second year, I’d written 215 posts, with 500 daily visits and a monthly income of $29,000.
However, the thrill quickly gave way to tiredness. I recognized I was putting in too much effort without seeing the results I desired. I was writing all hours of the day and night, publishing blogs I didn’t care for, and always racking my brains for new themes that my audience might relate to.
What had I gotten myself into? Why wasn’t my business booming as a result of my tireless blogging efforts? Why had I hit a brick wall?
After a series of losses, I decided to take a step back and reconsider my content marketing strategy. I spent some time reorganizing and reconstructing, certain that I didn’t want to return to paid advertising. What I came up with was a content strategy, which is a formula for expanding my business through blogging.
I started seeing great results once I adopted my content approach. We were bringing in $71,000 every month. The number of terms for which we were ranked on Google increased by a factor of two. Our incoming leads were well-qualified and eager to purchase our goods.
From my nine years of experience in content marketing, I’ve found that blogging can help you develop your business, but only if you have a great content plan in place. To make your own, follow these five steps.
1. Identify your target demographic and discover how to convert them into customers.
You can create smart, well-polished material, but if it’s not what people are looking for, it won’t get noticed. If your audience wants to learn how to make goat cheese at home, for example, they won’t read your lovely, in-depth blog about goat cheese’s history.
Find the sweet spot between your knowledge and the things your audience wants to read about to ensure you’re not spending time generating content no one will read. Assume you’re a pastry chef, and your target audience is interested in learning how to bake. Add recipes and baking instructions to your site to get their attention.
The following phase is to convert your viewers into paying clients. Create obvious paths to your product on your website. As if by magic, a capable customer support crew on standby converts hot leads into customers.
2. Attract that audience by using the correct SEO keywords and framework.
Google now receives six billion queries per day. Ranking high in search results is an effective strategy to get your brand in front of a large number of people.
Start with root keywords to develop content that is optimized for search engines. Look for inspiration in your products or services. Use keywords like “chocolate cake,” “recipes,” and “bread” if you offer pastries, for example.
The next step is to use your root keywords to develop long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are good to focus on since they have less competition to rank for and because people searching for these phrases are more likely to make a purchase. A user searching for “little black prom dress” is more likely to buy than someone searching for “dress.”
Using a keyword research tool, find long-tail keywords. Advanced keyword research tools can tell you how competitive a keyword is, how many people are searching for it, and which sites are currently ranking for it.
3. Concentrate on your website and use long-form blog content to establish authority.
Where should you publish the majority of your articles if you’re new to blogging? On Facebook, which has a monthly active user base of 2.6 billion? On blogs with established followings from other sites?
Unfortunately, many new bloggers devote all of their time and energy to social media and guest writing. While these platforms are fantastic, they should not serve as the foundation for your content “home.” Post to a platform that you have complete control over and can develop slowly over time without interruption.
Consider what happened when the Huffington Post’s guest blogging network was shut down. Many bloggers, including myself, discovered on the day of the announcement that they were losing access to years of hard work and creativity. If you create your content house on someone else’s platform, you can’t always be sure you’ll have complete control.
To create brand authority, concentrate on blogging on your website. Spend the majority of your time there, publishing your best work.
Tips for creating authoritative content for your content house:
- Never, ever, ever go light. Investigate topics in depth and back up what you write with concrete advice, statistics, and research.
- Make your blog entries longer. While 500-word postings are OK for lighthearted, entertaining content, authoritative content should be at least 1,500 words. For in-depth instructions, aim for 3,000 words or more.
4. Constantly and carefully create content.
Content creation should not be left to the whims of the muse. It should instead be strategic, consistent, and well-thought-out. Schedule time particularly for content development in your calendar. Make an editorial calendar that includes themes and publication dates. (I fill my editorial calendar with subjects for the following three to six months as I plan material.)
5. Keep your content up to date and market it.
Content, like a house, requires upkeep over time. At least once a year, I go over my existing content. I update old statistics, correct formatting, and add fresh stories and information as needed.
Promote the material you’ve created. Inform folks that it exists. It’s worth sharing on social media. Send emails to the people on your mailing list. Content marketing should consist of 20% creation and 80% promotion. It won’t be long before your content marketing accomplishments snowball if you create original, valuable material and share it on the channels your target audience utilizes.