[Day 3] Plan, brainstorm and create your content strategy

Updated September 26th, 2020

Congratulations on your brand-new blog.

I know Day #1 was probably pretty tough narrowing down a niche, but you did it.

And, Day #2 was probably no picnic either, with all those decisions that you needed to make.

Although, it was pretty easy and straight-forward creating your blog, I’m sure the most difficult part was probably choosing which Theme to use for your new site.

Here on Day #3, we will be developing a content strategy that will help you reach your goals, and at the same time, help your audience.

Let’s Begin..

Staring at a blank ‘Posts’ page (where you will be creating your blog’s content) can make your forehead begin beading sweat.

You’re gonna have to try and figure out what the heck you are going to type in that empty space, for content, and I’m sure that can feel overwhelming.

The best content will feel personal and approachable, and it will feel like it was written by a human for a human.

Question – have you ever arrived onto a website page after a search and that web page had the exact information that you needed and were looking for, and you had an overwhelming sense of gratitude that someone out there “understood” you?

That feeling is exactly what you’ll want to create for your readers when they arrive on your site.

You will want your blog, your content, your writing voice and your brand to feel like home to them.

Which brings us to the next level of training.

Developing a content strategy

I cannot stress enough, the importance of having a strong content planning strategy.

There is one thing that matters above all else for your content strategy – CONSISTENCY!

It is better to post twice a month, every single month, than to post 2 articles a week, for one month straight (for a total of 8 articles), then nothing for a couple of months.

So, the more consistent you are with your content, the better chances of your readers becoming loyal fans and actually returning for more.

Pick a schedule that works for you and is realistic.

If you are a working parent, or a stay at home mom or dad with kids, keep your crazy schedule in mind when it comes to planning your strategy.

Don’t set yourself up for failure to the point of wanting to quit blogging.

Here is a good way to figure this out.

Think realistically for a moment, how often you can publish a minimum, 1200 word article (to give you an idea of 1200 words, this content is roughly 2200 words).

Whatever you come up with, cut that number in half.

Now, that (for now) is your new schedule for posting.

You can always increase the number of posts later, once you’ve proven you can keep up with the schedule, but take baby steps.

Categories for your blog

Breaking your niche down into a few topics is key – these will become the categories to assign your posts to.

Try and think of 3 to 4 categories that will fit your blog. Make sure that they represent your niche and make sense for your blog.

No one knows your content like you do, but don’t try and be cute or funny with your category names – keep it simple.

Take the time to create main categories that will capture the topics you will be writing about, then create subcategories that will fit underneath those main categories.

Make sure each and every post you write is properly categorized, so when a reader clicks on your category link they can find that particular article.

Come up with post topics

Here is a method from one of my mentors, Sally Miller.

She says:

“Get a piece of paper out and set a timer for ten minutes. Write down anything that comes to mind, related to each category, and your niche in general.

Don’t worry about evaluating the ideas right now, just write them down. Your goal is to come up with as many ideas as possible for each category. Once your time is up, read all of your ideas out loud.

Look for patterns. Are there any ideas that could turn into a series? Which 4 or 5 ideas from each category sound the most interesting to you? Circle those.

On another piece of paper, write down the ideas you circled. You should now have your first 20 or more post ideas.”

Let’s do some keyword research

If you are not familiar with keyword research – it is the practice of search engine optimization (SEO) to find and research alternative search terms that people enter into search engines to look for information.

The reason you will need to do keyword research is for the purpose of finding the words and phrases that your potential audience will use to find the information you are offering in your article(s).

Example, if you went to Google.com and typed Digital Marketing Strategy into a search engine, Google’s search engine would spit out all the top articles related to Strategies for Online Marketing.

Since your site is new, you will want to focus on ‘Long-Tail Keyword’ phrases.

“A long-tail keyword is a keyword phrase that aims to capture search traffic from a specific, often 3+ word search query. Long-tail keywords are used to target niche demographics rather than mass audiences. The “long-tail” refers to the search demand curve — as keyword terms become more specific and detailed, search volume becomes less competitive, but searcher intent becomes higher.”

So, when you do your keyword research, focus on the long-tail keyword phrases, because these phrases have less competition and yet they are more specific to what your article will be about.

So, what you need to do is to research keyword terms that you feel your blog article will be about, and the keyword tool will come up with all sorts of variations, along with monthly search volumes for the keywords and their variations.

You will want to focus on one main keyword phrase for your article, but while you are at it, you will want to find similar phrases to your chosen, main keyword phrase.

There are two ways to go about this:

  • Use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)
  • Find Synonymously Related Words

“LSI keywords are words and phrases that Google sees as semantically-related to a topic. If you’re talking about cars, then LSI keywords might be automobile, engine, road, tires, vehicle, and automatic transmission.”

Basically, anything that would be considered related to your main keyword phrase.

Synonymously related keywords are just like they sound – replace words in your phrase with a synonym, related word.

Example: If you were targeting a main keyword phrase like ‘Digital Marketing Strategy’ for your article, you could also use – Plan / System / Design / Layout / Blueprint / Approach, etc., in place of the word ‘Strategy’ as a synonymous phrase.

You could also replace the word Digital with Internet, Online, etc. Be creative.

Example, to find the synonym alternatives for the word ‘Strategy’, I typed the words ‘Strategy Synonyms’ into Google.com’s search bar. Bam! – those are what I came up with.

Here are a couple of online keyword research tools, that don’t cost anything, for you to get you started.

Ubersuggest.com for keyword research
LSIGraph.com for semantically related keyword search.

Once you have your main, long-tail keyword phrase for each article, along with your semantically and synonymously related phrases, here’s what to do next.

When writing your article, you will want to sprinkle variations of the keyword phrases you found from your research, throughout your content, where it looks natural and makes sense.

At the very least, with your main focus keyword, you will want to include it into your post Title, weave it into your opening paragraph, and add it to at least one of your outline Headings.

For a better understanding for what you need to do with each one of your articles, follow the link for a my ‘TOP 10 On-Page Optimization Factors to Increase Your Site’s Search Engine Results’ (downloadable Cheat Sheet included).

Doing these basics each and every time you publish an article, will help put you on the correct path to better search engine rankings, for searchers to find your site.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it is going to take months before Google and other search engines gradually move your content towards the top of the results pages. But, starting now will put you on a path much quicker than your competition.

Remember, there are many other sites writing about the same subjects, that have been around much longer than your new site, with much greater authority. But, you have to start somewhere.

Generating irresistible headlines

Your headline represents the culmination of the finest, most attention-grabbing, interest-arousing statements you can muster.

Your headline MUST:

  • Stop prospects in their tracks – grab their attention and trigger an emotional reaction that leads them to click on your link
  • Be benefit-oriented – make complete sense immediately, and hint at a special something to soon follow
  • Give what your content is about – Give a brief statement, using your keyword phrase, what your content will be all about
  • Be no more than 70 characters – Google and other search engines restrict the length at roughly 70 characters

If the person is not curious or convinced with what you have to offer with your written headline – he will leave.

NOTE: If you make a promise with your headline, make sure you over-deliver with your content.

And, Do Not lie or mislead with your headline just to get them to click on your link

Here is a Headline Tester that won’t cost you a penny to use: CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

Creating a content calendar

It’s time to put your efforts into a content publishing schedule.

A content calendar will help you stay organized and keep you on track for the posts you plan to publish on your blog.

Having a plan for your content will improve your consistency and blog quality.

How far ahead you make a plan for your content will be up to you.

Me personally, I plan one month at a time only – that it just my preference.

You will just need to figure out what works for you and your site.

To make a content calendar, you can use virtually anything you’d like. You can use an actual calendar, an app on your phone, an excel spreadsheet, etc.

There are even plugins for WordPress. You can do a search for ‘Content Calendar’ in your WordPress dashboard under the Plugins tab > Add New.

Just find what method works for you.

OK, let’s roll..

Before writing anything into your calendar, think ahead for a moment.

Will you be teaching something? Meaning, will any of your posts be part of a series of articles?

Similar to this 7 days of ‘Start a Blog’ training. There is a Day 1, a Day 2, etc.

Ask Yourself:

  • Are any of my posts related to any upcoming Holiday’s or events?
  • Do any of my articles work in a series that need to go in any special order?

If there is no specific order for your articles, then let’s start with a decision to what day you’d like to publish blog articles within the next month.

For me, I always publish on Tuesday morning around 6am my time.

From my research, Tuesday seems to be the best day for me to publish articles with the best email response. Choose a day and stick with it for a few months to see what results you get.

If you will be posting an article once a week on Tuesday, then assign a Headline for each of the dates you plan to publish.

Once every two weeks, the same. If you choose twice a week, spread your articles out to where they’re fairly, evenly spread, like Tuesday and Friday, etc.

Writing your first blog article

This is like ripping a band aid off – just do it!

A first post for bloggers is a monumental task. Most get stuck because they feel it has to be the perfect introduction.

Your first post should be written with your reader in mind. Even though you have no readers at this point, with a little bit of promoting, someone will be reading your first post fairly soon.

My first post was, written July 23rd, 2010: ‘How to Network for Your Online Business Using Social Participation!’.

It’s about people in cyberspace, similar to yourself, looking to make a name for themselves known as Personal Branding – what better way to spread the love and get your name out there in cyberspace than through social participation, I.E. leaving comments.

This post has gotten quite a bit of attention, not because of the age, but because it fits what is lacking when it comes to blogging.

Moving on..

Your first post can be anything your heart desires, but here are a couple suggestions.

1. Write an introduction, similar what you might find on an About page, letting your soon-to-be audience know what to expect from your blog.

Or..

2. Just grab one of your headlines, like I did, and start writing.

Either method is fine – you just need to start.

Don’t spend too much time trying to figure out which one would be perfect. Give it a little bit of thought and go.

The cool thing about blogging, and WordPress, is that you can modify, literally anything about your article.

You can change the image(s), your headline, delete any content or add any content. You can even delete the post if you choose, if you decide it no longer fits with your chosen niche.

Welp folks, that’s it for today. I’ve given you quite a bit to chew on.

Stay tuned, because tomorrow, you will be learning – Key features of a great blog post.

Until tomorrow, same time, same place.

This is John E Engle signing off..
JohnEEngle.com