How to Develop a Blog Content Strategy (& real-life examples)

How to Develop a Blog Content Strategy (& real-world case study)

How to develop a blog content strategy

A blog content strategy is a plan of everything you want to do and hope to achieve with your blog. It helps attract the right readers and lets you know whether you succeed or fail.

The more specific your plan is, the more effective it will be. Make sure your strategy is clear and concise, and avoid overly broad goals that are hard to achieve and measure.

In this post, I’ll show you the key nine steps to creating a winning blog content strategy of your own.

Why You Need a Blog Content Strategy

Without a detailed content strategy, your blog won’t reach its potential.

Keep in mind that without a blog content strategy:

  • Your content teams may work in different directions, causing confusion.
  • You’ll find it hard to measure the success and impact of your content.
  • You could face difficulty in obtaining support and funding from management.
  • You’ll spend extra time onboarding and educating your team members.
  • You might struggle to align your content with overall business goals.
  • You may produce content that doesn’t engage your target audience.

A recent study showed that only 40% of bloggers and content marketers use a written content strategy.

blog content strategy

Think about it, if only 40% of marketers utilize a content strategy, you have a much better chance of succeeding with a well-defined and written strategy.

In fact, our blog section at Hostadvice is a clear evidence that a well-planned content strategy is key to a blog’s success.

We used the steps in this guide to create a winning strategy that helped our blog grow by 575% in just one year.

hostadvice blog growth-yoy

Now that we’ve covered the essentials let’s delve into the actionable steps of creating an effective  blog content strategy.

How to Develop a Blog Content Strategy

 

Blog content strategy template by hoastadvice

Blog content strategy template

Step 1: Define Your Blog Goals and Objectives

Figure out the purpose of your blog and the specific results you want to achieve. Essentially, you need to understand why your blog exists in the first place.

Defining your blog content goals is like planning a road trip—you wouldn’t just jump in the car and start driving without a clear destination.

To build this foundation effectively, think about these important questions:

  • What unique value does my blog add to my niche?
  • How does my blog contribute to my growth goals?
  • Which key performance indicators (KPIs) will measure my blog’s success?
  • How will my blog solve specific problems or address audience needs?

For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness through your blog, use the blog:

  • As a tool for storytelling
  • For sharing insights
  • Showcasing your company’s values and expertise

The objective is to create a narrative that resonates with the audience, making the brand memorable and relatable.

If the goal is lead generation, the blog must align with the sales funnel.

In this case, the content needs to:

  • Attract potential customers
  • Provide them with valuable information
  • Guide them toward making a purchase or initiating contact

It’s about creating trust and demonstrating value, turning readers into leads.

Use S.M.A.R.T Goals To Set KPIs

blog content strategy

Source: hydratemarketing.com

The SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) technique is one of the most popular ways to determine KPIs.

This structured approach ensures that your blog serves a clear purpose and delivers tangible results.

It makes every piece of content a strategic component of the larger business or personal objectives.

For example. S.M.A.R.T goals and objectives can look something like this:

  • Specific—Define clear, precise goals (e.g., “increase blog traffic by 30% in six months”)
  • Measurable—Ensure goals have quantifiable metrics (e.g., tracking a 30% traffic increase)
  • Achievable—Set realistic and attainable goals (e.g., aim for steady traffic growth)
  • Relevant—Align goals with your broader objectives (e.g., traffic increase to boost sales)
  • Time-bound—Set a deadline for your goals (e.g., achieve the target in six months)
Business ObjectiveGoalMetrics
Grow Brand AwarenessIncrease brand visibilityImpressions, brand mentions, shares, comments, and followers on social media
Increase Leads and SalesGenerate more leads and conversionsEmail signups and sales conversions
Improve Customer RetentionEncourage repeat visits and loyaltyRepeat visits, customer lifetime value, repeat purchase rate
Content EngagementEngage users with compelling contentWebsite clicks, bounce rate, number of keywords

Step 2: Learn Everything About Your Target Audience

Knowing your blog audience influences everything from the topics you choose to the tone of your writing.

A well-defined audience can lead to more engaging, relevant, and compelling content, potentially increasing readership loyalty, website traffic, and conversions.

Start by identifying the demographics of your readers, such as:

  • Age,
  • Gender,
  • Location,
  • Education level

This basic information forms the foundation of your audience profile.

To gather this data, employ tools like Google Analytics for website visitor demographics and behavior.

blog content strategy

However, demographics only paint part of the picture. You also need to understand:

  • Their interests
  • Their challenges
  • What they seek in content

For example, the audience of a travel and adventure blog might be interested in culinary travel, adventure sports, destination reviews, and tips.

To gather this data, you can conduct surveys or read comments to get direct feedback on your audience’s needs and preferences.

blog content strategy

Step 3: Conduct a Competitive Analysis

Competitive analysis helps you understand what works in your blog niche and identify gaps in your competitors’ content.

Important

Remember, the goal of competitive analysis is not to mimic what others are doing but to find your unique angle and approach. It helps you deliver content that stands out and appeals to your target audience.

Let’s break down the steps to conduct a thorough competitive analysis:

Analyze the Topics Covered in Your Competitors’ Blogs

Research the subjects your competitors write about and how these topics resonate with their audience.

This research gives you an insight into what’s popular in your niche, but more importantly, it can highlight topics they might be overlooking.

  • Visit competitor blogs
  • Note the recurring themes and topics
  • Observe any seasonal or trending topics they might be focusing on

For a blog in the travel niche, consider competitors that focus on travel tips, destination guides, adventure travel, and cultural exploration.

A well-known travel blog competitor might be The Blonde Abroad blog. This blog covers travel tips categorized by type of trip.

blog content strategy

Free tools like Google Trends can help you understand the popularity of certain topics over time.

blog content strategy

In this example, you can see that adventure travel is more popular than budget travel over time. Prefer to focus on the more popular types of travel.

You can also use content analysis tools like BuzzSumo to see which topics are getting the most traction on social media.

blog content strategy

Source: Razorsocial

Examine Content Style and Tone

Read through various competitor posts to get a feel for their writing style and tone of voice.

Is it formal, conversational, humorous, or data-driven?

Understanding this will help you craft your unique voice.

If all major competitors adopt a formal tone, for example, a more conversational style might help you stand out.

While there are no specific tools to analyze style and tone, using a text analysis tool like Hemingway Editor can give you insights into their content’s readability and complexity, contributing to overall style.

The style and tone of “The Blonde Abroad” blog is generally conversational, engaging, and relatable, aimed at a predominantly female audience interested in solo travel.

blog content strategy

The content often features personal anecdotes and experiences, creating a friendly and approachable vibe.

The blog balances informative content with a personal touch, making it accessible to both seasoned travelers and those new to solo travel.

Learn About the Frequency of Posting of Your Competition

Create a schedule tracking our competitors’ content frequency:

  • How often do your competitors publish new content?
  • Is there a pattern in timing that engages more of the audience?

This information can guide your content scheduling, helping you decide how often to post to keep your audience engaged without overwhelming them.

Tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs can give insights into how often new content is published and its impact on traffic and rankings.

For example, The Blonde Abroad posts a new blog roughly once a month.

blog content strategy

Identify Content Gaps and Opportunities

Based on your observations, identify content gaps and opportunities.

  • Are there questions left unanswered?
  • Are there perspectives not covered by your competitors?

These gaps are your opportunities to provide unique value and capture the attention of your audience. By filling these gaps, your blog can become a go-to resource in your niche.

Use tools like Answer the Public to find questions people are asking about your niche that your competitors might have yet to cover.

blog content strategy

Step 4: Focus on Topical and Blog Keyword Research

The goal of topical and keyword research is to attract the right audience to your blog.

By focusing on the topics and keywords your audience cares about, you can create discoverable content that is genuinely useful and engaging for your readers.

Start by identifying the key terms, phrases, and topics your audience searches for online.

You can take the topics you found in the competitive analysis and write and add more terms that define your business.

For a travel blog, key terms and phrases your audience might search for online could include:

  • Budget travel
  • Adventure travel
  • Solo travel
  • Eco-tourism
  • Cultural festivals

Enter these key terms into tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, or SEMrush to get insights into search volumes, competition levels, and related queries.

In SEMrush, enter the term into the Keyword Magic Tool, and you’ll see thousands of phrase match ideas and related questions.

blog content strategy

Focus on keywords that match your website’s existing SEO capabilities.

For newer sites, aim for long-tail keywords with less competition. As your website gains traction and authority, gradually shift towards targeting higher-competition keywords.

For more details about how to do keyword research, take a look at our full guide – it’s packed with tips and tricks to help you boost your SEO strategy.

Step 5: Develop Your Topic Clusters

Topic clusters are a collection of related content that revolves around a main subject (pillar content), interconnected through hyperlinks.

blog content strategy

Source: SEMrush

Why Are Topic Clusters Important for SEO

Topic clusters create a structured way to cover a subject in-depth. This strategy boosts your visibility and ranking on search engines by enhancing keyword coverage and linking structure.

How Topic Clusters Help Google Understand Your Site

Topic clusters clearly illustrate how your blog content is organized around central themes.

In a topic cluster model, you have a main ‘pillar’ content piece that gives a broad overview of a topic, and it is linked to more detailed ‘cluster’ content pieces. Using topic clusters, you create a web of thematically unified content.

blog content strategy

Source: Frase

This interconnected content network signals the relationships between different pages on your site to Google.

When Google crawls your site, it looks at individual pages and how those pages are interconnected.

This connection makes it easier for search engines to index and understand the full scope of information you offer on specific topics.

Google can then recognize your site as a valuable resource on those topics, which enhances the authority and relevance of your site.

For example, a topic cluster around the pillar page titled “What is Content Marketing” would involve creating a series of related content pieces, each delving into specific aspects of content marketing:

  • Types of content marketing
  • Content marketing strategies
  • Benefits of content marketing
  • How to Create a Content Marketing Plan

blog content strategy

Source: Oncrawl

Pro Tip: Besides just linking cluster content to the pillar page, link cluster pages to each other where relevant. This enhances user experience by providing more comprehensive information and strengthens the overall topic cluster’s SEO value.

How To Build A Topic Cluster

To build a topic cluster, start by identifying a broad, core topic (pillar content) and then create multiple pieces of related, specific content (cluster content) that link back to the pillar and each other, forming a cohesive and interconnected web of information on that topic.

Tip

Pro Tip: Aim for around 5 to 15 cluster pages. This range allows for sufficient depth and coverage of various subtopics related to the pillar content without overwhelming readers or diluting the focus.

Learn more about how to build a topic cluster

Step 6: Plan Your Blog Content Calendar

A content calendar is a scheduled plan of when and where to publish upcoming content.

This plan is organized in a calendar format to manage and oversee the entire content creation process.

An editorial calendar help you organize your blog strategy and help you decide on the frequency of your blog posts.

Make sure to align posting frequency with your business goals.

Almost 50% of bloggers publish weekly or several times per month.

blog content strategy

How do you determine publishing frequency?

Here are key factors to guide you

  • Resource assessment—Evaluate your available resources, including time, manpower, and budget.
  • Content type and complexity—For instance, in-depth research articles might take longer than shorter opinion pieces.
  • Competitor analysis—The post frequency of your competitors indicates industry standards and audience expectations.
  • Prioritize quality over quantity—It’s better to publish less frequently with high-quality content than to post often with subpar content.
  • Testing and adjusting—Adjust your blogging strategy based on what works best for your audience and resources.

Content Calendar Example

This example shows a schedule for a travel blog with specific dates, topics, and statuses.

Publish DateTitle/TopicTarget AudienceOwnerStatus
2024-01-08“10 Best Travel Destinations for 2024”Adventure SeekersAlicePublished
2024-01-15“Guide to Budget Travel in Europe”Budget TravelersBobScheduled
2024-01-22“Local Eats: Exploring Rome’s Cuisine”Food EnthusiastsCharlieIn Production
2024-01-29“The Real Cost of Travel in Europe”Budget TravelersDanaDraft
2024-02-05“Sustainable Travel Tips for 2024”Eco-Conscious TravelersErinResearching
2024-02-12“Hidden Gems: Offbeat Places in Asia”Cultural ExplorersFrankPlanned

Step 7: Create High-Quality Blog Content

High-quality blog content establishes credibility and expertise in your field and enhances the overall user experience.

This results in increased engagement, shares, and repeat visits, while significantly boosting online visibility and higher search rankings.

In fact, a survey of 1,117 bloggers found that “Quality of content” is the #1 most important success factor among all bloggers.

blog content strategy

Tips for writing engaging, informative, and valuable blog content

Did you know that the most common complaints about content are that it’s too wordy, poorly written, or poorly designed?

Put these tips into action in your next blog post, and watch as it attracts more readers.

  • Start with a Compelling Headline—Craft headlines that grab attention and clearly convey the value of your content.
  • Use a Clear Blog Post Structure—Organize your blog content with headings, subheadings, and bullet points to enhance readability and scannability.
  • Provide Actionable Insights—Offer practical advice, tips, or solutions that readers can apply in their lives or work.
  • Include Data and Research—Back up your points with relevant data and research to add credibility and depth
  • Use Visuals—Incorporate images, videos, or infographics to break up text and aid in the explanation of complex blog topics.
  • Write in a Conversational Tone—Use a friendly and approachable tone to make your blog content more engaging and relatable.
  • Edit and Proofread—Ensure your blog content is free from errors and flows smoothly to maintain professionalism and readability.
  • Encourage Interaction—End with a call-to-action or a question to encourage comments and discussions.
Note

Bloggers who work with editors to improve their content are more likely to report “strong results”.

blog content strategy

Source: Orbit Media

Guidelines for content layout, readability, and visual appeal

  • Arrange your blog content in an easy-to-follow structure—use clear headings, subheadings, and short paragraphs
  • Use white space—to make your blog content more digestible and less overwhelming
  • Use bullet points and numbered lists—to make key points stand out and easier to scan
  • Include relevant images and visuals—to break text monotony and enhance engagement.
  • Use descriptive subheadings—to help readers find the information they need quickly
  • Keep paragraphs short—ideally, not exceeding 3-4 sentences each
  • Use bold or italics—to emphasize important points, but do so sparingly to avoid overwhelming the reader

Step 8: Consider Different Content Types

Bloggers who incorporate visuals and embedded videos often experience significantly higher success rates.

blog content strategy

Source: Orbit Media

Different content types appeal to different learning styles and usage habits.

For instance, visual learners gravitate towards infographics and videos, while auditory learners may prefer podcasts.

Additionally, varied content formats can make complex information more accessible and engaging.

They allow for deeper exploration of topics and can increase the time visitors spend on your site.

This diversity enriches the user experience and broadens your reach, making your blog more appealing and relevant to a broader audience.

Here are five key content types to consider:

  • Videos: Boosts engagement and explains complex topics visually
  • Infographics: Ideal for summarizing data in a visually appealing way
  • Podcasts: Reaches audio-oriented audiences and adds a personal touch
  • E-books and Whitepapers: Provides in-depth content and aids in lead generation
  • Webinars or Live Streams: Offers an interactive and detailed exploration of topics

Step 9: Distribute and Promote Your Blog Content

Once you have crafted your blog posts, sharing them through various channels ensures they reach a broad and diverse audience.

Share your blog posts on social media

Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram offer powerful avenues for blog promotion.

These platforms allow you to tap into existing networks and engage with your audience directly.

Remember to tailor the content, tone, and format of your social media posts to suit the specific characteristics and audience preferences of each platform. This approach maximizes the impact of your content by ensuring it resonates with the users on each platform.

Create email newsletters

Email newsletters are an effective tool for reaching blog subscribers who have already shown interest in your content.

Regular updates can keep your audience engaged and drive consistent traffic back to your blog.

Learn more about email marketing:

Leverage Paid Promotion

Paid ads can extend the reach of your blog content beyond organic methods.

Paid advertising platforms like Google Ads or social media ads offer powerful targeting capabilities, allowing you to pinpoint specific demographics, interests, and behaviors.

You can use this strategy to launch new blogs, support significant content releases, or boost visibility for high-value posts.

Learn more about paid advertising:

How to Scale Your Blog Content Strategy

Scaling is a good idea when your blog has established a steady audience base and consistent traffic.

Scaling helps you reach a wider audience through more frequent and diverse content and establish yourself as a thought leader in your niche.

Warning

When scaling your blog content strategy, ensure that a higher quantity of content doesn’t come at the expense of quality.

To scale your blog content strategy, try the following methods:

Write Blog Post Faster

To write blog posts faster, focus on improving your writing process. Start with a clear outline for each post, which can guide your writing and reduce the time spent on structuring ideas.

Also, consider dedicating specific blocks of time to writing and minimizing distractions to enhance focus and productivity.

Scale Up the Number of Blogs

To scale up the number of blog posts, you can explore several strategies:

  • Diversify Content Creators—Outsource blog writing, and bring in guest writers, freelancers, or additional team members to contribute to your blog.
  • Repurpose Content—Refresh old blog posts, or convert existing content into new formats, such as turning a webinar or podcast into a series of blog posts.
  • Increasing Publishing Frequency—Gradually increase your posting schedule, ensuring you have the resources to maintain content quality.

Use AI to Write Blog Posts

AI tools, like ChatGPT, can significantly aid in scaling your blog content. These tools can help with:

  • Generating Topic Ideas—Use AI to brainstorm blog post ideas or expand on given prompts.
  • Drafting Content—AI can assist in creating initial drafts or sections of posts, which you can then refine and personalize.
  • Enhancing Research—AI can quickly gather information and data points that you can use to enrich your content.
Important

It’s important to note that while AI can augment content creation, human oversight is crucial to ensure the content remains authentic, accurate, and engaging.

AI-generated content should be reviewed, edited, and infused with personal insights or experiences to maintain the unique voice of your blog.

Final Word

Developing a successful blog content strategy involves identifying your audience, setting clear goals, creating engaging content, and effectively distributing and promoting your posts. It’s about finding the perfect blend of creativity and strategic planning.

As you implement your strategy, remember to regularly review and adapt it based on audience feedback and performance metrics. Keep an eye on evolving trends and audience preferences to ensure your content stays relevant and impactful.

For optimal results, ensure your blog is powered by reliable, high-performance hosting. This will help your content strategy shine and reach its fullest potential.

VPS

Blog Hosting

best option

Next Steps: What Now?

Learn More About Blog SEO

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 5 major components of a blog?

The five major components of a blog include content that’s informative and engaging, a user-friendly and visually appealing design, effective SEO practices for better online visibility, social media integration for wider content distribution, and an interactive comments section for audience engagement and feedback.

What are the 4 steps of content strategy?

The four steps of content strategy involve identifying and setting clear goals, understanding and defining your target audience, creating and curating content that’s relevant and engaging, and effectively distributing and promoting your content through various channels.

Should I use blogging as a content strategy?

Yes, blogging is an effective content strategy as it helps establish authority in your field, improves SEO by driving organic traffic, enables engagement with your audience, and provides a platform to share valuable information, making it a powerful tool for building brand presence and audience growth.

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