At any given second, approximately 75,000 people initiate a Google search. They might be looking for directions, general information on a topic of their interest, or they might simply be on the hunt for something to buy.
Regardless of reason, the internet is more active than ever—and potential customers can find your blog from anywhere in the world. That is, if it ranks well on Google’s search results.
So how can you create a blog that ranks high enough to attract viewers and convert them into loyal customers?
The answer lies in creating quality content that’s designed with the customer in mind. To create a successful blog content strategy, follow these six steps.
1. Research your competitors
The first step in creating killer blog content is to do your homework. In other words, study the competition.
Start by checking out competitors’ websites to see what kind of blog posts they’re writing. As you peruse these blogs, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Ask yourself:
- Does the blog content draw you in and keep you scrolling? Or, what makes this content valuable?
- What types of content do these websites have—for instance, listicles, infographics, or something else?
- Would you buy from this website more than once?
- What kind of social media presence does the company have?
Once you have a sense of the information that’s already online, you can work to position yourself as another resource and begin brainstorming similar content to produce.
While studying your rivals, though, remember that you must always write original content. Plagiarism and scraping other websites’ articles are quick solutions to generating content, but there’s a reason these strategies are labeled “black hat SEO”—Google and other search engines frown upon these practices and will penalize offending websites.
2. Plan out your content
After reviewing competing websites, you’ve probably got a few ideas for blog posts. Great—but before you get started drafting any, consider details like:
- What fresh angle or unique insight do you have to make your content better than others?
- How long will it be?
- Who is your target audience?
- Will your post be topical or evergreen? That is, will it stay relevant in the long run, or will it require updating every few months?
- When will your post be published?
To maintain a consistent publishing schedule, consider using an editorial calendar. This will help you stay on track with producing regular blog content.
3. Develop keyword strategies for long-term success
As you create blog content, remember to target relevant keywords that match common user searches.
For instance, say you’re creating a blog about renewable energy. Some examples of appropriate keywords include:
- Renewable energy sources
- Pros and cons of renewable energy
- Cost of renewable energy vs fossil fuels
- Future of renewable energy
Creating content based on targeted keyword phrases helps to inform search engines what your site is about and match user queries accordingly. This, along with other practices that make your content search engine–friendly, is better known as search engine optimization, or SEO for short.
To identify which keywords to focus on, you’ll need to do some research. This is possible through both free and paid services. For starters, you can try Google Trends for keyword research.
As you optimize your blog posts, however, keep these SEO copywriting tips in mind:
- Avoid overusing your keywords. This is called “keyword stuffing” and is looked down upon by search engines. Instead, incorporate your target keywords naturally.
- Focus on less common keywords to generate website traffic. Known as “long-tail keywords,” these phrases generally have less competition.
- Don’t expect to rank on the first page of Google’s search results right away. Achieving a high ranking is the ultimate test of delayed gratification; it requires both time and patience.
4. Level up your writing
Your blog could be about something incredibly captivating—the latest scandal in politics or Hollywood, for example—but if your content is written poorly, it’ll fail to grab readers’ attention.
To organize your thoughts for the writing process, consider creating an outline for each blog post. An outline can help guide the writing process, providing structure so that it won’t become a haywire stream of consciousness.
When it comes time to begin drafting, keep these writing tips in mind:
- Avoid writing long sentences or paragraphs.
- Link to relevant sources to build your credibility.
- Write in an active voice.
- Use descriptive and evocative language.
- Appeal to readers’ emotions.
- Provide details and specificity to your claims.
- Diversify your word choice instead of repeating certain words and phrases.
It helps to take another look at your competition and observe how their blog copy attracts readers. Are there any major takeaways you can apply to your own content?
A blog with bland writing that generalizes and pulls facts out of thin air stands little chance against one that is formatted well and uses rich detail. If you’re unsure whether your writing meets the mark, consider getting another set of eyes on it.
5. Promote your content
One reason why large retailers rank so highly in Google’s search results is that they possess a lot of “domain authority.” This means their content is frequently linked to and shared online.
The more you can get other websites to link to your content, the more your blog’s domain authority will improve—and in turn, the higher it’ll rank in search results. In this way, generating backlinks is crucial for any blog, especially new ones just starting out.
To spread the word about your content, try a few of these promotion strategies:
- Share your blog posts on social media and encourage your followers to share and link to your site.
- Ask bloggers with similar websites if they allow guest posts. These are posts written for another website, and oftentimes include a link back to your own site.
- Partner with established influencers in your niche, whether by offering a free sample of your product or asking for a review.
- Identify online directories that are relevant to your website. Then reach out and see if it’s possible to get your site listed.
- Create a weekly or monthly email newsletter for your subscriber list. Use this newsletter to provide readers with new content updates.
- Engage with users in online forums like Reddit. Where appropriate, insert a link to your blog.
Over time, other bloggers may link to your site without your having to ask—but in the early stages, expect to do your fair share of online networking.
6. Improve your website’s usability
As you promote your content and level up in search rankings, be sure to monitor and test different aspects of your site, like loading speed and bounce rate.
With such a vast wealth of online content available at their fingertips, web users are fickle. In fact, research shows that 55% of users spend less than 15 seconds on a web page.
That means users may leave your site if you present them with any reason to. For instance, that could be:
- Slow loading speed
- Poor design
- Outdated plugins
- An excessive amount of ads
- Security issues and malware
- Broken links
As a result, regular site maintenance is a must to ensure your blog is running smoothly, which will in turn help keep users on your site.
Should you outsource content production?
If you lack the time and/or expertise required to produce quality content for your blog, consider outsourcing your content creation.
Outsourcing your blog and website production will save you the time and the money it would take to hire a full-time, in-house writer. You’ll be able to establish a content schedule and have access to writers who are experts in your industry.
Make no mistake—successful blogging requires a significant investment of both time and resources, regardless of whether or not you choose to outsource. But, with patience and persistence, your blog content will gain more and more traction.
Just remember: your blog posts don’t have to be advertisements for your products and services. In fact, they shouldn’t be.
After all, successful content marketing isn’t about giving customers the “hard sell,” but rather, educating and inspiring potential customers. Aim for creating meaningful blog content that will keep readers coming back for more.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Isadora Delgado.