Congratulations! You have been blogging for a whole… 2 weeks? 3 months? A year and a day? So… what have you written about, and why?In this post I’d like to talk about blogging and your content strategy.
It’s not about my personal experience in content marketing or business content strategy, because I haven’t tried to use this blog to get you to buy my stuff. I haven’t asked you to register so you get access to my most brilliant contributions to the improvement of human kind.
For now, I’ll be quite happy if you buy my ideas in stead of chucking them in the bin 🙂
Blogging without a content strategy
If you started out like me, you’ll have tried the whole blogging idea on for size. Questions you may have asked yourself when you started up your blog:
- Do you still enjoy writing when you ‘have to’, in other words if there are readers out there and you feel you should publish new content on a regular basis?
- Does anyone even care what you write?
- Can you come up with enough ideas to get beyond, say, 10 posts? Or will the creative juices dry up in no time at all for whatever reason?
They’re all legitimate questions when you start out. If you start blogging to find the answers to these questions, you don’t need much of a plan beyond:
I’ll write about subjects X and Y because they’re interrelated and I run into issues a lot and maybe other people will like to read about how I view or solve those issues.
The subject and issues you decide to write about can be either your toddler’s tantrums or trends in social media. I’d advise against putting them in the same blog: I’m told Google doesn’t like it.
Why you may need a content strategy – or something like it
Once you’re blogging for a while you may find that sometimes ideas for new posts just roll in faster than you can find the time to write about them. At other times you’re stumped for ideas because they all whizzed past your head in the previous days and now they’re gone. This happened to me a few days ago. I had a great idea – I think, at some point the text was taking shape right inside my head. By the time I had a moment to sit down and take notes it had escaped me completely.
Sometimes daily life is a regular pain in the backside. That includes grocery shopping, hairdressers and pans boiling over (and your adorable kids, too).
It pays to just face it: letting content creation (blogging) depend on creative flashes like that won’t work if you want to produce new stuff every day or week. Unless you blog about your own life – even if you forget everything you meant to write about you could still blog about your ‘senior moment’ 😉
What happens if you chuck a stone (a plan) at your blog?
Here’s the good news: it won’t break. I’ve spent the past few posts writing about aspects of social business with the titles and subjects more or less ready. And it’s been all right in the sense that I knew exactly what I would write about, and was able to read up where necessary.
On the other hand, writing about a single main subject has made me extremely critical of my own writing. Publishing several posts in a series has exposed the limits of my knowledge about the subject. I spend a lot of time reading because I’m still looking for ideas that are not basically hot air balloons: amazing to look at (which I can do for hours) but basically nothing inside with a sleek outfit and lot of noisily burning gas underneath.
Blogging to a plan: feeding a newly-fledged content strategy chick
If you start planning subjects you may find the idea of treating a subject in a series of posts attractive. If so, you may run into the following:
- You get the strong impression you’ve written something already in your previous post. This can happen even if you’ve planned the main subject for each post in advance. I find this effect is stronger if you write a series on a single subject because you planned it that way.
- You start over-editing as a result. You may want to improve single posts in a series because you feel you’re repeating yourself. Do you find yourself chucking bits out, re-ordering and rewriting?
These are my tips to counter these effects of topic-related series:
- if you commit to writing a number of posts about a single subject, it really helps if you’ve read or experienced so much that you can easily write from memory.
- Being boundlessly opinionated on the subject is also a great way to churn out one post after the other 😉
- Less frequent publishing. This way you can concentrate on the core of your subject and spend lots of time on research. Or do the exact opposite:
- Publish more often – if you don’t post every day already. Frequent posting:
- Prevents rereading endlessly.
- Means you’re not forcing yourself to hang on to your drafts until ‘publishing day’.
- Your posts are fresh rather than stale.
- You’re not tempted to write new articles that relate to your topic into an otherwise finished post (don’t ask).
So there, I’ve solved the beginners’ content strategy puzzle – for now 🙂
Have you got bits and pieces of content strategy from your own blogging experience – what works for you and what doesn’t, then let me know by leaving a (non-spammy) comment – I will reply!