Suppose you want to turn blogging – or let’s call it content creation – into a career. The first thing it means is that you need a business attitude at least where it comes to how much content you’ll create about what topic(s). What you really need is some kind of plan for your content.
What are the characteristics of a (good) content strategy anyway? I ran into a nice, possibly helpful definition on Business2Community, to which I’ve decided to add my own perspective in this post.
A content strategy for your blogging career
Having a content strategy means you
- deliberately create content
- which you have optimized for search. This means that you base your content on keyword phrases that drive ‘organic search traffic’ (and conversions) – this is what the article I mentioned focuses on,
- that demonstrates an understanding of your potential customer’s knowledge acquisition at various stages in their buying cycle. Don’t worry, I’ll explain later 😉
This means you don’t write whatever you like – a different approach from what you’d do on a personal blog. Instead, you start by finding out what keyword phrases your potential customers are probably using to find the information they need.
What kind of content is your potential customer looking for?
Put yourself into your customers’ shoes for a moment. What information you need depends on several aspects:
- Whether you’re already familiar with a type of product or service. Do you need to know what different smartphones do, or do you own one and do you want to compare the latest smartphones with yours?
- Whether you’ve already decided which product or service you want, or from which company you’ll buy.
- You may want to compare prices to get the best deal regardless of the brand so long as the product meets your demands.
- Or you know what product you want. All you need to know is which site or company offers you the best deal.
- Or you’re fed up with the lousy service you’ve had from company X and you need to make sure you find a company that does know that “customer service” contains the word “service” for a reason.
Every different situation means you’ll be using different keywords while looking for information.
A content strategy that is optimized for search means you take your potential customers’ search behavior into account even before you start creating content for your blog (or website).
What do you know about your potential customers? Can you ask any of the customers you already have?
Delivering your content to your potential customers
Next: you deliver your “optimized” content to your potential customers in a relevant and compelling way.
What is relevant depends on what your readers and/or your potential customers are looking for, not what you feel is important for you to tell the world.
Compelling is a word I’ve seen too often since I started reading about content marketing, and relevance takes care of a lot. True, it doesn’t help if you analyze quite interesting stuff down to the level of atoms for potential customers who either want you to help them or to entertain them. On the other hand, maybe you’re doing exactly the right thing to attract the people you need for your business. Do you know?
What kinds of content can you deliver on your blog?
A couple of categories of content that could work in the context of your blog are:
- Case studies that show how you dealt with a particular kind of issue. This lets people know what to expect from you.
- The ‘how to’ posts are familiar and they can be quite popular. However a post doesn’t become popular just because the title starts with “How to…”. Again, relevance to your potential customers matters most.
- White papers that give in-depth information to those readers you’ve selected as possibly interested in more than the average blog post.
- News about events you attend or organize, so people know where/when to find you.
Final considerations for a blogging career
If you’re serious about a blogging career you also need to consider which format suits your potential customers, and where they hang out for preference.
- Are they the reading kind or do they prefer video?
- Do they write lengthy comments on your blog or do they drop a short line on Twitter?
If, like me, you’re writing for the fun of writing, or to help your thinking process along, these considerations are probably not for you. But if you’ve decided to try to make money blogging, you’ll need to cater for your potential customers’ preference rather than stay in your own cosy comfort zone wondering where they went.