Creating a solid content strategy for your new blog is such an important task. We all know how important these first impressions are.
We stare at our beautiful blog that we have just setup with a blank expression, asking, “What should I write about?”
You want to get traffic, you want to blow people away and you want to get people addicted to you.
If you do all three of these from the word go, the rest of your journey will be a breeze. The trouble is, it isn’t easy!
Picking a niche for your blog is one thing, but creating your initial content is where the real work begins.
I am going to show you the exact steps I take to create content that my audience wants to read.
You will also learn how to find an army of influencers that want to help you.
That is all you need at this stage!
You have content that people want to read and you have influencers that you can share your content with.
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Who Is Your Ideal Audience?
When you plan your content strategy to launch your new blog you have to do your research. This will ensure your content appeals to your readers. At this stage, you don’t have an audience but you should have an idea of what your blog is going to be about.
If you have an idea of who your audience is you can create a content schedule that appeals to them. This will help improve the engagement of the content and make it a lot easier to promote the content.
The first step when analyzing your audience is to work out what they are trying to achieve. A reader that visits a blog about strength training could be looking to build muscle.
[Tweet "The first step when analyzing your audience is to work out what they are trying to achieve."
People want to build muscle for different reasons though. Some may want to build core strength to help with daily living activities. Others might want to train in natural body building!
These are all related to strength training but are two very different audiences.
When you start your blog it is key to focus on one audience, smash it and then add another similar audience on top.
“Traffic that doesn’t convert to subscribers usually means something you’ve written connects with people, but they don’t understand how it fits into your blog as a whole.” - Amy Dunn Moscoso, Smart Blogger
Understand Your Readers Journey
If you know your audience is looking for a strength training program to improve their posture then this is their end goal. When they land on your blog they are at the start of their journey.
Your content needs to show the reader that you can help them improve their posture. It should provide actionable tips that encourage the reader to take action.
If I write an article about getting big arms, do you think that will hook people interested in correcting their posture? It will appeal to some but not everyone.
What if I was to write an article showing my audience how strengthening their glutes can improve their posture.
This is exactly what they are looking for.
My next article is about how correcting your posture can alleviate knee pain.
The reader may not know that their posture is to blame for this pain. They might not even have knee pain but most people would want to prevent it.
You need to sell them the benefits of fixing their posture and mix in tips that they can apply. When they apply these tips and start to get results they will start to trust you more!
Your blog is a tool to show awareness of the problem and highlight the benefits of fixing this problem. Your job is to create content that builds trust by providing that quick win feeling.
Look at CoSchedule, they know exactly who their target audience is. Content marketers that want to improve their strategy. The tool they offer will do this, but a new visitor might not understand how.
On their blog, they create content that appeals to content marketers. Along the way, they show them how their tool can help. By providing epic value they build trust by giving their readers that quick win feeling.
CoSchedule now has an email list of over 150,000 people who are interested in what they offer!
This is all because they provide content that moves their readers from point A to point B.
Look at Guerilla Zen Fitness! Blake offers products that will improve posture. He knows the problems his audience face. He creates YouTube Videos and blog posts that highlight these as well as showing some quick tips to help.
From doing this he now has over 60,000 subscribers on YouTube because his content takes people from point A to B.
I want you to think of what goal your blog accomplishes for your reader.
Design Your Content To Take Your Readers From A To B
Now it is time to start generating some ideas for your first 12 blog posts. Having ideas for your first few months will help you be more organized and stop the blinking cursor syndrome!
In a world where there are so many blogs competing for attention!
To stand out you have to make sure that your blog posts are the best there is on the topic. You can do this by focusing on a certain topic, being more thorough, having a beautiful design and a clutter-free blog.
Having a great post that also looks good is one thing, but if no one cares about the topic, it’s pointless.
Let’s start generating some ideas so that we can launch your new blog with a bang!
Here's a quote from Talia Wolf:
The road to a successful blog post (and choosing its topic) is divided into 3 steps:
1 - Start with keyword research. Not the typical keyword research where you enter the phrase you think is relevant and find similar words, a more strategic one. Here's how:Your goal is to find the best ranking subjects, those your subscribers would be interested in reading and would attract more visitors to your site so, in the Google keyword planner enter the link to a competing blog, one that's popular and trustworthy. This will show you all their top ranked keywords on their blog and give you an indication to what people search for and read.
2 - Then search for those keywords on Google, find the top ranked articles for those keywords and identify what makes them successful (e.g - are they all lists, examples, videos or perhaps complete guides?).
3 - Then, read the articles and the comments to see what people were missing in the article - what's missing? Then, and only then, sit down to write the article.
The best way to find content that your readers will respond to is to find content that has already performed well. You can find this type of content by checking out Buzzsumo. This tool will show you similar content based on how many people have shared it on social media.
If a post has produced a lot of shares then you can be sure the topic is one that your audience will like.
Go over to Buzzsumo and enter your niche or broad topic.
For example, let's try the keyword "fix posture”:
This is broad and will return the competition on the field!
Create a spreadsheet with the following columns:
- And a column for every social network that is applicable.
Start filling it up with the content that appeals to you. This will become your swipe file for content ideas.
Search for a few broad keywords on Buzzsumo to get a decent amount of content ideas.
When you start a blog you don’t have any audience to reach out to ask what they want to read. On Quora, you have a network of people asking questions about hundreds of topics daily.
Simply search for your broad topic and you will see a list of questions that include your keyphrase. This should generate some great questions for you to answer in your posts.
Another way to use this Q&A site is to visit the topic pages and look at the Top Questions bit. These are the most popular questions related to the topic.
Type in a good few keywords that' are related to your niche and start to add your ideas to your spreadsheet.
Look At What Your Competitors Do
Now we are going to put our broad keyword into Google. This will return the best content for that phrase.
The Google algorithm is a strange beast! One thing we know is that Google want to show the best and most relevant content to their readers.
So search for your keyword ...
Now at the bottom, you will see related keyphrases. Add these to your spreadsheet as they are content ideas that Google deems as relevant.
Now take the homepage URL of each result. Head back over to Buzzsumo and enter each URL, this will show you the best content from this website.
As you do this you will start to see topics come up time and time again. These are hot topics and should definitely be on your list to create first.
By now you should have a pretty big list of ideas (I would say no less than 50). If you have less, repeat the process, try different phrases or even go to page two of Google. These don’t rank as high but it doesn’t mean they are useless!
I have seen some pretty great content ideas off the first page too.
Creating An Editorial Calendar
It is time to put those content ideas to good use.
You need to create a posting schedule that suits your lifestyle so that you can stay consistent.
It might sound awesome to post a new article every day. At this stage, you have no audience to feed your creative juices with awesome content ideas.
Plus posting daily makes it harder to promote each post properly.
I would say start with 2-4 posts per month, but these must be high quality. Your absolute best work.
That means your twelve posts will last you 3-6 months, this is plenty time to build a decent sized audience.
Whatever schedule you choose, stay consistent and make sure it is doable for you!
Once you have your ideas you can use an editorial calendar like CoSchedule to plan their launch. I find adding post ideas into an editorial calendar helps to keep me accountable the majority of the time.
If I didn’t do this I would be scrambling the night before and the quality of my article would slip!
The 3-Post Strategy Overview
When I launch any new blog I like to follow a certain content system! I will create my foundational content (the content before your launch).
This method stems from three posts that are all based on proven topics.
So what three post types do you need:
- Massive List Post
- Expert Roundup Post
- A Tutorial Post
Let’s look at how we create each of these posts.
Your Massive List Post
Your first piece of foundational content is your massive list post. Everybody loves a list post because they are so easy to read and they are very shareable!
Brian Dean over at Backlinko.com developed a framework for creating epic list posts that drive shares, links and huge traffic.
Perfect for your first post on your new blog.
Introducing the Skyscraper Technique!
This technique is based on finding a topic that has done well before, you would then check out other articles on the topic and lastly, you will create an epic piece that beats all other articles.
When you do this your article becomes the best on the topic.
The second part of this strategy is to promote but we will look at that in a bit later.
Let’s begin by taking a look at out topics list we created above. Choose the most popular topic you found!
Start by entering it into Google. If a website is on the first page, this means that Google classes this article as the best on the web. They strive to show the best content to their customers.
Go through each of the posts on the first page and look at ways you could improve.
What is the biggest list out there? If the highest number on the first page is 20 can you create a list of 40-50?
A lot of list posts are not very in depth. I have seen some with literally 20-50 words per list item!
You want to go all out here to make your new blog post stand out from the rest! Mediocre content will not cut it. You have to kick your competitors right off the playing field!
Once you write up your awesome skyscraper article it is time to insert some traffic generating nuggets.
These come in the form of expert quotes!
Reach out to influencers that have written about the topic before and simply ask them for a couple of sentences. Now if you struggle to get a reply from the influencer you can simply head to their blog and take a quote.
Add these into your article to give it more value.
Okay Joe, how does this generate traffic?
When it comes to promoting our blog posts we can reach out to each of the experts that we have linked to and let them know!
This is the perfect way to spark a relationship with an influencer, everybody loves to see their work being referenced no matter how big they are!
“If I were to start a brand new blog tomorrow, my first article would be on a topic that supports my main business goals - anything Marketing related. The article would have two main focuses.
1) Educate & 2) Entertain.
In order to establish myself as an authority, I want to make sure I use my expertise to educate the reader and provide MASSIVE value! In order to keep the reader coming back, I would entertain the reader by using my personal style, showcasing examples where appropriate, and keeping the reader in mind throughout the article." - Katherine Sullivan Marketing Solved
An Expert Roundup Post
For the next post, it is time to let the experts that you want to connect with shine. I always say for your first roundup post try and include people that you want to connect with, that way you are starting to get on their radar.
Once you have your initial hit list it is time to look for more experts. I would always try to get about 100 experts because a lot won’t reply but 100 should still give you enough for your post!
Take your popular topic and let’s turn it into a question!
Now think who was your target audience. Simply add the topic and the audience together to create a killer question.
These kind of questions are brief and will not take the blogger that long to answer. Busy influencers will be happier to contribute if the question doesn’t take long to answer.
Start by warming up the big dog influencers on your hit list first because they will take the longest to win over. If you can get them to contribute everybody else will be a lot easier because you have some social proof!
When you reach out, keep your email personal and let them know why you think they would be a good fit for the roundup. Ask your question and then tell them the names of the big influencers.
This is how I have managed to get bloggers such as Neil Patel, Jon Morrow, Adam Connell and Sue Anne Dunlevie to contribute to my post!
Keep it brief and to the point!
Once you have collected all your responses you can enter them into the blog post. Add a killer headline and conclusion that thanks all the influencers for their hard work.
For your intro you want the first sentence to hook your reader and then you want to give your own piece of value. You need to put some effort into this by doing this you get the readers excited and it will motivate them to keep reading.
By now you should have a nice list of experts, this is perfect to launch your blog with a bang!
A Tutorial Post
This is the last piece of foundational content in the X method. Tutorial posts work really well because you are going to solve one of your readers biggest pain points to give them that quick win feeling!
Choose another topic from the list but this time you need to make sure that you can solve it with a tutorial style post.
What makes a good tutorial?
Small actionable step-by-step chunks that provide images to document every action. If you think there will be too many images then maybe consider using a video.
Video style tutorials do really well because your reader will feel like they are following along looking over your shoulder.
You still want to reach out to influencers to get their input just to give it that traffic fuel. If you do something a particular way look for experts that do it that way and feature a quote. This adds social proof to your article. It also backs up what you are saying with some proof!
Launch Your Blog
If you have got this far you have done the ground work and your blog is ready to fly! You can’t stop yet though because it is your job to make it fly.
So many people think that you can publish your post and others will find it while you sit back and watch it. This is total rubbish!
You should spend 20% of your time creating your content and then 80% of the time actually promoting it.
Tell Your Nearest and Dearest
It really does surprise me how many people leave this out. Your family is your life line whether they are interested in what you write or not! They can give you that much needed social proof and kick off your engagement.
I always ask my mom to share my posts!
Because I know it’s a certainty, she will share because she wants to help me! Now my mom struggles with all things computer related so blogging is definitely not something she would be interested in, but I still get traffic when she shares.
She has friends that are interested!
If you struggle to get comments you can ask your friends to leave some. This will boost the engagement on your blog. People are more likely to leave a valuable comment if they see others doing so.
This can lead to questions that you can add to your content ideas spreadsheet.
Tell Communities You're Involved With
Are you a member of any social media groups, niche communities or forums? If you are a credible member you can tell them about your new article. You just need to do it in a valuable way.
Start a thread post and give an actionable tip!
For example, if your post is about guest blogging you could say how important it is to get to know the editor. Give benefits that will encourage the group to act upon your tip! Then just give the link to encourage people to click through.
I have never been banned or blocked for doing this.
Tell The Influencers You Have Mentioned
Now if you have been following along my foundational content strategy you should have a list of influencers that you have featured in your posts.
This is your chance to let them know it’s live, by doing all the sharing with your existing connections you should have some social proof on your articles. This will increase the value for the influencer and could be the thing that encourages the connection!
That is why I leave this step till I have done my preliminary shares!
When you reach out, be very brief. Here's a sample template:
I just wanted to let you know that I have featured a quote from your article about TOPIC.
This was great and I think my audience would love it because REASON.
If you want to check it out here is the link:
If you have any feedback or you would like me to edit it please let me know!
This is brief, you are not asking for anything, and it is personal. Most bloggers will share without asking just because you have featured them.
If the influencer has contributed a quote or is part of your roundup, just reach out and tell them that the post is live. Again do not ask for anything, most will share without your asking!
Lastly, reach out to everyone that never replied to you and let them know it’s live. Be friendly and polite and offer them the chance to be added onto the roundup.
Now that you are showing them your results they know a bit more about you and this might give them that little push to connect with you.
Now Go Launch Your Blog!
Well done for getting this far! You now have a new blog that has some traction but this is only the beginning.
Creating foundational content that get’s influencers involved is a great way to get your name about but you still have a lot of work to do.
Fill out your content schedule for 3 months, try and keep the content based around one main topic. So if your blog is about dog training maybe just focus on training a new pup. This lets you establish yourself as an expert because of the value you are giving on that one topic!
Now it is over to you, let me know in the comments what you do to give your blog the best start in life.