We made it to week two of 2022 and most of us fall into three categories:
- You have set goals for the year, and you’re excited to be taking the first steps to achieving them – because you have a plan.
- You have set goals for the year, but you’re already feeling really overwhelmed with the pressure you put on yourself to succeed – likely because you don’t have a plan in place that supports your growth.
- You have already abandoned all planning you may have done – it’s much easier to fall into the status quo whether it worked or not.
While the past couple of years have been challenging – and exhausting – for most business owners, that doesn’t mean you should avoid planning or challenging yourself to try something new this year. And you can even try something that will make your life easier. I am a huge fan of working smarter not harder. We should all strive for that. It doesn’t mean you are lazy or cutting corners. It means you are putting things together like a puzzle to create a bigger picture – your overall plan. For your marketing, that means finding efficiencies to make everyday tasks that much easier. When it comes to your marketing content a great blogging strategy may be the answer you are looking for to ease some of the pressure.
Here are 5 steps to help you leverage a blog strategy to take your entire content marketing strategy up a notch.
Step 1: Identify your marketing channels
I always start with what I WANT and then get to what I NEED (AKA what I – or my client – can handle). Create a list of your desired marketing channels. Make sure it’s based on your customers and where they like to interact with brands. Once you have that list, CUT THE FLUFF. This means prioritize your list from most effective to least effective based on factors like:
- Does my audience use this channel?
- Are my competitors successful on this channel?
- Has this been effective for me in the past?
Then you have to figure out what you can handle based on budget (time, money, team skills) and start cutting from the bottom of your list until you can manage what you have left. You have to remove your personal emotions from this because what you want might not be what you need at this point in time. And remember, just because you’re not doing it now doesn’t mean you can’t add on to your strategy later!
HOT TIP: Blogging should be included in your list!!! You can adjust the frequency to meet your budget needs.
Step 2: Identify your blogging personality
It’s a given that your brand identity should be tightly woven throughout your blog content. However, when it comes to blogging, you can adjust your content based on your strengths. Not all blogs have to be written – and sometimes it doesn’t even make as much sense to write out a blog like this one. For example, if you are a chef, you could do photo stories with short descriptions instead that showcase a great recipe or food and beverage pairing. You could do a video blog or even audio (hello podcasts have exploded in recent years!). A blog is meant to showcase your brand, your expertise, YOU, so you can make it fit your needs.
Step 3: Build an editorial calendar
This is a secret pleasure of mine. An editorial calendar is a schedule that outlines dates, responsibilities, blog topics, and themes. I usually work 3 months in advance. It’s not always easy to do because it means sitting down and planning in advance. However, this step will make your life sooooo much easier. I know there are fancy content planning platforms, but I like a good old-fashioned spreadsheet. I break my editorial calendar down into monthly themes (you could also do quarterly or seasonal depending on your business and the type of content you are creating). Once I have monthly themes, I set the publish dates for our weekly blogs, assign a team member to write for the week, and assign a topic for the week.
SIDE NOTE: Figuring out your topics in advance means you don’t have to waste time each week trying to come up with a topic!
Step 4: Carry the themes and topics over to your other content platforms
This is where your blog starts to wield its power as the centrepiece of your marketing content. Your thematic and topical structure can drive your social media content, promotional content, Whitepaper topics, email newsletters, free eBooks, and the list could go on. The foundations you create for your blog strategy then become the foundations for your entire marketing strategy.
Step 5: Create content that can be repurposed
Whether you look at this as Step 5 or Step 4 B this is where you start to put together content for your blog. Write for your blog first and then let that content help you populate your other platforms. A well-thought-out blog can turn into at least one social media post (but usually multiple!), an email newsletter, gated content to help collect emails, a media angle to pitch, and more.
You could also create what’s called evergreen content that is content that can be referred to much past the publish date. You can read more about evergreen content here.
I talk about blogging for business a lot. I am a huge fan. And it’s because it works, and it can make your life much easier when it comes to marketing content.
Candace Huntly is Founding Partner at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.
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A version of this article was originally posted to the SongBird Marketing Communications blog.