A Guide to Planning Blog Posts
As more and more companies are turning their attention to content marketing and business blogging to engage with, and reach out to new customers, finding useful topics to post on a regular basis can become a challenge that quickly feels overwhelming for business owners.
Since there’s little point in posting something that’s not targeted, useful or of interest to your audience, good planning will prevent bad, boring or ‘nothing’ posts from creeping into your company blog and cheapening your content marketing efforts.
We’ve all heard that planning is essential for any type of marketing campaign and one of my favourite sayings ‘proper prior planning prevent poor performance’ also applies to writing good content. In this case by using your writing energy wisely and helping to prevent posts that don’t add value from making the final cut.
But how can you effectively prepare and plan punchy posts each and every time? I’m talking about the kinds of posts that the audience will stay on the page for longer than 20 seconds before hitting the back button, and the kind of posts that they’ll actually interact with on social media? Let these handy tips be your guide…
Create a content calendar
A content calendar will help plan the major happenings in the business so you can time posts to align with important dates in the company’s calendar. Important dates can include selling cycles or peak sales seasons. For example, a business selling lawn mowers or air conditioning units will have sales that will accelerate in the lead up to summer.
This presents a good opportunity to provide some buying advice and help customers find a product that will suit their needs as they begin thinking about purchasing a new AC system, or upgrading their current lawn mower.
Developing a content calendar can be one of the most useful ways to manage what is happening in the business and in the wider industry that the company operates in. This will help to ensure any activities or promotional opportunities are not missed. Some other examples include trade show attendances, industry events, product launches and other major company announcements.
Invest in ‘evergreen content’
Answering questions that your customers frequently have or addressing any concerns relating to products or services that are raised by clients will help to ensure you have valuable ‘evergreen content’ on your blog. Best yet is that this information will never go out of day and continue to be of use to your audience. This allows your company can reap the benefits of search engine enquiries by building up a useful bank of evergreen topics for many months and years into the future.
For example, a company in the business of home renovations can create ‘how to’ guides for planning a smooth bathroom renovation or buying advice for selecting tiles and vanities. When a business shares their experience and insights in their industry, it goes a long way building trust and positioning themselves as an authority in their field.
Building a bank of evergreen content is one of the best ways for businesses to attract people to their site, AND entice them to return. Additionally, by building up useful content on this it can only help to establish the credibility of your brand in the long term.
Leverage ‘just in time’ content
What’s been happening in the news? If you can leverage this and tie it into what your company does this can be a very effective way to boost search engine traffic to your website from people who are interested in the topic. Searching what is trending on twitter and visiting Google Trends can provide a glimpse of ‘what’s hot’ and what people are currently clicking on.
A word of warning though: It’s important not to post about something popular just for the sake of it, if it can’t somehow relate to your industry. The topic ‘How to Create Hairstyles from the Great Gatsby’ is an example of leveraging the popularity of the 2013 blockbuster film that could relate to a topic for a hairdressing blog, but writing something about ‘Miley Cyrus and twerking’ for an building company would probably be drawing too long of a bow.
Build up a content ideas bank
Along your internet travels, make sure you read and bookmark other blogs in your industry or niche. Take note of what popular opinions are being made in your industry and note your own personal position on these. Pay attention to what your competitors are sharing with their content and measure the topics which get the best engagement with readers via social shares or comments.
If there’s an opinion you disagree with in your industry, or a subject covered that you feel deserves expanding upon, these can make future posts right away. Bookmark any interesting articles about your products or services and share day to day stories from the job. Spread the good news including company successes and never forget to share the problems your business has helped solved. This will help to communicate to potential customers what exactly it is you do, and how you can help them too.
Every time you have an insight, opinion or useful piece of advice, make sure to write to idea down in your content ideas bank, so the opportunity is not missed. Finally, always take pictures to support your blog posts which will give a face to the people in the business and visually capture the work that you do. Get to know and understand what makes your customers tick, so you can help them and gain their trust before your competitors have the chance.
Brainstorm and ideas will flow thick and fast
While content marketing and maintaining a company blog can be a daunting prospect for many small to medium business owners, proper planning by following some of the tips and ideas above can ensure you never feel stuck for something to say and your posts get the traction they deserve.
Don’t feel daunted. Start with your story, brainstorming with the people in your team NOW and let the ideas flow thick and fast. Once the ideas tap starts flowing I guarantee you’ll have more ideas than you’ll ever find the time to write.