Chapter 3 - Blogging Content Strategy

Jason Barnard, the Brand SERPs guy has a lot of experience building up his blog and shared some great tips with us during Tea Time SEO.

How to build a blogging strategy

There are 70 million posts published monthly on WordPress and 77% of internet users read blogs. Therefore it is imperative that you have a blogging content strategy.

Some companies create a blog just for the sake of it, writing content on what the blog owner thinks is interesting. When creating a blogging strategy it is important to think about two elements:

  1. Focus on what your audience will find interesting and helpful. Look at what your customers are asking on social media as Dan mentioned earlier. Also use tools “answer the public” to find out what people are asking, use Google trends and Buzzsumo and write about upcoming events. There are many sites such as Yoast and HubSpot that also provide advice on what to write about on your blog.
  2. Have a plan – don’t just “make it up as you go along”, don’t rely on simply writing about whatever just occurred to you that day. Each piece of content should have a connection to both the next and the last piece of content. Continuity is important to your audience and to Google.

Think about your audience and how you can help them. For example, aim to fill in the blanks for the topics of your blog posts:

We provide {target audience} with {type of content} to help them {business goals}.

This exercise helps you focus on who you’re trying to help, what you’re trying to help them with and what content you need to create.

Organise your topics into silos

Once you have identified the main problems you intend to help your audience with, organise them into topics and sub topics and sub-sub topics. Structure you blog, and your content strategy around that.

Use tools such as Authoritas to identify the topics and subtopics that will be your categories and subcategories. If you intend to create a lot of content over the coming years, it is essential to get these right at the start. Every single piece of content you create should have an obvious home in this siloed structure. You should never have to reorganise your blog.

Find the exact questions and problems your audience is expressing on Google by using a mixture of free and paid tools and looking at your own Google Search Console.

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Jason Barnard

Jason, The Brand SERP Guy has been in the digital marketing industry since 1998 and specialises in Brand SERPs (what appears when someone googles your name). Why “The Brand SERP Guy”? Because Jason has been studying, tracking and analysing Brand SERPs since 2013. Conclusion: Brand SERPs are your new business card, an honest critique of your content strategy and a reflection of your brand’s digital ecosystem. That should pique the interest of any marketer in any industry.

Watch our Tea Time SEO session here:

Table of Contents

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If you are looking for an easy way to automate much of the advice given in this guide, then please book a call with one of our platform experts to explore whether we have what you need.

Free and paid tools

Use tools such as Authoritas’ FAQ Explorer, alsoasked.com, answerthepublic.com or keywordtool.io that show you the questions people are asking.

These platforms gather the user queries using Google’s autocomplete, people also ask and related searches. You should also do this manually for some terms. Search for things your audience searches for and look at autocomplete, people also ask and related searches. Jason recommends this manual approach as it helps to understand your products, your market and your audience and will give you insights and ideas that some tools will miss.

Google Search Console

Look at Search Console on a regular basis. What search terms trigger pages on your site on pages 3 and lower in Google results? You’ll find a lot of relevant topics you can address in your content that Google understands you are relevant for, but you currently do not address directly.

Go beyond your competitors

Some people recommend copying competitors, but do not do this. Blindly copying what the competition is doing is a bad idea. Your competitors are often wrong. Plus even if they are smart, you should have a Unique Selling Point that means their content and yours will never match 1:1

This sounds obvious, but you are (or should be) unique. You have a unique product, a unique service and unique talents. Content you create should focus mainly on that.

Internal teams

Ask your own client support and sales teams. What questions are clients and prospects asking? These teams are a great source of information about what specific questions your audience needs answers to. The bonus here is that if you can answer those questions proactively, you will reduce the workload for both sales and support staff since your audience will easily find the answer to their question or solution to their problem directly in Google. 

Your content answers a question or solves a problem

Whatever the format or topic of your piece of content, you are answering a question or solving a problem. That’s what Google does incredibly well, it brings the best answer to a user’s question or the best solution to their problem. Serve the best answer for your visitors.

Next steps

Now you have a focussed, well researched and well organised spreadsheet document with a hierarchical set of topics, subtopics and specific questions. Now you can start thinking about the content you’re going to create.
There are two types of content:

1. Short form

For any question or problem your audience has for which you can provide a simple, quick answer, think in terms of short-form FAQ content (text or video). Create short, efficient answers to simple questions. If the answer is simple, never create long-form content. Users (yourself included) don’t want to wade through a long article or video to find a simple answer to a simple question.
The target here is Google – blue links, Featured Snippets and People Also Ask. You can also repurpose this content on other third party platforms where people are asking the question (and if possible include a link back).

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This type of question or problem will go in your FAQ section. Find out more about how to build an FAQ section from Jason on his site here.

2. Long form

This is anything more complex requires an in-depth article, audio or video that provides a longer, more detailed explanation. This type of question or problem will go in your blog section which ties into your blog content strategy.

When writing long form, the key is to be empathetic to your audience. Plan your content, the format you choose (text, lists, tables, audio, video…) and, importantly the platform, according to where they hang out and how they like to consume content.

Design and create your content with the aim that:

  1. Your audience will consume that piece of content where they like to spend their time most (eg Medium, social media)
  2. Your content will bring real value to (and actively help) your audience
  3. Each piece of content will pay for itself from offsite alone

Create and optimise each piece of content for a platform that isn’t your website, for example Medium, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Stitcher, Twitter. In short, move your content to where your audience is and use the format that is the most appropriate for your audience on that platform.

You have now created a piece of content that is formatted for a third party platform, but (vitally) is highly relevant to and helps your audience. Here’s the key, it is a simple step to then repurpose that content for your own site and extend its usefulness and value (to you and your audience).

Warning: Don’t just copy/paste. The context is different, so the format, presentation and potentially content can all be different. Adapt the content to fit your site. Each case is unique, but, thanks to your understanding of your USP, your market and your audience, you’ll quickly get to grips with HOW you can adapt that content – you’ll see the specifics of how one piece of content can serve the same audience in a different manner, or potentially another audience altogether.

Intelligent repurposing of your content on your site always means you just served your existing audience better, and also widened the audience who will find and be interested in this piece of content.

A BIG bonus is that your blog / website links out to the original content and vice versa, meaning that you will never create content on your website that has no inbound links. Very simple.

Publish content away from your site

Planning and publishing for other platforms encourages you to widen your horizons both in terms of the topics, but also the formats and even distribution. Widening your horizons and your approach to your audience can only be a good thing.

Additionally, Google will rank both the content from the third party platform and that same (repurposed) content on your site. You get double visibility. Your site will rank. But then so will the content on the (powerful) third party platform. And whatever platform contains the primary content will rank best for the core term. Rank for keywords you would never dream of. If that platform is a major player in your market, you benefit from their ‘juice’ and rank #1 for terms you could never dominate with your own site.

Broaden your reach

The art here is to use your site to expand your ranking opportunities to related longer tail terms with the repurposed content on your site. This then pushes you to create content in formats you would perhaps otherwise not have made. In turn, it then opens enormous opportunities either though the ‘original’ platform or your own site to rank in images, videos and featured snippets.

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You might even get a featured snippet video box answer if you’ve made a great video. That has happened to Jason on several occasions.

In this content strategy, Google is (just) a bonus. Create relevant and helpful content on third party, external sources that pays for itself. Then repurpose that content on an incredibly well organised topical hub (your website). Make sure you repackage for Google (AKA do some basic SEO).

In that scenario, you have made great content that pays for itself on the platform it was designed for then you have repurposed and packaged that content on your own site for a controlled and owned presence on Google as a bonus. If you have a content strategy where Google is simply a bonus, then you have a content strategy that pays for itself over and over.

Closing remarks:

Content Strategy is important for any business. Thank you to the input and recommendations from Hugo Whittaker, Jason Barnard and Dan Saunders for coming to Tea Time SEO and contributing to this guide.

This is by no means the final definitive version of our Content Strategy guide and we plan to add to this guide in the future. There are many different ways to execute content strategy – we have looked at a few areas, such as what to do if you are an SEO for an ecommerce business, or if you’re an SEO working with local businesses and overall tips on how to create a blogging strategy. We are always looking to cover more industries and include more examples. If you would like to be part of the Ultimate SEO Guide series, please contact us – marketing@authoritas.com

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