When businesses approach us for blogs, strategy is always a sticking point. Often, business people find it difficult to formulate titles, or run out of steam quite quickly after an initial burst of enthusiasm. While having a content strategy isn’t essential, it can help propel your blog, keep it interesting, and ensure your blog content is varied and balanced.

Some businesses spend thousands of pounds on content marketing each year. On a micro business level, your budget won’t be anywhere near that. Time is a factor, too; it’s very difficult to compete with established voices when you barely have time to write a shopping list.

A content strategy could help you to structure your content marketing, formulate ideas, and outsource management. With your strategy decided in advance, you can let us take care of content production, yet you never lose overall control. We can work with you to create a content strategy, or work to a strategy brought to us from elsewhere.

In Brief: Benefits of a Content Strategy

On a basic level, SMEs can use content strategy to maintain momentum with a blog. Google likes to see blogs being regularly updated, so constant publication is almost as important as the quality of the content itself.

In addition, a content strategy will:

  • Direct your freelance blogger in the topics and titles you want them to cover, so you get your message across without having to be constantly involved in decisions
  • Tie your content in with your wider marketing activity
  • Reduce the amount of blog administration you have to do
  • Ensure a consistent brand voice
  • Balance the themes you cover on the blog
  • Prevent your business blog from running out of steam – a problem that we see time and again

Your content strategy doesn’t need to be a complete roadmap of everything for the next two years. It just needs to plan out a framework, and it needn’t take too long to build.

Before You Begin

  • Make sure you have Google Analytics set up and working on your blog, and consider adding a secondary measurement platform such as Statcounter, Kissmetrics or Juicyorange
  • Review the existing content on your blog; trash anything that’s outdated, and mark poor articles for later review
  • Look at the performance of your existing blog and set benchmarks to measure against
  • Research relevant keywords and use these to drive topic decisions

Building a Micro Content Strategy

Your content strategy should cover 5 key points.

  1. Who am I trying to appeal to? Writing for your peers is fine, but writing for potential customers is better. Do you know who your ideal customer is? What do they want to read about? Big businesses develop in-depth personas for this, but a micro business probably won’t need to drill down that far
  2. What conversion challenges do we have? If the content helps people over the threshold of a buying decision, it’s doing its prescribed job. Surveys and analytics can help you to discover the big questions you need to answer
  3. Where are my audience likely to find me? B2C and B2B are very different markets when it comes to content and social media; Facebook doesn’t work for everyone
  4. When should we publish content? It’s OK to recycle it, if you’re careful
  5. What do my audience like to read? In general, content marketers have moved past short list articles towards deeper, longer articles. Would your audience prefer a guide, a journal, a white paper or industry news? Consider blending video and audio to get your point across.

Your business blog is a living organism; it changes and adapts to your business as it grows. Your strategy should be flexible enough to cope with unexpected results, and to incorporate new ideas and fresh input. There’s no need to write a 10-page document; just come up with a plan you can stick to in the medium term.

Scheduling Content

It’s common for medium and large businesses to develop content calendars stretching months ahead. Often, these calendars require continual reviews and updates, since businesses adjust plans according to audience response.calendar

For a micro or small business, we find it’s sufficient to plan a week’s content first, then plan one or two months at a time. This means:

  • You don’t have to keep coming up with new ideas every few days, which minimises your administration duties
  • Your content writer gets a feel for the topics you like quite quickly, so they can suggest their own titles for future months
  • You can keep an eye on your writer’s performance, and either adjust or cancel the arrangement if they don’t stick to your agreed content strategy

If you’re really pushed for time, you might find it difficult to lay out and schedule the blogs. For complete convenience, ask your blogger if they will deliver your content directly into your blog dashboard. Some will also source images, lay out the blog and schedule it for publication, or set it as a Draft for review.

Often, blog suppliers don’t charge for blog administration, or charge very little, yet it can take a huge weight off your shoulders.

Moving Forward With Your Blog

Small businesses often think content strategy isn’t for them. But it needn’t be an encyclopaedic document, and it doesn’t have to cover every eventuality. The important thing is that you make the blog easy to manage, and maintain momentum beyond the first few months.

A professional blog writer is there to produce content your readers enjoy and relate to, with your expertise steering the theme and tone. Simply find the right blogger, give them the right direction, then let them execute and manage the content on your behalf.

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