A Guide to Creating a Successful Blogging StrategySeptember 24, 2020
Did you know that 55% of marketers say blogging is their number one inbound marketing tactic? This probably doesn’t come as a huge shock, seeing as research shows that companies who blog regularly generate an average of 67% more leads per month than those that don’t.
However, what you might be surprised to learn is that many marketing teams out there don't actually have a solid blogging strategy mapped out. In this guide, I'll walk you through each step to creating a successful blogging strategy for your school, covering everything from how to choose topics your audience want to read to amplifying your content.
Decide what to write about
Figuratively now, raise your hand if you ever feel as though your blog articles lack any real direction or purpose? Do you find they're quite reactive and even a little random at times? Learning how to effectively brainstorm content ideas can be one of the most challenging aspects of blogging – but it doesn't have to be! Below, I'm going to share with you some of the ways that I like to generate content ideas for the Digistorm blog.
Keep a notebook handy
When it comes to content ideation, I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a little old-school. Even outside of the office, you'll rarely catch me without a notepad and pen ready to jot down ideas. These are my tools and I like to keep them close. For the more digitally inclined, the notes app on your smartphone works too! Each day, I write down any thoughts or ideas about possible content topics and then reflect on them to see if they have any promise of being crafted into an article. You know what they say, inspiration strikes when you least expect it, so make sure that you're always prepared to capture it before it slips away.
Track your FAQs
I like to keep in touch with client feedback, challenges, pain points, and questions by regularly checking in with our Customer Success, Sales, and Support teams. In doing so, I can look for patterns or pick up on recurring questions our clients have and then turn that topic into a helpful blog article. Reach out to the different administrative teams in your school to find out what some of the common roadblocks for parents are when it comes to enrollments. It might be worth setting a reminder in your calendar to find out what some of the main inquiries received each week are.
Look for trends
Thought leadership is a popular topic lately – especially on the Digistorm blog. If one of your blog goals is to position your school and its team as thought leaders within the education industry, keeping your finger on the pulse is essential. To build authority and credibility for your school's brand, look at publishing content about growing trends or challenges within the industry by offering a new perspective. The Internet is a noisy place, so to remain informed and organized, I recommend setting up an RSS tool, like Feedly, to gather all of your favorite industry news and publications into one, easy to access place.
Do your (keyword) research
A central part of any blogging strategy is SEO, with a goal of bringing more visitors to your school website. When in the process of brainstorming content ideas, sign into your Google Ads account and take advantage of the Keyword Planner tool to see which keywords are trending. This is particularly helpful if you're trying to rank for certain keywords and phrases. Another trick I like to do is jump over to Google and just start typing a query into the search bar. From here Google's autofill will do its thing by predicting a list of the most commonly searched queries. This can be another quick way to come up with new topics for your blog.
Create an editorial calendar
The next step to developing a successful blogging strategy is setting up an editorial calendar for your writing team. An editorial calendar will make the process of planning, scheduling, and organising content a million times easier, so I strongly implore you to set one up. Many teams choose to operate out of a simple shared spreadsheet, but there are also a number of inexpensive content management tools available like CoSchedule – this is what we use here at Digistorm. I'm a BIG fan of CoSchedule! Having implemented in several roles throughout my career, I'm still yet to find a tool that is as user-friendly or effective.
While setting up your editorial calendar, it's important to set some expectations around publishing your content. Consider the following questions and set some standards for your team:
- How often will you publish new content?
- Who will write blog articles?
- What is the expected turnaround time per article?
- What is the approval process for each article (if relevant)?
These are the important questions that need to be answered so that your team can set timeframes around producing and publishing new content. If you're unsure about how often you should be publishing new blog content, less is more. In my opinion, your audience is going to get a lot more out of, say, two long-form articles, rich in facts and data per week than pumping out four short articles that just skim the surface.
Amplify your content
The thing about SEO, is that it's all about playing the long game. No matter how much I wish it worked like this, you can't just hit 'publish' on a brand-new post and expect to see hundreds of views roll in. So in the early days, it's essential to amplify your new content by promoting it through other digital channels. At the very least, you should share your blog articles organically across all of your social media channels. If you have an article that you really want to promote or is getting a fair amount of engagement, think about putting some paid advertising behind it to expand your reach. Next, have a think about what other digital channels are available to you. You might like to include some of your blog articles in your school newsletters or share them with your community through your school app.
Another key point to stress here is that you can share your article more than once. Don't let your engaging content be forgotten once it has been published, set reminders in your editorial calendar every three, six, and 12 months to reshare it. Usually, all it will need is a little rewrite to include more up-to-date content, a new header image and you're good to go!
Pay attention to the right metrics
The final tip I have for creating a successful school blogging strategy is to keep track of how your articles are performing. But, there are some metrics that are more important than others, such as: views, bounce rate, and time on page. While you might be tempted to just focus on how many views your article has received, don't be quick to judge it a success if your bounce rate is high too! It’s going to take at least a few weeks before you can get an accurate picture of how your content is performing, so be patient and give it time. When reviewing your blog analytics, be sure to look into which referral channels seem to be most effective for your content and focus on more promotion in these areas.
To wrap up
These are just some of the tips I personally use to develop Digistorm's blogging strategy – I hope that you'll find them helpful, and even implement some of them into your process. If you're after more information about content ideation, strategy, or cultivating creativity, check out the resources I've provided below.