Planning an effective 12 month content marketing strategy for your blog

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According to the Content Marketing Institute, publishing 2 to 4 blog posts per week provides the highest results in terms of both traffic and conversions.

And yet their latest research (together with MarketingProfs) suggests that 63% of businesses don’t even have a documented marketing strategy. 

Planning an effective 12 month content marketing strategy for your blog is a great way to reach new customers through quality-led, engaging content. But how do you actually go about doing this? 

In this guide, we will walk you through the process so you can begin to develop an effective content marketing strategy for the year ahead that offers maximum return on investment (ROI).

1.   Set clear goals for your blog posts

Your content marketing objectives should be directly linked to your overall business goals — whether that might be driving more traffic to your site; increasing sales or improving your content’s authority.

Try applying these clear objectives to each blog post you write in 2020:

  • Cement brand awareness
  • Encourage audience engagement
  • Increase web traffic
  • Increase search engine visibility 
  • Generate leads
  • Retain customers
  • Gain ROI from your content marketing strategy

2.   Establish your KPIs 

Making your goals measurable by setting key performance indicators (KPIs) is a great way to assess how well your content is performing.

Also, by being clear in advance about what you want your blog posts to achieve, the goals can start to feel more realistic. And once you’ve hit them, you can start to build on them the following year. 

For example, your KPIs might be something along the lines of:

  • Increase website traffic by 10% in 4 months through curated content that’s aimed at your customer
  • Ensure you add 3 relevant internal links to every article to offer customers somewhere else to go in their journey once the blog post ends

To help start setting your KPIS, consider your wider business goals and think about how your blog plan can tap into those even further.

You might also want to consider our 5 top tips on how to better optimise your blog content for 2020.

3.   Understand your audience

In order to create good quality content that appeals to your customers, it is important to understand what their interests and needs might be.

This in turn will allow your content to serve a greater purpose, ultimately giving a better ROI while supporting your wider business objectives.

There are a couple of good ways to do this:

1.     Create buyer personas

One of the best ways to understand your customer is to map out customer or audience personas.

We’ve already written a blog post about why creating buyer personas is key to your content marketing strategy, but by giving yourself a clear picture of who you’re trying to target, you can build content that serves them better and encourages them to engage with your business. 

2.     Survey your target audience

Another great way to build a better picture of your audience is to ask them what they like and what they don’t.

Survey Monkey is a useful platform which allows you to create simple surveys in minutes that you can then share via social media or email. 

When creating your survey, ask clear, direct questions that are easy to understand. And don’t make the survey too long either, or your customers won’t click through.

Offering an incentive — like a gift card — is also a sure-fire way to get your customers to engage, so it’s well worth thinking about implementing an incentive scheme the next time you reach out to your customers.  

4.   Define your content pillars

Content pillars are a set of key themes that shape what your business is all about.

For example, a fashion retailer may be focused on STYLE, LIFESTYLE, SUSTAINABILITY and PEOPLE.

Their blog posts would then fit into these pillars through style and travel guides, or through blogs showcasing how they are helping their local community. This gives the blog a sense of structure and purpose. 

But remember, a blog isn’t a vanity project.

Each blog post must have the customer in mind. What is their key takeout? And what do you want them to go away with at the end of it?

Once you have these answers, you can start to build your pillars and brainstorm the content that sits underneath each one. 

5.   Create your content calendar 

Once you have your goals and you are clear about who you are targeting, the next step is to create a 12 month content calendar.

There are many content templates you can use online, so have a look through and find the one that works for you.

Keep it simple to start with, as you can build on it as you go until you’ve found a winning formula. 

6.     Do your keyword research

Keyword research is one of the most important steps in the blog writing journey.

The Content Factory has a great guide on how to find keywords for SEO, but other effective platforms to help you include Ahrefs Keywords Explorer and Google Keywords Explorer. 

When adding keywords to your content, try to embed them in a natural, easy-to-read way.

Done successfully, your readers shouldn’t be able to pick out your keywords – a sign of well-written, engaging copy.

7.     Brainstorm content ideas 

Whether you choose to do this monthly, quarterly or every six months, brainstorming blog ideas is the most fun part in your planning journey.

Either get together with your colleagues or start a shared document where you can all jot your ideas down. From there, stories will begin to flourish and you can choose which ones you want to go after.

If you’re struggling for ideas or need a good starting point, SEOPressor has a fantastic blog title generation tool. Simply add your keywords into the generator and it will provide you a range of titles you can create a blog post from. 

8.     Schedule topics and assign an author

The final step is to add your blog titles into your calendar and set out the times and dates that you’re planning to publish them.

If you’re getting creative support, give that team a deadline too. Doing this will help you stay on track, and can allow you to filter a set amount of posts through each week to help with your content goals. 

Don’t forget to spread the content out amongst your authors to pick up as and when you need to.

The value of creating a content calendar

While it may take a little bit of thought and effort to set up, creating a content calendar is an excellent way to focus your goals, increase productivity and stay on top of your schedule.

Rather than churning out last-minute blog posts that offer very little real benefit, you can now begin to curate content that actually delivers. 

Want a hand planning a content marketing strategy for your 2020 blog posts?

Looking for a hand with how to get started with writing a blog?

If you would like further help or advice on how best to plan a content marketing strategy for your blog posts in 2020, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with The Content Marketing Team.

We will happily we’ll talk you through our services and products.   

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