A niche blog is popular among affiliate marketers. They use it to make money by promoting affiliate products.
In most cases, the marketers (especially newbies) find it overwhelming to manage and promote the blog simultaneously. After some days, they lose interest and leave the blog without reaping any benefit from it.
Some reasons for the failure are the lack of determination, a plan, and consistency. The problem mostly happens with newbies. However, experienced marketers gain experience after facing several failures.
A niche blog is like a small business. It requires a plan to proceed in the right way. Here the role of content strategy comes into play. The content strategy works as a plan for the business. Though the plan does not include revenue part directly, it has a significant role in revenue generation.
What is content strategy?
According to usability.gov, “Content strategy focuses on the planning, creation, delivery, and governance of content”. And “the goal of content strategy is to create meaningful, cohesive, engaging, and sustainable content.”
Kristina Halvorson, the co-author of the ‘Content Strategy for the Web‘, defines as “Content strategy is the practice of planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, useable content.”
Here you need to ensure useful and usable content that will add value in your blog and improve the user experience.
Why you need to plan content strategy
A niche blog is considered as a small business, but each day you have to spend huge time on the blog to make it a successful one.
You need to handle technical issues, produce content and promote the blog. It is overwhelming for a solopreneur.
You may face a problem with the workflow of content creation and promotion. Another challenge is to understand the content requirement of the industry.
Before you start writing a killer content for the blog, make sure you are writing the right content that your readers will read. To come up with the right topic, you have to analyze target audience and develop a buyer persona. Also, analyze what type of content gets more popularity and on which platform most of your buyers hang on.
A solid content strategy requires developing a consistent plan for content publication and marketing. The plan includes – what type of contents the niche demand, how frequently you need to publish the contents, what will be publishing platform and what will be the promotional approach.
A documented plan will give you a solid reason for each step for the blog and will stop you taking action whimsically.
Elements of content strategy
The content strategy procedure involves planning, creation, delivery, and governance of content. More specifically, the process includes analysis, development, management, and marketing.
Melissa Rich, a co-author of the book ‘Content Strategy for the Web’, has designed a ‘Content Strategy Quad’ that has four areas those are based on a Core Strategy – Substance, Structure, Workflow and Governance. The areas are grouped in two components – Content components and People components.
- Substance: based on core strategy this stage develops message architecture, brand story, topic, brand elements, voice and tone to meet business objectives and audience needs.
- Structure: Organization, categorization, prioritization of content and make them findable and usable for users.
- Workflow: What Roles, processes, and tools are needed to develop content and maintain consistency?
- Governance: What will be policies, standards, and guidelines for content and its life-cycle?
Erin Scime sketched five stages of Content Lifecycle – Audit, Strategy, Plan, Create, and Maintain. On the other hand, Richard Sheffield, author of the ‘Content Strategist’s Bible, explained Content Strategy Deliverables in five phases:
- Discovery Phase
- Analysis Phase
- Design Phase
- Build Phase
- Maintenance Phase
Build a strong foundation for blog with content strategy
We have got ideas about the elements of content strategy defined by different strategists. Pros’ discuss and share their knowledge as they work to develop a plan. In fact, there is no universal template for strategy development, because all industries requirements are not same. Based on pro strategists’ discussion you can map out your own process and set a blog.
The content strategy process includes so many matters, especially when it is for enterprise. For a niche blog, you do not need to go with too much clumsy procedure, but you need a solid plan to move forward. Here we can break the whole procedure in 3 main stages – Pre-production stage, Production stage and post-production stage.
Foundation of your blog relies on this stage. Create an excel document and consider following matters for the blog.
- Develop Buyer Persona and understand User need
- Competitor analysis
- Gap Analysis of existing content and competitors content
- Data Sourcing and Search engine optimization basics
- Define content type – what type of content you are going to use.
- Style guide for each type of content
- Workflow, content plan and content topics – What, When, How (Short/Long Term)
- Develop an editorial calendar with SEO elements
- Decide technology for content management and content distribution
- Promotional approach and channels
- Develop message architecture
- Site structure for onsite and offsite content
- Configure analytics
- Archival procedure
In this stage, develop the contents as you planned in pre-production stage. Write content that your readers want to read. If you planned to write products review, understand the right format of this type of content and know what makes a content persuasive. Instead of trying to convince your reader to buy the product, give him the right information about it. Write pillar and killer articles for readers. For each piece of content include keyword and other SEO elements for successful optimization. Then publish the content in right place.
The stage comprises two matters – promotion and evolution. After you publish a post, promote it in predefined channels that you decided in pre-production stage. Beside social media promotion you also need to work for comment moderation.
Finally, it is time to evaluate your effort through analytics. Evaluate the performance of each piece of content, and understand users’ behavior. Based on the analytics report, you can take further steps.
Understand content strategy best practices
As you develop a content strategy for your upcoming blog, a few things you need to keep in mind about its development. What are the best practices for the job? The procedure includes so many things to consider, but the core matter is to offer useful and usable content to your readers and achieve the goal of your blog.
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Each piece of your content should be:
- Written in simple language
- Scannable and Engaging
- Up-to-date and credible
- Easy to accessible and found
- Useful for the target audience and discoverable for robots.
Avoid writing salesy pitching. Instead, help your readers buying the right product.
Content strategy mistakes
Content strategy is a complex procedure as it involves so many things to consider. Many blog owners make some mistakes about the procedure. Here are a few of them have discussed.
- Creating content focusing the whole world instead of the persona.
- Skipping research and analysis stage and expecting miracle
- Overlooking workflow and content timeline
- Not sharing the editorial calendar with stakeholders.
- Focusing on quantity, not quality
- Underestimating budget and expecting easy ROI
Consistency is the key to success in online marketing. A content strategy helps you to be consistent about content publication. When it comes to the matter of content promotion, you need to be strategic about how and where you are going to distribute them.
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