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Blog The Definitive 15-Step Guide to a Winning Blog Content Strategy in 2024

The Definitive 15-Step Guide to a Winning Blog Content Strategy in 2024

You can only drive traffic to your blog consistently if your blog content strategy is well thought out. Implementing it leads to enhanced brand awareness, more new customers, and your brand being able to establish solid thought leadership.

At the same time, blogging success depends on a blog content calendar that lets you visualize things long-term, but also adjust quickly if there’s a contextual reason to prioritize one topic over another.

I’m not saying that a blog can’t include sporadic posts that are very well-written. It can, but they won’t have the same overall impact. A consistent posting schedule and a bird’s eye view of how topics get threaded into larger themes will bring in much more fruitful results.

That said, let’s dive deeper into how you, too, can create a winning blog content strategy.

What is a blog content strategy?

A blog content strategy includes setting goals (that correlate to your larger business goals), assembling a team and resources, and mapping out ways to achieve these goals for the long-term success of your blog. Crucially, it includes metrics to measure and analyze the blog’s performance, as well as to keep optimizing it as you go.

Content calendar in Planable displaying scheduled blog posts, newsletters, social media posts, and team meetings.

Content strategy mapped out in Planable’s calendar view

Why you need a blog content strategy

One of the main things a blog content strategy does is balance out your efforts against your goals.

For example, a blog that brings in traffic, but doesn’t convert, won’t help you achieve business goals. On the other hand, a blog that usually converts but doesn’t bring enough traffic won’t perform if you’re measuring for conversions.

A successful strategy helps you win on both fronts without wasting energy in the wrong places.

It’s easier for a team to plan, create, and publish content when there’s a clear vision to work toward. With automated workflows, valuable content gets repurposed to great effect, and any content analysis is correlated with strategic objectives.

Most importantly, several categories of headaches ease up as energy is reassigned from handling logistics over email toward ideation.

15 steps to a winning blog content strategy

I’m going to walk you through the essential steps of creating a blog content strategy. This comprehensive guide is made for anyone just starting out with creating said strategy or simply looking to improve the reach and impact of their blog posts and entice their target audience.

1. Define the core purposes of your blog

The clearer the purposes of your blog, the easier it is to measure if it’s doing its job. Goals give everyone involved with your content marketing efforts a sense of focus and direction. Plus, so many time management challenges get solved when you know exactly where your priorities are.

A balanced blog strategy includes the right kind of post for every stage of the marketing funnel:

  • Top-of-funnel blog posts: informational and educational content that doesn’t just teach people about your product/service and brand, but also delivers real value and solutions upfront (tutorials, infographics, checklists)
  • Middle-of-funnel blog posts: content that turns interest into the certainty that your brand specifically is the solution to people’s pain points (reviews, comparisons, case studies)
  • Bottom-of-funnel blog posts: posts that close the deal (product explainers, success stories, testimonials)

2. Deep dive into your product and your target audience

First off, make sure you have a thorough understanding of the product/service and brand you’re working with. Go deep into use cases and explore the history of how this product and similar ones have been used in the past.

A successful content strategy is rooted in understanding how your industry and your audiences have been interacting. Context, context, context.

It’s also crucial for your brand positioning to be well-defined. This helps you not just stand out from competitors, but also stick to consistent messaging across platforms and initiatives.

Most importantly, prioritize audience research. If your content ideas don’t align with people’s pain points, they’ll fail to pass the “Why should I care about this?” barrier.

But don’t stop there: get a clear-eyed view of what your audience’s life is like. Round up demographic info (age, gender, profession, hometown) with psychographics (attitudes, ambitions, desires, values, challenges) and behaviors (use of tech, use of social media platforms, how they spend free time, little rituals and traditions that matter to them).

Crystallize all this info into one or more audience personas. Now you know exactly who you’re talking to and have the foundation for a successful blog content strategy.

3. Choose the tools you will use to help run your blog

Choosing the right tools will keep your content marketing strategy on track and help everyone involved perform at their absolute best. Several stages of the content creation process can be automated to great effect, so you’re best off planning what tools to use by matching them to these stages:

  • A CMS platform will help you host and manage your written content (WordPress still dominates, but Squarespace and Joomla also rank high).
  • SEO tools and keyword research tools are crucial for helping you drive traffic (Semrush, Surfer Keyword Research, Ahrefs).
  • Marketing planning software will help with mapping out your blogging strategy, but a good tool will also handle social media posts in the same place (Planable, Notion, ClickUp).

Social media management dashboard showcasing features like approvals, planning, publishing, media library, feedback, and cross-company collaboration.

  • Writing and optimization tools will make your content the best it can be. Not just for search engines! For the humans reading, too (Grammarly, MarketMuse, Screaming Frog).

4. Decide on your topic categories

An editorial calendar for social media is built on content pillars and the same applies to creating blog content. Topic categories that unfurl long-term should stand at a fortunate intersection of what your audience needs and what your marketing team is good at writing about.

Approaching topic ideas with this mindset won’t just keep your content evergreen; it will build your authority in time and help establish your brand as a reputable source of information.

This is another point in your content creation journey when it’s important to check out the competition. What subjects are they writing about that you could do an even better job with? What topics aren’t being covered much or well enough, topics that you think would really resonate with your target audience?

The more you bring real value and answer questions upfront, the more you build awareness and drive more traffic.

5. Do extensive keyword research

It’s crucial to conduct keyword research before nailing down an effective blog content strategy. Doing this helps generate organic traffic, helps you rank higher on SERPs, and generally helps your audience find your content.

Pay special attention to keyword volume, since it lets you know how many average monthly searches there are for specific keywords. Most importantly, correlate this with location data. Targeting specific keywords gets easier when matched up with geographic insights.

Consider keyword difficulty too, aka how tricky it is to rank high on SERPs in an organic way. As you can probably imagine, it’s significantly harder to rank with “best laptops” than it is with “knitting groups for young moms nearby“.

Finally, consider balancing out your keyword analysis with a nice mix of short-tail keywords (two words, harder to rank with) and long-tail keywords (three words or more, easier to rank with).

Plus a blend of commercial keywords (they pull in folks who are already looking to buy products like yours) and informative keywords (they build authority and encourage others to share your content).

6. Conduct competitor research

Research your competitors and their approach to content over a period of say, six months. Keep an eye out for the following:

  • What kind of blog content are your business competitors producing? Check out things like topics and tone, but especially what kind of resources they make available for readers. As you map out these elements for multiple competitors, it’ll be easier to spot content gaps where you can establish a fruitful niche.
  • What are the top keyword competitors you’ll need to outrank? It’s crucial to be aware of them so you can really focus your content efforts, but at the same time, spare a look for neglected keywords too. Those can also be cornerstones for a good blogging strategy.

7. Figure out how many blog posts you can write

To start with, your focus should be on how much valuable content you can realistically produce. Considering the fact that a consistent posting schedule is best, think about the available capacity for producing every new blog post.

Are you planning on doing the research, writing, and editing yourself? In that case, think about setting aside several hours for one high-quality post. How long it will take exactly depends on your experience and choice of subject, but it’s definitely worth balancing out this specific task against the tasks you already have.

You could probably make a few posts in a week if you focused mostly on blog writing.

On the other hand, you could delegate/outsource your upcoming content. Is there a marketing department with the knowledge and capacity for this kind of recurring task? Is there a budget for hiring a full-time writer or for working with freelancers?

Having a dedicated team will help you to produce several new posts per week, with no gaps, and consistent quality no matter how many unexpected tasks appear for you.

In Planable, you can provide each writer with their very own workspace to produce their written content while you maintain a clear overview.

Workspace dashboard in Planable showing various projects for Jusco, including Jusco Smoothies, Jusco Detox, Jusco Snacks, Jusco Kids, and options to create a new workspace.

Dedicated workspaces in Planable

8. Set a consistent publishing schedule

Posting regularly isn’t just good for how you rank in organic search, it’s also useful for the humans reading. Quality, consistency, and volume are all important. But there’s definitely a hierarchy.

Quality obviously comes first. You’re putting out content that aims to be evergreen, so a couple of well-researched posts can do more in the long run than too-short entries written by someone who was already overextended.

And about that evergreen quality, schedule a content review maybe once a quarter to make sure everything is in tip-top shape and well-adapted to your ongoing blog strategy.

Consistency is also crucial for how you should schedule blog posts. But it’s about more than just frequency. Aim to be consistent in tone of voice, level of detail, and overall approach to your industry. As a brand-building tool, a recognizable vibe goes a long way.

Collaborate with your team to keep the quality of your content as consistent as possible.

Draft blog post for Jusco's "Tropical Mango" soda launch in Planable with image, campaign tags, and feedback section discussing the visual and hashtag use.

Collaboration on a blog post in Planable

Finally, volume. If you’ve got the above all covered, it’s predictably better to produce more content than less. It shouldn’t be your first concern, but the more ground you cover topic-wise, the more traffic you can bring in.

9. Build your blog content calendar

It’s super-important to build a blog content calendar that holds an updated overview of everything you want to publish. Starting one from scratch can feel like a lot, but you’ve got a whole bunch of options.

For a lot of folks, the first level of working with an editorial calendar is simply using Excel or Google Sheets. You grab a template from one of the many reputable sources out there, then you populate it with entries depending on your topics, capacity, and frequency.

The better option is to work with content calendar tools. Especially if you collaborate with a larger team or multiple brands. Good tools make planning, creation, collaboration, and approval simple, while the best of them reunite long-form content and social media posts in a single editorial calendar. Easy!

Content calendar in Planable showcasing scheduled posts for Jusco across multiple social media platforms and blog.

Content calendar view in Planable

10. Determine your blog’s identity

Editorial rules literally help everyone involved with your content marketing. They help you plan and measure, they help content writers stick to a vision and level of quality, and they help readers know what to expect from your brand long-term. Not to mention building authority in an authentic way.

Here are a few of the elements you should add to the list for a solid content strategy (and that should always reflect your brand identity):

  • Tone of voice
  • Writing and grammar rules (e.g. British vs American English)
  • Visual guidelines for featured images and screenshots
  • Sources
  • Styling and formatting
  • Accessibility and inclusivity

My number one tip for setting editorial rules? Check out some of the many good style guides out there and pluck out the elements that resonate the most with what you think of as a quality blog.

You most likely won’t have to develop a document as comprehensive as what the BBC uses, Shopify has a couple of a one.

Guidelines outlining Shopify's brand tone: confident, empowering, inspirational, enthusiastic, and big but personal, with examples for each.

Source: Shopify

11. Establish your review and approval process

You could be producing content that’s great in itself. But if it gets stuck because the single person tasked with approving it is often overwhelmed, the editorial calendar gets skewed. Avoiding this (very common) bottleneck issue is crucial.

It’s best to integrate a clear review and approval process into the way you create content, for way more than efficiency reasons. It makes for the highest-quality content you can produce and contributes to people on the team having predictable benchmarks to work with plus consistent feedback to learn from.

Catching typos is important, but a thorough editing process makes long-form writing really sing. A smooth review process (with search engine optimization included) means every blog post moves briskly through feedback rounds and is always aligned with the overall marketing strategy.

Approval flows can vary from completely optional to multiple required levels. Decide what you think is best for you and your team and look for ways to optimize. Always try to optimize.

Approval workflow configuration interface displaying different approval settings and collaborators categorized into team and clients, with multi-level approval selected.

Multi-level approval workflow in Planable

12. Create and assign content briefs in bulk

The structure of your blog content strategy can be reflected in every stage of the process when you assign content briefs in bulk. The task of creating briefs is taken care of in one go, writers know what they’re working on long-term, and once again feedback rounds plus deadlines stay on track.

It’s a fine distinction, but working this way means you don’t just have blog post ideas in the pipeline, you have posts ready to be written. And if you also get a good SEO workflow going, one that’s user-centric and optimized, a successful blog becomes a palpable, achievable thing.

Infographic titled "Scaling content with a new system" with four steps: define quality content, find freelance writers, make onboarding easy, create a foolproof workflow.

13. Write blog content to beat the competition

When it comes to getting content in front of your target audience and increasing organic traffic, your goal is to come up first on search engine results pages. Scoring the #1 SERP ranking with that neat featured snippet means you have to outrank all other posts on the topic.

To do this, you need to first be clear about what the top posts offer the reader. Look for common themes and headings, then start sketching a post outline from there. The trick, though, is to add value in a way that your competitors don’t.

There’s a lot of wisdom to be explored via Reddit, Quora, and various niche forums. Aim for well-rounded posts that offer extra resources, tips, graphs, links, YouTube videos, and insider insights.

As you move forward with the implementation of your content strategy, you’ll find that sweet spot between serving up well-researched, in-depth content and adding your own informed opinions in a way that makes the angle of a post truly stand out.

14. Optimize blog posts before publishing

Optimizing your blog posts for SEO maximizes your content’s potential. Since the images you use can also be a source of traffic, keep an eye out for descriptive filenames and descriptive alt text (which is not just a matter of pleasing the robots, but also of accessibility). Make sure your post is aligned with users’ search intent and consider some juicy subtopics to address.

As for the actual text, lots of editors use a process inspired by novel editing. You start from the outside in:

  1. Developmental edit – the overall narrative, how well main points have been covered, the general structure
  2. Line edit – prose quality, redundancy and repetition, passive voice, clunkiness, syntax, clarity, voice, tone
  3. Sensitivity edit – harmful stereotypes, outdated language
  4. Copy edit – fact-checking, consistency, grammar, spelling, punctuation, hyphenation (style guides are very helpful at this stage)
  5. Proofreading – one final formatting check

Plus, the classic: make sure your headline is an absolute banger.

15. Measure and maintain your blog’s performance

Can’t know if the strategy is being implemented well unless you measure it, right? Look out for how individual posts are performing (Google Analytics helps), but also consider the blog as a whole. Measuring consistently can guide your team and help you focus on areas that need improvement.

Some of the most widely used KPIs include:

  • organic traffic
  • leads
  • engagement
  • feedback
  • backlinks

It’s also important to schedule a content audit every one or two quarters. Zoom in on underperforming posts and do another round of optimization that incorporates everything you’ve learned in the meantime. This keeps your content consistent long-term and contributes a lot to building authority.

How Planable helps you execute your blog content strategy

Planable is a collaboration platform specially designed for content teams. It streamlines content planning, creation, and approval processes. Its user-friendly interface and real-time feedback capabilities simplify the workflow for managing any kind of written content.

Here’s what the process looks like when your team executes a blog content strategy in Planable:

  • Use the calendar view to plan future blog posts (as well as other content).
  • Invite collaborators and set their permissions.
  • Establish your approval workflow.
Approval settings interface for Planable, with options for none, optional, required, and multi-level approvals, and a list of team members who can approve content.

Content approval flow options in Planable

  • Create blog post briefs.
  • Write blog posts using the Universal Content features.
  • Use internal posts and comments before sharing the final version for approval.
Designer and manager discussing an image of blueberries for Jusco Juice. Client feedback approving the design is shown in a comment.

Internal notes in Planable

  • Publish! 🥳
  • Analyze performance, spot top content, and make neat reports.
Social media analytics dashboard for a brand showing metrics like followers, reach, impressions, engagement, and profile visits, along with detailed post performance.

Content analytics dashboard in Planable

Content is always organized and neatly labeled, as is your media library. If you value collaboration, Planable is your tool.

Last but not least, sprinkle some pizzazz on everything

A well-developed content strategy makes it easier to uphold quality standards and stick to a regular posting schedule. It keeps everyone focused and aligned with your goals. And not to be all “It’s a science and an art“, but it truly is.

Deep research turns into excellent blog posts when there’s also room for your brand personality to shine. As content writers are encouraged to enrich their writing with jokes, language memes, and personal insights (as long as they’re consistent with your brand voice, of course), your content becomes compelling in a way that can’t be described with just KPIs. When users feel it, they return.

It’s easy to free up energy for the artsier, more creative side of content marketing when you have a well-defined content workflow. So why not try Planable, the comprehensive content management tool that streamlines everything from planning to creation, collaboration, approvals, and beyond?

With your long-form content and social media posts living in a single calendar, implementing your blog strategy will no longer feel like a constant hassle, but smooth and delightful.

Irina Tanase

Irina is a freelance senior copywriter & content writer with an advertising agency background. If she’s not rummaging for good synonyms, she’s probably watching a sitcom or listening to radio dramas with plucky amateur detectives. She loves collage, doing crosswords on paper and shazamming the birds outside her window.

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