Your blogging activities count for nothing without a strategy. Let’s just say you may as well be pissing in the wind.
A strategy gives your blog intention and purpose, like going to the supermarket with a list for your weekly shop. Because we all know what happens when we sidestep the list…
We end up with a shopping bag full of crisps, peanut butter and cornflakes, with not a single ingredient to make a human adult meal. Am I right? Or maybe that’s just me!
A blogging strategy will give you superwoman clarity, when just the idea of running a blog was a total head spin previously.
Basically, everything is easier when you have a plan. And because I’m a professional pet blogger and I want you to see how lucrative and fun blogging can be for your pet business, here’s how you can create your own blogging strategy.
Define the purpose of your blog
Try to sum up the purpose of your blog in a single sentence. Think about how your blog relates to your general business goals. How will your blog stand to serve those business goals? This statement will guide any future decisions you make for your blog. So if an idea or opportunity doesn’t align with the big purpose for your blog and business goals, you’ll know when to stop chasing.
Define your ideal audience
One of the most important things you can do is to find out who your ideal paying customers are. And I mean get supremely up close and personal with what they’re all about.
How old are they, how much do they earn, where do they live, what do they love, what do they struggle with, what are their fears, what do they read, how do they spend their time?
Because when you do that, you know what kind of content they want to read. You can create content that speaks to their problems and interests and draws them into your pet business. Because blogging can be an incredible relationship builder and conversion tool. When you create content that resonates, pet parents are more likely to buy from you.
There are a number of places you can go to research your ideal customers. Join pet related Facebook groups, look at people’s blog comments on related blogs, search Q&A forums like Quora or Yahoo! Answers, or look at relevant book reviews on Amazon.
Do a little stalking (in the nicest possible way!) to analyse your competitors’ blogs. Find out what kind of content they’re creating and which posts are most popular. This will give you an insight into what kind of content resonates with your ideal customers so you can create similar posts.
You need to be providing information your customers are already searching for online. Because if your blog doesn’t cover that information but your competitor’s does, who do you think they’re going to buy from?
I’ll give you a hint, it won’t be you!
Find out which popular keywords they’re ranking highly for in your field. If you’re a dog trainer and your biggest competitor flattens you for the keyword ‘dog trainer London’, create better posts including that keyword and promote them heavily.
Also look at where your competitors may have missed opportunities to rank for popular search terms. If pet parents are searching for specific information and your competitors haven’t written content to address their problems, make sure you fill this gap and capitalise.
Quite simply, decide how often you’ll post. Will you be publishing a blog post twice a week, once a week, once a month? Decide what works best for you and your schedule but make sure you stick with it. Google and your customers like consistency.
Think about which day of the week you can commit to posting. This is much easier if you’re batch creating blog posts. Since you’ll be creating all your posts at the beginning of the month, you can then simply hit the publish button on your select day.
Get your schedule pinned down and do not waiver! Many people give up on blogging after not seeing the results they’d hoped for, and that’s because they’re not being consistent. Don’t let that be you!
Blogging is pointless without promotion. Readers won’t flock to your blog the moment you hit publish. You need to reach out and engage on social media. Find out where pet parents hang out most online, share your content regularly and interact like a boss.
First and foremost, I highly recommend Pinterest for pet businesses because I’ve had huge successes with my own dog blog and my client’s websites. Pinterest is GoneDogMad’s biggest traffic driver at the moment, with organic search traffic a close second. If you’d like to leverage the power of Pinterest, you can grab my free ‘Double Your Traffic With Pinterest Checklist’ to help you do just that.
Pet related Facebook groups have also been a fantastic place to promote blog articles. Just make sure you’re not dropping a link and running off. Leave a nice comment with the link to share what the post is about, and why you feel it can help the group members.
Think about how else you’ll be promoting your content besides social media too. Will you be building relationships with influencers and pet bloggers in the hopes they’ll share your content to their audiences?
Will you be writing guest posts on popular pet related sites and driving people back to your own blog? Or maybe you’ll be leaving comments on relevant blogs, or answering Quora questions with links back to your site.
Consider how and where you’ll be promoting your blog content and document it to drive your strategy.
Email list building strategy
One of the great things about having a blog is it’s also a fantastic opportunity to build your email list. Email marketing is an excellent way to keep bringing people back to your website. It also allows you to nurture the relationship over time.
Think about how you’ll get people onto your email list. Will you have a simple blog subscribe form in your sidebar? That’s not the most creative or effective method of getting sign ups, but it won’t hurt until you have something better.
Or will you be creating something of great value like an ebook, a checklist, a live webinar or template in exchange for your readers email address? Otherwise known as a lead magnet. Now we’re talking!
How will you promote your lead magnet? Perhaps you’ll include a sign up form within the content of every blog post. You could include the link in the bio of all your social media profiles. You could include it in your sidebar and on your homepage. Or maybe in your email signature.
Monthly blog topics
And then it’s down to the nitty gritty of what you’ll actually say. What kind of topics will you be discussing every month? Will there be a monthly theme or could you create a blog series that will keep people coming back for more?
Think about the premise of your blog first. If you’re a dog groomer, you may want your primary subject matter to be dog grooming tips. Then think about the kind of things pet parents ask around dog grooming. How can you create content to address their issues or satisfy their interests?
If you get stuck for topic ideas head over to answerthepublic.com. Type in your broad search term, i.e. dog grooming, and you’ll find heaps of questions people are asking around dog grooming right now. Then create your content around that.
And lastly, think about your keyword strategy. This is important because this will help you create content that ranks highly in the search engines. Which is what we all want!
This is a tricky one because Google’s keyword planner used to be incredible, but the sneaky fiends have recently limited the data for non-payers. So we need to get a little creative unless you want to fork out lots of money on advanced SEO tools like SEMrush or Moz.
So what you can do is use a combination of free tools. Keyword Shitter (pleasant name I know!) will churn out thousands of suggestions but it doesn’t show search volumes, so it is quite limited. But pair it with Keywords Everywhere, which is a handy Chrome addon, and you can get some really useful data.
All you have to do is type a broad term into Keyword Shitter, then click the Keywords Everywhere add on and you’ll see the average monthly searches for each keyword underneath. Then you can drop this data into a spreadsheet and pull apart the best keywords for your articles.
With a little thought you can create a winning blogging strategy and see your pet business thrive online. If you stick to it, of course! And when you’ve nailed your blogging strategy and are ready to start creating, grab your free content calendar to help you map out your blog posts every month.