Hi fellow business creatives! Have you ever had a cake that looked delicious …. but ended up tasting terrible?

Bear with me for a second on this analogy (I have a soft spot for analogies). Say you went to the store and you saw a beautiful cake. The store was well lit. The cake look nicely decorated. Even the lovely person behind the counter was quite nice and pleasant. So, you bought the cake. But… when you got home to enjoy said cake, it was dry and unsavoury.

In this short analogy, the cake represents a poorly executed blog. You can have pretty graphics and a lovely website but if the content that you’re providing for your audience doesn’t “taste good” (aka offer them value), you might as well be serving them a big ol’ slice of No Thank You! I mean really, who wants dry cake? Instead, provide them with something irresistible so that they can’t help but come back for seconds.

Today, I’m sharing my content marketing 101 tips for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs looking to start a blog. This juicy blog post is filled with many of the content marketing strategies I use on my own clients which helps launch them in the blogging space. Sorry, no actual cake in this blog post.

I don’t pretend to be the only source for learning how to create your content marketing strategy…. which is why in this epic post, I’ve included resources linking to a few bloggers and internet geniuses that I admire. I highly suggest you figure out what will work for you by checking out these other resources as well.

Side note: My inspiration for this post comes from Daniela Uslan and her blog post all about how to make your blogging as delicious as eating a cupcake. Can you see where I got the analogy for this post? Thanks, Daniela!

On with the show!

Content Marketing 101 tips for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs looking to start a blog


Part 1: Set A Foundation


Like anything you do in your business, setting a proper foundation for your content marketing and blogging efforts is vital to the success of your endeavour. If we’re stilling using the cake analogy (yes, we still are), starting with the right ingredients makes for a great cake… er, blog.

What Is Your “Thing”

I know in this article, I’m specifically talking about blogging, but really you can use these strategies for anything from podcasts to videos to infographics. Figuring out your “thing” is a combo move involving discovering your own strengths and learning what your audience loves to devour. It takes a bit of time, but having an idea of what direction you want to go initially adds to your foundation… kinda like another layer to the cake.

Know Your Audience

Knowing the personality of your audience will help determine what kind of content you post, when you post it, and how you will present it. For example, a fashion-based business may wish to create content this is centered around visual aspects. A product list or an inspiration post filled with aesthetically pleasing images would do well in that space.

Note: you are not your audience. As solopreneurs, we struggle to separate our own personalities, likes, and dislikes from our business. We are neither our business nor our target audience.

Define A Goal

In creating this content, it is important to make sure it is lined up with your overall marketing goal. Whether you’re trying to get email signups or Instagram followers, each blog should present a clear call to action that helps guide users to their next steps.

 


Part 2: Brainstorm Ideas


One of the hardest parts of blogging is coming up with ideas! It’s like baking a cake without a recipe… if you’ve never baked a cake before, you may not know where to start!

No Restrictions

Don’t limit yourself or the possibilities. Personally, I like to sit down with a physical pen and paper to write down everything I can think of as I imagine my brand — what topics I want to cover, what series I want to create, how do I want to share it, what would my audience enjoy, etc. Don’t limit yourself to only tasks you plan to accomplish in the next month; instead, conceptualize any blog topics, subjects, and ideas that could promote your brand in any way.

Don't limit yourself or the possibilities. #contentmarketing101

Find Your Sounding Board

After you organize your ideas, it’s important to get a bit of feedback from a pair of fresh eyes. My sounding board is my husband, but yours can be a colleague, friend, or your mom. This person should be willing to point out any glaring flaws as well as contribute some ideas you may have missed.

Use Online Tools

There are a several online tools that can aid in the brainstorming process. I have two personal favourites that I’m going to share with you today.

Pinterest: Create a Pinterest board where you collect blog posts that inspire you in some way. Think outside of your niche and explore what other niches are doing as well. There may be a way to translate some of those ideas into new content for your own blog.

Evernote: I keep a running list of blog topic ideas in Evernote. Before I plan my next blogging steps, I check my list to see what ideas I had that month. You can use any tool for this I just love the ease of using Evernote between all my devices.

 


Part 3: Create a Calendar


Start With What You Know

When creating a content calendar for your blog, it’s important to start with the subjects you know best. If you have a food blog for your heathy living magazine and you love baking, start there! Your confidence and knowledge in the subject will come across to your readers.

From there, plan out a mixture of content for the next month or two, keeping in mind what subjects will be easy for you to create content for and which ones will require a bit more research.

Add Major Dates

Holidays play a huge part in the way we live, so use those days to your advantage. Incorporating local holidays and dates that are important to your niches adds a bit of flavour to your writing. Remember our cake? It’s starting to taste a better now.

A great example of this was used recently by BarkBox.com for Donut Day… which is apparently a thing. While it may not mean much to many of us, tons of brands in the online space used Donut Day to their advantage and promoted their brand.

Content Marketing w: Bark Box

Leave Room for Creativity

In your content calendar, leave a bit of room for creativity. Mix in the evergreen content (posts that last for years) with the topical and holiday content. If you have a fashion business and Beyonce starts wearing a new trend, jump into the mix by utilizing her celebrity status to bring new readers to your blog.

 


Part 4: Amplify Your Content


Now that your blog is ready, share it with the world! This may be where the cake analogy leaves you (some of ya’ll are stingy with your cake sharing); but, if you don’t tell others that you just created an irresistible blog, how will they know it’s there?

Determine the Best Platforms to Share

With hundreds of social sharing platforms out there, you are going to have to narrow down which ones would be beneficial to use, keeping in mind how much time you have to dedicate to each.

My personal recommendation would be to share your new content with your email list coupled with sharing on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc).

Be Consistent and Disciplined

No matter if you decide to post once a month or two times a day, it’s important to stick with your content schedule — not only with posting the content but with sharing it too! If your readers depend on an email in their inbox when new blogs are posted, then give that to them consistently.

Don’t Forget Your Brand Story

Lastly, when you are sharing your awesome content that you’ve planned, prepared, executed, and shared, don’t forget your brand story. Engage with  your readers when you share your post. Give them a sample of what’s to come.

Use your brand story to amplify your content.

For example: When sharing a new blog post, don’t stop at saying “here’s the new blog post…” Instead, give your followers and your list a tasty morsel.

 

 


Part 5: Measure Your Success


Word of advice: Focus on quality not quantity. In all honestly, anyone can buy followers & page views to look amazing… on paper. But any blogger can buy fake comments from fake people… which means literally nothing. Literally. Instead, focus on building relationships with actual people who will actually be interested in your brand. We want a real cake here, people… not a styrofoam piece of garbage….

Word of Advice: focus on quality not quantity

And while I’m still on my soap box, let me say that measuring your success is one of the most important parts of content marketing. You’ve spent a good chunk of your time creating the content, now spend a bit more time seeing how it was worth it. Measure things like:

  • Page Views
  • Blog Comments
  • Social Media Shares
  • Email Signups

Remember that main goal we discussed in the beginning of this blog post? Did your content marketing efforts lead to more completions of that goal?

Study which blog posts resulted in more views, shares and comments, then keep creating similar content. Being successful at blogging requires keeping a close eye on how your content is consumed and building a strategy to exponentially grow things from there.

 


Conclusion


Wash, Rinse, and Repeat. Seriously, creating your content marketing strategy isn’t a “one and done” deal. You have to keep working on it, especially steps 3-5. If you learn to evolve with your brand and grow with your audience, you’ll achieve success far more than your original goals. Ultimately, time is your best friend so buddy up!

Remember that store bought cake that was dry and unsavory? Well, if you begin now creating your very own blogging content marketing strategies, you’ll be well on your way to a delicious, homemade cake that is much better than any of the store bought varieties.

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I'm making steps to creating irresistible blog content... and you can too!Click To Tweet

 

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19 Comments on Content Marketing 101 – How to Develop an Irresistible Blogging Strategy

  1. Brent Jones
    August 13, 2015 at 3:44 pm (10 months ago)

    What an awesome and detailed guide!

    I love the cake analogy and thanks for the links to my blog, too. 🙂

    Leaving room for creativity is definitely a good idea, especially if you’re in a niche (like fashion) where breaking news can result in awesome new content.

    Sharing all over the place now!

    – Brent

    PS: Thanks for using me as your sounding board! 🙂

    Reply
    • Andréa Jones
      August 13, 2015 at 4:25 pm (10 months ago)

      Yay! Glad you liked it. I enjoy sharing awesome content and what better way than to include those who are doing it right.

      Reply
  2. Nicola Tweed
    August 14, 2015 at 9:11 am (10 months ago)

    It’s definitely not a ‘one and done’ deal at all but I have found that the more I blog, the more I want to blog and the more ideas I have for it! Thanks for the awesome post 🙂

    Reply
    • Andréa Jones
      August 14, 2015 at 11:05 am (10 months ago)

      Thanks for the comment, Nicola! I’ve always enjoyed blogging. Glad you’re enjoying it too 🙂

      Reply
  3. rporter610
    August 14, 2015 at 11:03 am (10 months ago)

    A great post that takes readers step by step through the creative process. I especially like how you provided resources for each step. Nice work!

    Reply
  4. drebeltrami
    August 17, 2015 at 6:40 pm (9 months ago)

    What a EPIC post, Andrea! Big ass high five coming at ya for including a link to my article too!

    It’s so important to get out of our own way and let the ideas fly. And a lot of times that’s easier said than done. It’s usually are own self limiting beliefs that trick us into thinking we don’t have any ideas. We need to bask in the ‘no idea is a dumb idea’ place in the name of topping off that ever depleted creativity tank. Qualifying things as stupid should be later in the promise.

    I’ll definitely be sharing the ish outta this one, girl! 😉

    Reply
    • Andréa Jones
      August 18, 2015 at 12:09 am (9 months ago)

      Thanks girly! I’m with you 100% percent on the self-limiting beliefs idea… It took me 3 weeks to put together this post just because of that :-D. We’re all a work in progress. Thanks again

      Reply
  5. Caressa
    August 19, 2015 at 1:59 pm (9 months ago)

    I am putting the Pinterest board idea to use. Right now, I have blogs and blog post inspiration saved between about 3-4 different mediums. Lol. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • Andréa Jones
      August 19, 2015 at 2:24 pm (9 months ago)

      Thanks Caressa! That’s so awesome of you to share.

      Having blog post ideas is KEY! Now, to only find the time to write them all… haha. That’s my problem.

      Reply
  6. Cara
    August 19, 2015 at 4:40 pm (9 months ago)

    This is a gold mine Andrea! Well done!

    Reply
    • Andréa Jones
      August 23, 2015 at 7:38 pm (9 months ago)

      Thanks Cara! That means a lot from you! You rock 🙂

      Reply
  7. amber
    August 20, 2015 at 11:44 am (9 months ago)

    Hi Drea 🙂 Wow, this is such a great guide. It’s so detailed (you must have put a lot of time into it!) I’ve bookmarked it to check out some of the resources you listed, and to review these things over and over to keep me on track! I’m really liking your blog, and your style. Do you have instagram?

    XO,
    amber
    http://wheretheresdesign.com

    Reply
    • Andréa Jones
      August 23, 2015 at 7:39 pm (9 months ago)

      Many thanks, Amber! I hope this does help you out with at least one thing. Thanks for stopping by.

      Yes, I have an Instagram… You can find me @onlinedrea. I’ll look you up and follow back. Cheers!

      Reply
  8. David Boozer
    September 1, 2015 at 6:47 pm (9 months ago)

    Hey Andrea, just found you on the top ten at Matthews blog. I love the site here! Will be following you and reading along!

    Reply
    • Andréa Jones
      September 2, 2015 at 10:30 am (9 months ago)

      Thanks for stopping by, David! Yay for new friends 🙂

      Reply
  9. Rodger Lamb
    September 1, 2015 at 10:25 pm (9 months ago)

    Thanks Andrea,
    Certainly a lot in there for me….and after reading it I am sorry I didn’t send out my last blog tomorrow. It would have a different heading and feel.
    Cheers
    Rodger Lamb

    Reply
    • Andréa Jones
      September 2, 2015 at 10:28 am (9 months ago)

      Thanks for stopping by, Rodger! I appreciate your comment. So glad I could give you a bit of inspiration for your content. You can always use it going forward! Also, if you want to revive your blog post in the future, you can always edit the heading and feel of it, then reshare it to your fans. 🙂 Good luck!

      Reply

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