Looking Under The Hood: A Blog Content Strategy That Drives Traffic
Ashley is a content writer and brand developer. After graduating with a degree in print-journalism, Ashley’s storytelling skills took her from the bizarre world of on-camera acting to the practice courts of NBA basketball players to the virtual meetings of inbound marketers. Today she specializes in building memorable brand voices online, with a focus on the travel & tourism, e-commerce and tech industries.
Blogging is powerful. So much so, that it might initially seem too simple to work! Despite what you may have been led to believe, blogging for traffic isn't some mysterious thing only professional marketers can do.
Executing an organic search campaign is fundamentally simple. The problem, however, is that most people aren't willing to consistently do the work required to generate results.
With that said, this strategy will work for most companies that have a product people want and are committed to regularly publishing high-quality content.
The Best Blog Content Strategy
Blogging is how we increased Atlantech.net's monthly organic traffic by more than 1000% in 12 months.
Blogging is primarily how we increased monthly organic traffic for RocketSpace by more than 300% in 12 months.
Are these types of results typical for Lean Labs' clients? While results do vary by industry, we expect all of our clients to hit major traffic milestones within 6-to-8 months of working with us.
In this article, we reveal the step-by-step strategy we use to produce blog content that drives massive traffic.
1. List Your Target Audience's Problems
Creating an effective blog content strategy begins with understanding your target audience. If you haven't already, take the time to create buyer personas. What is a buyer persona?
It's a generalized representation of your ideal customer that can be used as a guide when creating content, developing products, and acquiring customers. A well-done buyer persona organizes the characteristics, preferences, and relevant aspects of an ideal customer segment onto one sheet of paper.
Depending on your business, you may have one buyer persona or several. Most of the companies we work with have two to three distinct groups they are trying to reach. Consult your buyer personas, and identify the top five problems your customers are seeking to solve.
These problems must be relevant (in some way) to the products or services you provide. For instance, if you're a plumber, you shouldn't be talking about your prospect's car troubles. Instead, you should be addressing concerns like: How can we reduce our household energy bills? When should we replace our toilet? When should we call a plumber?
2. Generate 125 Article Topics
Once you have identified your target audience's top five problems, it's time to brainstorm related article ideas. We have a special technique for this called the Triple 5 Strategy. Here's how it works:
- List five subtopics within each problem: What are five subject matters that would fit underneath each problem? Let's say our first problem was "how do we know if our toilet is leaking?" We might brainstorm subtopics like: "How to detect toilet leaks with food coloring," and "How to identify toilet leaks by comparing your monthly water bills."I'm not going to brainstorm the final three topics because I'm not a toilet expert, but you get the point.
- Brainstorm five article titles for each subtopic: Treat each subtopic as the primary topic and brainstorm an additional five article ideas within each subtopic. Continuing with our previous example of "how to detect toilet leaks with food coloring," we might come up with "how Sally saved herself $XXX by identifying a toilet leak with food coloring." or "X creative ways to use food coloring at home."
Follow these steps for each of the five problems, and you will produce 25 subtopics and 125 article titles. Inevitably, some of the article titles will stink (no pun intended with the toilet reference). However, this exercise is best done without censoring yourself for quality. We'll worry about that later.
3. Create a Publishing Calendar
Next, plug your 125 blog article titles into a publishing calendar, assigning a date to each piece. Assuming you are publishing two-to-three times per week, you should have several months worth of content planned!
Pretty cool, huh?
Once you have your rough titles in place, you're ready to move onto the next step...
4. Conduct SEO Research
Once you have identified your primary keywords, use a tool like Google Suggest to find complimentary long-tail keywords. Return to your 125 article titles, and look for opportunities to modify them with your findings. Here's a more in-depth article on how to choose the right keywords.
5. Create Content Clusters
Next, identify the unified term for each of your top-five problems. Continuing with our plumber example, the unified term for "plumbing problems" might be "toilet clogging."
Consider the many different kinds of content that could be created around the subject of clogged toilets.
For instance, you might create an evergreen piece of content called The Ultimate Guide to Unclogging a Toilet. From there, you might write several follow-up articles related to content within the guide (e.g. The Best 5 Pipe Snakes That Unclog Toilets). This is called a "content cluster"
The objective is to link each follow-up article back to the pillar article. In this case, that would be The Ultimate Guide to Unclogging a Toilet. What you're doing is generating SEO power via internal linking. Over time, Google will begin to recognize the pillar article as an authority piece, which is exactly what you need to drive traffic.
6. Implement Content Refresh
Finally, one of the easiest ways to boost organic search traffic is optimizing your existing content. As a rule of thumb, the majority of traffic comes from less than 10 percent of content published. Review your analytics to determine your highest performing pieces and look for opportunities to make them even better.
Your content refresh might include updating old links, consolidating blog articles, and adding additional content (i.e. new sections, images, and/or videos). So, how well does this technique work? It helped blogger Sarah Jones grow her organic traffic from 8,000 to 30,000 in only 4 months.
After blowing $8,000 on an SEO firm that didn't deliver, Jones decreased the number of articles on her site from 107 to 45. She focused on beefing up the pages that were already working with better interlinking, better keywords, and more content. Translation: Schedule time for periodic content refreshes!
Steal Our Strategy
There you have it — our agency's blog content strategy for driving traffic. As you can see, laying a strong foundation is pivotal to succeeding with organic search. Make some faulty assumptions about your buyer personas, and your entire campaign could flop.
Most of our clients begin to experience compounding gains in traffic 6-to-8 months after implementation. With consistent effort, substantial growth is achieved within 12-to-24 months.
Depending on the amount of valuable content you create, and the competitiveness of your industry, your timeline could be shorter or longer. Looking for more insight into building an organic traffic strategy?