Say you have a plant. This plant requires soil laced with nutrients, water, sunlight, and maybe some plant food if it’s a fussy kind of plant. It can’t survive without at least three of these elements, but if you give the plant soil, water, and sunlight in equal amounts, distributed at equal times, you’re going to have one really dead plant. The same basic premise applies to content planning, especially as it relates to marketing plans. There are certain things that your blog, website, or social media accounts needs in order to not only survive but thrive. This is how to build a brand from the blog up.
Lay Your Foundation
You can’t build a brand on the basis of nothing, or even worse, on a flimsy not-so-fleshed-out idea of what you want your business to be. To sell potential clients or readers on your message it has to be strong, relatable, understandable, and of course distributed through the right channels at the right times, but it all starts with deciding who you are and where you want to go.
Establish a Voice
Your audience wants to know who they’re talking to, and if that persona seems, shall we say, a bit too multifaceted, it can be confusing and even off-putting. Hiring a content writer to build the bulk of your blog only makes sense, for the sake of quality as well as cohesion, but if you have to switch freelance workhorses midstream, give your new writer plenty of examples of the old content. A skilled writer can improve on it while still maintaining just enough status quo.
Support Your Strengths
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen content on a blog or website that has no business there. Why do I want to read a political rant on a food blog or check out silly cat videos on my accountant’s Facebook page? Oh right, I don’t. You can be creative with what you’re publishing but it has to lead back to what you’re selling – whether that’s a tangible product or just yourself. Mail order giant Birchbox has gained a huge following in an impressively short amount of time by posting a regular rotating on how-to videos and articles detailing beauty tips and tricks. Those posts are free, but all that traffic converts into Birchbox purchases. See what they did there?
Timing is Everything
No band wants to perform to an arena filled with five people, and sending out your carefully crafted tweet to a barely there audience is just as futile. Quicksprout has a great infographic discussing the make-or-break timing of your social media posts. When you’re constructing the first of many marketing plans and building your content calendar, strive for a blend of regular posts (my wine blog has What Am I Drinking? Wednesdays and a new Top 10 list released every Monday) your readers can expect and look forward to and sporadic postings (something newsworthy or a profile of someone or something important) that give readers a reason to keep checking back ‘just in case.’ Still, the internet is forever, and your content should be almost as immortal. A Hubspot marketing study found that their blog got “70% of its monthly lead target from blog posts not published in that month.” People will be looking at your content for months or even years down the road – you had better make sure it’s good.
Alana M is a freelance writer available for projects at WriterAccess.