How to Develop a Content Strategy for Your Professional Blog

23 Comments

854353_all_the_kings_horsesMany web workers have their own blogs, which are usually shared with colleagues and clients. But a good professional blog is not just a matter of just setting up your blogging platform, typing whatever comes to mind, and clicking “Publish.” Most professional blogs would benefit from a well-planned content strategy. So, how do you develop one?

Know your objectives. Your objectives will determine all the choices you make regarding your blog, from the design to the content. What do you want to get out of blogging? Do you want to communicate your ideas to a broader audience? Are you planning to use it to attract more clients? Be clear about your objectives before planning your content.

With that said, it’s possible to have too many objectives. Narrow your focus on one or two objectives to keep things simple. Otherwise, you’ll spend too much time on your blog, and not enough time on your work.

Determine scope and themes.
What topics are you going to write about? A good starting point would be about your industry or the work that you do. This is something that you have a lot of knowledge and experience with. For example, graphic designer David Airey discusses the different aspects of graphic design on his blog — from how to work with designers to logo design to typography. These are all topics that are relevant to his work, and writing about them displays his expertise.

But this doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to writing about one topic only. As long as you can make connections among varied topics, you won’t confuse your readers. For example, Chris Guilleabeau successfully writes about travel, writing, goal setting and even marketing. His unique angle is about “unconventional thinking,” so all his posts use that approach, even if the topics covered seem broad.

Use an authentic voice. How you write is just as important as what you write. If you try too hard to sound like someone else, your posts are going to seem contrived. Because of this, it’s best to stick with writing the way you talk. Write the way you’d discuss the topic with a friend or close colleague. Don’t use words that you have to look up in the dictionary. By sticking to your own voice, you’re letting your personality shine through. Also, it’s easier!

Schedule. When and how often you post is important. This sets reader expectations and allows you to plan for posts accordingly. For my professional blog, I only update it once a month. This may sound extremely infrequent, but the theme of my blog is about low-noise productivity. It would be hypocritical of me to write about that if I posted twice a day. I’d prefer that my readers spend their time working on exciting projects and putting my advice into practice.

Choose your format. Although blogging was originally a written medium, you don’t have to limit yourself to written content. As an artist, Michael Nobbs has illustrations and comics as the highlight of his posts, and he also uploads podcasts. Choose the formats that you’re most comfortable with.

Make conscious improvements. If you have an existing blog, look at your archives from last year. I bet there’s at least one post that makes you cringe. As the years go by, you’ll gain more professional experience and become a better communicator. Make a conscious effort to reflect this improvement in your writing (or video blogging, or podcasting).Your audience might not notice it at first, but when someone — including yourself — looks at your track record, the improvement will be obvious. And who doesn’t want to work with someone who keeps getting better at what they do?

Here’s the secret: you don’t have to obsess about your content strategy, especially when posting regularly becomes a habit. You just have to do what feels natural to you. But taking time to prepare your objectives, intentions, schedule and scope allows you to clearly set out and remember what is natural for you, before you get sidetracked with what other people are telling you to do with your blog.

Do you have a professional blog? How do you plan for your posts?

Image by the_franz from sxc.hu

23 Comments

siteviewz

that`s cool but you also need to have a good scheduling system for content management on your blog because most bloggers expect fresh content within a given time frame.

Ankit @ Content Writing Service

Content is the most imp parameter for bloggers. We must post regular content and top quality content..it must be reader friendly. Main this ..How u can attract reader in reading your full article..thats fairly imp..

and if u can do that..you will become good blogger for sure

Ian Gruber

I contribute to a professional blog and we went through a similiar strategy planning session prior to launching. We found that the upfront strategy planning was invaluable guidance for our 20 or so internal authors. Great post.

Kelsey

I’m sure that using an authentic voice is one of the most important aspects of having engaging content that makes people want to return to your site.

Steve

I think the taxonomy of posts in a blog is also very important.

When people visit your blog and land on a particular post they may want to find other stuff that is related. Grouping posts well goes a long way to making that easy.

This is usually done with categories or tags, or often with a “related posts” plugin. For me, a well structured category or tag taxonomy is far better than relying on a plugin to automatically guess for you.

But coming up with a good taxonomy is hard – too few categories and people get swamped with too much stuff they don’t want to see and too many and they can’t find what they want. This is something a lot of blogs get wrong and makes them less usable for the average user who is searching for something specific.

Liane | Blogging Tips

On determining scope and themes, I’d just like to say that even though the focus of the blog should be centered on the selected topic, or more appropriately, niche. It should also be even that this does not, in any way, should limit a blogger to publishing posts as long as the blogger finds it relevant, or in some cases, even relevant depending on the preference of the blogger.

David Airey

Solid advice there. When I started, I thought it was necessary to publish once per day. Hardly necessary, and the quality is so much more important. Thanks a lot for visiting my own blog.

DokorThomas

Scheduling blog post releases is okay; scheduling creativity is not. Ride the inspiration when it swells. Post the adventure during an ebb… you’ll feel more in control of your destiny, whatever that might be! © 2009

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