27 Sep Benchmarking & Backdating: Coming Up With a New Blog Content Strategy
How’s your blog performing?
Do you have a strategy in place that is helping you develop awesome topics each week which are really driving engagement with your audience?
Or, are you like most of the millions of bloggers, who struggle to continuously come up with fresh and engaging content?
The key to having a successful blog is ensuring it is consistent and really interesting to readers, so here we are going to share with you two practices that you can integrate into your blog content strategy which will help keep you on the right track.
Strategy 1: Benchmarking
What is benchmarking?
Technically it is the process of using a standard, or set of them, to create a reference point for the evaluation of performance or quality. In order to evaluate your own blog’s performance and quality, you need to know what others in your industry are doing, and how your blog compares to them.
You’ll want to examine other businesses bigger than yours, smaller than yours, and of the same size. By studying the type of content they post, the quality of it, and how their audience responds, you will begin to understand where your blog stands in the bigger picture. You can also take note of your shortcomings so you can create new content which fills any voids.
Now, of course, you don’t want to steal any content from your competitors, but use your knowledge of the blogs in your industry as your reference point from which you can identify the best route to success. With this tactic you can become a leading blog in your industry.
Getting Inspiration from Others
One of the best ways to keep an eye on other blogs you are competing against is to make use of a feed reader (Feedly is great!) which automatically curates a feed for you from the pages you want to monitor. This way you can easily scroll through the posts and keep tabs on the industry.
Be sure to take note of topics that are generating discussions, shares, likes, and attention, as these are topics which you should use as inspiration for your own topics.
Piggyback on trends
Another important factor with blogs is that they are relevant.
People will be more interested in your blog if it ties into other news that is going on. A perfect example is the recent surge of interest in Pokemon Go. Your company may not be in the gaming industry directly, but getting creative and identifying how a trending topic similar to this can tie into your blog goals can be very helpful.
For example, if you were in the education sector you could tie in how Pokemon Go can be incorporated into school to actually help with learning. When a trend or topic becomes popular, be sure to start thinking about how you can piggyback on it.
Leverage helpful content tools
Are you wondering how you can stay on top of the latest and most popular blogs and topics?
Not to worry, there are a whole slew of tools at your disposal. Here some of the most helpful:
- Google trends, Twitter search trends, and Reddit which are all really great for spotting trends.
- BuzzSumo – this is a helpful search tool which tracks content across all social networks. They are then listed according to the amount of times they were shared on various platforms. This is helpful for noticing what kinds of content really catch on and get shared. Look at the titles, descriptions, writing style, and content types which continuously rank the best.
- Quora – this simple question and answer service can be an excellent tool. You can try typing in a blog topic and find out all kinds of interesting questions and answers related to it. This can help you identify what people are curious about in relation to your topics.
- Semrush – is a great way to find the keywords other people are using. This, in turn, can be used to generate blog ideas.
- Content aggregator sites
Strategy 2: Backdating
The next strategy to consider is backdating, or looking back in time for content. Here you look at two things:
- Older content from your blog that is no longer relevant
- Previous content that was particularly popular
Then rehash these into updated, relevant versions that can be posted as new blog articles.
But how exactly do you do this effectively?
First, by expanding on blockbuster content. Use previous posts that have done well in the past for you. Often, even though they were published some time ago, they still bring in new visitors to your blog. Many topics are not evergreen but change over time, so can benefit from a periodic update. This works as a benefit for you because you can rework the content to be original, and add new fresh information that will make it more valuable to your audience.
Let’s look at an example. Say that you wrote a post on the top 5 webhosting platforms in 2014 and it got a lot of traffic. Well now we are in 2016 so it is a good time to reevaluate and see how the rankings are now.
Another approach is to expand on past work. You can turn a successful post into a more in-depth series, or you can create a full on guide that you post in modules as blog posts. Get creative with a topic that you already have proven your audience is interested in.
Questions to ask
Not sure which blog posts to update? Here are some questions you can ask about each piece of content.
Does it make you wonder about something?
While reading through the content, does something strike you as interesting or make you want to know more about it?
What subject in the older piece is making you more curious, and what about exactly?
Are there related topics that can be connected to this?
Related topics, in particular, are a great way to find new ideas for blogs.
Is anything missing?
This can cover a variety of things – information that you may have overlooked, opinions of others on the subject, or things along those lines.
For example, your knowledge on the subject may have increased significantly, or you might have met an expert that opened up further avenues regarding your subject matter. This can lead to another expanded blog on the subject.
Also, note who the original blog was aimed at and whether it worked for that audience. If not, a rewrite may be necessary that serves the target audience better. Lastly, ask who the piece is not aimed at.
For example, a blog aimed at beginner calligraphers won’t be read by expert calligraphers. Ensure your content and audience are aligned well.
Could it be easier to understand or put into action?
When trying to write a piece that imparts knowledge, it is far better to express yourself in a simple fashion. Looking back at previous blogs, if you find one that is complex, consider rewriting it as a new blog, specifically aiming to make all the concepts and points raised far easier to understand. Use diagrams, illustrations, or even pictures to further help you in your quest to simplify the piece.
Alternatively, if an older piece lacks examples, that could be a great place to start for a rewrite and to expand upon it.
Put These into Action
Now you have some new ammo to take back to your blog content strategy. By implementing these 2 practices you will have somewhere to turn when you get writer’s block or just don’t seem to be able to come up with anything fresh and new. There are always new trending topics you can piggyback on, and topics which your audience is desperate to know more about. By benchmarking and backdating you can identify these topics and deliver them!