A Proven Blogging Strategy that Works in Any Niche

71 Comments, Leave One

blogging_strategyToday I want to give you a few ideas on how to develop a blogging strategy that will grow you blog regardless of the niche you’re in.

I bet you’ve got a few subscribers on your blog. You might even have a pretty decent trickle of traffic coming in from Google.

Those things are awesome. But why can’t you crack through to the next level? Why can’t you make those hundreds of visitors into tens of thousands?

It’s simple: very few people have a deliberate strategy for their blog.

Most people post, tweet and promote blindly – throwing a bunch of things at the wall to see what sticks. But, by making a few targeted changes you can grow your blog in big ways, much quicker than you thought.

NOTE: This strategy assumes that you are on a self-hosted blogging setup with control to the backend, mailing list, etc.

Do you have the four foundations of a successful blog?

Something I have noticed over the years is that there is a gap between the blog that people would like to run and the things that they actually do to make that happen.

The blogs that succeed almost always:

  • Have short and long term goals
    There is a very deliberate idea of what they want to achieve after a defined period of time.
  • Have a specific strategy in mind
    They don’t just post and hope. The best blogs know what is going to happen at every stage of the process.
  • Spend money
    Can you imagine starting a shop and not spending money on advertising, fitout and stock? The best blogs know that, a lot of the time, you need to spend some money to make it work (or at least speed things up).
  • Have well thought out brands
    Ever noticed that the best blogs just “seem” different? That’s deliberate branding. They’ve thought about their point of difference and how to stand out from the crowd.

Now, I know that not every blogger wants to make money from their blog.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t want it to be successful.

Running a successful blog means potentially helping a lot more people, opening new doors to exciting opportunities and reaching new readers who might impact your career and life in big ways.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to spend all those hours writing and working on my blog unless I knew I was going to do something meaningful with it.

The proven blog strategy that works in any niche

When you sit down to blog (either on your site or a guest spot) you want to make sure at least one thing occurs: you want every article to play a role.

Every blog post should play a role in your blog’s overall, longterm strategy. – Tweet this quote.

It might be a short term role, or it might be a long term role that sees you gradually building your mailing list, Google rankings and eventual sales.

But you never want to spend hours researching and writing an article to just get a quick burst of traffic and nothing else.

It’s wasteful.

Hopefully at the end of this post you’ll have a starting point for how you can start to blog in a more cohesive and way – a strategy to take it to the next level.

1. Always start at the end and work backwards

The first thing I always like to do is carefully think about what it is that I want my visitors to do at each step along the way. Most importantly, you want to know exactly what the end result of your process will be.

So what kind of goals am I talking about?

  • Financial goals
    Will they be purchasing an eBook, website membership or some other product that you have created or plan to create in the near future?
  • Non-financial goals
    Or maybe you have a non-financial goal like promoting a cause or building your reputation in a certain industry to further offline career options. It might be as simple as growing a mailing list of a particular type of reader that may be useful in the future.

For the purpose of this post I’m going to use the example of a yoga blog.

Every time you post a new article, make a new collaboration or purchase some advertising space, you want to make sure it’s helping to achieve one of your yoga blog’s end goals.

If you’re just getting traffic for the sake of traffic you will waste a lot of time.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have to have the whole premium course, eBook or program written and developed before you can start blogging strategically. That would also be a mistake. You just want to have a clear idea about the topic and the target audience because then you know who you are going after and who you’re trying to get on your mailing list.

2. Create a mailing list and landing page to match your target audience

Once you have figured out your end product or goal (remember, it might not be ready for six months) you then want to go about creating a mailing list funnel that matches it very closely.

Here’s how it works.

Let’s say you want to sell a course called How to Build a Successful Yoga School in 12 Months. The first thing to do is set up a mailing list that specifically caters to that one future-course and attract readers to that mailing list with a five-part free email series called something like 5 Secrets from the World’s Top Yoga Schools.

This will be your first product funnel on that mailing list but over the years you can of course add new ones.

Make this a useful course that gets sent to email subscribers automatically once they sign up to your new mailing list.

Think of it as a free gift to thank them for subscribing.

You’d then create a landing page that explains your free, five-part course.

This landing page should:

  • Focus on the benefits
    Don’t just explain the features of the email series, tell them what they will get out of it.
  • Explain the procedure
    Make sure you explain how the mailing list thing works. You don’t want anyone to subscribe and then get surprised at all your emails and mark them as spam.
  • Have some social proof
    Go ahead and put some testimonials and endorsements up on your landing page so that potential subscribers know it’s legitimate. If you don’t have any of these, look through your comments or social media pages and ask a regular reader/friend to write an honest one for you.
  • Appear as a feature on your blog
    Make sure you link to this landing page in a relevant and highly visible place on your blog. Consider making a graphic and adding it to your sidebar using a plugin like Scroll Triggered Box which slides out and draws attention.

In the end, you will have created a simple mailing list offering and landing page combo that attracts the exact type of people that might be interested in buying your course when you finally release it.

The next step is to find that traffic.

3. Research to find that super-targeted traffic

So you’ve matched your mailing list offer to your future product.

Now you need to match your traffic sources to your mailing list.

This is the most important step and, in my opinion, the one that most bloggers don’t understand.

All traffic is different. Even people that might be highly interested in yoga (to follow our example) might be completely uninterested in starting a school. So you have to be very careful about the type of visitor that you go after.

It’s not enough to just think about the sources of traffic – organic search rankings, referrals from other blogs, forums, paid advertising, etc. – you also need to carefully consider the individual people that will be coming through from those places.

How, then, do we find the right people?

  • Analyse and utilise the “close” competition
    The first step I usually take is to look at the competition in that niche. First, you want to see what they’ve done that has been successful. Use services like Majestic SEO, Market Samuari or Ahrefs to check what websites are linking to them. Second, you want to find out if they accept guest posts or hire writers which you can usually discover by reading their About or Contact pages. Make a list of all the closely matched websites in that niche.
  • Analyse and utilise the “far” competition
    Once you’ve looked at the close opportunities you want to start looking for the stuff that no one has thought about. For example, if you want to grow a list around the yoga school example, you might start looking for less obvious places that your target traffic might be hanging out like bodybuilding forums, physiotherapy practices with blogs, news sites, etc. These are the types of places you can often get a guest post on a less direct topic and still drive back links and traffic. More on this later.

When you are first building this strategy there is very little need for things like Twitter and Facebook posts. They simply don’t have the reach unless you have an existing audience or are spending money.

Sure, be on them, but don’t spend hours and hours posting there.

4. Guest post with your landing page strategy in mind

Once you’ve researched your target sites it’s important to start landing some big guest post spots that promote the landing page and mailing list that we built earlier.

But as many bloggers know, it can be really hard to get a guest post unless you’re already well known in the industry.

So what do you do?

You build strategic connections.

All success comes from other people.

You need people “above” you who give you guest posting opportunities, mentions and support when you have new ideas or problems. And you need people “below” you who share your posts with their networks, comment on your articles and subscribe to your mailing list.

Now, I don’t mean this to sound degrading (no one is more important than anyone else), it’s just a device to help me remember.

Here’s what I mean:

  • Alliances above you
    This is all the people who are more experienced than you. People with big audiences, popular blogs, or bigger networks that can be useful to you. In my mind they are “above” me because they’re saved in my bookmarks folder!
  • Alliances below you
    This is all the people that are still up and coming that engage with your blog. Subscribers, readers and other bloggers that are in your niche and still looking to grow and expand.
    It’s extremely important to make connections with both areas.

If I hadn’t made connections with people like Darren Rowse, Glen Allsopp, Brian Clark and Chris Ducker I honestly feel like my career wouldn’t be anywhere near where it is.

But it’s so important that you do it in a genuine way. These guys and girls have been through all the hardships that you’ve been through and it’s really nice to be able to support each other as online friends.

The most effective way I’ve found to get on the radar of these big bloggers is to mention them in your guest posts. Sure, giving them a shout out on your blog is nice but if you take the extra step and mention them on someone else’s big blog you’ll instantly get brownie points.

Once you have built up a relationship with the right bloggers it’s then a good idea to try and land some guest posting spots. Once you do that, make sure you personally talk to every single person who shares, comments or mentions your article.

Build those other connections!

Remember, these guest posts all have specific purposes and form part of our strategy.

Every guest post that you do should achieve the following goals:

  • Provide a long-term source of traffic
    If you get the right spots, it’s likely that their site will have better Google rankings than your own. This is good. Research keywords and write brilliant, long-form articles that rank for years and send you constant streams of traffic.
  • Pre-sell your landing page
    Pre-selling is where you generate interest for something that a reader/client hasn’t even seen yet. For this strategy, you want your guest posts to pre-sell your mailing list by making people super-curious about the specific topic that you’re covering or problem that you’re solving. When they click through to your blog from your guest post they should be instantly attracted to your mailing list offering.
  • Build relationships
    The last thing you want to make sure that you do is consolidate your relationship with the site owner. Find a way to make an impact in a distinctive way that makes you stand out from other guest bloggers. This might mean going a little further than normal and developing graphics, videos, slides, etc. The best outcome here is that your guest post ranks so well on Google that it sends them (and you!) traffic for years.

So how do you come up with something that meets all of these criteria?

Simple.

Break down your mailing list offering.

Let me explain.

Let’s go back to the yoga school hypothetical mailing list offering of 5 Secrets from the World’s Top Yoga Schools. A tactical guest post in this niche would be on a BuzzFeed-style site called something like 21 Photos Inside the Yoga Schools of the Celebrities. You’ve taken a topic directly related to your mailing list offering and turned it into brilliant content of it’s own accord.

Done correctly, this type of guest post gets a lot of shares on Facebook and also attracts your target audience because yoga school teachers will have their students, family and friends tagging them in the post to show them these fancy school buildings.

A second example of a tactical guest post would be on a popular business website or business section of a news website.

An article like How Maria Built a $1m a Year Yoga School in a Recession would provide an opportunity for a great long-form article and a lot of interest from your target audience as well as other bloggers who might link to interesting case studies.

Just take your mailing list offering or end product and break it down into smaller sub topics. I’ve found this to be an extremely useful way to ensure your guest posts continue to work for you over a long period of time while making them highly relevant to all the stuff that you are going to be doing in the future.

A summary of this strategy

So how do you get started with this strategy?

Here’s a visual representation that might help you understand how it all fits together.

strategy

In the end, this strategy will turn your blog into a hyper-optimised conversion machine. Your posts and traffic will all be deliberately targeted towards that mailing list offering, which is the perfect introduction to your future product.

Remember, you can always tweak and change your product or promotions as this strategy goes along. But the idea is to make it all as targeted and automated as possible.

Does your blog have a strategy?

I know a lot of bloggers out there are struggling to take their blog to the next level. It’s heartbreaking to hear about all the hours, weeks and even years of work that people put in and still don’t see results. I’d be really interested to know whether you have a strategy for you blog and how it’s working. Please leave a comment and let us know.

SO, WHAT'S NEXT?

Hi, I'm Ramsay. If you enjoyed this post you might like to check out:

Finally, hit the button below to get a free report and email updates so you're never out of touch.

LEARN MORE

71 Comments... Leave yours.

  • Steve

    Great post, really important to have a goal for everything you do, it’s something I often neglect when getting mixed up in the enthusiasm of posting huge resourceful posts for the sake of it!

    I’m actually gonna print this one out and have a good think.


    1. Ramsay

      Printing? People still do that? 😉


      1. Mindaugas

        Yes, they do 🙂 It is still the best strategy to print something very important and stick somewhere on the wall or board directly in front of you. So that every time you sit behind the desk this paper would remind you the most important things in your work.

        By the way, fantastic article, Ramsay.


        1. Ramsay

          Thank you.


  • Chris

    I do have a strategy and part of that strategy is annual re-evaluation of that strategy and surveying my readers or customers.

    The BIGGEST tip I can give anyone is this:

    Conduct an annual survey of your readers. Find out what they like, what they don’t like, what their niche problems are, and what they want. And here is the kicker – FREAKIN PAY FOR A REAL SURVEY SERVICE AND OFFER A PRIZE!

    People don’t take survey’s for the fun of it. I do it with an incentive of “one person will win a $50 amazon gift card.”


    1. Ramsay

      One thing the late great Randy Noone taught me was to be careful about surveys because often the people you survey aren’t the people who are buying, or aren’t anymore. It’s an interesting shift.


      1. Chris

        I’ve surveyed readers before for “what ails you” and for deeper surveys, I ask customers.


  • Dr. 'Malik Haruna King

    Sincerely, I haven’t be decisive enough or deliberate about having a clearly-defined strategy. Most times, I have just been spontaneous. And that isn’t always good—things don’t always turn out great.

    But, I have learned. I will become more deliberate henceforth. I will bookmark this article…and use it as a kind of guide and check-list. It might help me out of my struggles.

    Thanks. I appreciate, deeply.


    1. Ramsay

      Glad it helped! Thank you for sharing.


  • Catherine Hamrick

    Great piece! Love your site. No BS (pardon my French).


    1. Ramsay

      Appreciate that!


  • Nicole

    Thanks for this Ramsay! I sooo need to get this into action. I have a long term vision for my blog and a lot of short term things, I’m slowly ticking off, but it’s slowly! Can we make the days longer! Nonetheless, stuff like this inspires me to do better!! Cheers, Nicole


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Nicole. Just FYI this comment went to my spam folder. Might want to email Akismet.


  • Leila Sheikh

    Asante/thank you from Tanzania.
    I, am about to start a blog on social justice and Ramsay, you are a great help.
    Leila Sheikh
    Dar es Salaam


    1. Ramsay

      Thank you. I really hope it goes well for you.


  • Renard Moreau

    [ Smiles ] You certainly have it all thought out.

    I need to mastermind my long-term blogging goals.

    Fabulous post!


    1. Ramsay

      Let us know how it goes for you.


  • Alain

    Hiya! Great article! Thank you so much!

    What type of strategy would you suggest to apply for a cooking website ?
    We’re planning to mainly do video to show how to cool some recipies, but its not really solving any problem. So I’m not sure how to built guest post and all that.

    Sorry for my english, I’m french.


    1. Ramsay

      I think the big thing is to figure out what you want to do with it in the long term. How are you going to make money from it? I know a lot of people have done okay with book deals and so on from cooking blogs.


  • Bek

    I get what you’re saying on the surface level, but this isn’t really telling me how to actually go about building traffic in a significant way. It seems more aimed at selling to bloggers rather than building a readership. You mention a few things to do, but not how to actually do them. The whole “sell an ebook thing” really only works for a select group–generally people who want to learn about Internet marketing. So where do I spend money? How do I make it popular and get clicks without just pouring thousands of dollars into a keyword? That’s what I want to know. Where to spend my hard-earned money, and where not to bother.

    Reading that back, it sounds like I’m lashing out at you, but I’m not. I’m just tired of not really finding a solid plan of attack anywhere–it’s always just the same old surface advice.


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Bek.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      This post was more about the overall strategy than the nuts and bolts of each part.

      I didn’t really say sell an eBook – I said use a free eBook or course to attract email subscribers that you can then promote a paid product to down the track.

      I’ll try to be more comprehensive with the next one. Thanks for the feedback and sorry I didn’t hit the mark.


  • Lewis

    I think you pretty much nailed it for me with the “burst of traffic” mentality.

    This is how my mind worked for most of last year. It wasn’t until I took a step back started thinking “why am I even writing this piece of content?” and “what action do I want the reader to take?”, did I really start to understand that each piece of content you produce should have a goal.

    Be that an offer, to get them to join your mailing list, share your content on social media or to take part in a competition. For every piece of content I now ask myself those simple questions.

    This has led to significant growth for my blog and my other businesses.

    Thanks for sharing man.

    – Lewis


    1. Ramsay

      Glad to hear it’s going well for you. It’s such a subtle shift but makes a huge difference I think.


  • Mindaugas

    Hello, Ramsay.

    You mentioned that it is not so important to have already prepared product before you start blogging. I personally think that you should not offer any products at all until you earn some respect in you niche. Do you have any guidelines, when is it best to start introducing products to your audience?


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah I tend to agree. But I also think that one shouldn’t really even have a blog unless one has knowledge in the area, or is working on getting it. I’d say the key test is that if you can solve a key and well-known problem and have done so yourself.


  • Jennifer

    Wow, what an eye opening article. I am in the beginning phase but, this is really going to help serve as a guide for me in getting where i want to be.


    1. Ramsay

      Awesome! Please let me know how you go with it on your blog.


  • Martin

    Another eye opening piece. You need a blog strategy. I don’t have one. I need to create a landing page that folks come to. I have a course created and a membership with Leadpages. Next I need to promote this page more. Thanks!


    1. Ramsay

      Hope it works Martin!


  • Don Ocso

    This post is one of your biggest miss. Or did I ever overestimated you? #OldCrappyPost.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for the feedback, Don. Do you have any actual feedback for me on how I can improve it next time? Cheers.


  • Megan

    This is where I’m having the most trouble. I just write when the mood strikes me. I know who my ideal audience is and I write FOR them. But, I have no strategy and no end goal… I write a blog for young-ER moms who ultimately aspire to become stay/work at home moms.


    1. Ramsay

      Do you think you’ll try and develop a strategy?


  • Paula McInerney

    I love reading your articles because they are clearly written and have a definite purpose – to inform and to assist. These are the things that we need to keep coming back to on our site. We need to make sure that we have a well considered game plan, and reading this is of great help in fine tuning this. Thanks ..again 🙂


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Paula.


  • Idan Eldar

    Ramsay,
    I loved the post but especially enjoyed the visual flow you attached.
    From my experience, the number 2 hurdle after setting up this strategy is actually finding that unique take on a topic that has probably been grounded to death dozens of times, like online marketing.

    You mentioned that uniqueness in the “guest blog ” section of this post, but I feel it could definitely stand out as post of its own.


    1. Ramsay

      Great idea. I think I’ll get on to that one. Thanks!


  • Brance

    Hi Ramsay! Thanks for this article. It was helpful. I’m working on my long term plan and strategy.

    I do have one question though. How much blogging should I be doing before having my giveaway product ready? I hate to ‘waste’ good articles when I don’t have much traffic yet or any incentive for them the join the mailing list.

    I have guest blogging opportunities already lined up, but I want to have my funnel ready before sending traffic my way. I’m just unclear how much content I should post before going after the traffic?

    Thanks!


    1. Ramsay

      I’d perhaps get a really, really good mailing list offer ready first.


      1. Brance

        I’m working on it now. I’m pretty excited about it. Thanks for the advice!

        I’ve been reading for a while but this was my first time commenting. I appreciate your taking the time to respond.


  • Martin

    Great post! Short, informative and easy to understand! I definitely need to take some action and apply these techniques now! 🙂


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Martin.


  • David

    Ramsay,

    First let me schmooze. I love your blog. I have not yet started mine but already consider you my mentor due to the amount of great content I got from your blog. In an overdone field you are definitely a stand out. Okay enough of the love fest. I am planning on starting 3 blogs and my main goal is to do it full time and promote my real estate business. This post is already on my target board to help me build traffic. My question is how much traffic I need to build before I can start effectively monetizing my blog. Any ideas or guidelines? Again thanks for the great blog.


    1. Ramsay

      Hi David.

      Thanks for the kind words. Means a lot.

      Traffic really is not the right measurement. I have a friend who makes $250k+ per year from his blog and it gets less than 20 visitors per day. But his product is very, very expensive.

      It’s really about the target market and the end-product. Traffic isn’t really a big concern unless until you know what you’re selling and to whom.

      Hope that helps.


  • Dewald Swart

    It is so true, very few people have a definite goal for their blog or even their Social media efforts.

    One thing that many blog lack is a good mailing list and an easy way for readers to join the mailing list.


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah, that simple!


  • Keith

    Great post and a timely one for me. I’ve had my blog live for around 6 months and have realised that I really need to focus my content and strategy. Still trying to get there, but this blog has been of great help. Another awesome, clear post.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks so much Keith.


  • Stephanie Martel

    Hi Ramsay! This is a great, thought provoking post and kind of brings me back to thinking about being much more specific about my calls to action and what I want people to do.

    Would you recommend these pointers to people who use a blog as a soft sell spot? For example, I’m not selling right from my blog, but using it as a jumping point to my Etsy store, and to let people get to know me better so they feel more confident about buying from me. Does this strategy make sense from an outside point of view?


    1. Ramsay

      That is the perfect place for it! Soft and subtle. You probably hardly notice me selling here on this blog.


  • Cathy Mayhue

    Hi Ramsay,

    This is one of the best posts on blogging I ever came across. Actually there was one more post I recently read on how to write a blog, which bowled me over. If I couple that blog with yours, it would make the most perfect resource on blog writing ever.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks!


  • Dewald Swart

    My Blog strategy is very simple. I write articles that are centred around a certain keyword that has to to with our industry.

    Every now and then I try to write top 10 or top 5 list articles. People love reading list for some reason.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for sharing.


  • Tiakina

    Hi Ramsay,

    So, i surfed the internet looking for ways to implement a great blog from day 1 and I came across Blog Tyrant – great name. I’m in the process of planning the strategy for a blog based on a rock band, so I’ll be following you closely and reading through some of your other articles which caught my eye on the way in.

    Thanks for the awesome advice, me and the band will be a regular on your website from now on hahaha much appreciated 🙂


    1. Ramsay

      Glad you enjoyed it!


  • Andrew M. Warner

    Hey Ramsay,

    Great post here.

    I just recently started looking at my previous blogging strategy and I’m at a cross roads myself. I can’t seem to consistently get over a certain amount of visitors a day and it’s frustrating.

    But, you said one thing that made sense to me and just really made me take a hard look at myself. I was one of those types that would be throwing something against to way and seeing what stuck.

    Can’t do that and succeed.

    One thing I can say I’m doing is guest posting with my strategy in mind. When the year started, my goal was to guest post as much as I could to get my name out there … now, I want to be strategic with my guest posts and find the best fit.

    Because 2 successful guest posts on certain big sites can get me more traffic, etc. than 45 guest posts this year.

    And, I have to seriously work on my landing page after reading this. Thanks for the awesome advice.

    – Andrew


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Andrew. I’m glad it helped.


  • Ataul Ghani

    This is really a great advice and tips for any niche blog marketer. I’m highly appreciate and want to give you thanks for that.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks buddy.


  • Fred Mackaman

    Thanks for very helpful content — especially for a new, novice blogger like me. I really like the focus on the network of those “above” and “below” you. I also found great comfort in your advice that you don’t need to have the whole strategy/plan figured out before you get started. It’s not that I have NO strategy or goals — it’s more that I want to jump in, start swimming, and adjust to the current. Thanks so much.


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah I think it’s really important to just start and get moving. You can always adjust on the way.


  • Dhinesh

    Great.. Its worth reading…

    Would you mind if i ask you the method of choosing images for blog post? Do you use Shutterstock?


    1. Ramsay

      I use Dreamstime and some other sites like Gratisography.


  • sitesuccessfull

    Thanks . Really appreciate your input.

    Boy that’s a long flight…


  • Cyndy-loo

    I love reading all the information you are putting together and find it helpful. I am going to launch 2 blogs in the near future and could not have done it without all this great information. The one thing that bothers me is the grammar and spelling errors. They break up the reading flow and cause me to stop reading. I have to go back and try and make sense of what you have written. I would read and edit your posts for free before you launch them. You don’t have many. There have been times when they interfere with the flow of information and I have gotten up and done something else, instead of finishing the article.


Tweet
Share
+1
Share

start a blog popup