This episode zeroes in on Stage 4 but starts with a review of the first three stages.
Stage 1 lays the groundwork by defining the blog’s identity, setting up key elements, and establishing topic clusters.
Stage 2, the pathfinder stage, advances to creating keyword-driven content, choosing appropriate social media channels, and initiating email marketing strategies.
In Stage 3, bloggers concentrate on crafting lead magnets tailored to different personas, integrating these into the email system, setting up an editorial calendar for newsletters, and maintaining consistent communication with their audience.
We also discuss the strategic planning involved in blogging, such as understanding the target market, conducting keyword research, building content clusters, starting backlink campaigns, and implementing lead magnets to collect email addresses.
A notable resource mentioned is the LMM available on leslipeterson.com, designed to aid in defining personas and generating effective lead magnets.
The importance of recognizing low traffic seasons and using seasonal keywords to maintain steady visitor numbers is also discussed, alongside the necessity of conducting an annual audit to ensure the blog remains updated and optimized.
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My name is Lesli Peterson, and I help bloggers turn their modest websites into thriving online enterprises with SEO, email marketing, and a little hard love encouragement to always move forward consistently and with a plan. Hello, friends. It is the first podcast of 2024, and we are continuing a walk through the seven stages of blogging. And today we're on stage four. So we've got a three-part episode for that. But I thought because four is kind of exactly in the middle, and since it's the beginning of the year, and if you're anything like me, your brain's been turned off for a little while, I thought we could recap stages one through three before I introduce the first part of stage four. So let's get started on that. Stage one, which in the membership we call the scout stage, includes three parts. The first one is defining your blog's identity. So that's identifying a target audience, really beginning to understand their pain points and their needs, and then researching a domain name and creating your website, applying your theme, those sort of activities. The second part of stage one is the essential setup for your blog. So this is when you're going to put in your important plugins, set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console, your about page, your privacy page, the sidebar, those types of components of your blog. And then the final step in stage one is to identify five or six topic clusters that you're going to focus on on your niche and begin to brainstorm some article ideas for those topic clusters. Now, we haven't gone into keyword research or defining what the articles are going to be. You're just doing some brainstorming. Now, stage two, pathfinder stage. Three parts here as well. The first one is content creation and management. So what you'll do is determine eight to ten keywords for each of the topic clusters based on what you're brainstorming and begin writing, ensuring that each one of those posts targets one of those keywords. And at this point, your primary focus is just to get some content on your site. So I would recommend before moving on to any of the other stages, writing and publishing about 25 posts. You want to make sure they're quality posts, that they're relevant, that they're aligned with your topic clusters, but you want to get about 25 of them out there. This is also a really good time to begin developing what we call the inventory spreadsheet. It's a way for tracking your posts and the further along in the process that you get a blogging, the more important this inventory spreadsheet is going to be. And then at that point going forward, you're going to adhere to writing at least one article a week while we bulk up your site. Part two is your social media strategy. So you want to pick the social channels that you, where your audience lives, that you want to focus on. You don't want to do all of them. And then begin to share consistently on those channels that you think are a priority. And if you can, it's not necessary, but if you can, this is a good time to invest in a social media scheduler to help you streamline that process. And then the final part of stage two is to begin thinking about one of the most important parts of your job, which is email marketing and lead generation. So you're going to pick an email marketing system, an EMS, and configure that, set it up, and build your first lead magnet. Make sure you're addressing the problems, needs, and desires of your target market. And then set up that opt-in for that lead magnet on your site and begin to collect email addresses. Okay, stage three. This is the tracker stage and there are three parts here as well. This is when you're going to spend a little more time beginning to understand keyword research and your content clusters. And instead of guessing at what the target keyword is, you're going to learn the five basic keyword research steps. In the membership, we have a mini course on that. And identify the topic clusters for all the posts in your inventory spreadsheet. Begin doing internal linking accurately and really think more strategically about the keywords that you are using going forward. Part two is to enhance your content and your engagement with what we call personas for your blog. And you're going to identify a persona for every post in your inventory spreadsheet. And I'll talk to you a little bit about how to do that at the end of this episode and give you a free tool for doing that. And then you're also going to begin working on a backlink campaign for your content. Then in the last part of stage three, you'll work on your email marketing. So you're going to look at all of those personas and you're going to create a lead magnet for each and every persona and implement that in your email system. Then you're going to build a newsletter editorial calendar and get started with a weekly newsletter. You've got to design your template and build an editorial calendar as to what you're going to do each week, what you're going to send out. It's better to plan than to sit in front of a blank screen and wonder. And then begin sending your newsletter every, on the same day, about the same time, every week. And before you move on, what I would encourage you to do is work toward three months of consistent newsletter delivery and consistent growth as you roll out those persona-based lead magnets. Okay, friends, those are the three stages, the first three stages of the seven stages of blogging. I'm excited to talk to you today or introduce the first part of stage four. But before I do that, I indicated that if you need help defining the personas for your blog, and especially coming up with lead magnets for each one of those personas, then I want to encourage you to go out to the website, lesliepeterson.com. There's a link in the show notes below. If Leslie's a confusing, I have a, I have a really weird spelling of my name. So if that's confusing to you, check out the link below, because I am offering you what I'm calling the lead magnet master kit. It's free. It does require, um, chat GPT 4.0, because you can't deliver personal GPTs in anything except 4.0. But it, um, walks you through the process of, uh, answering some questions about your blog, uploading that document to this personal GPT, and that GPT will walk you through all the steps of understanding the personas on your blog, and understanding the needs of those personas, and identifying lead magnet ideas for each of them, and then even give you some copy for your pop up. So it's free. Again, you do need GPT 4.0. But you can pay for that for one month if you want to, um, and, um, cancel the subscription, or you can maybe, uh, work with a friend and, and, uh, both of you share the cost. But the lead magnet master kit is free. And you just have to go to lesliepeterson.com, look for the lead magnet master kit button, give me your email address, and I will send it to you right away. All the directions on how to use it, uh, the questions that you need to answer for your blog in order to get a good response, and, uh, then the link to that personal GPT. So don't forget to use that. It's free for you, and it will help you a lot. Okay, so let's talk about Stage 4. There are three parts to Stage 4. We're going to cover the first part today. Stage 4 is the trailblazer stage. And the first concept here is just beginning to use advanced content strategies to grow your blog. So what do I mean by advanced content strategies? Well, the first thing, the most important thing that you'll hear me preach all the time is you need to put a plan in place, a system in place to begin updating all the content on your blog regularly. If you're just beginning, then you can do that annually. If, uh, you know, a lot of times, what's interesting about Stage 3 and Stage 4, uh, the first couple stages were really for people who were just starting their blog, but you might be how, you know, have been blogging for a decade. You don't have, uh, personas set up yet. You don't have an update system in place yet. This is the stage that you probably want to jump into. And updating your content regularly with a system is critical to growing your blogging business. And, uh, for those of you who have heard about the content update system, my five module, uh, mega course on doing that, please know now it is available for free inside the Insider Membership. So if you were to join the membership, you would get access to all of that for free. Uh, so begin putting an update system in place and then also begin using advanced keyword research techniques. And that, um, to me means leveraging some competitive research, but it also means taking advantage of AI. So, you know, I'm not a fan of AI when it comes to writing an article, not even for outlining an article, but for understanding your audience, uh, breaking down the, uh, facets of your blog, doing keyword research to understand intention and need. Those are fantastic ways to use, uh, ChachiBT or BARD because they're more scientific minded, I guess. They don't interfere with your, uh, creative vibe and, uh, they don't interfere with original research. So you'll begin to use some of those advanced AI techniques and then review your existing content to see how your traffic ebbs and flows over the year. Most niches have an up season and a down season, a high season and a low season. And what you want to do is identify what your low season is and then try to target some seasonal keywords, um, or topic cluster ideas for those off season times to really offset your traffic variations. And then the final part of part one of stage four is building an annual audit process for your blog. And part of that's updating it, but there's a little bit more than that. And, uh, usually we do those, uh, our team does it at the end of the year. I think I spoke about that in an episode in November or December, uh, but you'll put that audit process in place. So that's a recap of state of the stages one through three. The first part of stage four on Friday, we'll talk about the second part of stage four. Um, and I just really encourage you to�ÿÿÿÿÿÿ on Friday, we'll talk about the second part of stage four.