Blogging with Lesli Peterson

Topic clusters, hub pages and quarterly plans, Oh My!

January 17, 2024 Lesli Peterson
Blogging with Lesli Peterson
Topic clusters, hub pages and quarterly plans, Oh My!
Show Notes Transcript

Topic Clusters: The Heart of Your Content Universe

  • Defining Topic Clusters: Learn how to carve out your niche by defining topic clusters that align with your blog’s theme.
  • Understanding Article Hierarchy: We’ll discuss the importance of knowing the hierarchy of your articles and how it contributes to your blog’s structure.

Hub Pages: A Game-Changer in Blog Navigation

  • The Power of Hub Pages: We’ll explore why hub pages are more effective than traditional category or tag pages and how they can enhance your blog’s navigation.
  • Hub Page Examples: Get inspired with examples of hub pages, including destination guides and activity-focused hubs like skiing or hiking.

Tailoring Content to Your Audience

  • Filling Content Gaps: Identify how to spot and fill gaps within your topic clusters with fresh, relevant content.
  • Persona-Based Writing: Understand the importance of creating personas and how to use them to tailor your content to specific audience segments.

Goal Setting for Success

  • Setting Monthly and Quarterly Goals: Find out why setting goals is essential for long-term planning and how it can keep your blog’s growth on track.

Boosting Productivity

  • The “Five by Five Method”: Learn a new time management technique to stay productive while at your desk.
  • Lead Magnet Master Kit: Discover the free Lead Magnet Master Kit available on leslipeterson.com, designed to help you define your blog personas.


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Hey bloggers, we're back on our regularly scheduled programming, talking about the seven stages of blogging. Yesterday, or I'm sorry, Monday, we took a break to talk about the changes that you need to put in place for your email marketing that needs to be done by February 1st. So if you missed Monday's episode, go back, listen to it because I do not want your email going into spam, or worse yet, not even being delivered at all. It's a really, really time sensitive, important episode for you to listen to. But today, we are heading to stage five. Now you've had an episode on part one of stage five, part two and three together in one episode, and we're talking about part four today. And this is all about your content strategy. And it falls into three, let's call them categories, I guess. The first one has to do with your topic cluster. So you've been, if you've been following the stages, then you've got your topic clusters defined. If you have been blogging for a while, and you think, oh, I don't need topic clusters, wrong, you do need a friend, you need to go back and identify the ones that you have already created on your blog. And when I say define them, I mean, really define them, understand the hierarchy of the articles on your site within that topic cluster, understand what's missing, what you need, what pillar posts, what supporting posts, and document that all. Every post I have, I encourage people to put together an inventory spreadsheet where they're tracking the URLs on their site and lots of information about those URLs. One of the pieces of information that we track is the topic cluster that each post is assigned to, or if it's a top level, and whether or not you have linked internally from a higher post in that hierarchy down to the post in question. So you really, really do need to define your topic clusters. And then what you're, you know, continuing to do is write new content. But the priority content, first, I guess, of course, would be any brand contracts that you have in place. But after that, it'll be filling the gaps in your topic cluster, and really thinking about them from a persona perspective. So if you've got, you know, a very general idea, you know, things to do in Denver, or Thanksgiving casseroles, or whatever the case may be, don't just think about that article in terms of filling the gap in your topic hierarchy, topical hierarchy. I want you to also think about it by the personas defined for your blog. This has always been important, but it is even more important now in the world of the new Google, because it is, let's, how do we say this, it's more specific, it is more concrete, it is less general. And the more specific, the more concise and specific that you can be with your content, the better conversion you'll have a conversion might be reading it clicking through selling a product, getting someone to sign up for lead magnet, whatever conversion means to you for that particular article. So I want you to continue to fill in the gaps. And do that by persona, you guys, my husband is making me laugh sticking his head in here while we're while I'm talking to you. Okay, the next thing part section category of this content strategy in part four of stage five, is creating hub pages. And not every post necessarily needs to be on a hub page. A lot of times, I spoke with a blogger recently who had just a hub page for some patterns, some quilting patterns and not a pillar post. I mean, I think there absolutely are circumstances that warrant one or the other, and not necessarily both. But I think it's rare. So what's a hub page, Leslie? Well, a hub page is what I use in place of a category page. I don't really like category pages, because they are displayed by default by most themes chronologically, which doesn't make any sense to the end user. They are usually not in any sort of order that, you know, serves them. They're just snippets of the exact post, there's the text being displayed. So it doesn't really bring a lot of value except, you know, duplicate content. It's just not helpful to people. So I always recommend unindexing your category and tag pages, absolutely unindex them. And then what I do is replace what would have been a category or tag page with a hub page. And I believe we've got some episodes that go into more depth about hub pages. I'll give you some examples from the travel space, just what I have on my blog. For example, we have hub pages by destination. So I have a hub page for Florida, a hub page for Georgia, and then Georgia has a hub page for Atlanta, Atlanta has and a hub page for North Georgia, and the coast, that sort of thing. So hub pages are can be hierarchical too. And those are in alignment with my topic clusters and my menu. But there are also other ways to create hub pages. So for example, we have hub pages on the best places to go skiing, which could be, you know, in North Carolina, a little ski resort or out here in Colorado, you know, the best ski resorts in the world, hub pages on hiking, hub pages on hotel reviews, hub pages on, I'm trying to think, family activities for kids, you know, in elementary school or younger, or toddlers, or whatever the case may be. It's just another way to look at the content, another way to slice and dice the content, and to offer something meaningful to the person who's coming to read your blog. But again, if you're interested in hub pages, I have lots of other episodes out there that really are specific about that. And of course, if you come into the membership, we've got an entire course on hub pages. And the final part of content strategy is examining your monthly and quarterly goals. So hopefully most people here have some sort of cadence with regard to what they do on a daily and weekly basis, right? I send a newsletter every week, I do an update post every day, or weekday anyway. But a lot of times we fail to plan quarterly and monthly goals, you might set yearly goals, right? This year, I want to blah, blah, blah. For me this year, I want to more than double my email subscribers actually trying to do that in the next six months. So I can't jump from from square zero to you know, the win without some steps in between. And what I encourage people to do is set up a quarterly plan. So every quarter you decide what projects you're going to work on, and then you take those projects and you organize them by month. Because if it doesn't get on the calendar, friends, it doesn't get done. And I really encourage you to use, if you need assistance with this, my five by five plan. So every quarter I identify five goals that I want to accomplish for my blog. That could be you know, setting up a quiz. It could be, this quarter it was implementing a daily newsletter, and we just checked that off on Monday of this week. It could be setting up your hub pages. It could be, you know, any of the things that you need to work on. Creating a project, putting an email, you know, sales workflow in place for one of those projects. Any of those things that you need to work on that's going to take you more than just something you could do, you know, in an afternoon or a couple afternoons. Anything where there are smaller tasks involved. Those projects that eat at you. This is what I'm talking about. Identify five of them every quarter, and then for each one, break that down into five steps. So at the end you have 25 steps, and then you can take those steps and put them on your calendar. This is what I'm going to work on. You know, you might, what I try to do, what I try to do, is work on two steps a week. And when I do that, I mean, there's 13 weeks in a quarter. There's 25 steps in my plan. It generally works out. So I actually have time on my calendar for projects. And when I go to, you know, to just, you know, sit down at my desk and begin that time block, I know exactly what I'm supposed to work on because I have my five by five plan. I'm just working my way down the list. And so I love it because I know exactly what I'm trying to accomplish for that quarter. I know that when the quarter's over, I'm going to be able to say, these are the things I did to drive more revenue and reach for my blog. And instead of, you know, kind of sitting still, it also keeps me from, what am I trying to say, chasing shiny, shiny pennies, because even if I hear from somebody, some amazing thing, in fact, I had a girlfriend over this morning, and we were working on some blogging things, and she showed me this amazing tool. I can't believe it. It's so cool. And I wanted to jump right in and do all the things with this tool to help my blog. But I'm not going to because my Q1 has already been laid out. And what I'll do is I'll put this in Q2 as a potential. So, you know, when I get ready to sit down and do my five by five plan for Q2, then I'll look at it. Then I'll be a little bit more removed from it. I will have had time to breathe. I will know by then if it's a shiny thing I need to chase or shiny thing that needs to go up on the shelf. So that's another reason I like it. And I like it because the time that you are spending at your desk that is beyond just putting a newsletter together, putting out new posts, updating posts, that extra time, that time that makes the difference in revenue and reach, income and impact, is done with intention. You really understand what you're doing. You're not just looking out the window wondering what is, you know, I've been there, friends. Don't do that to yourself and don't do that to your readers. Put a plan in place. Try the five by five method. It's, you know, what is it, the 17th? It's not too late to build one for Q2. And I would love to hear from you about your five by five plan. Okay, friends, and do not forget if you're like personas, I need to define those personas for my blog so I can make sure I'm filling the gaps in my topic cluster. I will help you out. I've got a free personal GPT on my site, lesliepeterson.com. Go there, get the Lead Magnet Master Kit, and it will help you in defining the personas for your blog and the best lead magnets to go with those personas. It is free, friend. It is free. lesliepeterson.com.