A blog can be a powerful tool for any business. It can elevate your brand, showcase your authority in an industry, and help you get found in the top Google search results.

But many times, it can be overwhelming to start a blog from scratch and difficult to identify the specific topics to write about.

For a blog to be successful in driving leads for your business, it should be backed by strategy.

Here are some steps you can follow for creating strategic blog content for your business.

1. Create categories that relate to your services

When someone comes across your blog, your content should directly correlate to what you sell.

Whether it’s 1:1 services or digital products, your blog posts should support the work that you do with your clients or customers.

Think of categories as content pillars. They are the main buckets that your blog post topics fall under.

You want to create three to five categories for your business blog. Specifically, each post you write should fall under one category, maximum two.

Example categories for a fitness coach could be mindset, exercise, and nutrition. They’re each very distinct buckets.

2. Jot down blog post topic ideas

Now that you have your categories, it’s time to get more specific.

Your blog post topics are the individual ideas you can brainstorm that branch from each category.

The key here is to focus on educational content, not a narrative.

Each piece of content should always add value, have a clear focus, and educate or solve a problem for your ideal audience.

Under each category, you want to jot down four to five blog post topics to start.

First, think of solution-focused content. This is your “how-to” content.

An example is, “steps to finding your next client online.”

Many business owners are afraid to give everything away in their blog posts because they think that readers will take that information and try to do it themselves instead of hiring them.

That’s true to a degree, but it’s important to remember that certain people will give up and want to hire out. Because you’ve helped that person for free through your content, they’re more likely to hire you over someone else.

Next, think of informative content. This type of content revolves around the type of work that you do and helping potential clients understand what they would need to know before hiring you.

Think of questions you get asked a lot on sales calls, and jot those down. The goal of this type of content is to fill that information gap.

An example is, “things to consider when hiring a wedding photographer.”

Keep in mind that each blog post topic should be content you can write 1,000 or more words about.

3. Back it up with keyword research

Now that you’ve got some blog post ideas drafted out, it’s time to verify that the topic is worth writing about. This step is all about “backing up” your individual blog post idea to make sure that people are actually searching for this topic.

This is where SEO, or search engine optimization, becomes important.

Keyword research is about finding the specific words and phrases to use in your blog posts so you’re matching your ideal clients language. If you’re not familiar with SEO, a keyword is a word or phrase you want to rank for in a search engine like Google.

Long tail keywords, which are three words or more, are best to find. An example is “weight loss for moms.” Trying to rank for “weight” or “weight loss” would be too difficult to rank for and not worth the time and energy.

This is a critical step because you need to use the exact keywords and phrases people are typing into the Google search bar. Otherwise, there’s a chance your blog won’t get any visibility from new audiences.

Common keyword research tools are Ubersuggest, Moz, and SEMrush. When looking for keywords, you want to note both the search volume and keyword difficulty.

Google, Pinterest, and YouTube are also platforms to reference for keyword research. Each of these search engines has an autocomplete feature where options will appear as you type words into the search bar. These are suggested searches that will change as you type out your search. You can note these keywords for your blog posts as well, which is a free alternative to the keyword research tools listed above.

4. Write your final blog post titles

The title of your blog post is very important because it will determine whether or not someone will click through to read the rest of the content.

A common mistake among business owners is giving the blog post a very vague title consisting of two to three words.

Instead, you want each title to be clear and specific. A potential reader should know exactly what they’re going to learn by clicking through to read the post.

This is why listicles, or list articles, tend to do very well. They typically include a number and state explicitly what the post is about.

The title of this post, 4 Steps to Identifying Strategic Topics for Your Business Blog, is an example of a listicle.

Once you have a clear and straightforward blog post title, it’s time to create your content!

With these four steps, you can get crystal clear on the best content to create for your business.

Before you start this process, it’s a good idea to get organized. Jot down your categories, blog post topics, and keyword research in a Google Spreadsheet or Excel.

Reference it whenever inspiration strikes, and use it whenever you sit down to write. Best of luck in the writing process!