Developing a blog’s content strategy without also taking into consideration its maturity level is putting the cart before the horse. It’s vital to consider how mature a blog is. This is so you to spend time on the right types of content and promotional activity. All blogs have three maturity phases. These align with the traditional AIDA marketing funnel which gently pushes people from awareness to action.
To better understand this relationship, let’s first take a look at the three blog maturity phases.
The Three Blog Maturity Phases
Every blog goes through three phases of maturity during its life cycle: infancy, growth, maturity.
In the infancy phase, your blog is just starting to crawl. You’re posting an article here and there. Also reaching out to other blogs in your niche with moderate domain authority to secure guest posts.
You’re writing these guest posts and linking them back to your blog to start to drive your own domain authority. You might also have social media accounts standing up, but they aren’t doing much yet. Most of all, you’re trying to identify your audience. This helps to build content strategy and content marketing strategy going forward.
In the growth phase, you’ve started to work out some of the kinks. You’re driving some decent organic traffic. Maybe as much as a couple of thousand monthly unique visits.
Your domain authority (DA) is growing also. Maybe you’re somewhere between a 30-50 DA. At this point, securing guest posts becomes much easier and you’re starting to shoot a little higher. You’re getting some backlinks every so often as well due to the guest posts you’ve already published. Your social accounts are starting to get some legs as people visit your social outlets directly from your blog posts. Maybe you’ve even kicked off some email marketing as well to grow your email list.
In the maturity phase, your blog is a well-oiled machine. You’ve secured enough backlinks that your organic traffic is really starting to roll in. Accordingly, your domain authority is growing organically month over month. Also, your social accounts are driving some real traffic. Your email list is growing daily.
At this point, you probably have a deep enough traffic base to begin considering monetization. This can be done through in-depth product review articles with affiliate links. Also, through offering some consulting services to your audience that helps to ease their primary pain point through your expertise. And, yes, maybe even making a few dollars here and there through some carefully-placed advertising units.
The types of content you create – both for your own blog, and otherwise – should be a direct fit with your blog’s maturity stage. This content should also align with the stages of the traditional marketing funnel. This is true to ensure your reader is moving on a path toward helping you make money blogging.
Next, let’s take a quick look at the stages of the traditional AIDA marketing funnel.
The AIDA Marketing Funnel
The AIDA marketing funnel is comprised of four stages that make up the customer journey:
During the awareness phase, blogs or websites are just trying to make readers aware of who they are. Content created for this phase should be informational, but also light-hearted and highly shareable.
You’re not necessarily pointing content in the awareness stage toward a conversion. It’s more to grab a reader’s attention, and encourage them to come back and interact with your blog more than once. And maybe, even, become a customer somewhere down the line.
Content changes during the interest phase. Here you’ve already grabbed the reader’s attention. They’ve probably come back to visit your blog a few times, and maybe even have interacted with your content on social media, or signed up for your email list.
Impactful interest phase content includes things like ebooks, white papers, webinars and data-driven studies. Each of these are centered around your blog’s Unique Value Proposition (UVP). Your UVP is the unique information you write about on your blog, and the unique teaching point you offer to people in your niche who are likely to read your blog.
As readers become familiar with your UVP – and most importantly, see how it could be a solution to their main pain point or problem – the more they see your blog (or maybe even the products your blog offers) as a valued resource. At this point, your reader is moving further down the marketing funnel toward becoming not just a reader, but a customer.
At the decision stage, your reader is likely considering a few options and looking to make a decision. At this point, they are looking to compare your offerings against competitors. This is to see where the best value lies. Therefore, they’re checking out case studies, use cases and side-by-side comparison pages. They want to see why they should spend their hard-earned money and time going forward with you and not someone else.
They’ve likely solidified their decision at this stage, and little will change their minds. Therefore, action comes next.
In the action phase, the last content your readers may want to interact with would include FAQs, pricing pages and maybe privacy policies to make sure everything’s above board. They also may want to chat with you live and ask any questions they may have about your products or service offerings. Lastly, they may fill out a contact form with similar questions.
It goes without saying all of your content should have calls to action (CTAs) that drive people toward a desired action, likely a download of a content product or a sign up for consulting services. These CTAs should be especially visible and direct on content that would be consumed during the action stage of the AIDA funnel.
How the Maturity Phases Align with the AIDA Funnel
With awareness of your blog’s maturity level combined with where most of your readers lie in the AIDA funnel, you can create some truly impactful content.
Infancy = Awareness
When your blog is in the infancy stage, you’re just trying to increase awareness of its existence. Blog owners in this stage, therefore, should be 100% focused on letting people know they exist. This is done through creation of highly-sharable, engaging, and light-hearted on content on the blog.
But, also, it’s done through constant, aggressive outreach to obtain guest posting opportunities. Specifically, on other blogs in your niche with strong domain authority. It’s this domain authority that will improve search positioning for the keywords you’re pursuing, and drive more organic traffic. More organic traffic leads to more interest, and your content can shift.
Growth = Interest & Decision
As your blog starts to grow and escapes the infancy phase, you will have as many readers exposed to your UVP for the first time, as those very familiar with your brand who are looking to learn more. Therefore a balance between content positioned for new readers and engaged readers is essential.
The balance between these content types can be better solidified by deep examination of your blog’s traffic stats. In particular, getting a feel for who your readers are, and how often they’re interacting with your blog. And, what they do when they interact.
Content creation in the growth phase is dynamic. No two days are the same. Your priorities will shift constantly, but that’s great. Because it’s a sign that things are getting better, and more and more of your readers are helping you down the path toward monetization.
Maturity = Action
When your blog is mature, it’s a well-oiled machine. Your readers go straight down the path from awareness, to interest, to decision to action. You have enough content both from your own blog, and from guest blogs, that’s driving you consistent traffic. Heck, you might even have a handful of freelancers that are writing for your site.
In the maturity stage, you’re getting thousands of monthly unique visitors and starting to monetize consistently from several outlets. Therefore, reaching maturity is something all business-minded bloggers strive for. Passive income is the goal. This is especially true when most of the heavy lifting for mature blogs is much more administrative in nature.
It involves managing staff, tweaking things here and there for incremental improvement, and building relationships that will even further drive growth.
As you can see, knowing where your blog lies in it’s maturity and how this relates to the stages of the traditional AIDA marketing funnel is essential to build a blog that will consistently generate passive income that will be worth your effort.
It’s a long haul, but don’t give up! Just make sure to be realistic, and know that it will take time. But, with daily impactful activity that first dollar you make from your blogging efforts will come faster than you might imagine!
To better understand how to build a blog, develop a strong content strategy, and content marketing strategy, and make money blogging in a different way, check out the Blog to Scale Academy.