The Subtle Art of Choosing the Best Categories for Your Blog
For this piece, we’ve partnered with our friends from Looka (formerly Logojoy), an AI-powered logo and graphic design platform that helps small businesses (like yours) to get great design.
These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a business that doesn’t have a blog in some capacity. In the US alone, the number of bloggers is expected to reach 31.7 million by 2020.
As much as blogs have become a given for anyone starting a business, your brand’s reasons for blogging might be different from other companies—and so will the types of blogs you’ll write.
To help you build blog categories that support your brand, we’ll walk you through the process of what you should consider when you’re categorizing your blog content. So you can revamp the blog you have, or start your new blog off on the right foot.
Speaking of revamping your blog, at Looka (formerly Logojoy) we just went through a complete rebrand. As part of this, we changed our messaging from being just a logo creator to being a full-on brand design platform. All of this meant that our design blog had to evolve and expand. Rather than focus solely on logo design, we’re now also talking about branding and entrepreneurship.
Looka’s blog now generates over 100,000 sessions per month, so the project has luckily been a success. But a lot of blood, sweat in tears went into the process of relaunching our blog. And we wanted to pass on what we learned about choosing blog categories, to help you get the most out of your content creation efforts.
Benefits of different types of blog content
Before you can consider blog categories, you need to understand why you even have a blog in the first place. There are a lot of benefits that come along with blogging. Depending on which benefits fit your goals, you’ll need to create different blog content and categories.
Search Engine Optimization
By writing quality, search engine optimized content about topics in your niche, you give searchers more ways to find your brand online. Well-written content will also earn you backlinks from related sites, generating more traffic and higher search ranking for your brand’s blog.
Customers and Conversions
Aside from helping people to find your brand, your blog can also help to turn those visitors into customers. If your blog becomes a useful resource for site visitors, they’ll be more likely to trust you when you go in for the sell. With content marketing, you need to make sure you provide the right kind of content at the right stage of the funnel—no one likes being sold to before they’re ready.
Become a Thought Leader
Not all the content you produce needs to drive directly towards the sale. Sometimes, it’s best to play the long game, by offering insights on high-level topics your brand has expertise in to build brand authority online. While it’s harder to track conversions on this type of blog content, building a blog audience and generating brand awareness can be its own reward.
Fuel Your Other Marketing Channels
The content you put out on your blog shouldn’t just sit around on a website waiting for readers to share it. High-quality blogs can be used to fuel your other marketing channels—providing engaging content for you to post on social media, send out in marketing emails, or re-purpose in videos.
Humanize Your Brand
Your company’s blog can also serve to spotlight the human side of your brand. Aside from supporting your recruitment efforts down the line, expanding on the mission, vision, values, and people behind your brand can also help you to attract the 63% of customers that prefer to purchase from brands with a purpose they believe in.
Keep Customers Up To Date
As your business grows, you’ll want to keep customers in the loop about any changes—especially ones that might affect them. Posting product and press updates on your blog lets customers learn about what’s going on with your brand. If you’re sharing any updates on other marketing channels, linking back to your blog lets you spread the headline online, while still giving customers a place they can go to read the full story.
Taking stock of your content development resources
Looking at all of these benefits that come along with blogging, you may be thinking, “Thanks, I’ll take one of everything”. But you also have to bear in mind your resources when deciding on your blog categories and content.
Blogs work best on a regular posting schedule, since readers (and search engines) like fresh content. But that doesn’t mean you should just try to post as often as possible. The best blog posts aren’t thrown together in ten minutes—they take time.
As you choose your blog categories, take stock of your in-house resources and budget for out of house help. You might want to produce weekly infographic blog posts that will perform well on social media, but if you’re a solopreneur who can only spend a few hours and a few hundred dollars on blogs per quarter, you might need to adjust your blog strategy. If you’re working with more marketing resources and just secured an overly eager freelancer, regularly writing long-form thought leadership might be more achievable.
Your resources will determine the types of blogs you’ll be able to write, which will in turn determine your blog categories. After all, the categories you have on your blog are just a representation of the types of blog content your brand puts out consistently.
Aligning your blog categories with your brand
Now that we’ve talked about goals and resources, let’s get into creating your categories. As you go through this part of the process, there are two sets of questions you’ll want to ask yourself: general question and brand questions.
Why the second set?
Because companies can sometimes lose sight of their brand when dealing with all the other factors that go into building a blog strategy. When you’re busy thinking about what would get the most engagement on social, what would help push readers down the marketing funnel, or where you can compete in search, it’s easy to leave brand on the backburner. But with your goals, resources, and brand all coming together, you’ll be able to create blog categories that support long-term growth—on your blog and beyond.
- What are your goals for your blog?
- What resources do you have available?
- What types of blog content are you considering?
- What types of blogs have you already produced?
- What do your most popular blog posts look like?
- What do your competitors' best-performing blogs look like?
- What big topics do you want your blogs to cover?
- Which areas do you want to be known as an expert in?
- Who are your customers?
- What are their needs and goals?
- Which of those needs and goals will you be able to answer in your blogs?
- What unique selling propositions set you apart from competitors?
- What central brand messages does your company have?
- What does your brand’s voice sound like?
- Are there any topics your brand definitely would (or wouldn’t) speak to?
- What are your brand’s mission, vision, and values?
- What big ideas can these three principles connect to?
By bringing together both sets of questions, you can create the blog categories that work best for your brand, while still supporting your other marketing goals.
Putting your category ideas into action
Once you’ve narrowed down your categories using these questions, it’s time to start thinking about your long-term blog content strategy.
Try to aim for categories with around the same level of specificity. If your blog categories are too broad, readers won’t be able to find what they need. If they’re too narrow, categories will go unused, while taking up valuable menu space. Categories that are limited to a specific blog series you want to run or associated with a particular event will eventually end up abandoned.
Beyond maintaining a similar level of specificity across categories, you’ll also need to think of another aspect of reader experience. And that’s ensuring your readers can actually find your blogs.
Creative blog category names sound like a good idea, until your customers can’t find what they’re looking for in search or on your website. Keeping your category names consistent with what customers are searching for and with the language you’re using on the rest of your website streamlines reader experience—making your categories work for your content.
Creating blog post ideas from your categories
By now, you probably have a few ideas in mind for your blog categories, and you might even be ready to write. But as you rev up your content development process, remember to keep brand in mind.
Creating content that speaks to your brand helps you stand out in the crowded blog space. So, whatever categories and content you create, be sure to follow your vision, voice, and messages—to build a blog that supports your brand across every category.