Blog content: trunks, branches, leaves

by Julie on August 10, 2009

TreeI just came across a post by Ari Herzog where he answers the question, ‘Should bloggers only blog about one topic or is it okay for them to talk about a lot of different things?’

I was relieved actually to see that his answer was quite liberal; he (with quote help from Jake Halpern) said that bloggers need to blog about what interests them. If the topics start to spread, so be it.

But, I have to add something to that. I agree that if you aren’t writing about your passions, then the writing will fall flat. Still, I think there has to be a tie that binds. It could be an industry, a product, a service, a genre, a person, a group, a pair of pants…something.

When I talk to companies/business about blog content strategy, I use the image of a tree. The blog’s main topic, your main theme is the trunk of the tree. All of the posts that you write are the branches and leaves of the tree.

Some posts will literally spring from the trunk, like those first two or three branches that separate and grow up and out.

Some posts will be quite far removed from the trunk, they’ll be those teeny tiny branches, fifty feet out, reaching into the sun – but they will still be connected to the trunk, they’re definitively part of the same tree.

And then you’ve got the posts that are everything else in between. But there’s always a connection, no matter how small.

Why is this important?

  1. You don’t want your readers to get lost or confused. Make them feel good and smart, not disoriented and dumb.
  2. You want to have a point. Otherwise you might end up sounding disoriented and dumb.
  3. If you’re blogging for business, it’s good to have a tie back to your product, service or industry. If your blogs purpose it to showcase your talents as a dance coach, I’m not sure how talking about the many ways to cook an egg will help you.
  4. You’re building a relationship with your readers. If you always blog about painting and suddenly throw in some posts about roller derbies, they’re going to feel a rift in the relationship. They might even feel abandoned and leave you comments like, ‘I don’t even know who you are anymore.’

I’m all for expanding your content. The more branches you create, the more likely you are to catch the web traffic blowing by in your tree. Just do your readers a favor and maintain your core connection.

Image credit: joiseyshowaa

Cross-posted on Writing Roads

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andi August 10, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Great post. I think this is where mind-mapping is a great way to “map” out your topics or editorial calendar, just to see the buckets of content that you have and where you might be slipping too far away from your core content. There are so many free tools out there that allow you to be creative and organized at the same time.

2 Mark Sherrick August 10, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Keeping your posts within a certain area can help you concentrate better. For instance, I have my marketing blog, which covers marketing/advertising/random business whatnots, and I have my personal blog – which covers the mundane stuff. Occasionally there is a common thread, but in the marketing blog, I don’t all of a sudden start talking about my dog going to the vet, or something like that, because chances are it won’t tie back.

Of course, maybe I’m just fooling myself, and the same people who want to read me ranting about stupid marketing ideas want to read about my dog going to the vet and getting her shots….lol.

Leave a Comment