Last week, I posted an article entitled “How To Categorize Your Blog Posts”. Because I thought the Indie Beauty community would benefit from the information, I posted the article there as well. Sure enough, it generated some interesting questions. For example, Premium Indie Beauty member Christine White-Stanton of Scandle Candle asked me whether it was necessary in the first place to have categories at your blog.
A blog is an extension of your personal style as a small business owner and leader. As such, it should convey your passion and enthusiasm in a personal and authentic way. Maintaining a blog is one of the best things a small business owner can do to add value and create community around their brand. Because a blog is such an influential marketing tool, it should contain content that draws readers, customers and stakeholders back again and again. Against this backdrop, here's why I strongly encourage you to maintain categories at your blog.
- A Blog With Categories Is More Organized and Professional. A blog creates either a poor, average, good or excellent impression of a business owner. The more organized a blog is, the better the impression of the blog and the business owner who maintains it. Categories are tools that organize your blog and make it easy for people to enjoy.
- Categories Help People Know What To Do At Your Blog. When you open a magazine or a book, what makes you want to buy it? The table of contents, departments and features categorize the content easily so you can decide whether reading will be a good investment of your time, right? It’s the same with a blog. Categories help blog visitors decide what to do once they arrive at your blog.
- Everyone Is a Publisher. I believe that, if you choose to maintain a blog, it should be professionally maintained just like any other publication. No matter what business you are in today, you are also in the publishing business. That is, you're in the business of circulating content about what you think, who you are and what you have to offer at blogs, social networks, newsletters, in articles you write for other publications, etc. This content shows off your expertise and passion and paves the way for the introduction of your products and services in a subtle but very powerful way.
- The Media Like Categories. Let's say you make and sell soy wax candles and a spa magazine editor asks you for insights about the benefits of soy wax. The editor is on deadline and only has a few hours to put her story together. You could spend an hour writing useful information for her or you could refer her to the Soy Wax category at your blog and let her know she can quote anything there.
Because the media, customers and all kinds of potential collaborators are visiting your blog to decide whether to connect with you in some way, the more organized your blog is, the better.
I've written before about the importance of meeting your blog readers where they are. This involves recognizing that a first time visitor to your blog is there in part to see what you are all about. She may read your About page first, or may wonder what on earth you blog about so she can determine whether or not your blog is worth her time.
Categories make it easy for people to choose what interests them and go from there. If you make eco-friendly candles, for example, a person may be interested in buying them, but she may also want to know you a bit better first. What are your eco-friendly passions? Why is eco-friendly important to you? What do your customers and friends say or ask you about your eco-friendly positions and ideas? The answers to these questions help people connect to you and your brand, but only if they can quickly find the answers they are looking for. The best way to help them do this is to categorize the content at your blog.
Making content easy to find is a key to getting people to stick around at your blog. And getting them to stick around and learn about you is often the first step toward influencing them to buy what you sell.
With that in mind, when people come to your blog, you don't just want them to leave after they see whatever page they landed on. You want them to stay a while, leave a comment, tell a friend, be inspired. The longer they stay, the more they get of your brand. The more they get of your brand, the more they perceive of you as an expert in your field. The more they see you as an expert, the more inclined they are to trust you, make a purchase and tell their friends.
This makes you an expert on soy wax (which is good since it's a primary ingredient in your products). It also makes it easy for an editor on a tight deadline to quickly find and skim 5 or 6 of your posts on the topic and then cut, paste and credit you. It could also make you the best choice to feature simply because your blog already demonstrates the depth of your knowledge in the area. An editor doesn't have to do much to validate you if you blog authoritatively about a particular topic on a regular basis.
Question: Can you think of other reasons why it's best to categorize your blog posts? What have I left out or not considered?