#Blogchat Topic for Sunday: How You Can Use Topic Buckets to Blog More Often

by Mack Collier

One of the things I’ve always tried to do on this blog is share with you what’s worked for me.  Earlier this week I wrote a post called ‘Done is better than Perfect when it comes to blogging‘.  This post got a lot of interesting feedback, but the point I wanted to make was that when you blog more often, you become a better blogger.  That’s worked for me, as well as other bloggers I know.

Now, another reason I wrote that post was because it’s something I intend to do this year: Blog more often.  Here’s why:

As with a lot of you, my blog is technically a marketing tool for my consulting and speaking.  So really, this blog at its core is a glorified business development tool.  In theory, the more I blog and create valuable content for my readers, the more my awareness grows, and the more often I will get work from this blog.

Now for the past three years, my blogging here has followed more or less the same pattern:

1 – From January through March, I typically blog more than any other time of the year.  A big reason why is because for whatever reason, work is typically slow around the first of the year.  So I have more time to blog, plus I need to blog more to get more work leads coming in.  In 2011 and 2012, March was my biggest traffic month of the year.

2 – Around April or so, more work leads start coming in.  Which is good, because it means I am busier.

3 – By July and August, I am typically swamped.  I usually have to turn down work.  Now on the surface this seems like a great place to be, but the mistake I have made every year since 2010 is…when I get super busy in the second half of the year, I stop blogging.

4 – By November and December, work has slowed back down.  A big reason why work has slowed down is because…I’m not blogging as often!  When work picked up a few months earlier, I decided to focus on the work, and let my blog get put on the backburner.

5 – So around January or so I start blogging like a madman all over again, and by March or April the biz leads start coming back.

 

I mention all this because I’ve begun to realize that my blogging inactivity every Fall was keeping this blog from really going to the next level.  I realized this in 2011, and planned on blogging consistently throughout 2012.  But then I got the book deal for Think Like a Rock Star, and convinced myself I needed to focus on writing an amazing book versus writing an amazing blog.  So this year I decided to re-dedicate myself to blogging more often.

Then a few days ago I saw this video from Michael Hyatt explaining how he grew his blog to over 300K visitors a month:

Notice in the last couple of minutes how Michael talks about the growth of his blog. He started blogging in 2004 with only 110 visitors a month. After 2007, he was still only at 700 visitors a month, but the next year his readership spiked to 20,000 visitors a month.  One of the reasons that he credited for the huge jump in the fifth year was that he made a commitment that year to blog every weekday, or 5 times a week.  He says that was a big reason why his blog took off.  Heading into 2012 I realized that my blog was too important NOT to blog much more often than I had been.

And from participating in #Blogchat I know that many of you are having the same problems.  You want to blog more often, but coming up with ideas is sometimes tough.  Something that has helped me is organizing your blog’s focus into Topic Buckets.

The basic idea is this:  Pick 2-5 main topic areas that you want to cover on your blog.  For example for me, I currently have 4 Topic Buckets:

1 – Blogging tips and advice

2 – Case studies on how rock stars and companies can better connect with their fans

3 – Case studies on how companies are and can use social media better

4 – Promotional, either talking about speaking I am doing, work, etc.

Now the great thing about Topic Buckets is that they really help you organize your posting patterns.  You may be trying to think about how you can blog 2-3 times a week, but if you can create 2-3 Topic Buckets, then all you have to do is write one post a week for each topic, and you are set!  Also, it’s a good way to keep track of what you’re blogging about.  For example, if I look back on my posts over the last 2 weeks, I might see that I haven’t really written a post that comes from one of my buckets, so I know I need to try to address that one soon.

Now even with this approach I’ll still sometimes run out of post ideas.  A great tip I have for helping find topic is via Google News searches.  I search for terms like ‘music marketing’ and ‘brand evangelists’ and ‘social media case study’.  It’s a great way to keep up to take on news involving these topics, and typically these searches are coming from sources that are different from the same blogs and sites that are being bounced around on Twitter and Facebook.

So if you are like me and wanting to blog more often, check out #Blogchat on Twitter tomorrow night at 8pm Central.  Hope to see everyone there and hope 2013 is a great blogging year for all of us!

{ 14 comments }

Cathy Chester January 5, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Thanks for this post – it’s an amazing (and a bit daunting) concept and I am going to try it. Kudos to you for the idea. I sincerely appreciate this post.

Best,
Cathy, An Empowered Spirit

Mack Collier January 5, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Thanks Cathy! You’ll have to tweak it a bit to get the topics of the buckets right for you (and figure out the right number as well), but once you get the right topics AND right number of buckets, it really helps! Hope to see you tomorrow night at #Blogchat!

Corey Freeman January 5, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Cool concept. I’ve been wanting to post more too, especially to my main blog because users actually pay for that content. Maybe focusing on buckets could help me get my numbers up! Looking forward to chatting tomorrow. :)

Mack Collier January 6, 2013 at 10:18 am

Corey as long as the value of the content stays consistent, increasing the volume of content by any amount at all should have a BIG impact on $$$. Good luck!

Cathy Chester January 6, 2013 at 6:55 am

What time is the BlogChat?

Mack Collier January 6, 2013 at 10:18 am

8pm Central, tonight!

Bruce Sallan (@BruceSallan) January 6, 2013 at 10:57 am

Mack, I now post 5-6 times per week. I do it without fail year-round. Your recognition of YOUR cycles is invaluable (to you). Notice that you had more time in December to blog but THAT is the least-active month of the year.

My traffic went dramatically down last month in spite of truly marvelous content (ever immodest, isn’t he?).

Looking forward to discussing this further at #blogchat tonight. I’m up to 20,000 Unique Visitors a month – but it’s a hard process of writing, SEO and Keyword work, and so much more!

Des Walsh January 6, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Great concept, Mack. I’ve been heading towards a concept like that so this is very timely. I’ve also been edging sideways and a bit apprehensively towards a 5 days a week strategy/practice.

Mack Collier January 6, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Thanks Des, I typically post 4-5 a week each year till around March or April when it falls off to once or twice a week.

This year I am committed to not having that falloff. Maybe scaling back to 3-4, but the key for me is to keep blogging even when I get busier with work. No more telling myself that I can afford to let the blog ‘go’ for a few weeks while a concentrate on work.

Andrea @simplyandreah January 6, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Blogging more consistently was one of my goals for this year. I’ll see you at the chat!

Mukesh (@rmukeshgupta) January 6, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Thanks for the post. I have a blog and I post my thoughts and ideas. There is no business motive to my blog yet. I write to clear my thoughts and put them down in a place where I can go back to when needed.

However, one of the things I want to do with my blog this year is to see if I can create a sizeable audience for my blog. So, will try and post more by identifying the buckets.

Thanks for the idea.

My last post The Challenger Sales model & its relevance in the selling models of the future..(http://rmukeshgupta.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/the-challenger-sales-model-its-relevance-in-the-selling-models-of-the-future/)

Gem Webb January 6, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Hey Mack, the concept of blog buckets sounds like SEO site content structuring. Build out on a few content categories and stick to the topic framework. I’d love to see how you organize your blogging schedule with keyword strategy over a calandar year. It’s really funny to me how some organizations want a blogger to show “prior to a whole year” an upcoming blog schedule. When to me blog writing takes manifesting from the infinite over time with lots of “happy mistakes” as I call them. I look forward to learning this evening. Thanks for everything you put into #blogchat, it’s one of my staple sources of original thought guiding decisions in my digital marketing career.

Mack Collier January 6, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Gem thanks for commenting, I saw your tweet about this but before I could reply it was gone in the #blogchat flood!

I think this is a great point that I get into more here – http://www.mackcollier.com/learn-how-to-improve-your-blogging-and-seo-with-topic-buckets/

But your instincts are dead on, each Topic Bucket should also have certain keywords tied to it, and that helps you remember which ones to focus on as you write new posts from each bucket!

Awesome insight, thank you!

Kristen Daukas January 6, 2013 at 8:54 pm

I hate that I missed tonight’s chat :( BUT the upside is that I found this article and it’s given me great ideas for both my business and my personal blog. I made the commitment last January to put a lot of focus on my 9 year old personal blog and the return was tremendous. I have nothing but high expectations for me and the blog for 2013 and the bucket idea is primo for that so thanks, Mack!!

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