A couple of years ago I talked about the concept of using Topic Buckets on your blog. The process is pretty simple. You pick 3-5 main topic areas that you will cover on your blog, and each one is a ‘bucket’. Then you write posts that are related to each bucket. Ideally, the 3-5 Topic Buckets would fold under the larger umbrella of the blog’s focus. For example, you might blog about parenting, then pick 3-5 sub-topics of parenting that you want to write about.
The advantage to this approach is that it helps give your blog structure and focus, plus it helps you the blogger post more often as it makes it easier for you to organize your content and see which topics you want to post about.
Originally, the idea of Topic Buckets was to help personal or non-business bloggers with their writing, but with a little tweaking this format can also work for blogging businesses.
For a business blog, instead of focusing on 3-5 areas with your Topic Buckets, you could instead focus on 3-5 different areas of your business or product offerings.
For example, my current Topic Buckets here as they relate to my business are:
1 – Speaking (including workshops and industry events)
2 – Consulting
3 – Book promotion
4 – Sponsorships (Such as #Blogchat, etc)
These are the four main revenue sources that I want to focus on, and I can create a Topic Bucket for each. Note also that I have prioritized my Topic Buckets; Speaking is a bigger priority for me than Sponsorships, etc.
To give you a sense of how this would work, let’s look at last week’s posts here and see which bucket they would go into:
Monday – How to Be An Amazing Public Speaker, Especially If You Are An Introvert (Speaking)
Tuesday – Fan Organizes Global Movement Celebrating Nutella, So Brand Sends Her a C&D Letter (Consulting and Book Promotion. Also note to self: Title is too damn long)
Wednesday – How to Create and Market a ‘Cool’ Product With Social Media (Consulting and Book Promotion)
Thursday – So How Much Money Will You Make From Writing a Book? (This one really didn’t find into any of these Topic Buckets, it was mainly a ‘helpful’ post I wanted to write to address questions I get all the time)
In addition, I publish the Think Like a Rock Star newsletter every Tuesday, which gives me another chance to pull from one or more of these Topic Buckets.
I wanted to focus on Monday’s post because I think it was the best one of the week in terms of applying the Topic Bucket strategy to a business blog. The post is instructional and has a lot of solid tips for any would-be speakers, especially introverts. But if you squint your eyes and look closely, you’ll see that the post is really a commercial for hiring me as a speaker.
So as a business, how could you apply this model?
Let’s say you are a mid-sized B2C that makes consumer electronics. Your four Topic Buckets could be:
1 – Product Line A
2 – Product Line B
3 – Customer Support
4 – Company Announcements
Now looking at this list (and assuming it’s prioritized), we can also use this as the basis for a posting schedule for our blog. Let’s assume we will shoot for writing 3 new posts a week. An easy way to tackle this would be to simply write one post from each of the first three Topic Buckets, each week. Then if the company has some news to share, write a 4th post that week from the Company Announcements Topic Bucket.
Or if the goal of your blog was to establish thought leadership, you could create content categories as your Topic Buckets. These could be the areas where your company wants to build awareness and establish your expertise. For example, ff you were a B2B company that sells security software, your Topic Buckets might be:
1 – Data Protection
2 – Data Encryption
3 – Cloud Security
These are the three areas where you want to be associated as a ‘leader’ and ‘expert’, so blog on these three topics.
Steps for using Topic Buckets on your business blog
So if you want to adopt the Topic Bucket approach to your business blog:
1 – First identify 3-5 key areas of your business that you want to highlight. These could be products and services, or topics associated with your products and services.
2 – Prioritize these Topic Buckets. The most important Topic Bucket is the one you want to write about the most, etc.
3 – Focus on creating content that is related to each product/service in each Topic Bucket, but not directly about it. For example if you want one topic bucket to focus on your cooking utensils, maybe the focus on that Topic Bucket should be on some aspect of cooking that relates to the utensils.
4 – Focus your Calls To Action on your reader performing a specific action related to each Topic Bucket. I’ll cover Calls To Action more in tomorrow’s post.
So there you have it, that’s how you can apply Topic Buckets to your business blog. If you start using this approach, I think you will find that it’s much easier to get your content organized, and it’s a definite help when it comes to planning out your posting schedule, finding topics to write about, etc.