Your blog content influences how your readers think, but maybe not in the way you’d realized. Each post, no matter the content, carries its own emotional impact on your reader. The effect of this is cumulative.
For over a month, now, Sarah had been visiting a great new lifestyle blog she’d discovered. She’d enjoyed the daily blog posts, reading it over her lunch hour at work. By week three, however, she wasn’t as big of a fan as she had been when she started. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it; the posts were still well-written, the images beautiful.
What was turning her off?
Blog Content Themes
The blog content themes that run through your writing have an overall impact on your reader. There are five different kinds of blog content themes that most bloggers use for their content.
The easiest theme to understand are those surrounding events. Posts that fall under the event theme might reference holidays, sales, conferences, meetups, or product launches. They often go hand-in-hand with a targeted social media push prior to, during, and following the event, and have a lot of moving parts. Event-themed content must get people excited and interested before the event, feel a part of the event when it happens, and promote follow-up.
Having an editorial calendar that allows you to plan and execute a complex model of posts and social media will make this content theme easier to work with.
2. Case Studies
Using customers or real-life stories to show that what you are talking about actually works makes case studies a powerful way to persuade. These can be done as interviews, which are more personal, or approached as an exterior observer laying out the facts.
Case studies are great when you have a new product or service that you would like others to purchase. They show that what you are offering actually works.
Most blog posts fall into the training theme. We naturally write posts about how to do things, or share ebooks, white papers and webinars as part of a call-to-action.
These posts serve the purpose of the reader in that they tell them how to do something. They bring in a lot of new visits and search traffic (and bounce a bit, unfortunately) as readers roam the internet looking for help on a specific topic that answers a specific need.
As a theme, theory is a little bit more difficult to nail down. Loyal readers, especially those who make a point of reading your blog every day, enjoy these posts. They talk about ideas and possibilities and get readers to thinking somewhat like a daily blog devotional. They are not impractical; not every post can be the nuts and bolts of how to do something.
In contrast, training posts are all about “how”, while theory posts are all about “what if.” The discussion and comments section is very different between the two.
Content that you produce that shares the behind-the-scenes of your company (or, if you are a solo blogger, your life) help readers put you into perspective. Readers like to bracket things; they look to cues other than your words to help them interpret you.
This does not mean you have to have the obligatory photo of a ping pong table to show you have fun in the office, nor is it simply enough to show your cool workspace. Culture is more than just the games you play while at work. It is what makes the place unique. You could write about the books your team reads, show photos of the posters on the walls, and the whiteboards where your ideas are hatched. You could talk about the background process, something we did as we built CoSchedule.
Blog Content Theme Reaction
Themes can be considered on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis as you plan your editorial calendar. How you decide to use them is flexible, but you’ll want to keep in mind how these themes affect your readers.
1. Concrete and factual: Posts concerning events, case studies, and training are concrete and matter-of-fact. They activate the mind in a factual way.
2. Emotive: Posts concerning theory and culture activate the mind, yes, but they also impact emotions more.
Why does this matter?
It has to do with Sarah, the blog reader who thought she found a blog she loved but, as time went on, lost interest. When we think of our audience, we often think in terms of what information they want. We don’t always remember to consider how they prefer it delivered. You might have a food blog. Your audience might prefer matter-of-fact recipes and straight up how-to. Or, they might want the story that surrounds the food, making a more emotional connection. Or, perhaps, your audience would prefer an even-handed mix of the two.
On my personal blogs, I use CoSchedule with this in mind as I plan blog content. I have no shortage of draft post ideas in the draft bin (several hundred, actually). So, as I plan the upcoming weeks, I plan with a goal of equalizing the emotional impact. I don’t want a week of solid training, but I don’t want a week of all theory, either. I wanted to be sure to activate their head as well as their heart at an even rate.
That blog that Sarah eventually stopped reading? Every post was intended for an emotional impact, and she found that she was quickly worn out. She preferred useful posts that didn’t require her to invest emotion into them as she read them.
Use blog content themes keeping that in mind: some people want just the facts, ma’am, while others want an emotional boost to their day. Some want to figure out how to get things done, while others want to reaffirm what they believe about a topic. It’s easy to get caught up in the brute topics and forget that we might want to consider a mix of posts based on how readers respond to the presentation of those topics.