Creating & Using Categories to Create a Strong, Consistent Brand

What is the point of "being on brand?" How can I blog consistently? How do you even create blog categories and why do I need them? If you have asked any of these questions about your blog, click through to read not only WHY you need blog categories but HOW you can make them today!!! As I’ve been on my blogging journey and started helping others with there journeys there have been several of the same questions that come up – How do I stay constant? What should I blog about? Why do I need categories if I am a lifestyle blog? How many categories do I need? Should my blog have a niche?

All these questions may feel unrelated but they are in fact so closely tied together. We wont have time to talk about them all today but we will focus on creating categories for your blog because that will help being to answer all these questions!

Blog Categories are so important. They keep your blog in line with your mission, they provide readers with guidance & direction, and they help you define your blog in a clear concrete way. They also keep you insanely organized and accountable, and help you fight that dreaded writer’s block. Strong Categories are a win-win all around!

CREATING CATEGORIES

LOOK AT YOUR BLOG MISSION STATEMENT AND DIRECTION

(Don’t have a mission statement for your blog? Click here and do that first!)

Go back to your mission statement and blog direction. MAKE CATEGORIES of blog posts that will fit underneath your blog direction. From now on every blog post will need to fit into one of these categories so keep that in mind (It will help your ideas stay on brand and also help you continue coming up with great content – I promise!) I recommend keeping it between 5-10 categories.

If you have too many categories your readers will not know what you are going to talk about or may not even be bale to connect with your brand. For example Life Style blog on Knitting, Reading, Style, Recipes, Random Posts, My dog, People, Nature, Travel, Photography, Things I’ve learned, Lists I Make, Passions, Decor, My house, etc…. Where are all these posts going? How do they all tie together? What are you able to offer your readers? ( Head back to Creating a Mission Statement if you find yourself here.)

If you have too few, you are not dividing up enough. For example, a photography blog with only one category – photography. How about instead you break that into several topics: Lifestyle Photography, Tips & Tricks, Weddings, Gear, Inspiration, etc

SHARE THEM

Put your categories somewhere on your blog so that new readers & older readers alike can browse your categories. If I am loving one of your Mimosa Recipes, I would love to look around to see what other drink recipes you have! This also helps you category every post you publish – you know it is going somewhere to continue to be useful content.  I have mine in a drop down menu at the top of my blog but you can share them anywhere you would like!

USING CATEGORIES

Having categories doesn’t make your brand stronger or your blog more organized but utilizing them well does! You’ll be able to keep readers on your website longer and also be inspired to constantly promote new and helpful content.

STAY INSPIRED

Have a list with you at all times (either a paper planner or a phone on your app) so that you can write down blog ideas at all times! Sitting down to write a blog post is always when writer’s block sets in. Think of ideas in class or during a conversation with friends and write it down (5 reasons to do your homework even if it doesn’t get graded.) You don’t need to write a whole post or even have an outline – Just write down ideas as they come to you! You’ll have a list of ideas in no time – not all of them will work and some will sit there for months before you write about them but it is good to have something to draw from!

SCHEDULE POSTS

Make a schedule for blogging. Do you want to post 5 days a week (M-F) or 3 days (M, W, F) or two days (T, TH), or once a week (on Fridays)? Whatever it is is great! Just make one. This will help keep you accountable to posting. “Well, I post every Friday, I need to get that post ready this week or I’ll get off schedule.” Of course there is grace with this, but it is good to have a schedule to keep you accountable!

Fill in that schedule with post ideas (at least a week out!) I use Google Calendar so I can move things around (and place things later in the month if need to) but when it comes to crunch time, I love having ideas and plans already in my calendar! Use your idea list to fill these in. When you write an idea down, make sure to also write the category that it fits in so that you make sure to stay on brand and on mission. Because every post MUST fit and if it doesn’t, then don’t write about it!

STAY ON BRAND

There are so many great ideas out there and so many things you may want to blog about but blogging about all the things will not do you any favors. It is so important to stick to your mission and stick to your categories. Make sure that every post you are about to click publish on has a home. The one for example is going straight into my “Blog Tips” category (that way you can check out all the other post I’ve shared on the topic if you are eager to learn more 😉 ) It is an easy way to keep you on brand and focused.

If you have a really great idea for a post but it has no home, try to figure out how it can be changed to have a home. Example photography blog wants to share a recipe but they don’t know how that fits. They can either a) not post it b) Turn it into a “How to Shoot Food Photography” post that will nestle under tips & tricks or c) They can just create a Food Photography Category if they want to frequently share food photography posts.

It is okay if overtime you need to change your categories and refine your brand. Don’t feel stuck, instead feel empowered to dream, share, and create organized content that your readers can enjoy and you can continue producing!

Do you have blog categories? How did you make them? What are your thoughts on staying focus and organized? Do you appreciate that in a blog? For more Blog Tips, click here!

Photo by: Stellar Propeller Studios

xoxo, elizabeth

Author: Oak & Oats

  • You are so, so right! I really appreciated this post~ Love the emphasis on being organized and staying on topic! 🙂

    Elizabeth
    thislittlehomeofmine.com

    • Oak & Oats

      Yes! I think it helps so much to stay on topic and focused! It is more important than we realize!

  • YES! I love this post, friend! My blog categories were a bit hard to come up with– I write lots of life/ reflective / how-to posts and I wanted a way to distinguish them. I realized that I had to cluster my writing around certain themes so that people would know what to expect. It takes time but you’re right– it’s so important for creating consistent branding.

    • Oak & Oats

      Yes! I am so glad you found a way to organize them!

  • So true! Once I narrowed my categories, it’s been a lot easier to consistently come up with content or head off a bad idea sooner because I realize it doesn’t fit with what I’ve been posting.

    • Oak & Oats

      yes! It changed the feel of my blog when I started doing them! and I love it!

  • Beth, you are rocking these blog related posts! You go girl! I love ’em!

    • Oak & Oats

      thanks so much Sam!

  • This is a great post! I recently redid my categories and now only have 4, but I have noticed that I need to add something that is more general.

    • Oak & Oats

      Yes! It is totally okay to add and subtract. If something isn’t working fix it! 😉 “living well” is my general one!

  • amy

    categories can be so…CHALLENGING!
    i need to go back through old posts (yikes, that’s 4 years!) and re-categorize them! eeek

    • Oak & Oats

      You’ve got it!!! Also, it is totally okay to let old posts go uncategorized unless you want people to be able to find them and see them! I have old ones that I don’t want to delete but I am fine with no one rediscovering 😉 hahah

  • Love your advice about creating categories and staying on brand. And, just because I’m a bit of a grammar/editing czar I have to point out that the word “consistent” is misspelled in your graphic. Believe me, I’ve done my fair share of misspellings so please don’t take this in the wrong way, but rather one fellow blogger helping out another!

    • Oak & Oats

      Oh lady! Thanks so much! Sometimes I just get so moved onto the next thing so I never notice things like this!!! Thank you so much! All fixed now 🙂

  • This is awesome Elizabeth! I’ve been thinking about how to re-categorize my blog for a little while now. Great insights.

    • Oak & Oats

      I am so glad that you found it helpful and useful! Please let me know if you have any other questions!!! I would love to talk more!!!

  • Thank you Thank you Thank you!!
    I have just been really wanting to pursue blogging (I’ve had a blog for a little over a year) more and this post along with your mission statement post was so helpful! I absolutely love your blog! Thanks for your help!

    • Oak & Oats

      Desirae!

      I am so excited that you found this helpful & encouraging! I am excited to see what you accomplish when you figure out where you are going and what you want to say! You’ve got this!!!

  • Even more great information! I recently started carrying a small notebook with me everywhere I go and whenever something pops into my head I just write it down. I’m still working on organizing those thoughts a little better BUT it has been so helpful! I’ve been able to narrow down what it is I’m really passionate about! Thanks for sharing this with me!

    • Oak & Oats

      YAY! You are so welcome!!!!