This is the third article in a series of how to Turn Your Blog Posts into Books. Here’s the first article. And, here’s the second.
When you write a series of blog posts they will appear as a series of pages on your website. The point of creating categories is to give your reader a general sense of the key areas that you write about in your blog. And, to let them drill deeper into your content on a chosen topic. Without this, your posts will appear as a random set of pages spread across your website and the only link will be the order in which they were written.
Tip: Use blog categories to make it easy for your readers to find what they’re looking for.
[Tweet “Two simple ways to create your blog post categories…”]
1 Map Your Territory
You might create your blog categories by creating a map or overview of what you’re going to write about.
Here’s a simple two-step example…
- What are you writing/blogging about? Leadership
- What are the key parts to doing that really well? Communication, Vision, Consistency, Walking the Talk, etc.
Voila! Here’s your blog categories.
Here’s another example based on the process of delivering a result…
- What are you writing/blogging about? How to Write a Book
- What are the key steps to doing that really well? Start with why you’re doing it. Map out the key ideas. Start writing. Create your first draft. Edit and Update. Finalize and publish.
Bingo! There’s your blog categories.
Blog Category Examples
- GeoffMcDonald.com – my blog categories are on the right hand side of this page. I have 12 categories and seven of these fit under the Ideas Marketing model that I operate from and am writing a book about. Book Rapper is a big category on its own, Book Reviews is a general category and Ideas is catch-all for all the things that don’t fit into the other buckets.
- Content Marketing Institute – with oodles of content, their blog categories are now listed on the right hand sidebar as a series of How-To Guides
- The New Daily – an online newspaper that has their article categories displayed in their menu – Eight high level categories – News, Sport, Money, Entertainment, Life, Weather, Games, Multimedia. Then in their drop-down menu is a further 30+ categories.
Just Start Publishing
A second way to create your blog categories is to simply start writing some blog posts and create categories as you publish your material. This approach is not as precise and it does enable you to just to get started without thinking too much or planning too much.
The key to making this work is to consistently refine your categories until you lock onto the key things you write about. Whilst you don’t want to chop and change too much, some degree of editing is to be expected. As you publish more often you can note which categories you write a lot about and which ones you don’t. You can then expand some categories and perhaps delete some others.
[Tweet “Blogging is like growing a garden: it’s a constant prune and edit – including your categories.”]
Tip: Having blog categories is also really useful for you as the writer to know which areas you’re writing about. It can help you to decide what to write about – more in one area? less in another?
Turn Your Blog Posts into Books
If you’ve set your blog posts up in advance with categories and tags, then you have a basic skeleton outline of your potential book. I love mind maps and that’s what I’d do next. Mind map your blog posts onto the categories and tags that you already have. The categories would become the chapters of the book and the tags would become the headlines within each chapter. Arrange the tags in the logical order that makes sense for each chapter to create a sensible flow of ideas. This is a quick and dirty way to add muscle to your basic skeleton of a book. Then you simply need to insert your blog posts under each tag and you’ll have a basic book. A strong edit should give you a reasonable result from this simple process.
If you don’t have clear blog categories when you start with this process, simply start grouping your articles. If you’re not sure about mind maps, then create a bunch of post-it notes with your blog post titles on them and start arranging them on your wall. This makes it easy to slot them into a category and change your mind later if you need to.
I have structured my main post categories for this blog around the key concepts for the book I’m writing at the moment on Ideas Marketing. My categories are listed on the right hand sidebar of this post. And, I’m literally following this process: creating a mind map and sorting the articles per the categories and tags.
PS: In case you’re wondering… I use Mind Node as my mind mapping software.
Tip: Do a mind map of the categories and tags of your blog posts to create a basic skeleton for your book.