Blog Content Idea: Monthly Columns
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As a person with a need for perfectionism, I have a never-ending quest to find the perfect way to plan out content for my blog. The more consistent my plan, the better I perform and the more consistent my blog is. So when I learned about the concept of columns and how to apply them to my own blog, I was absolutely delighted.
Having something that I know will be posted every month, even if I don’t write anything else, helps me feel secure as a blogger and a writer. It gives me a tangible goal and keeps my blog active when I’m having difficult writing months.
What is a Monthly Column?
If you’ve ever picked up a magazine or newspaper, you’ve seen a column. These are recurring features in magazines and even on websites. They center around the same topic or concept every month and are typically written by the same person. Columns aren’t objective – they are driven by personality and opinions rather than plain facts.
In journalism, columns are relegated to specific sections such as sport or politics. For blogging, you may focus on industry news, advice columns, or even just a round-up. Columns can be a category but specific in topics. Other key elements of good columns include each post having a similar structure, being formatted identically, and regularly published.
Why Should You Have a Column
One of the most valuable aspects of having a column is that it helps you create consistent content. If you know what you are going to publish every second Friday of the month, you’ve created structure and consistency for your blog. Your readers develop an expectation for your blog and will look for that column in the future. This also has the bonus of solidifying your brand and what people think of when they think of your name and blog.
It also allows you to focus on quality over quantity. Rather than trying to crank out three (or more!) mediocre posts a week on random topics, you can focus on developing columns that are high-quality. By high-quality, I mean content that is interesting, answers some kind of question and is authoritative. This is also advantageous if you are someone who does batch blogging.
Along with this, having a column adds structure to your current editorial calendar. You can use monthly guest posts to fill gaps in your current content – if you focus on reviewing sex toys but are single, you can have a guest column written by couples each month. This gives your blog a deeper breadth of knowledge.
How to Develop Columns
One of the first things to consider when developing a column for your blog is frequency. Is this a column you want to post every week or just monthly? The more frequently you post, the more content you will need to keep up with your column. Consider if that is feasible for you and the concept you are considering.
When coming up with what kind of column to have, look at what posts are already doing well on your blog. If your most popular posts are personal stories, you could develop that into a recurring feature. This is the same with advice posts, link round-ups, and reviews. My blog is not primarily focused on reviews so I do a monthly book review column. I also do an end of the month round-up of some of my favorite blog posts and articles that I read that month. This column has an added bonus of connecting with my peers and their content being shared with a different audience.
If you’re considering an advice column, you may want to poll your audience for questions each month. Advice columns can also consist of how-to-guides and DIY posts. It’s important to remember that things that seem obvious to you – i.e. how to find a body-safe sex toy – may not be obvious to other people. Things you do in your everyday life may seem confusing or mystifying to your readers but can be quality content for a column.
Other column ideas include: glimpses into your life, behind the blogging scenes, numbered lists, mood boards, favorite items, or even a sub-niche related to your blog’s overall topic. They don’t need to be complicated!
The concept of a regular column can feel intimidating but it’s important to just start. It takes time for a column to work for your blog and you may need to adjust things as you go. If you’re not enjoying it, try something different. Your enjoyment shows through your work!
Columns should help your blog have a consistent backbone and not become a headache for you. By utilizing columns, you solidify your brand, build reader expectations, and give yourself structure for your editorial calendar. Knowing what you’re going to post each month is half of the battle of developing a great blog.