Blogging. It’s tough.

When you’re coming up with content ideas day in and day out, it’s easy to get frustrated. Sometimes you feel like you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for a new idea, and you’re unsure whether the content will resonate with your audience.

On top of all that, you have a ton of goals. You want to create content that helps prospective customers, but you don’t want to leave your loyal customers behind. You want to create content that appears in search results, but you want to make sure that your content is compelling on social media, too. It’s impossible to do it all.

That’s why I’ve started using content umbrellas to help develop winning blog posts.

In this post, I’ll explain what content umbrellas are, why they work, and how you can use them to create blog posts that resonate with your readers.

What are content umbrellas?

Content marketers care about creating work that builds a brand. This created content might help generate leads, make more sales, build brand awareness, or fuel email marketing and social media efforts.

But how can you create effective content every time? That’s where content umbrellas come in. Content umbrellas represent five categories that your content should fall under. Each of these categories has a different goal, which helps you streamline your efforts.

Too often, we try to make one blog post reach all of our goals at once. This is pretty unrealistic, and it’s much better to divide and conquer.

The five main content umbrellas: defined

1. Customer-centric

The customer-centric umbrella covers any and all topics that help or benefit your current customers. Publishing content under this umbrella helps foster customer loyalty and trust. It encourages customers to get the most out of their product, which will keep them coming back, and create a strong referral network.

Examples:

  • 10 Tips on How to Master CoSchedule
  • How to Set up Your BuzzStream Account for Best Results
  • Integrating HubSpot with SalesForce: What You Need to Know

2. Promotion-driven

The promotion-driven content umbrella covers any and all topics that are designed specifically with promotion in mind. With so much content out there, content marketers have to think about how to get eyes on their content. By quoting influencers and collaborating with other companies, you can get eyes on your blog posts.

Examples:

  • 5 Content Marketing Experts Dish How They Promote Their Content
  • The Top 10 Most Influential Content Marketers of 2015
  • How to Build a Content Program: An Interview with Ann Handley

3. Industry-specific

The industry-specific content umbrella covers any and all topics that strengthen your reputation in your industry. This content helps show that you’re an industry expert and thought leader. It encourages other companies to partner with you, and shows prospective and current customers that you know what you’re doing.

  • Why Content Marketers Should Stop Writing Short-Form Blog Posts
  • How to Write eCommerce Copy That Converts
  • 7 Books Perfect for Content Marketers

4. Tactical SEO

The tactical SEO content umbrella covers any and all topics that are going after a specific keyword opportunity. So much traffic comes from organic search that you’d be a fool to neglect the opportunity– content under this umbrella ensures that your content is visible in search.

  • 101 Content Marketing Tools: The Complete List
  • Content Marketing for Startups: What You Need to Know
  • What to Do When You’re Out of Content Ideas

5. Ideal customer

The ideal customer content umbrella covers any and all topics that help/benefit/target your ideal customer. These blog posts encourage new customers to check you out, and show them that you’re an expert in the field. Often, these posts show that your tool can help them succeed.

  • 35 Ways that Content Marketers Use Influencer Marketing to Promote Content
  • How to Perfect Your Content Marketing Strategy
  • A Checklist for Outsourcing Content: How to Do it Right

Putting it together

It helps to see content umbrellas at work in the wild, so let’s use Buffer, one of my favorite companies, as an example. Buffer publishes blog posts often, and each one fits into one of these umbrellas.

Buffer’s Blog Posts in Content Umbrellas
Customer-centric Introducing the Social Media Calendar by Buffer: The Natural Visual Way to Easily Manage All Your Social Accounts
Promotion-driven What’s on Rand Fishkin’s Phone? A Private Peek at the Home Screens of Top Marketers
Industry-specific A Brief History of Social Media (The Stuff You Probably Didn’t Already Know) and 4 Predictions on its Future
Tactical SEO The Complete Guide to New Twitter Polls: What They Are, How They Work, and 9 Ways to Use Them
Ideal customer How to Develop and Perfect Your Social Media Sharing Schedule (It Could Double Your Traffic!)

How content umbrellas can be useful

Content marketers everywhere struggle to create editorial calendars that check all the boxes. Content umbrellas can help you create calendars that work, no matter how many posts you publish per day, week, or month.

For example, if you plan to publish 20 posts in the next three months, you might decide on how many posts you want for each content umbrella, even if you’re not sure about exact topics. Depending on your goals, you might decide to create four of each post, or opt to create more of one type of post, and less of another.

I’ve found this strategy to be extremely useful in creating posts at When I Work, but also in the writing of the blog. Content umbrellas help me cover all of my bases.

Getting started

The best way to get started with content umbrellas is to open a Word doc and start brainstorming. For each of the five content umbrellas, come up with 5-10 posts that would fit the bill for your audience. You’ll soon see that working within the structure of content umbrellas will help with your creativity. Before you know it, you’ll have a healthy list of topics to choose from.

For more help implementing your company’s blog strategy check out GetApp’s GetRank of the top 25 content marketing applications, which can help you find the right tools to put these practices into place.

This is a guest post contribution to the Lab from Rob Wormley. Rob is a content marketer and author. Over the past seven years, he has developed digital marketing strategies and content for best-selling authors and businesses all across the country. He currently works as the Head of Content Marketing for When I Work.