How Do You Filter Your Blog Content Decisions?

Filed as Features on May 7, 2007 8:45 am

There are four basic filters I’ve found I use to determine whether or not to blog about a subject or issue.

  • Content Match
  • Personal Investment
  • Benefits
  • Moral/Cultural Values

When we decide to choose a subject to blog about, consciously or unconsciously, we pass it through our personal filters to determine whether or not to blog.


Content Match Filter

Before choosing to blog about any topic, I run it by my personal filter that asks the big question: Does this match my blog’s content and purpose.

No matter how cool the subject, or how hot, no matter how much fun it is, if it doesn’t match my blog’s content and purpose, I won’t blog about it.

Filtered flowers - photograph by Brent VanFossen, graphics by Lorelle VanFossen, copyright protectedI believe that the best blogs are the focused blogs. I don’t want readers arriving on the Blog Herald reading about the issues I have in finding a vet skilled in micro-surgery to fix my cat’s broken hip. You might be interested, but it’s not the purpose of the Blog Herald, nor mine as a writer for the Blog Herald, to write about my cat’s health issues. On my own personal blog, I may blog about anything I want, but here, I only blog about subjects that match the blog’s content and purpose.

There is also the sub-filter of “appropriateness”. While the subject might match my blog’s content, is it appropriate to my blog?

is not a blog about controversy. Yes, subjects covered have been controversial, but that wasn’t the intent. I’m very clear that my WordPress blog is about learning and sharing tips and techniques to help you blog better and use WordPress to blog. I decided a long time ago that controversial subjects were not appropriate for my blog.

They are very appropriate for blogs which specialize in sensationalism, attention-getting content. I leave the care and feeding of controversy to them.

Appropriate content can mean different things to different blogs. You may think you have no “appropriate filter” but you probably do. It’s most likely to be will my readers like this? Writing content that is appropriate to the needs of our readers is critical to the success of your blog, thus, it’s part of the content matching filter you sift your potential blog topics through.

Personal Investment Filter

The second filter is the personal investment filter, the decision of how much of your life you are willing to spend on the subject in order to write a blog post about it. The personal investment filter also includes the level of passion and commitment you may have for the subject matter, and the interest level.

If you aren’t really interested, nor passionate, about what you are going to write about, it’s hard to dig up the energy and steam to turn it into a good post. Especially if it will take a measurable amount of time to research and writing.

The alternative is true. If the subject will take too much of your time and energy, then you might not be the right person for the subject.

The personal investment filter weighs the value of the content with the other factors to determine if the subject is worth your time to blog. The return on your personal investment comes as part of the benefits filter.

Benefits Filter

Before choosing a subject to blog about, it should also pass through the benefits filter. This can have many names but mostly it’s the return on your personal investment that would come as a result of blogging about the subject.

Will it attract more and new readers? Will it get submitted to Digg or other popular social submission sites? Will your readers love it and want to recommend it to others? Will it encourage your readers to come back for more? Will it increase your blog’s revenue through the increased attention? Will it add to the body of work you’ve created to establish yourself as an expert?

What will you get out of blogging about this issue or subject? What’s the reward? If the benefits are enough, you will blog. If they aren’t, you may pass on the subject.

Moral/Cultural Values Filter

For some, the moral/cultural values filter is the first filter potential blog content must pass through. For others, this is their smallest filter.

The morals and cultural values filter is the filter that determines whether or not you blog on a issue or subject because it is in alignment with your moral and cultural values.

For instance, you may have a personal rule to not blog about someone who kills. You may blog about the victim, but not honor the life of the killer with your words, whether or not the issue of killing falls within your blog’s content or not.

Some won’t blog about religion. Some incorporate religion into everything they blog. Some won’t blog about stupid human tricks, hoping humans will learn to rise above honoring idiocy. Some have no such constraints and make a point of applauding all the stupid tricks humans do.

Others make a moral stand with their blog, focusing its content on changing the world with their words, thus their filter aligns their content with their stance. Others have to blog within set religious values and laws, or government laws, which restricts their blog content and expression, whether they choose to do so willingly, or not.

We all have moral and cultural values and they influence how we blog as well as what we choose to blog about, consciously or unconsciously.

What Are Your Blog Content Deciding Filters?

We all sift potential blog stories and posts through a series of filters to determine whether or not to blog it. These are the four I came up with. Do you have others you use to filter through your blog content decisions?


Lorelle VanFossen blogs about blogging and WordPress on .

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  1. By Nicholas posted on May 7, 2007 at 12:38 pm
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    Lorelle, great post. You’re right about filtering. But I think as long as you can tie the subject with the focus of your blog then you’ll be fine.

    My basic filter is an interest filter. If it interests me and if I can twist it to make it more in line with my blog focus then I’m ok with it. I figure, I want to attract readers who have the same interest as me.

  2. By Andy posted on May 7, 2007 at 5:09 pm
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    Nicholas, the same for me. If you don’t use an interest filter firstly, all others are useless, thats true.

  3. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on May 7, 2007 at 8:19 pm
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    Interest is the same as Matching Content and Personal Investment. If it doesn’t match content, isn’t interesting to your or your readers, and you don’t have the personal interest in the issue, then you won’t blog about it.

    There are times when I’ve found an issue that passes 3 out of four of these filters but the last one cut it from my publishing queue. It changes from time to time, but it happens. Often it’s the time the research will take, the personal investment of time, that kills many a topic that I’d like to do well, but I just don’t have the time at the moment.

  4. By mpb posted on May 8, 2007 at 11:26 am
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    Just musing out loud, does it make a difference if one says
    Does this match my blog’s content and purpose.

    or Would my readers expect to see this here?

    I noticed myself that if something doesn’t pass the personal investment filter it doesn’t pass a benefits filter (why clog the blog world with my take on things).

    Thanks, Lorelle