Lean production solves the problem of inventory with a technique called “pull”, explains Eric Ries in his business book “The Lean Startup”. Rather than having the business carry large inventories of many different items, manufacturing and shipping is done on an “as needed” basis. When a unit is used or sold, that creates a “hole” in the dealer’s inventory, which automatically sends a signal to a restocking facility, and a similar signal to a regional warehouse, then yet another signal to the factory. “It’s as if the whole supply chain suddenly went on a diet,” Ries concludes.
Working through this fascinating book, it occurred to me that blog content writers could take advantage of the “pull” technique as well. Of course, blogging itself is a form of “pull marketing”. Online marketing through blogs helps to get a business “found”, and quickly. After Hubspot interviewed hundreds of marketing professionals, researchers concluded that inbound marketing channels, in contrast with “traditional outbound marketing in which businesses push their messages at consumers”, deliver at a dramatically lower cost per sales lead.
I was thinking that, from an “inventory” viewpoint, that lean production principle might relate to the categories set up for a business blog. Categories help readers find their way to content that matches their specific interests. When you’re just beginning to post blogs for your business or practice, organizing the material isn’t so important, but as you continue posting content, and you’ve been doing that for several years – those categories come to be invaluable.
The “lean production” concept comes in when you’re studying your blog report from, say, Google Analytics. The report shows which categories were most frequently viewed by readers that week. Let’s say there were twenty five “sessions” for a particular category. That tells you, the blog content writer, to “replenish” that category with new content in the same manner as the car dealer might replenish its stock of front bumpers based on 25 customer orders.
In other words, the content creation would be driven by the ‘demand” for each category, with the blog itself functioning as a consumer survey tool!.
Blog category analytics can provide “pull”!