August 8, 2012 E3

Complete Guide to Writing a Blog Post (4/4)

Having trouble thinking of what to blog about?  Planning a variety of different types of blog posts helps figure out what your target audience wants from you.  In Part 1 of the Complete Guide to Writing a Blog Post we discussed how to make your content unique and useful.  In Part 2, we talked about effective post titles, opening lines, and scannable content.  In part 3, I went over granular posting strategy and the optimal length and frequency of posts.  In this post, I’ll introduce you to the top 15 types of blog posts that are the most effective and useful for your content marketing strategy.

Top 15 Types of Blog Posts

One problem with beginner bloggers is that they often times write the same type of post over and over again, not knowing if their audience likes that particular type of content.  Other times, beginner bloggers are not sure what types of posts are out there and they don’t know how to begin blogging.  In this article, I’ve listed the 15 most effective types of blog posts.  There are many to choose from and you should experiment with several of them to see which works best for your target audience.

Top 15 Most Effective Types of Blog Posts

The following is a list of the most effective types of blog posts.  They are in no particular order and all should be considered when planning out your posting strategy:

  1. Tutorials:  My personal favorite.  Tutorial blog posts offer valuable and relevant knowledge regarding a topic your target audience is interested in.  In my experience, this is the most popular type of blog post as most people searching the web are looking for a solution to a problem.  You should offer free advice, tips, and techniques that are proven to work and you should do it in a step by step fashion.  Answer the questions of your target audience and your blog will be poised to grow.
  2. Reviews:  A highly popular search term on Google, Review posts should provide your audience with honest insight regarding virtually any product or service related to your topic.  Traditionally, these are also the most profitable to monetize, since many people look for reviews before they purchase something.
  3. Lists:  These posts are fairly easy to write and often gain the attention of other bloggers in the web.  Posts such as “The Top Ten”, “25 Ways to…”, “The 8 best…”, command attention in search results pages and have extremely successful click through rates.  People like lists because they are simple to read and navigate.  They also consolidate a lot of information into a nicely readable format.
  4. Link Posts:  Similar to a “List Post”, these blog posts aggregate a number of other peoples’ posts, sites, or resources into a single list.  For example, a post titled “Best Restaurants in Pittsburgh” might have a dozen or so names of restaurants listed with links pointing out to those restaurants’ menus or websites.
  5. Informational:  Another popular type of post is where the blogger provides useful information regarding a topic.  This could be a definition of a term, an update, news item, or an explanation about something.  These types of posts form the foundation of sites like Wikipedia, news media outlets, and support forums.
  6. Interviews:  A unique form of blog post, Interview posts gain traction because it is usually difficult for just anyone to get hands on information from a particular source.  Don’t overwhelm your interviewee, typically one or two well thought out questions is sufficient to hold the attention of your audience.
  7. Case Studies:  Another example of a post that offers valuable information to your target audience, Case Study posts trace the history of a project, client, idea, or whatever else.  It is particularly important to include things such as statistics, metrics, photographs, and other content into these posts to effectively illustrate the points you are trying to make.  A very powerful type of post for business blogs as it adds an extra level of legitimacy and authority to your marketing claims.
  8. Comparison Posts:  These posts are when someone needs to make a decision between two or more options.  They provide useful insight based on actual experience.
  9. Inspirational and Rants:  Had a problem with something?  Let it out!  Discuss what happened and what you did afterwards.  Angry at something or someone?  Write it out.  Many people find these types of posts funny, truthful, or a combination of both.  On the opposite side are inspirational posts.  Share a story of a triumph or write something motivational – people always like to read good news.
  10. Research:  An astounding number of people use the internet to search for data, statistics, and research on a variety of topics.  Successful bloggers often do the research for them and post their findings to their blog.  Cite sources and link back to them for an added SEO boost.  Put in a chart too or add some extra analysis if you have the time.
  11. Predictions:  Think you know how something will end up?  Write about it.  It’s amazing how many people are interested in hearing your predictions, especially if it is a field you are knowledgeable in.  They look for sound advice on how to plan for next year on everything from their stock portfolio, their lawn, or how their favorite sports team will do.
  12. Debates:  This is the best type of post if you want to encourage commenting and viral sharing.  Debate posts pose both sides of the argument and then see what other people think.  For even more viral potential, after posing each side  take one up as your own.  Adding a little controversy and opinion gets other people talking.
  13. Critiques:  A well constructed critique can have a positive impression on your target audience.  While not as “hateful” as rant posts, critiques are designed to provide honest and accurate feedback.  Think of your favorite movie critique blogs and why you respect their opinion.  Usually, you will want add something valuable to the discussion such as a keen insight, a unique perspective, or relevant expertise.
  14. Parody Posts:  These are all about fun, humor, and satire.  They can take many forms, including memes.  Sulu has made quite an online brand for himself by posting funny pictures and articles, such as an R2D2 garbage can out front of a suburban house.  Be careful though, these posts can often times be misinterpreted and can result in angry comments.
  15. Hypothetical Posts:  Everyone loves a good “what if”.  These posts excite the imagination of your target audience.  They also are similar to Prediction posts, but the events discussed are more disruptive or unlikely to occur.  They are also very popular with political and professional blogs.  What if Facebook ended tomorrow, what would happen?  What if everyone paid a flat tax?  These posts also encourage lots of feedback and commenting.

I hope you found this four part series on writing blog posts helpful.  Keep in mind to try a mix of these different types of blog posts to keep your audience engaged.  Not sure what types of blog posts your target audience wants?  Look around your competitors and see what types they are using.  Or you can just experiment with a couple and see which gets your blog the most hits.

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