Your marketing team is busy — a great thing. But as a result, it’s hard to consistently push out great blog content that brings in new business — not such a great thing.
If only there were an easier way to generate informative, attractive content that meets your inbound marketing goals, without taking up too much of your team’s valuable time.
An Easier Way to Write a Blog Post? Tell Me More!
Any content marketer knows the pain of sitting in front of a blank computer screen and waiting for inspiration to strike. As you’re pondering how to write that blog post, where do you even start?
Well, different topics call for different approaches. The first step is to identify the information you need to convey to your audience, and let the content drive the format.
But why reinvent the wheel with every blog post? We’re all for using shortcuts wherever possible.
That’s why we combed through our most popular blog posts (as well as posts we’ve written for our clients) to identify 16 common formats and structures that work spectacularly well for writing business blog posts.
Pick one of these thought-starters and run with it. And see just how easy it can be to generate engaging, effective material to push to clients.
I Need Those 16 Blog Post Templates, Stat!
As we looked across all of our best content, certain patterns started to appear. We’ve consolidated those patterns into the following list of top blog post formats.
Use these templates to jumpstart your creativity, and never struggle at a blank computer screen again.
1. The List Post (a.k.a the “Listicle”)
This is probably the most common article type (and what we’re using for this post). This format lets you provide your content in orderly, manageable chunks, which can be particularly helpful if you’ve got a lot of information to include.
Here’s why it works: Listicle posts are easy to create and easy for readers to skim and share. The listicle format also lends itself well to great titles, like “6 Easy Ways to …” or “3 Top Tips for …” – which clearly and concisely explain the payoff readers will find in your post.
2. The Content Roundup Post
Also known as a “resources” or “content curation” post, this format links to other people’s or companies’ content. Although it’s similar to a list post, it actually directs your readers away from your site (sounds crazy, we know), and then then draws them back in for more information.
Here’s why it works: Not only is it a great way to build relationships in your industry (every content marketer LOVES backlinks), it’s also a great way to build your readership (since those content marketers will likely share your blog post with their own networks) while providing your subscribers with valuable information they might not find on their own.
3. The How-To Post
How often have you started a Google search with “How do I …”? A how-to post that offers step-by-step instructions is just what these searchers need.
Here’s why it works: The How-To Post gives you a great leg up in search engine results pages, because the title matches very closely with how readers actually type in their searches. It also establishes your expertise in the field and brings value to your readers in the most simple, straightforward way possible.
4. The Expert Interview Post
An easy way to create content, an interview gives you the chance to highlight the point of view of someone highly respected in your industry. There are many tools out there (like HARO, for example) that make it easy to connect with subject matter experts on just about any topic you need.
Here’s why it works: With the Expert Interview Post, you yourself don’t have to come up with the content yourself – just questions to ask the expert, and some editing to pull it all together. You can shine the spotlight on the expert, stand back, and take the credit for your page views.
5. The Quiz Post
With blogs, engagement is key. What better way to do that than with a quiz? Your quiz can be light and fun (BuzzFeed has mastered this approach: “What Disney Princess does your marketing style most resemble?”) to something highly educational, where the reader can even earn a badge or certificate after taking the quiz and passing.
Here’s why it works: More entertaining than a survey, the quiz engages readers and provides share-worthy content. And with easy-to-use Wordpress plugins and make-your-own quiz sites, quizzes are a snap to create.
6. The Case Study Post
Take a challenge your business or a client recently tackled, and then elaborate on how you overcame it. Highlight the steps you took, explain how and why you chose the solution you did, and detail your results.
Here’s why it works: Everyone likes a good success story, so case studies tend to be highly read. What’s more, pick the right challenge, and the story will tell itself. The facts of the story are already there; you just need to give it a little structure and wordsmithing, and boom. Done.
Related Content: How Long Should Your Blog Posts Be?
7. The Profile Post
Is there someone who stands out in your industry? Someone who people find interesting? Write a Profile Post about that person. Whereas the Expert Interview Post conveys an expert’s point of view on a specific topic, think of this type of post as a mini-biography that tells the expert’s story of how they got to where they are today.
Here’s why it works: The Profile Post is a great way to highlight the characteristics of or interesting facts about successful people in your field. Readers want to relate to successful people, and there’s almost always a lesson to be learned from their stories.
8. The Checklist Post
The Checklist Post lists specific steps readers must take to achieve a specific goal. To make this more than your average Listicle post, go beyond simply describing the steps, however. Consider creating a link to a downloadable PDF that gives the reader the convenience of all the checklist items with handy check-off boxes.
Here’s why it works: The Checklist Post helps readers actually do something, manage something, or make something better. That’s always a good thing.
9. The Series Post
Have a big topic that’s too much for one post? Break it up into a series of blog posts.
Here’s why it works: This format not only helps make a large amount of content manageable, it keeps readers coming back for the next installments.
10. The Guest Post
Talk about making content easy: Have someone else write your blog! Don’t forget to provide the guest blogger with editorial and style guidelines so they post stays consistent with your brand. And be sure to conduct a thorough review of the finished piece. Writers (should) appreciate a fresh set of eyes for proofing.
Here’s why it works: The Guest Post offers your readers a fresh perspective and potentially expands your audience as well, since your guest will likely share the post with his/her followers, who will likely read the post and may want to find out more about your business.
11. The Tools of the Trade Post
Give readers a behind-the-scenes look at the tools you use every day, or specific products that helped you grow your business. The point here isn’t necessarily to provide a review of the product, but rather to give readers insight into how you do what you do.
Here’s why it works: From marketing tools to blogging tools — or simply a sneak peek at the way you run your business — people are always looking for ways to work smarter.
12. The Controversy Post
What do you feel passionately about? What conventional wisdom do you disagree with? Incorporate your opinions into a post. (However, remember: Depending on the subject matter and how you approach it, the Controversy Post may light up your comment thread with negative feedback. Don’t write — and publish — in the heat of the moment. Make sure you click “Publish” with a cool head and after several reviews.)
Here’s why it works: Handled with care and sensitivity, the Controversy Post can spur productive debate and discussion. And getting your readers thinking is always a good thing.
13. The Dispel an Industry Myth Post
If you feel there’s a popular misconception about your industry, describe your position and defend it. Think: “Top 10 Reasons Working From Home Isn’t Glamorous.” But like the Controversy Post, do so gracefully. Debunking industry myths shouldn’t turn into the controversy described above.
Here’s why it works: This type of post is pure information at its best. If everyone is zigging and you think they should be zagging, your readers should know this. Let them know why zagging is in their best interest, and if they try it themselves and it works, you’ll have earned tremendous respect.
14. The Product Review Post
Did you recently select a time-management app for your business? Have you recently incorporated a new technology? How do you like it? Consider writing a review that highlights the pros and cons of a product or service.
Here’s why it works: By sharing your opinions, you can help other readers who might be struggling with the same decisions. You can also take it to the next level and turn it into our next option …
15. The Product Comparison Post
Instead of reviewing just one product or service, review two or more. Detail the pros and cons of each one, so you can help readers make an objective decision. If you’re personally using one of the products, add your experience to imbue an otherwise (potentially) sterile description with a personal touch.
Here’s why it works: The Product Comparison Post lets you pack a ton of information into a single article. These types of posts tend to be highly sharable, which can bring lots of new readers to your blog.
16. Expert-Level Bonus: The Skyscraper Post
Feeling confident? Ready to take your blog post to the next level? The Skyscraper Post challenges your writing and research skills but offers huge payoffs. Creating these posts involves three deceptively simple steps: Find link-worthy content topics, make existing content even better, and contact the right people to share the content.
In practice, it’s a recipe for creating an almost encyclopedic asset that can form the foundation for your entire content marketing strategy.
Here’s why it works: Few formats are so well-suited to establishing your own thought leadership. The Skyscraper Post establishes you as an authoritative source on a topic, unquestionably. But the real power with this technique is the way these posts become in-demand resources that people want to read, share, and link to, sending your readership and search engine results through the roof.
I’m Ready to Get Started on My Next Post
It’s tempting to push blogging way down on your to-do list. We get it. Coming up with topics is tough. Creating engaging content around those topics is even tougher. But if you’re trying to drive traffic to your website and convert that traffic into leads and eventually customers, blogging is key to making that happen.
You need to know how to write a blog post.
So what makes this whole process easier? Using a variety of formats and structures definitely helps. It keeps things interesting for your readers, inspires your own creative thinking, and ultimately helps you stay on top of your content marketing “A” game.
The possibilities are truly endless. Now, go forth and blog!
Can I Make My Next Post Even Easier With Downloadable Templates?
Now that you’ve got some great ideas about how to write a blog post, it’s time to get started. To help you, we’ve picked our eight favorite post types and created downloadable templates for you to simplify your work. Grab the templates here.
If you still need content creation help, contact us. We’ll show you how to develop an actionable plan to achieve your business goals.