14 Cool Blog Post Types You Can Write
When it comes to writing, starting is the hardest part. Well, that and maybe editing so it doesn't suck. I was talking with Michael last night about my process. He and I couldn't be more different, it seems. Michael just sits down and writes. Being a geek, I have a formal process that I use (yes, I'm using it right now). And within that process, I make an outline, which conforms to a "template" of an article. I don't know where I got all my ideas -- either osmosis from reading other blogs or just natural writing structure since I'm decades-deep -- but here are 14 cool blog post types you can write with relative ease. When you get the idea for your next article, maybe it'll plug into these frameworks.
1. Tell a Personal Story
We're humans, and we love a good story. Good stories have a point that teaches a lesson or entertains. Like Aesop's fables, you know? Sharing your life experiences is a way of connecting. Moms love mommy blogs because they use stories to share parenting advice. It seems every recipe site has the story as to why the cook likes the dish, and the family history to get it.
2. Make a List
You see "listicles" all the time. "10 Things I Hate About Microsoft", "7 Ways to Save Money on Your Cable Bill", and "Fashion Trends for Summer 2021" are all lists of things. These lists are usually easy to write for your industry.
3. Deliver News
I guess no one reads newspapers anymore. As one who used to get dozens of magazine subscriptions, I confess I get zero now (sorry, Conde Nast!). We almost all get our news online now -- whether it's from the Facebook feed or an industry blog. We're glued to screens, so you can deliver news via your blog too. Internal updates, upcoming events, industry news -- these are all easily assembled.
4. Share Your Opinion/Review
Building on the idea of news, you can add your opinion. What's your take on the latest release of that software, car, kitchen gadget, baby product, book, or electronic device? I once wrote about how the Apple Watch changed my life. My opinion at the time was incredulous. I had no idea that I would like it (no, not an Apple fanboy). What's a purchase you've made lately that you liked (or hated)? What's a trend you're following? Share your take on them.
5. Explain How To Do Something
Teach. One of the most common (and useful) blog posts explains how to do something. Step by step tutorials are valuable, especially with visual support. In the past year, I've wired a thermostat, changed a hard drive in my Mac, and learned how to cut a custom frame mat from blog posts. And I've written dozens of how-to's over they years too, including here at RB. Explain your experience, then list the steps. Boom.
6. Interview an Expert
If you know an expert in a relevant subject, arrange an interview. Assemble some smart questions, turn on your recorder, and go. Vlog format is great, but so is a transcript (which matters for SEO). Keep it brief out of respect for the interviewee's time, as well as the audience. Edit it to be the best questions & answers.
7. Gather Posts for a Round-Up
I often advise folks to start their blog by curating content of others. Collect a few useful links, describe them, and add your feedback. "What 10 Experts Predict for 2021" published in December 2020 is eye-catching. "8 Sites Every Designer Needs to Read", "13 Essential WordPress Plugins", and "My Favorite Holiday Recipes" are all easily assembled and fun to write about (if they're your thing...).
8. Publish a Case Study
Research is hugely valuable. If you can take data from a particular case and write the success story (or tragedy) for something, others can learn the lessons. In your business, if you took a client from rags to riches or your watched an organization make a critical mistake or you have statistics on a recent event, write it up. Problem/solution outline is your friend. Before & after... And I will reiterate the use of data -- the more data you can deliver well, the more useful the post.
9. Show Behind the Scenes
In the era of social media 'best lives', it's refreshing to see behind the scenes. I love reading posts and seeing video of what happens backstage. Revealing the process teaches. It humanizes. It entertains. So if you have a way of revealing your backstage life, your readers may connect with you better.
10. Share Statistics
Although they're time-consuming to make, infographics and reports can be hugely popular and shareable. There are tons of free ways to make infographics (Google "free infographics" and you'll see). Be sure to check and cite your data sources.
11. Summarize an Event
Did you attend a (virtual) conference? Share your story. What did you learn? What did you see? What was the vibe? Was it worthwhile? Not everyone can attend every event, so a good write-up helps those who missed out.
12. Describe Your Plans
Working on something big? Tease it. Tell your audience what you're up to. Suppose you're writing a book, developing an online course, or going on tour. You're marketing your plan in a post. You're adding a bit of tension to your work and to the rollout. You're making a commitment to your audience too.
Although newsjacking -- writing a post based on a current event -- has a short lifespan, it can drive traffic. For example, you could relate an idea to the Super Bowl, the local council meeting, a global pandemic (at the beginning was best...), or when the celebrity gets caught doing something shady. Yes, it's click bait, but done well, you can capture new readers.
14. Run a Survey
I mentioned using statistics earlier, and you can even do research to generate them with your audience. Post a survey and then share the response. It can be telling as to what they care about, like, dislike, or see happening. "What do you think is the most important trend in our industry (with a list)?", "What market segment do you belong to (with a list)?" or "Do you think this idea is important, yes or no?" can illustrate what your market is doing. Run the survey, publish the results. You just created value.
Use these Blog Post Types Any Time
The next time you get stuck, review this list. Chances are good you'll get a new idea for a post. Or if you're like Michael and you keep a backlog of ideas, you can see how to apply these structures to an existing idea. The overarching goal here is to keep your writing consistent to enable better engagement of your audience. Good writing habits keep you in flow, which keeps your blog going. And that consistency is essential for long-term success. Here at Renegade, we have a long-term plan ourselves. In this competitive market, we're adding at least two posts a week for a year. And at least for me, I use these blog post types as a driver. This one is a list :)
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