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While there’s no arguing with the fact that content marketing appears to be the “go to” promotional strategy for digital marketers in 2013, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy! Cranking out consistently good content requires an incredibly high level of focus and a tremendous amount of energy. Realistically, it’s a difficult balance for any website or marketing team to maintain.
For this reason, if you’re feeling burned out and stumped for new content ideas, consider the following blog post formats. Each of these template structures provides a basic outline for a blog post or guest post style that should help you to minimize the struggle associated with regularly turning out great content.
Format #1: List Post
List posts—that is, articles with titles like “25 Link Building Strategies for 2013”—have always been a popular choice amongst bloggers. Not only are these posts easy to write (as they typically require less research than similar-length posts based around a single topic), they tend to be shared more frequently than standard blog articles.
To write a list post, simply think up a topic that will interest your audience and collect enough data points to fill out your list. Be as creative as you can with your list subjects, as readers can become burned out on this style of post, causing it to lose effectiveness. As an example, compare the topics, “7 Tips to Help You Find a Job,” and “7 Interview Mistakes that Can Kill Your Career.” Which of these two articles would you rather read?
For maximum impact, consider writing a “mega list” post that includes between 50-250 items. It’s a lot more work to pull together than a shorter list, but it’s guaranteed to capture attention amongst your audience members.
Format #2: Interview Post
People love to read, watch, or listen to interviews with others in their fields, but that’s not the only reason you should produce this type of blog post. If you’re able to secure an interview with an authority figure within your industry, you’ll also benefit by attracting the subject’s Internet following to your own website increasing your traffic.
To create an interview, begin by familiarizing yourself with any technology you plan to use. As an example, if you plan to record video interviews conducted over Skype, you’ll want to choose one of the many different recording programs out there and get used to using it before you’re on the air with your interview subject!
Then, to attract interview subjects, just start asking around! You never know who will say “Yes” to your request, so contact anyone and everyone you can think of in your industry to ask for an interview. Granted, it’s not a bad idea to reserve your first few interview spots for lesser-known industry players until you’re able to get the butterflies out of your system!
Format #3: Review Post
If you can’t think of anything to say on your own, try writing your blog posts around reviews of other peoples’ content! For example, you could review:
- News articles
- Software programs
- Paid training programs
- Entire blogs
To write a good review, remember to keep things fair and balanced. Be as detailed as possible in your critique in order to avoid coming across as needlessly negative or antagonistic.
Format #4: Links Round-up Post
Another “can’t think of anything to say” blogging strategy is to gather up a collection of fun and interesting links from around the Web and publish them as a resource list on your own site. Again, this blog template comes with a bonus perk, in that sharing other authors’ content builds goodwill with these bloggers by sending them some of your traffic. This goodwill can eventually translate into guest posting opportunities, link referrals from the sites you’ve linked out to and more.
Readers love link round-up posts as well, as they expose your readers to new and interesting websites that they may not have encountered before. So basically, you benefit from better relationships with other sites in your industries and your readers get fun new resources to enjoy—everybody wins!
Format #5: Controversial Viewpoint Post
Writing controversial posts isn’t for everyone, but if you can handle a little heat, this blog post format can be a great way to attract interest to your website.
Basically, to write a controversial post, you take an unexpected and surprising stance on something that’s viewed as accepted wisdom within your industry. As an example, since everybody’s writing articles on how big content marketing will be in 2013, you could take a controversial position by creating a post titled, “Why I’m Not Using Content Marketing in 2013.”
Two things to keep in mind, though:
- “Controversial” doesn’t necessarily mean “antagonistic.” You can be controversial without insulting others within your industry (though taking this alternative route certainly has traffic-yielding benefits for bloggers who don’t care about being seen in this negative light).
- Controversial viewpoints must be backed up to be effective. Don’t just tell the world that you disagree with something. Tell them why and support your case, as the effectiveness of your controversial blog posts depends on whether you present a compelling alternative idea or a petty disagreement.
Format #6: Process Post
Process posts can be especially valuable additions to your blog, as they come with high viral potential. Plenty of people use the Internet to find out how exactly to do things (whether it’s applying a Photoshop technique or changing a car’s oil filter), so if you can provide the exact instructions these users need, they’ll be more likely to bookmark your post and share it with others in their lives.
The key to a good process post is to be as detailed as possible, as there’s nothing more frustrating than going through a tutorial in which the author has glossed over a few key steps. Use descriptive language, images, and video files—whatever is needed to convey the process you’re describing clearly and effectively. Your readers will thank you for it!
Format #7: Contest Post
Finally, if you’re completely out of ideas for new blog post content and don’t feel like putting in the effort required for any of the above formats, you can always give something away!
Readers love free things, which is what makes contest posts so appealing. To create a good contest, find something of value to give away (a copy of a $5 PLR e-book isn’t going to get many readers excited). Then, ask blog readers to “enter” your contest by leaving a comment on your blog, sharing your blog post on Twitter or Facebook, or taking any other defined action that will help grow your business.
Set a deadline for entering your competition, then select a winner and make a public announcement of your contest’s end. Use this post format sparingly, as finding good prizes can get expensive and readers can get burned out of entering promotion after promotion.
Of course, you shouldn’t rely too heavily on these post formats to drive the content of your blog or website, as traditional, informative posts have their place as well. Instead, refer to this list of popular formats whenever you’re feeling burned out in order to prevent the “dead air” that’s known to doom otherwise successful blogs.
Have you used any of these post formats before? If so, share your favorite options for getting through blogging dry spells in the comments section below.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vima