Build a Blog

Content marketing is much more than a string of words in a blog post. If you want to produce real, profitable, marketable results, you need to take a step back. Identify different types of posts, create variety, and forge a unique niche in your industry.

Bloggers who bring variety to their content can target their visitors, drive web traffic, receive higher conversion rates, build reader trust, improve SEO, and discover a wealth of writing options.

We’ve compiled here a summary of proven post types that feature on many of the most innovative and successful blogs out there. You don’t need to try all these examples; some types of content will work better for your business than others. And this list is by no means exhaustive. The potential for content is endless, so think of this post as a summary of ideas rather than an index of tools.

Use them to inspire your thoughts, then deliver high-quality, introspective writing that engages your specific readership.

 

1. HOW-TO & INSTRUCTIONALS

What are they?

Instructional posts, tutorials, and how-to guides are detailed and well-informed posts that aim to educate the reader. They should be fairly easy to write; you will be sharing your knowledge and expertise about things with which you are already familiar, such as products or services in your industry.

How-to posts are an effective way to communicate proficiency and credibility to your audience. They are great for SEO, as they will naturally contain keywords pertaining to the topic at hand. Phrases like “How to” and “How do I…?” are popular long-tail search terms, allowing you to market to a demographic of potential customers who are unfamiliar with your work.

How do I create them?

Identify problems that your customers may be having, and consider your blog post as the solution. You want to deliver a thorough explanation for the issue at hand. You could do this through multimedia, such as diagrams, videos, or step-by-step images, coupled with a seamless layout.

With regard to writing, you generally need to assume that your readers are fairly unknowledgeable in the area. This means you should break each step down into simple, understandable terms. Avoid unnecessary jargon, but also be careful with tone. You don’t want to appear condescending, but rather as informative and helpful.

How-to posts are a powerful opportunity to target a wide readership and establish your expertise in the industry. Summarise a problem, introduce a solution, and provide a thorough tutorial to explain it.

Examples:

How to set your digital marketing strategy
How to write compelling headlines
How to evolve your branding story

 

2. TIPS, TRICKS & CHEAT SHEETS

What are they?

Cheat sheets are concise summaries used for quick reference. This can include tips, tricks, toolsets, methods, rules, downloads, and other resources that relate to your industry or area of expertise.

Similar to how-to guides, they should highlight your professionalism and proficiency. However, you may be able to provide resources that are slightly more specific and esoteric (such as our CSS flexbox file), and thus market to a more targeted readership. Ideally, these posts will be formatted in such a way that your readers can print out, download, or save the content for later use — which is a great way to build memorability for your business.

How do I create them?

Often what your customers seek from you is guidance. If they have a question, answer it. If they have a problem, solve it. When brainstorming ideas for cheat sheets, you should try to predict the needs of your audience, and preemptively respond to them.

Some bloggers avoid this type of post as they think that providing actionable resources could lead to readers not needing their services. This is untrue. Cheat sheet posts are not exhaustive compilations of material. They will not teach customers how to perform complex tasks; they will simply point them in the right direction.

When writing your tips, tricks and cheat sheets, remember that it should be a quick reference guide that condenses insight and information into a smaller, digestible format. This is your chance to show your expertise, so take advantage of it.

Examples:

Responsive Flexbox Helper Classes
Using Flexbox for modal dialogs
SEO audit checklist

 

3. CASE STUDIES

What are they?

Case studies are posts that explore and celebrate your products and services. Typically, they will examine the success you have brought to your clients (something like, ‘How we turned a start-up company into a multi-million dollar conglomerate’) or your own brand (‘How we took over the world in less than three days’).

Success-sharing posts are great for your business because they strengthen your credibility, provide real-world proof of your proficiency, and show your audience why they should choose your business. Case studies are essentially communicating what you do, how you do it, and why you’re the best at it.

How do I create them?

Once again, think about a standard ‘problem–solution’ format. Readers will be drawn to stories about people and businesses who have overcome issues similar to their own. Make a list of the questions your customers have, and consider instances when you’ve provided a viable product, service, or answer.

Tell a story using real people and examples. A basic process is: write an introduction that addresses the main problem; discuss the solutions you provided; and analyse the successful outcome using data and proof. Testimonials can be a powerful element, so consider asking your clients how your product or service has improved their business.

Your case study should inspire and attract a new client base. Be sure to include a call-to-action button to encourages the transition from reader to customer.

Examples:

A look into an integrated SEO, SEM and social strategy
Blogging — a year in review
How to double your web traffic and make 6 million impressions

 

4. CURRENT TRENDS

What are they?

Trend posts observe and discuss the latest news, events, and interesting happenings in your industry. The best thing about writing on current trends is that the subject matter is relatable, and people are most likely already looking for information and opinions around it.

Big, industry-leading leaders may be able to provide breaking news. The rest of us can opt for timely examinations of recent events. But whether you’re sharing original news or writing an opinionated response, trend posts are an authoritative tool that suggests your business is modern, aware, and on the ball.

How do I create them?

First and foremost, your trend posts must be fast. If you want to attract the traffic of people currently searching for the latest news, you need to provide timely, responsive posts. Keep a finger on the pulse — remain constantly aware of current events associated with your products and services, and be prepared to write about them.

Tools like BuzzSumo and Google Trends may help you. These will allow you to search for and identify the topics that are getting the most attention in your industry.

When writing your trend posts, be sure to add your own voice. People don’t need a reiteration of the news; instead, provide original thoughts, criticisms, explorations, and opinions pertaining to the topic. Promote yourself as a dependable leader in your space.

Examples:

The ‘food porn’ trend
Gotta cache ‘em all — Pokémon Go and viral marketing
The Google logo — why businesses change their look

 

5. LONG-LENGTH POSTS

What are they?

As the name suggests, long-length posts are those of a substantial word length. ‘Substantial’ is a subjective term, and will differ across different brands and industries; however, as a general rule, blog posts that are longer than 2000 words are more shareable, likeable, and traffic-friendly than shorter variations.

Moreover, well-researched and resourceful long-length articles have been shown to receive 68 percent more tweets and 22 percent more Facebook likes than 1500-word posts. Long-form posts add value to your business as they allow you to share practical and insightful content, which can attract backlinks and organic traffic into the future.

How do I create them?

A great blog post is more than its length. Substance, style, and purpose will also determine success. In other words, don’t write a long post for the sake of good rankings; write a long post because you’ve got a lot to say.

Identify a subject that is relevant and valuable to your business. Research the topic, outline your ideas, and write a draft. Your first draft is not about perfect writing or seamless execution; it is an opportunity to gather ideas, follow tangents, and build the bones of your article. Once satisfied, you can edit, integrate keywords, consider layout, add multimedia elements, and so on.

It is a good idea to write and test posts of varying lengths, as your audience may respond to different formats. And remember: a long post is not synonymous with a successful post.

Examples:

Sharing content, gaining followers and generating sales on Instagram
Facebook organic is dead
How to shoot people — a photographer’s guide

 

6. LIST-BASED POSTS

What are they?

List-based posts are numbered or summarised lists that streamline information into a readable, shareable, and actionable format. You’re reading one right now: ‘Nine types of posts for great business blogging’. Why did you come here? Probably because, as is the appeal of the list-based post, you expected to find a structured layout of information.

Lists are effective because they can be glanced over, read quickly, pulled apart, and consumed in an easy-to-follow, reader-friendly construction. By promising knowledge in ‘X’ number of points, list-based posts respond to the audience’s desire for easy and immediate solutions.

How do I create them?

A simple format guide for this type of post is: introduction of the subject; numbered list of points; conclusion. Decide on a topic and identify how many points you wish to write about. Then use your knowledge and expertise to expand each topic area.

Consistency is an important factor. Titles, subtitles, subsections, and bullet lists can help in creating a straight-forward layout, but ensure the same style and format is used throughout. You might also balance the approximate word lengths (where applicable), so each item in the list is given equal focus.

Don’t forget about the title. List-based posts are popular — people are searching for them, so make sure they can find yours. A simple way to do this is to include the number (‘Ten ways to…’, ‘101 tips for…’) in the heading or subheading.

Examples:

5 reasons why you may not be ranking on Google
6 important elements that should be on your business’s homepage
3 simple secrets to help make your advertising campaign more successful

 

7. INFOGRAPHICS & VIDEO

What are they?

Infographics, videos, and other multimedia elements are visually compelling posts that tap into our inherent desire for visuals. Our brains are able to process images 60,000 times faster than text, so infographics and videos are a powerful way to communicate with your audience.

Infographics, as the name suggests, are compelling images that present information in a visually-pleasing and logical manner. Good design is essential. Videos, meanwhile, can refer to television commercials or online videos in a number of formats, including ‘talking head’ vlogs, how-to videos, explainers, animations, advertisements, and more. You will benefit from professional script-writing, videography, and editing.

How do I create them?

Decide on a relevant topic. Visual media are great for communicating almost any concept or subject, so this can be a great opportunity to address more complex topics.

Infographics require a seamless layout that guides the eye. Avoid cluttering the design with too much text; instead, include concise statements, graphs, statistics, and credible data. It is a good idea to mention your resources. The best infographics are high-quality, so if you aren’t experienced in image editing, you may need to hire a designer.

Meanwhile, videos posts can improve your visibility and SEO — around 55 percent of people are watching videos every day. Keep your message succinct; typically, you want your video to be no longer than three or four minutes. Create context by writing related blog content, or include a transcript to highlight keywords and gain more traffic.

Examples:

A professional videographer’s guide to lighting (video)
The digital advertising landscape in Wollongong (infographic)
The emotions of colour (infographic)

 

8. ENTERTAINING POSTS

What are they?

Posts that are entertaining, humorous or satirical can be a welcome reprieve from an otherwise conservative and knowledge-based blog. These types of posts will differ depending on the seriousness of your brand and industry, and in some cases won’t suit at all. It’s up to you to decide whether they have a role to play.

But where possible, using entertaining blog posts to amuse and bond with readers can be an effective way to show a unique perspective, humanise your brand voice, and heighten the shareability and memorability of your blog.

How do I create them?

If you have determined that there is room for some playful, interactive posts on your blog, start thinking of original ideas. Ideally, your topic will still be of relevance to your marketplace, and of value to your audience.

Consider your personal definition of ‘entertaining’. This may not necessarily equate to ‘funny’ (though comedic posts can certainly be compelling). Each copywriter will have their own voice — the trick is to find it, hone it, and test what works best for the audience.

Your style might be sarcastic, self-deprecating, or quirky. You might be drawn to metaphors, hyperbole, or irony. You may prefer to include cartoons, drawings, videos, or other visual elements. The best advice is to think outside the box, try different techniques, then analyse your traffic and social shares to see what is working for you.

Examples:

Fabulising your website
How to spot a videographer
The 12 days of (núcleo) Christmas
 

9. PERSONAL INSIGHTS

What are they?

Personal insight blog posts are a way to shine a spotlight on your process, your brand, your team — your entire business. The main benefit of this type of post is that it makes your business seem more personal and approachable, while also helping customers to judge whether your products or services are right for them.

As an occasional alternate-style post, personal insights can allow you to bond with readers and add credibility to your business. Plus, the process of writing about your own brand can be a great way to analyse your journey and be inspired for the future.

How do I create them?

Your customers want to get to know you. There are many ways that you could provide insight into your business: share a ‘behind the scenes’ look into your services and skills; write about your weekly routine; interview the newest member of your team; film a workplace tour; design a timeline of your business’s history; discuss your successes — or explain how you overcame failures. The options are nearly endless.

Images can play an important role, as they give your readers a literal look inside your business. Just ensure your visuals, videos, and other multimedia elements are professional and high-quality.

Personal insight posts can be a wonderful feature of your blog. Back them with a solid strategy of professional posts so you can draw your readers in, then show them why they should stick around.

Examples:

The how and why behind núcleo’s rebranding
The anatomy of an average núclealian
The núcleo workplace weirdos

 

A successful blog won’t be built overnight. It can take years to find your niche, strike a balance, and discover the types of posts that best engage your readers. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different formats. Promote the posts your audience wants — and importantly, write the posts you love to create.

Content marketing requires commitment, not just with copywriting, but also with SEO, design layout, and many other tools to improve traffic and conversion. So if you need a helping hand, get in touch with the team at núcleo.

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