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2 5 Easy-To-Use Blog Post Formats

If you’re starting a new blog for your business, you probably have done a lot of research on how to write blog posts. You’ve probably come across all different kinds of posts, everything from other businesses like yours to Buzzfeed’s top 10 cat gifs of the week. It can be a bit overwhelming. Every blog post is different, and you may not know which styles and formats to emulate.

The truth is, there are countless ways to write blog posts, and many different formats you can use. In my last post, I even suggested you use multiple different formats every week or month to help you write more efficiently. Here are several different, easy to use blog post formats and how to use them.

Countdown / List

Countdown or list posts are some of the most highly shared posts on the Internet, and they are easy to read and create. Made popular by sites like Buzzfeed, the countdown post is a list of headers, broken apart by small bits of content under each header. You see this all the time: “5 tips to make you a better blogger,” “The top 10 teams in Major League Baseball,” even posts like this would fall under that format.

These sorts of posts are frequently shared because the headers make it easier for speed readers to comprehend the content of the post. They also make it and for those who may not want to read the entire post to pick and choose the content they want to read. It is easy to write because the list format allows you to gather and organize your thoughts without having to worry about those pesky and sometimes difficult-to-write transitions.

To write a countdown or list post, begin with a topic. Next think of a handful of examples. Aim for a nice round number like 5 or 10, but don’t sweat it if you can only think of 4 or 7. Next, write a little bit about each example and why it pertains to the topic. Finally, write a short intro and conclusion about the subject and why it matters to your audience. It’s as simple as that!

How-To

How-to blog posts are exactly what they sound like, a post with a step-by-step outline of how to complete a task. Here on the Duct Tape Marketing blog, Sara writes great how-to posts. These are often easy to write because you’re outlining something you already know how to do, and really helpful to your audience.

To write a how-to blog post, begin with a task and list out the steps one by one. Next, spend a bit of time explaining each step, maybe even including photos or examples of each step. Make sure these steps and explanations are broken down so your blog’s audience can understand, and avoid any industry-specific jargon. Finally, write an introduction explaining to your audience why they should learn this new skill, and maybe a conclusion encouraging your audience to practice and use the new skill.

News

News posts are editorial posts that analyze a newsworthy event and apply it to your industry. News posts get shared because there is a good chance your audience is already talking about the news story.

To write a news blog post, start by creating a listening post to keep an eye (or ear) out for news that applies to your business. This can be done by following journalists and news outlets on social media, or just checking your favorite news outlets daily. Next, find a news story that may have an impact on your industry or business in the future. Begin by writing a little bit of background on the news story, and then spend time talking about how it impacts you, your industry or your customers.

Sharing

Sharing posts are some of the easiest to write, and are a valuable tool to leverage for growing your strategic partner base. These are posts where you can share other posts or products to your audience. For example, every weekend John shares his “Weekend Favs,” three new tools that can help make running a business easier.

To write a sharing post, collect blog posts or products to share throughout the week leading to the post. Be sure to keep your strategic partners in mind, and work their products and posts in often. List each item and hyperlink each one. Next, write a little about each post or product you are sharing, specifically why your audience should click the link. That’s it!

Mailbag

Finally, the mailbag post is a great way to get your audience to write your posts for you. The only catch is that you have to build up an active audience for this to work. These posts simply consist of you answering questions directly from your audience.

To write a mailbag post, call for questions from your audience either in a post on your blog or social media. Then copy/paste the questions and write your answers. If you don’t have much of an active audience, you can always think of commonly asked questions to answer, but this can be difficult.

Blog posts shouldn’t be difficult to write. These five easy blog post formats should help you get your blog rolling with great, consistent content.

Alex-Boyer-Photo-150x150-e1420769709443Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

7 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2013

Like a lot of content producers I’m using the end of the year to look back and reflect on the body of work produced throughout the year.

chucksI’ve intentionally chosen to focus on the most “popular” posts as a way of illustrating a bit of what makes a piece of content popular.

Now, mind you, that’s not the same as saying the “best” posts of the year. Well, it might be, but it might not. In the world we live in today popular content is made so by your audience’s willingness to share it, comment on it, and otherwise voluntarily talk about it.

Factors such as a provocative headline, the tried and true list format and the particular and somewhat unpredictable nature of the crowd on a given day have a lot to do with making content spread.

The following seven posts were judged most popular through an analysis of Google Analytics, social and link data. It’s also worth noting that the more popular a post the better chance it stands to rank higher in subsequent related searches, which only serves to make it more popular.

1. 8 Alternatives to Google Keyword Tool – Keyword research is vital. It’s an essential tactic for developing a powerful content strategy, targeting pay per click advertising campaigns and improving search engine optimization. For many years Google offered what was undoubtedly the most used free tool . .

My most popular post of the year benefited greatly from search traffic over the last few months of the year.

2. The Best Books in the World on Writing – It’s entirely possible that the title of this post is completely off. I mean, what I’ve really compiled is a list of the books on writing that I love the best. But isn’t that the thing about great writing – it allows us, compels us perhaps . . .

This post benefited from a Listly list that took off in content networks and embeds on other sites.

3. 5 New Realities of SEO – Back in the day, SEO was more technical and less, well, semantic. Now I realize that for most a term like semantic query relevancy might as well be the name of computer programming language, but the fact is Google’s customers, the searcher . . .

A list, with the word new and about SEO – all ingredients for social sharing!

4. How to Create a Total Content System – As content becomes increasingly important in the marketing mix, it must take on an elevated place in your strategy and planning. The use of high quality, education based content . . .

Posts about content marketing were very popular in 2013 and this one benefited from the fact that it offered a “how to” system and had an audio explanation. (It was also one of my top podcasts of the year.)

5. How to Be Quiet and Why You Must – Business is noisy. A typical day might involve dozens of conversations, meetings, decisions, tasks and insights. Every thought, conscious or otherwise, roars through our heads like the intersection . . .

This may have been my favorite post of the year and I believe it benefited from a bit of a curiosity factor as well as the universal longing we all have for a little more peace.

6. 12 Month Total Online Presence Blueprint – I’ve been taking business owners through the beta of my Total Online Presence Program of late and the comprehensive nature of this mindset is certainly reinforcing the overwhelming amount of stuff there is to do online if you are to tap the full potential of building a Total Online Presence. . .

This post benefited from a Facebook ad campaign that drove people to a very popular webinar, which sold an online training program. This is a great example of using social to create awareness for content to create sign up for email to create customers!

7. 7 Marketing Metrics Worth Obsessing Over – Marketers need to measure a lot of things in order to get better. Not everyone does and those that do sometimes measure the wrong things. The obvious things like leads and sales revenue are important, but they’re quite often just a measure of what is and not . . .

This final post was about numbers and that usually spells boring, but this was a list with the word obsessing in the title that came during the first week of the year – my guess is people were finally obsessing over planning for the year. Most shared LinkedIn post of the year.