Writing business blogs can be a challenge sometimes. You may struggle to come up with topics to write about and that will interest your readers.
To help all you (other) blog writers out there, we’ve developed a few formats that can be applied to almost any subject. Hopefully, they will provide you with some ideas that you can use to plan your blog strategy for months in advance.
(Note that the letter “X” in the titles stands for any number of list items you end up using. We’re also using [Topic] as a stand-in for whatever subject or focus you’re writing about.)
Lists are an effective method for blogs. They perform very well, especially on social media.
Let’s look at why lists are so effective.
To make the blog effective, however, you need to provide value. For example, blogs offering tips on self-improvement, increasing your bottom line, improving your standings in search results—they can make the reader feel more empowered just reading them.
We all want the latest and greatest. What was new last year or even last month could now be obsolete. No one wants to be left behind, so blogs offering the current events of things happening in your industry are very well received. Also adding a timeframe, like “X Trends in Social Media for 2018”, will catch the attention of those trying to stay abreast of the latest updates.
Reasons for using this type of blog format are similar to what we described in #1 above, with the added advantage of staying current and timely in today’s business environment.
The term, “trend” can refer to different things. It could be a list of best practices for something the reader already does, or it can describe new standards or uses. The trends can even be for new innovations that have recently been announced.
If you use this format throughout the year, you’ll keep your audience current and on top of the latest news.
Including links to knowledgeable and expert resources within your blog is a good way to provide information to your audience. If the links are to reliable and trusted sources, you get some credit for that too. You’re not expected to know everything, but your readers will appreciate that you’ve guided them towards useful information.
Certain kinds of resources are better than others, for example:
Again, your knowledge is not all-encompassing, so citing experts who know more than you on certain topics makes a lot of sense. They can educate, offer different ideas and explore topics in your industry from other angles than you do.
Following these experts will keep you and your audience updated on the latest trends and happenings. You’ll all stay better informed, allowing you to broach deeper concepts on your industry practices.
Providing a detailed manual or guide on a topic is sometimes necessary in order to give your audience the extent of information you are imparting. Guides can be lengthy, so including a hyperlinked table of contents can help readers jump to sections, as desired. Once you create the guide, you can include a link to it in future blogs or on your website.
Search engines rank ultimate guide posts highly. They also tend to get lots of shares.
Readers may want data to make decisions or to share in their own content. Including statistics in blog posts can be very useful in this respect.
When you reference a certain statistic for your industry, you can link to your stats rundown instead of the original source. This helps your posts stay fact-based and valuable while directing fewer people away from your domain.
Including commentary from experts on a complex topic can provide different points of view. You can use these types of posts as follow ups to posts you’ve just written on a particular subject.
For example, you can write about how to improve ecommerce sales through PPC campaigns one week, then follow up with an expert roundup on the subject the next.
Some may believe they give up their own authority and branding by linking to another post to share information. To avoid this, you need to provide an introduction and summary with the link, not just say “click here”. You can also link to other posts that you have published on the topic.
Providing your own commentary and summary on the referenced posts from your point of view will show how they relate to your core concepts. You can even curate several posts in a row as part of a news roundup for your industry.
You can still remain creative and share your own ideas by using these blog post formats. Yes, they use a standard format, but there is a lot of room for your personal style and input.
When your audience sees the header of these formats, they know what to expect. And you can use the format to structure your information, reducing your time commitment and stress level in writing the blog.