Do you have viral content envy?
Are you feeling lost for ideas on what to write and how to write it?
Writing good content that will engross and captivate readers can be a challenge, especially when you are short on ideas and time. Half the battle is knowing how to write a post in the first place.
Many small businesses opt for quick how-to list posts, however there are many other ways you can write a post and I’d encourage you to step away from the listicle if that’s been your fall back, because, while these are great for readers, if you’re writing posts in the same style every single time, it will soon get boring.
To help you liven things up, here are 25 different blog post styles that will help you create binge-worthy content that will have your readers hanging on your every word. I’ve also included some examples from posts I’ve written for various sites over the past few years to illustrate each type of post.
#1 Product Review
This is one of the simplest types of posts. You pick a relevant product (whether that be a consumer product or book etc) and analyse it to help the consumer make an informed buying decision. If you are clever, you will compare your own products to competitors and be honest about the pros and cons. People love to be informed and hate to be manipulated. If you’re honest about your products strengths and weaknesses in comparison to others, this is rather refreshing and intriguing for the reader, meaning they are more likely to find it useful, share it and ultimately buy from you if your product is a good fit for them. Here’s an example of a book review blog post.
#2 Service Review
Similar to the product review, a service review analyses the strengths and weaknesses of a service or experience. In a service review you’d look at customer experience factors such as punctuality, behaviour, expertise, presentation, competence, and professionalism, essentially how the service made you feel and whether or not you felt that it lived up to your expectations based on the way it was promoted. If you’re a food blogger, you could just pick a bunch of recipes or restaurants to review for service review posts. If you’re an accountant, you might compare different cloud-based bookkeeping services.
#3 Place Review
In a place review the focus is also on service but also ambience and environmental factors. Outlook, views, and outcomes for you in terms of how the experience or place made you feel are important factors in place reviews.
#4 How to/instructional Post
Even though I’m advocating moving away from the listicle, it’s important to include it in this list, because you should still include listicles in your blog post arsenal…. just not all the time. A good how-to post will kick off with questions that hit on pain points the reader has and then set about providing step-by-step instructions on how they can overcome that pain point. The pain point might be a gap in knowledge about something technical or it might be just a lack of confidence in moving forward with a particular approach to something. Here’s an example of a how to/instructional post I wrote for Social Media Examiner.
#5 Cautionary Tale Post
A cautionary tale post is kinda like a negative case study. It’s a “don’t make this mistake” type post that highlights a story about an experience, business, process and then systematically explains why that wasn’t the best approach, what you learned from the experience and how you’d do it better/differently next time. Here’s a cautionary tale about my early podcasting journey.
#6 Newsjacking Post
A newsjacking post capitalises on content that others have already written and enables you to add your own spin on an idea or hot topic. This podcast episode on branded content was a newsjacking post. I took a hot issue presented on another blog and gave my own take on the issue.
#7 Product Launch
A product launch post announces the launch of a new product and spells out it’s benefits and features to the reader. A good product launch post will address the need you’re trying to meet and show why you created the product. It will tell the story behind it’s development to give the post a little drama and it will clearly explain how the new product will benefit the reader over older products and alternatives.
#8 Service Launch
A service launch is similar to a product launch post in that it announces the launch of a new service. Again, a good service launch post will explain the story behind the new service and share how this will benefit consumers, how consumers can access the service and how they can give feedback.
#9 Interview with a Customer
This could be as simple as a pre-formatted Q and A or as complex as a podcast or blab interview that you live-broadcast and then play a replay of on your blog. You might be seeking the customer’s input on something specific, asking them to weigh in on an issue that concerns them or asking them to present you with a problem you can solve. This enables you to showcase your expertise and provide practical help while at the same time, providing valuable content to your potential clients. Here’s an example of a client interview from one of my podcasts.
#10 Interview with an Expert
Again, this could be a simple pre-formatted Q and A, a pre-recorded podcast or live interview that you replay on your blog. Most people will do interviews and invite people to watch live and then offer a replay and summary on a blog post. This allows your audience to interact and ask questions and that can really inform your future content and offerings, so it’s worth the effort. Make sure you do your homework about the expert and enable them to speak about something that is relevant for them as well. For instance, if the expert has recently launched a new book or course, allow them to promote it or give away something valuable to your audience as a bonus so that there is something tangible in it for them. Here’s an example interview from one of my podcasts.
#11 Case Study
Customer interviews can be turned into case studies. Case studies present a case to the reader. The case study might be about how your product or service achieved 3 times the results for a client by doing X Y Z. You would talk about what worked, what didn’t, how you went about it (the journey) and what the results were. You’d talk about the client’s reaction and response and what you learned.
#12 Suggested Resources Post
In this post you might talk about one great resource or you might compare many. This is a curated post in that you gather together information on the best available resources related to the topic and then provide a comparative review of each. You might list these in order of your preference (from best to least or vice versa) or you might just list them in alphabetical or random order. Here’s an example from my content marketing blog.
#13 Media Release Post
A successful media release follows a fairly specific formula. You start with a catchy headline that will appeal to a journalist and then you follow with the most important information in the first paragraph. You then follow with relevant quotes and your contact details. The object of a media release is to get the attention of a journalist and nothing else. Sometimes media releases will be republished as is though, so it’s best to write them as if they will be published. You don’t need to worry about the headlines. Sub editors always change headlines.
#14 Satirical Post
A satirical post is a post where you present an absurd idea or action as if it is reasonable and factual. The point of a satirical post is to make people see how silly or absurd something is. Take great care with writing posts like this. If you don’t do it well, you could end up in deep water and piss a whole lot of people off unnecessarily. This type of post may be appropriate when discussing politics, the environment, social issues and the like. If you are clever, a satirical post will cause a lot of conversation but just make sure people know you are kidding by the end of the article.
#15 Research breakdown Post
In a research breakdown, you take a piece of research on a topic, or research from several authoritative sources, and provide a breakdown of the main points or findings. You then provide an analysis of the research from your point of view and talk about how that research applies to your clients/your business etc. Academic language can be quite technical, but if you need help figuring out what different things mean or what statistics are actually saying, you can always approach a couple of academics in the field to help you understand it. Academics love talking about their work, especially when you are going to write about it. If the research piece is not a highly academic study, or one of your own surveys, then this is not so much of an issue. Just be sure to double check your facts before hitting publish. Some studies say a certain result was achieved but the actual stats don’t back that up.
#16 Encouragement Post
In an encouragement post, the object is to leave the reader feeling capable and inspired to take action. The post should present a problem the reader is experiencing, and then suggest the solution to the problem. The solution might be in steps or in alternatives.
#17 Thought Leadership Post
In a thought leadership post, you will be asserting your authority on a particular topic. You might be contradicting commonly held beliefs about an issue or practice and you will back this up with available, quality evidence to support your assertions. You present new ideas or take old ideas and put a new spin on them. Thought leadership is about creating and sharing new ideas and paradigms! You want to change the way people think about an issue or the way they respond to one, but not in a snooty, know-it-all fashion.
#18 Polarising Post
In a polarising post you will pit one viewpoint against another, more commonly held viewpoint. You will make a strong argument either for or against an issue and you will make your case for why you are taking a stand on the issue in a logical, coherent way. Expect people to react when you do this, but that is kinda what you want when you publish a post on a topic that people have strong views about on either side of the fence.
#19 Competition/Giveaway Post
A competition or giveaway post is a fun post aimed at sharing about a competition or giveaway you are hosting on your blog or social media channels. It’s an informative post that clearly spells out what’s in it for the participant so that they feel it would be fun or worthwhile to take part. You need to spell out how they can enter, where to go for more info and when they’ll find out who won.
#20 Q and A Post
In a Q and A post you will present commonly asked questions on a topic and then answer each one in detail. Be sure to cover every objection or question that you can think of in relation to your topic and you will have an epic post.
#21 Personal Story
A personal story post shares a personal experience with the reader. You will introduce the topic by sharing your experience and then talk about how that affected your life/business etc. The purpose of a personal story is to be vulnerable and share something that people can identify with. This builds your likeability and also builds trust.
#22 Podcast Show Notes
Podcast show notes can be in a variety of formats. I really like bulleted highlights from shows as they are easier to skim through than transcripts, but everyone is different. In shown notes, you’ll want to include the gist of the specific episode you’re featuring, something about the whole show, so people know what it’s all about, something about the guest (if you have any), links to contact information for guests and an embed of your audio recording. You should also include a section on how people can subscribe to your show. Here’s an example from my own show notes.
#23 Video Channel Show Notes
Similar to podcast show notes, your video channel show notes should feature the highlights or a transcript from the episode, about sections and bios where appropriate. You should always embed video shows in your blog post as well.
#24 Event Roundup Post
A roundup post gives the highlights from an event, whether virtual or live. The roundup post should include a breakdown of each day and the highlights from each speaker or event. You should also include your take on each speaker or mention who were your favourites and why.
Be sure to include lots of photos from the event and let people know how they can participate in future events. Here’s one I did for the We Are Podcast event last year.
#25 Checklist or Cheat Sheet Post
In a checklist or cheat sheet post you are sharing a step-by-step breakdown of how someone can achieve a certain result or outcome. A recent cheatsheet we did a Writally recipe for gave people a breakdown of what to look for in a web designer. You can create attachments for your post to add more value and even use them to encourage people to opt in to your email list (ie. they sign up for the download). Readers love checklists and cheat sheets they can download and use immediately. One that I did on this blog has been downloaded hundreds of times. All it was was a Facebook Ad Grid so readers could check their copy in ad images was no more than 20% of the image. It took me about 5 minutes to create.
Over to You
I’m sure there must be more post types, but these are the types of posts I find are most effective at engaging readers and creating buzz for your business or cause. What kinds of posts do you gravitate towards? Share your thoughts in the comments below.