19 types of blog post ideas that really work
Publishing news items, articles or case studies on your website is one of the most powerful way to improve both your site’s ranking with search engines and convert visitors to customers. I’ve sometimes found, however, that clients are a little afraid of starting a news or articles based blog on their websites for fear of running out of ideas.
So if you’re not sure what type of blog posts you should write, have a read of this article which covers 19 different types of blog posts that have been proven to work. I hope this helps you feel inspired to start producing great content for your website…
1. Latest Industry News
Find a few of the most recent events in your industry and blog about them. You can even link to news articles if you feel it is appropriate. The important thing is that you add your “flavour” to it, in the form of your own opinion, conclusion, or view of the implications for your industry. Don’t simply copy and paste. Not only have you missed an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and independent thinking, but there are likely to be copyright implications.
If you quote from existing news articles, it is good practice to include a reference and a link to your source.
2. Case Studies
People like hearing success stories and learning about what goes on behind the scenes. Case studies are fairly easy to write and reinforce your expertise and experience in the field. They are one of the best ways to inspire and attract new customers.
Look through your customer list in order to identify a particularly successful potential case study. Talk through how the customer has used your product of service to improve their business. It is always good practice, and in some cases it is essential, to obtain the agreement of your customer before writing their case study. If your customer is also willing to give you a testimonial it’s well worth adding that too.
These work much like a case study and you can write a profile post about almost any relevant person, for example, about an industry leader, one of your customers (with their agreement), or someone who’s up and coming in your industry. The profile post should give some biographical information about the person and links to where users can find out more about them.
If you are able to add some facts that aren’t well known it is more likely to make your post stand apart from the crowd.
Who is an important person in your area of business and who would would be likely to spark the interest of your readers?
You could interview them to get their take on current industry events or their ideas about what’s coming next. The goal here isn’t just to have an interview, but to talk about things that your readers really want to know about. This may be business insights, lessons they’ve learnt, sharing of their expertise, etc.
5. Advice from the Experts
This is similar to interviews, but in this case you would message multiple experts in your industry with a single question (via email, twitter, or another social network). Since it’s a single question, it’s a lot easier for these busy individuals to answer. You can then compile all of their advice and views into one post.
This type of post can be very popular as you’re helping people to find resources or tools which make their work or life easier, including resources which they might not have otherwise heard of. Whether it is tools, books, websites, software, events, compile a list of resources and share them with your readers.
But be sure to give them more than just the name of the resource. It’s important to explain why you are recommending it. You can see an example of my own here, recommending resources to get free or good value images for your website.
7. Tutorials and How-to Guides
Tutorials and How-to guides are one of the simplest type of post to produce. They are easy because they involve you talking about things you are already familiar with, such as your product or service. The most important thing when it comes to how-to guides is to break down your tutorial into the smallest steps and into the simplest terms. Don’t assume your readers are as familiar with the product or service as you are. Oh, and try to avoid too much jargon…
8. Beginner Guides
Beginner guides are popular because beginners in any hobby or industry are often anxious to learn more. You can mentor from a distance by creating a beginner guide that helps meet their needs, introduces you as an expert in your field and provides great content for your website.
Beginner guides can also be great for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) purposes because you are likely to be explaining and defining new terms, while also providing synonyms for common terms. This means you are able to pack a lot of keywords in a post in a way that is helpful and informative. Something search engines love!
9. Problem and Solutions
This is another angle on the “how to guide” or “tutorial” post. But in this instance, you can highlight a specific problem as the lead into the post (everybody has problems they want solving) and then explain a potential solution. Try to think of problems faced by your potential customers in their life or business, which is relevant to your product/service offering. It doesn’t have to be a huge problem and if it’s a common search engine question you may find your post is well ranked on search engines.
10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Frequently Asked Questions are fantastic posts because it is likely that your readers have already googled these terms in hopes of an answer. You can do a couple things. You could write one long post answering all the frequently asked questions. But it may be more beneficial to create a blog series. You don’t have to tell your readers it is a series. Just answer a common question once a week, and you will have great content that is likely to be beneficial for SEO as well.
11. Questions You Should be Asking
The “Questions You Should be Asking” format is also a good source of inspiration and can create the impression that you are honest and helpful to prospective customers. While FAQs are commonly asked questions, “questions you should be asking” are the questions readers should be seeking answers to before making a decision. In this type of post, it is also helpful to explain why it is important to ask these questions.
12. Surveys and polls
Surveys and polls can be an interesting way to engage your audience, though it’s more about becoming better informed or generating more ideas for yourself than testing your reader’s knowledge. You can survey and poll your readers to help you figure out new features for your products or services, to get ideas and materials for your blog, or to obtain their feedback on the product or service you offer. There are a variety of survey tools and forms (also known as “plugins”) that you can use to embed a short survey on your WordPress website such as the free WP-Polls plugin and YOP Poll . You can also use a contact form to build simple survey questions, such as Formidable Forms (free and paid versions available)
13. Myth vs. Fact
Myth vs. Fact can be good fun to make. Ever got frustrated by the often incorrect “urban legends” in your field of interest? Or worse, perhaps you have heard about people making the wrong decisions, based on erroneous popular belief.
Well, you can do something about it! Create a fun post of the most common myths you hear and correct them with the facts. If you are good with graphics, this can be a great time to produce a little “infographic” to illustrate your points. Actually, even if you’re not that experienced with graphics, there are free resources out there which can help you put together a graphic or image to illustrate your post. One of my personal favourites is canva.com Well worth checking out.
14. Event Summaries
If you’ve recently attended an event, workshop or conference, you can write a post providing a concise summary:
- What were the major takeaways?
- What did you think about the conference overall?
- What did you learn?
These are the types of questions people might be interested in, either because they are looking for an event to attend or simply because they didn’t get a chance to attend an event and want to find out about the key learnings. With these types of posts, timing is often of the essence, so be sure to try and write the post soon after the event, while it is still topical.
15. Preview Posts
If it doesn’t jeopardise your competitive position or give any trade secrets away, you can give your readership a glimpse of what you are working on, whether you are releasing a new feature, product or service this week or 6 months from now.
Preview posts can help encourage reader loyalty because you are trusting them with information about something which isn’t yet manifest. It also has the advantage of making you more likely to follow through on any plans, so this is especially helpful for those who get distracted easily. Some might say it is a double edged sword of course. You have been warned… 🙂
16. Search Twitter for Inspiration
Twitter is a good resource for learning what people are interested in and what is topical in your field of interest right now, in order to get some inspiration for your posts.
You can also do advanced searches with Twitter to target specific content:
Look for the questions people are asking on Twitter. Or see what people are frustrated about. Then write a post answering their post. After you publish, you can then tweet them with your post — you’re bound to get at least one read!
17. Curate or summarise someone else’s work.
There is a saying that there is no such thing as original work anymore; we all get inspiration from someone else. The difference, however, is that when you present the information, you ought to be doing so in a new and helpful manner. I am, of course, absolutely not telling you to copy someone else’s work. You need to research, compile the information, and make your own new post. If you benefit from someone else’s work, then be sure to give your sources and include a link to their work.
To write this article, for instance, I took inspiration from a post published by Kevin Gates on the optminmonster website. I distilled the 70+ ideas Kevin shared into the 19 items highlighted in this post and added my own advice here and there to make the article relevant to my own existing and potential customer readership.
18. Recycle old posts
Last but certainly not least, you can make updates to popular posts with latest and greatest information. Use Google Analytics and see which posts have been the most successful. Next, see if there is anyway to update it. Maybe there are better resources available, new statistics, better images, a new angle… Since the post is already successful, you are bound to increase its popularity with your new information.
19. Video Blogs
No time to write? Prefer to chat ?
Video blogs, or “vlogs”, are becoming more and more popular. Video blogs give you the luxury of discussing a lot of content with relatively little effort. Instead of spending time writing out a blog post, using special formatting, adding images, etc., you can just set up a webcam and speak your mind.
Be careful though. Prepare your ideas beforehand, don’t ramble on and don’t spend too much time selling yourself or your services. The most successful video blogs are those that provide genuine value to their audience, get to the point quickly and are not too long.
You can upload your video to a service such as YouTube and then “embed” it into your blog post (I would never recommend hosting the video on your own website server). Another advantage of this medium is that it provides another source of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) through YouTube, which is increasingly being used as a search engine.