The ultimate blog cheat sheet
Blogs have been, in a way, predecessors to social media. Since the 90s, people used them for personal self-expression, as a diary, or as a platform for their ideas. Brands, of course, weren’t far behind, and today we see some of the most successful businesses have or want to have a blog. Half of the top 200 of Fortune 500 companies use blogging as part of their content marketing strategy, and companies who prioritize blogging get 67% more leads.
Even with other content types becoming more popular, it is hard to compete with blogs when it comes to SEO potential. A well-written blog can propel your site to the first page of Google, and attract the right pairs of eyes for your content. There are many ways to use blog posts, according to your marketing purposes. This is a classification of blog post types, designed to give you inspiration for great content, no matter your goal.
Curating existing knowledge
Post types: Infographic, Industry news
When you are just starting out, you want to make sure that there is some good content on your site for your new visitors. A good strategy is to scour the web for good content and rearrange it in a format your audience will love. Make sure you are not plagiarizing though - it’s unethical and unlawful. There is an abundance of articles that can be used as a resource on the basics of your industry, but have you ever seen it in an infographic format? Look for ways that your content can add value to your audience!
Industry news is another example of curated content. Your customers are less likely to follow industry news than you, so you can be their trusted source for important updates, and also place news in a context that average users may not be aware of. This positions you as an expert with an overview of the entire field, and allows you to highlight your own business as an outstanding player in that field. On the other hand, it can be time-consuming to put these articles together on a regular basis. This is where you can enlist the help of an employee, intern or contractor.
Talking about yourself
Post types: Personal story, Behind-the-scenes, FAQ, Company update
There is a lot of interesting content inside your business, even if you don’t know it yet. All the questions your customers ask? Turn it into an FAQ. Questions you wish your customers asked but they don’t? That’s an SAQ (Should Ask Questions) right there! Behind-the-scenes images, new team members, a glimpse into how your product is made? People love that!
The great thing about this type of content is that the source is very close to you, so you can always find inspiration. It is also original, as nobody else could produce it the exact same way as you! However, there may be a limit to how interesting your internal processes are to outsiders, so make sure to not base your entire strategy around this type. The chance that people will search for your specific company is low, unless you are a well-known brand, so you need different content types to improve your search ranking.
Sharing your opinion
Post types: Favorite … , Controversial subject, Review, Comparison, Takeaway (from an event or a book)
Source: Domenico Loia/Unsplash
Writing an opinion piece on something that is already out there is a mix of the two above types, as you are taking someone else’s product or content and giving your perspective on it. The more popular the subject of your post, the better the SEO value of your article. Write about your favorite software used for work, or (even better!) compare different ones you’ve tried and explain why you chose the one you are currently using. Other people’s opinions are a huge part of purchasing decisions (93% of people look for reviews before buying anything!), so your post will get a lot of hits.
If you read a book that relates to your business or recently attended a conference, you can write a summary for those who did not read/attend. It can be as simple as taking notes during the event and sharing them in a blog post format later.
This is a huge service to your audience. You are saving them the investment of reading a book or joining an event, and you are giving them the best parts of the information you gathered. This is immensely valuable to those searching for the given topic or book title, and it will not only get you more visitors, but also strengthen your reputation as a renowned and generous professional.
Making people’s lives easier always sells.
The only thing you need to be mindful of is the possible backlash, if your opinion on something is not favorable. This does not mean you shouldn’t be honest, but make sure you can support everything with facts, and don’t be rude, ever.
Post types: Guest post, Interview, Podcast transcript/show notes, Case study
Get the thought leaders of your space to contribute to your blog. You can ask them to write a guest post or be a part of an interview piece. Of course, this needs to be done in a respectful way that’s not overly demanding. For example, you can ask one relevant question from several experts at once, and compile their answers into a rich post with their different perspectives. Disclose that you will be sharing their answers with your audience.
Source: Kate Oseen/Unsplash
Showcasing experts on your blog is a double win because your post will appear in searches connected with the expert’s name, and it also shows that your blog is of quality. Google will quickly make the connection, improving your ranking.
Another way to involve others is using your clients as a case study. Naturally, you need to have them on board for this. A case study is a detailed explanation of how you solved a problem for a client. This will increase your credibility in front of similar customers.
Post types: Beginner guide, How-to, Checklist/cheat sheet
Source: Daniel Bosse/Unsplash
As you grow your blog, you will encounter different audiences you can talk to. If you have the bandwidth, it is a great idea to produce some evergreen, entry-level content you can always refer users back to. These articles live on and continue to bring readers who are new to your industry and doing their first searches. Maybe they are not ready for your product/service just yet, but they will remember who introduced them to the basics.
Blogs are alive and kicking, and companies who use them well still thrive. SEO brings users through the door, but well-written, relevant content makes them stay and come back for more. From that point, it’s up to you how you nurture those relationships - email list opt-ins, retargeting, freebies, personalized offers… there are many possibilities.