Updated: Jan 24
Are you stuck on what to write for your blog? When blogging, sometimes we lose writing inspiration and struggle to come up with fresh content to engage our audience.
But did you know that there are different types of blog posts? Each type has a unique twist on how the blog post works and addresses its topic, and understanding these types will inspire you to create fresh and engaging pieces of content that will also inspire your audience.
Here are just a few types of blog posts that will get those creative brain cells working again. They are:
8 Types of Blog Posts And How To Use Them
1. How-to posts
The how-to post is a classic type of blog post and one that can be seen everywhere. How-to posts answer a question that the reader may have. After all, search engines are designed for users to ask questions and find the answers to them - we often want to learn how to do something.
This is where the how-to post is useful. Typically, the heading of these blog posts either starts with or contains the words "how-to" followed by what the target audience wants to achieve. For example, one of my posts from earlier this year was titled, How To Find Your Brand Voice (you can check it out below).
For how-to posts, you need to come up with the question readers may have first. So, in the example below, the questions I came up with were "what is a brand voice?" and "how do I find my brand voice?". From this, I came up with a series of steps someone needs to take to answer the latter question (five in this case), and then created the title and the blog post structure.
How-to posts are a great way to answer complex questions readers may have and how they can go about achieving what they need/want. They focus heavily on the pain points of the buyer persona, and they are perfect opportunities for you to showcase your expertise in that area.
2. List posts
List posts (also known as listicles) are another popular type of blog post, alongside the how-to post. Think your classic Buzzfeed kind of listicle.
These are a lot of fun to write, they can be about any topic, and you can make them as long as you like. A rule of thumb to go by is the bigger the list of numbers, the fewer words you use to elaborate on each point. Likewise, the smaller the list, the more content you use to explain each list point.
Listicles longer than 10 typically have no more than 100 words for each number, whereas listicles shorter than 10 may have between 100-500 words each. Take a look at this recent example by Elna Cain, who has a listicle of 35 items on searching for online writing jobs. She even adds a handy table of contents at the top to make navigation easier!
The takeaway here is not to snub listicles as cheap clickbait. List posts have developed in the past few years because people have wised up to clickbait, and they are incredibly useful as quick sources of information for readers. If they are written well and follow the post heading appropriately, then they will not be clickbait.
3. Pillar posts
Pillar posts (or pages) cover a broad topic in one long blog post, providing an overview of the topic in a broad sense but not delving into too much detail. These posts are different to topic cluster posts, which delve into aspects of the broad topic in more detail.
You want your pillar page to cover your chosen topic (e.g. digital marketing, blogging, copywriting, etc.) broadly, and create cluster posts on each subsection of that pillar post that hyperlink back to the pillar page.
This is a great new(ish) SEO strategy, as it organises content together in modules of pillar pages and their linked cluster posts, and those links are fed back positively into Google's search algorithm (source: Hubspot). Essentially, Google's algorithm finds your pillar page and cluster content and says, "Hey, this site is well-connected and easy to navigate! I'll bump them up the list so others can benefit from it."
When creating pillar content, it's better to start with a general topic and create a list of subtopics that feed into the main one. For example, a general topic of blogging might have the following subtopics:
How to structure a blog post
Types of blog posts (i.e. this post!)
Using keywords (blogging SEO)
Once you have written these (and other) subtopics, you can create your pillar page by providing a broad overview of the most important of these cluster topics
4. "What is/are" posts
These can also be known as "expanded definition" posts. I like to call them expository posts due to the expository writing style used to write them. Expository means explaining something, either a definition or a complex topic.
So, expository posts are useful for explaining challenging topics in your industry or introducing a topic to someone unfamiliar with it. They often include a few tips and tricks relating to that topic, for example, "three tips on how to use keywords". The title of this post might be:
What Are Keywords? Here Are Three Ways Keywords Will Boost Your Blog SEO
(This is a rough title, but you get the idea.)
Expository posts are great icebreakers to get started with when creating a content plan. One post or a group of posts might have a significant keyword, (e.g. "accounting", "CRM system management", etc.), and you can use that keyword to create a "what is" blog post. Afterwards, you can use them for technical terms that you think need a deeper explanation.
5. Current events/newsjacking
Posts centred around current events are rarer for business blogs, but still useful. Also known as "newsjacking", this type of content comes into play when something notable happens in your industry (or elsewhere) that goes viral online and in the news.
When something like this happens, it's the perfect opportunity to jump on the bandwagon and write a blog post or a piece of content about that event. It's worth noting that speed is key with newsjacking. It's no good writing about a viral event months after it happened - people won't be interested in it anymore!
You also need to be careful when selecting current events and news stories to write about. If they have no relevance to your industry (e.g. a garden and landscaping expert discussing a viral court case on financial matters), then it looks obvious that you are discussing it for brand visibility.
So, choose your topics wisely, and make sure you're quick when writing about them!
Is there a product or service in your industry you feel would be valuable to your audience? Reviews are a great way to advertise products and services (preferably not in competition with your own) and they help gain trust from your audience.
There are two ways to approach reviews. Firstly, you can review single products on their own, and secondly, you can do a comparison review by comparing two or more products/services of the same kind (e.g. top 10 bookkeeping software platforms or top 5 CRM systems)
This blog post type depends on your industry and what you are looking to write. I would avoid promoting your products in reviews because readers may consider them to be biased. Similarly, it may not be a good idea of reviewing products that compete with your own. So, a balance needs to be struck.
7. Interviews/case studies
In a similar vein to reviews, interviews and case studies allow you to engage with people, products, and services in your industry.
Interviews are a great way to generate new content while building your brand awareness. Talking with other industry leaders and influencers will gain support from them, giving you access to their network upon publication. They also help to reduce your workload, as you don't need to create something from scratch - your questions and their answers become the content
Case studies can be used similarly to reviews, except you record in more detail your experience with a single product or a process. Have you wanted to experiment with a technique or process for your business? Turn that experiment into a blog post by recording your experience in trying out the process!
8. Data analysis
Finally, we have data analysis. No matter your industry, data and research will always be relevant. Perhaps some new information has come to light regarding a specific topic, such as investing, social media usage, or work-from-home productivity. You can use this new data or research and discuss it in a blog post.
These types of posts require a lot of research to pull off. You need to make sure you understand the data and the research behind it, as well as the context and any other relevant data sets (or perhaps conflicting arguments). This kind of writing borders on white paper writing, so only venture into this kind of content if you think it will work for your blog.
So, those were eight types of blog posts you need to make your content fresh and diverse. They were:
"What is/are" posts
The key takeaway is to use these different types of posts to keep your content interesting and unique for readers, rather than recycling the same list post format repeatedly. It also keeps it interesting for you!