Some bloggers won't admit it, but they're addicted to stats. Perhaps you're "guilty" of the habit of constantly checking how many visitors you've had after publishing a new post; and then you feel down because you're not getting as much traffic as you expected.
There are many factors that determine the success of a post in terms of earning traffic, shares and links. However, one significant consideration that is sometimes overlooked is the type of content that you publish.
Take a look at your posts, and perhaps you'll realize that you've been serving up the same type over and over again - an informative, but dry editorial piece. Not all readers absorb information the same way, so maybe it's time you mix things up a little.
Here are the best types of blog posts that will drive traffic to your site.
The "How To..." post is the most powerful and successful type of content you can produce, especially since they usually constitute evergreen content. How-to posts include tutorials, guides and comprehensive resources, and can be executed with different types of media, such as text, infographic, video, etc.
But you may be wondering why you should give away solutions for free when you may be able to sell a service or product? Frankly, if one "how-to" post is going to ruin your entire business model and uncover all the secrets you know, you may not be the "expert" customers should be buying from to begin with.
On the other hand, an insightful step-by-step guide, accompanied by a shareable graphic, can be the foundation of your content marketing strategy. By developing immensely useful and informative resources, businesses can build trust, authority, and relationships with potential customers. So when you do have a valuable product or service to pitch your readers, they are more willing to buy from you.
(Pamela Vaughan has more on How to Write Stellar How-To Posts for Your Business Blog)
List posts streamline bulleted or numbered points. Readers love and share them because they are easy to scan and absorb. This is critical because most consumers today have very short attention spans.
The best part is that publishers and content marketers can come up with a list post for almost any topic and choose the number based on how much time they want to invest in the post. For example, you can write about "Top 50 Things To Do In New York", "11 Viral Images From 2014", "9 Tips on How To Build Fans" or "101 Exercises To Lose Weight". Ideas for list posts are all around you.
No matter what anyone tells you, infographics still work. They just don't work as well as they used to because infographics aren't a new and unique concept anymore.
Text-based posts can be very informative, but humans are still visual creatures. Infographics work best when the images sum up facts, statistics, and details into a useful, aesthetically-pleasing reference. If you are looking to improve your social media presence, publishing an infographic once a week may be the optimal strategy.
Here are a few things to remember when creating an infographic:
- Tell a story. There has to be a flow and not just random information patched together.
- Design is very important. Text and images need to match each other. This includes fonts, colors, and photos/images used. You better have an eye for design or a poorly developed infographic may do more harm than good.
- Don't forget the numbers. Numbers and statistics are good. Charts and graphs are even better.
- Make it easy for others to share your infographic. Add social sharing buttons above and below the image, as well as an embed code at the bottom to increase the chances of a backlink.
(For more on how to properly promote your infographic, click here)
4. Podcasts And Transcribed Show Notes
If you're looking for a simpler way to develop content, consider speaking instead of writing. Podcasts are growing in popularity, and many bloggers are extolling the benefits of podcasting, especially in terms of building a loyal audience of listeners.
And if you're worried about the minimized SEO benefits of video, transcribing your show notes onto the page below the video player will earn you long-tail traffic. Transcription can be outsourced to a service or virtual assistant.
How do you make a good podcast?
- The best performing podcasts are usually interviews with successful industry veterans.
- Make it interesting for the listener. Don't be stiff - be yourself, show some personality, and allow the conversation to progress.
- For each podcast, make a blog post. Embed the audio in the post, and include the transcript as well.
5. Checklists And Cheat Sheets
If your readers love "How-To" posts, they will probably appreciate checklists, cheat sheets, and "To-Do" lists. Increasing productivity or efficiency is a huge niche online, and any business or professional blog can tailor the concept to their target audience.
Downloadable and printable cheat sheets can also be used as free giveaways to lure readers into your email subscriber list.
Some examples include a checklist for:
- planning a family road trip
- social media marketing
- publishing the perfect post
- having a memorable wedding
6. Start A Series
This used to be a common practice in blogging, but you can still use it to your advantage today. If a topic is simply too broad in scope to cover in a single post, make it a series and discuss each sub-topic individually.
Breaking up a big concept into smaller parts can increase impact and engagement, while improving SEO through internal linking.
How do you this?
- Introduce and outline your series in an initial post.
- Decide how you will divide the topic into smaller sections.
- Indicate the series number clearly in the title.
- Close each series decisively, but leave the reader wanting to see the next post.
- Publish the series one after the other, without other posts in between, to maintain continuity.
7. Guest Posts
Guest posts from industry experts are a great way to publish content with a fresh perspective. And if your contributor maintains etiquette, he/she will promote the guest post via their social media accounts, driving new readers and followers to your brand.
Before opening up your blog to contributors, be sure to write a set of editorial guidelines. When you start to receive submissions, always vet the quality of work and check its originality. However, don't be afraid to go out and invite prominent figures in your community to guest post on your site. Some may decline, but many will feel flattered and want to expand their reach.
8. Controversial Posts
Nothing drives engagement and interaction than a controversial post people are bound to comment on. Depending on the topic and the type of emotions that coincide, you should be prepared for some strong dissent and readers who may unfollow or unsubscribe from your site.
However, one way to somewhat avoid this fallout is to find a subject that isn't controversial per say, but may be an unspoken truth. For example, in the SEO world, it is taboo to call out sites that exploit Black Hat methods or violate Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
Yet, Glen Alsopp of ViperChill.com does just that - he screenshots companies incorporating shady link building strategies and explains the hypocrisy of how big brands get away with SEO that would normally get small businesses or bloggers penalized. The best part of it all - he gets a ton of shares and link backs for it too!
It is important to note that there are several other kinds of blog post archetypes we didn't have time to mention, including link roundups, reviews, videos, case studies, white papers, breaking news, personal stories from readers, etc.
However, while there are a number of different types of blog posts to earn you links and shares, not all of them will work for your specific audience or industry. You will need to experiment to find the right balance for your blog. So the next time you are suffering from writer's block or want to find the right way to present something, look to this list for inspiration.