Why do some posts just "take off" and others fall flat?
Is it the way they're written?
The amount of email subscribers someone has?
The social followers sharing it?
If I told you that a simple factor in the development of a blog post that gets noticed, read, and subscribed to is based on the format of the post itself, would you believe me?
I'm sure you're skeptical.
I was too. Until I put it to practice.
And since, I've found that the start to any blog post, whether click-bait crap or quality, show-stopping content-gasm comes down to one main thing:
The title is what gets noticed and clicked, then it's up to you to keep your reader entranced and trading in their email address for your continual content and more.
But, a title can be more enticing because of it's structure, not just what the words actually state. So that's exactly what we're covering in this post.
If you want to know exactly how to get your target reader to take the first step with you (click through), then this is for you.
I think not.
So to put my money where my mouth is (fingers are?), let's use this post's title as an example:
Say you want to write a post about "7 Types Of Blog Posts That Get Noticed, Read, And Subscribed To", you'd want to make sure the title you chose fits the bill on what you promise readers.
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Let's break it down:
"7 Types Of Blog Posts..." prominently states that the reader will read about, well, 7 types of blog posts. And the promise is that these 7 types of blog posts, "...Get Noticed, Read, And Subscribed To" will help the reader do just that: get their blog posts noticed: Title format (and title quality).
To make good on a promise like that, you'd provide specific value to each of the 7 points to reveal what gets each noticed, read, and subscribed to.
Pack it with examples and links to your own and to others' that clearly exemplify how the reader can achieve reader commitment and...
Get Subscribed To.
Specific bonuses like content upgrades are great ways to increase subscriptions from those interested in that piece of (hopefully niche-specific) content. Plus, you're making it easy to subscribe, which is something you always want to supply to your readers.
But simply providing value in your posts will encourage more subscriptions than a quick, one-off baiting tactic (which leaves your reader feeling deceived and mentally blacklisting your blog).
So be sure to include opt-ins at the top, middle, and end of your posts to ensure that if they liked what they read, they won't miss their chance to be included.
Now that we've got those 3 points covered, let's explore my top 7 types of blog posts that achieve these steps to content success:
1. List Posts (Listicles)
As Brian Clark of Copyblogger stated, “Any headline that lists a number of reasons, secrets, types, or ways will work because, once again, it makes a very specific promise of what’s in store for the reader.”
Think about which days are more productive for you:
The days you follow a task list or a day you just “wing things”?
If you're anything like me, the task list days win, hands down.
In an article on The New Yorker by Maria Konnikova, she wrote:
Lists appeal to our general tendency to categorize things—in fact, it’s hard for us not to categorize something the moment we see it—since they chunk information into short, distinct components.
This type of organization facilitates both immediate understanding and later recall, as the neuroscientist Walter Kintsch pointed out back in 1968. Because we can process information more easily when it’s in a list than when it’s clustered and undifferentiated, like in standard paragraphs, a list feels more intuitive.
In other words, lists simply feel better.
Now, plenty of clickbait-like list post titles have changed the validity of list posts for many. So make sure when using this highly clicked and read post style that you deliver on one main concept at the end.
Whether you're a math person or not, our brains are attracted to numbers.
Your numbered title will pique curiosity. But the delivery of your promise, benefit, or result stated in that title is what keeps your reader reading.
Some more reasons why List Posts work so well are because they're:
- Easy to read
- Fast and simple to process
Some good examples of list posts are:
- Here Are 101 Marketing Time Management Strategies You Need To Know by Ben Sailer
- 47 Headline Examples: Steal These Nifty Formulas From Popular Blogs by Henneke Duistermaat
- 10 Steps To The Perfect List Post by Darren Rowse
- 8 Keys To Planning Your Powerful Solopreneur Business by Sara Eatherton-Goff
2. How To And Tutorial Posts
Readers love to be guided.
Picture an expert taking your hand and leading you down the path of least resistance to complete a task or fix a problem you've been having.
Put that step-by-step process into text and create your "How To" or tutorial blog post. Lead your reader (generally all) starting at Point A and take them to Point B.
When you break a topic down into step format while pinpointing an issue or action your reader would like to solve or do, you form an umbilical of trust that only delivering on said solution will secure.
That "How To [Do Something, Get Somewhere]" title specifically targeting what your reader wants may bring in lower traffic, yes. But higher target readers (which is exactly what you want).
Basically, you're putting a target on something they want. Then helping them get the bulls-eyes.
When going with the tutorial post format, think about your readers.
If you have a new or budding blog, you have a little more wiggle room when it comes to length. Because you haven't established your content in one way or the other.
Too short and your readers will feel cheated. Too long and your readers will feel overwhelmed.
As I well know now, sometimes you have to break a single topic down into digestible steps instead of overwhelming your readers with a massive 10,000 word blog post.
For example, my post on "How To Begin With A Purpose-Filled Online Presence [And Website]" was originally going to be a 6,000+ word blog post breaking down the main cocktail of creating purpose for yourself and your business online.
By word 4,000, I realized nobody was going to be crazy enough to read this.
Even detail-rich bloggers like Neil Patel whom average 2,500+ word blog posts would've broken that concept up into a series. (I think he would, at least).
So, the Purpose-Filled Online Presence post that, although stands alone well, it served as an introduction to it's inner workings:
- 6 No-Frill Ways To Prove Your Expertise Online
- 8 Painless Steps To Sprouting Your Positive Reputation Online (taken down)
- How To Woo Online Sales: 9 Arousing Lessons Dating Teaches Us (take down)
Each was a list post/how to hybrid breaking down each topic point simply and clearly for the reader.
And to wrap number 2 up, here are some great examples of thorough yet clear tutorial blog posts:
- How To Write A List Post Readers Like, Love, And Share by Henneke Duistermaat
- How To Write A Terrific Tutorial Post by Daniela Uslan
- [Podcast] How Going Back To The Basics Helped Vanessa Chase 3x Her Launch Goals And Reach More Of The Right People by Anne Samoilov
3. Case Studies
As boring as it might sound, stories laced with "hard proof" on the effectiveness of your product or service not only lays out the value in what you offer, but it also provides an in depth look at the experience of it.
Whether you chose to support your own case study backed by plenty of screenshots, data and metrics, like I did in this pseudo-case study on the most popular Goff Creative posts of 2015 (removed now).
Another route is to interview a super-satisfied customer, or allow them to guest post on your site for even more visitors. Because, generally, the guest poster will share the post with their audience, as well as continually promote it in their content marketing.
Case studies are incredible boosters to your product, service, and business because they provide data-backed, factual information that solves or paves the way to the resolution of your customer's specific desire or problem.
Check out these case studies from others:
- Case Study: How Jenna Did $17K In Sales From Two Webinars With A Tiny Audience Of Less Than 100 by Mariah Coz
- Case Study: My Experiment With Starting A 2nd Facebook Page For My Blog by Darren Rowse
- Case Study: How To Repurpose One Video Into 8 Assets by Joe Pulizzi
- 6 Top Blog Posts of 2016 (The Why, How and What Of My Content Marketing Success) by Sara Eatherton-Goff
(And no, you don't always have to write "Case Study" in front of every title. Be sure, however, to include "case study" in your meta description or meta tags so anyone searching "case study" tied with a specific keyword you're using in your title and content, that they'll be able to find your content.)
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4. New Methods
Most entrepreneurs love to try something new.
Especially if whatever it is works and whatever they're currently doing isn't working.
With that said, "reinventing the wheel" can suck up a lot of unnecessary time.
To make sure you're not wasting any, when you create a new method for something, be 100% positive that it's a tried and true, data-backed method that will actually help people.
For example, I'll use a recent post on the Goff Creative blog: How To Create A Simple Social Strategy For The Active Entrepreneur
So far it's been my second most popular post in Q1 2016.
In it, I shared screenshots to prove the growth I'd seen using my "New Method" in as little as 6 months by consistently and actively using social media as a "free" content marketing tool.
A "New Method" blog post is a form of case study that teaches your reader a new method for doing something they want to do.
So, a New Method post could:
- provide an alternative to something (that's expensive, over-complicated, etc.)
- be a 100% new strategy to doing or creating something
- provide a better, more effective way of doing something that's already popular
Can you think of more "New Methods"?
Here are a few examples of indirectly related posts from others:
- 4 New "Effective Teaching" Methods To WOW Your Students by Ari Sherbill
- 5 Scientific Ways To Build Habits That Stick by Gregory Ciotti
- We Tested 9 Ways Of Brewing Coffee To Find The Very Best Method by Julie R. Thomson
Oh the power of visuals.
As you might've guessed, I'm a "visual girl".
I hate sidebars with a bunch of crap and ads and the overuse of color many bloggers use to "stand out from the crowd". But, one thing that Neil Patel taught me is that adding visual aids to blog posts:
- earns more shares
- gets more engagement
- slows down scanners (with the better potential of converting them into readers)
- provides target readers
- enhances your authority, knowledge, and expertise
Here's an example of a Goff Creative Infographic used to visually explain how bloggers can benefit by learning from journalists:
The problem with Infographics is that they're tedious, time-consuming, and costly if you can't create them yourself.
Okay, another problem with Infographics is that most creators don't focus on one solid point with the information included. Many cram as much information into a 736 x 3200 graphic hoping people will click through to their post. Or that it just goes viral on Pinterest...
But, the return on a valid, high-quality Infographic is well worth the time (and money) when you use social channels like Pinterest well.
When creating an Infographic, focus on one problem or desire that your target reader has and provide the summarized solution before the graphic ends.
Think of an it in terms of a well-developed, visually reliant blog post instead of throwing a ton of concepts or ideas into a jumbled image.
Here are a few more examples of Infographic (-based blog posts) from others:
- Infographic: How Often Should You Post On Social Media? See The Most Popular Research And Tips
- Successful People [Vs.] Unsuccessful People
- 21 Ways To Get Inspired (Infographic)
6. Personal Stories Or Interviews
Just like most of the listed types of blog posts in this article borrow points from others, Personal Stories and Interviews do too.
Much like the Case Study, interviewing someone your target reader would benefit in hearing from is a fantastic way to grow your audience, and solidify your expertise and authority.
Okay, you might be wondering why I clumped Personal Stories with Interviews when both would serve on their own.
To me, Interviews should always be conducted with the focus on the individual being interviewed—the person being probed for the benefit of your reader.
Interviews are Personal Stories.
The main difference between Interviews and Personal Stories is who's conducting it: An interviewer or the author?
In a semi-recent email to my subscribers, I shared a personal story.
It was quite personal, and was very tough for me to talk about. But, I knew there'd be a possibility of a few different outcomes that may affect my readers. So I felt it was appropriate to share.
Plus, I wanted to turn a rough time's lesson into a potential takeaway for them too.
Whether or not you feel comfortable sharing something about yourself with your audience, Personal Stories and Interviews provide:
- a human touch for your readers
- proof that there's a real person behind the brand
- a sense of understanding
- a new connection point
- a conversation starter
I can't tell you how many amazing, supportive emails I received from dozens of thoughtful readers.
I found so much more common ground with these women and men who opened their hearts and shared their own stories with me.
I've got to say, to me, there's nothing better than a considerate conversation between two people comfortable and confident enough to essentially strip down in front of each other and help to build something together.
Maybe that's an overly intimate way of describing it, but as a self-proclaimed loner I truly appreciate an effortless and meaningful conversation with others.
It's one of the best parts of owning an online resource, I think.
So, what can you think of that can help your reader that's a Personal Story or someone relatively prominent that you could reach out to for an Interview?
Again, make sure it directly benefits your reader or don't waste your (and their) time on it.
Here are some examples of ways you can exemplify Personal Stories or Interviews:
- Personal Brand Marketing Tips From 3 Influential Women by Katherine Kotaw
- Will It Fly? (book by Pat Flynn)
- Melyssa's Business Goals For October 2015 + A Personal Check-In by Melyssa Griffin
- Launch Recap: 5 Things I Did And Did NOT Do To Have A $450k (Without Spending A Penny On Ads) by Mariah Coz
- 11 Lessons Motherhood Taught Me About Being A Better Entrepreneur by Sara Eatherton-Goff
And last but definitely not least on this list is Reviews. (Are Reviews?)
Reviews can be great... or not-so-great.
For one, many entrepreneurs will conduct reviews (case studies) on their own products.
Others will create content based around affiliate links.
And others will simply write reviews to share an incredible product that will benefit their audience. (I sound like a broken record on that, don't I?)
When it comes down to it, there's no right or wrong way to approach a Review on a product or service.
Okay, that's not totally true, is it?
Better said, if you're going to write a blog post reviewing a product, straight up:
If a review on the product or service that you're blog post will cover doesn't directly help your reader solve a problem, fill a desire, or avoid a bad experience entirely—don't write it.
Sure, I've written a couple reviews on Yelp, Amazon, and Google that weren't favorable to the business or product, but if you can't serve it up right (literally), you shouldn't be doing what you're doing.
With that said, these positive or negative reviews of mine don't directly benefit my readers. So, it stays off my blog.
Your blog is your #1 platform online. Use it well and use it right or GTFO (I just learned what that stands for, so I'm using it. *Winks*)
So, before you publish a review on your blog, ask yourself:
- Does this help my target reader?
- What's "in it for me"? (Prove your expertise? Affiliate? Selling your own product?)
- Will my target reader care?
And here are a few varied Reviews for examples:
- Book Review: The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, SPI TV, Ep. 23 via Pat Flynn's Smart Passive Income
- Better Marketer Survey Results: How To Do Your Best Work In 2016 via CoSchedule
- 10 Thoughts About Online Marketing: The Week In Review via Content Marketing Institute
- How To Write Seductive Sales Copy Like Apple by Henneke Duistermaat
That wasn't too intense, right?
Well, the moral of the story is, no matter what blog post type you go with to relay your message, there are a few key factors to consider before you hit "Publish":
If it doesn't benefit your target blog reader, don't write it, take it down, or un-publish it.
Trust me, I hated taking down over 22 blog posts in 2015.
But, they weren't helping my blog visitors. Therefore, they definitely weren't helping Goff Creative, either.
With that said, which blog post type will your next post start with?
Share your thoughts with us on Twitter below or via email.
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