Best Blog Post Formats: My Top 6

Now that you have your blog plan in place and you know what you want to write about, it’s time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!).  But which format should you choose for your blog posts?

From ‘curated’ to ‘case study, there’s a perfect format for every occasion – each has its pros and cons, and will vary in suitability depending on the objective you have in mind for your readers, and the type of information you wish to provide.

When I first started blogging for my business, my posts lacked a clear structure or purpose. Over time, I have learned that using a tried and tested format gives your content a greater chance of success, and enables you to communicate with more clarity to your audience.

To help you decide which will work best for your upcoming blog topics, I’ve whittled them down to my top 6 best blog post formats.

1. Curated Content

Curated posts are one of the easiest formats you can use on your business blog. Essentially, these are collections of other peoples’ content and resources from elsewhere on the web.

The benefits of using this format as a business blogger are twofold: it keeps readers on your site for longer (and may even lead them to bookmark the page for future reference), and it’s a great way to build relationships with other businesses by posting links to their websites within your post. Let them know via social media and they might even share your content with their audience!

The key to using this format successfully is in the research – make sure you select quality, reputable sources and, whilst you are repackaging content from others, be careful not to plagiarise.

Here are some examples of curated posts done well:

Effectiveness: ***
Difficulty: **

2. Lists

List posts are a great way to condense a lot of wieldy information into a digestible format.  Titles usually start with: “5 ways to…”, “20 tips for…”, “7 ideas…” etc. You’re providing your readers with a quick solution to a problem, helping them to help themselves.

They are often a quick and easy format to write, too, as your list forms the basic structure of the post and, from there, you simply fill in the blanks based on your knowledge and experience.

However, the level of engagement from your readers, and the time they spend on your site may be slightly lower, as this style of article lends itself to being skim-read.

Have a look at some of these great examples:

Effectiveness: ****
Difficulty: **

3. How-To

What is the first thing you do when you need to know ‘how to’ do something? That’s right, Google it! What better way to reach your audience than by providing them with a step-by-step guide at the very moment they are seeking one?

Unsurprisingly, the ‘how-to’ post is one of the most popular formats; it offers the reader a process they can follow. By being helpful and providing that value, you build trust with your readers, making them more likely to return when they need your service.

Being a widely searched format, this type of post can generate a lot of traffic to your site. However, they may take a bit longer to put together if you want to include diagrams, pictures or videos to supplement your text.

Check out one of my recent posts in the ‘Business Blogging For Beginners’ series to see this format in action:

Effectiveness: ****
Difficulty: ***

4. Case Study

This is a human interest story, featuring one of your customers, where your product or service is being used in action. It should focus on the impact that your product has had on the person or company – what problem were they experiencing? What did you do to help them? What have been the results? People love reading about the experiences of others, especially when they can connect with them on an emotional level.

This type of format allows you to reach out to your audience and build trust with them as potential customers. Your clients are the backbone of your business, so why not showcase them? To help with writing this type of article, you could create a template e-mail for your existing customer base to ask for feedback and gain the information you need to feature them in your case study – creating a more personal touch!

Should you select this format for your blog post, then remember to vary the stories across industries and ensure customer diversity.

Check out this example below:

Effectiveness: ****
Difficulty: ****

5. Series

What happens next? Readers love to follow a story and what better way to keep them coming back for more – create a series!

For this format to work, you need to plan how many blog posts you want to include in the series, what the aim of the series will be and create a schedule for when each post will be published. Each post should lead on from the other, building upon your initial topic and ultimately providing even greater value.

Blog post series are perfect for repurposing into other types of content, such as eBooks, podcasts and videos. This allows you to get the most mileage from your content creation efforts, and reach new audiences through different media.

Check out this series from The Big Man’s World.

Effectiveness: *****
Difficulty: ****

6.  Infographics

visme imageInfographics are always a hit with readers, as they offer a fun and visually engaging way to get your message across. They’re particularly effective if you need to communicate a lot of statistical data, or explain a complex process. Plus, they appeal to the ‘skimmers’ who prefer pictures over text.

However, they can be challenging to put together, considering the research and design skills required. But, fear not, there are plenty of templates available online to help get you started. Styles vary, so pick one that best suits your business branding.

Or if you’re looking for something more bespoke, you may wish to consider hiring a professional designer.

Effectiveness: *****
Difficulty: *****

What’s your favourite blog post format? Let me know in the comments which one has worked best for you!

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