25 Blog Post Formats That Bring In Traffic

For those of you that can’t watch the video, the content breakdown is below.

By now, you know what a blog is.

You may even be considering starting your own.

It’s a great idea if you want to be sure you get found online.

However, you may not quite know what to do.

While we have some ideas to help you choose your content, you may still need some help.

Today, I want to share a few blog post formats to help get you started.

25 of ‘em.

And, if your site is built to bring in leads, the traffic boost these will bring is going to benefit your bottom line.

Your Business Needs A Blog To Grow Online

Look, the benefits of blogging aren’t a secret.

They’re crazy good for your SEO.

They nurture your audience through the buying process.

When done right, they build huge credibility for you and your brand.

Nowadays they’re going to be what sets you apart from your competition.

That means if you want your business to exist 10 years from now, you need to have a solid content strategy that revolves around – or at least includes – a blog.

Use These Blog Post Formats To Drive Traffic

Today, I want to make sure you know how to turn that valuable information you want to share into a blog post that people will want to read.

These blog post formats are exactly that, and I have 25 of them to get you going.

There are more formats than these out there.

However, just about anyone should be able to handle these without an issue.

Make A Great List Article (AKA Listicle)

I’m a huge fan of the listicle.

I mean, lists are a great way to organize thoughts, get a point across, and offer a wide range of information.

They’re also some of the most shared content on the web.

Listicles have the advantage of requiring smaller bits of knowledge, making them easier to break down into microcontent.

After all, every number on the list can stand on its own.

That means your content creation process is much simpler.

If you have your own clothing brand, you might make a list of the best ways to accessorize with your products.

As a groomer, you might put together a list of the lowest maintenance dog breeds.

As a content marketer, I put together this list. I also recently put together a list of 15 great marketing strategies.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in.

There is always a list you can make. Click To Tweet

That means there are endless possibilities for making this format useful.

Get Your Vlog Started

By now, you ought to know what a vlog is.

If you don’t (you need to catch up), a vlog is literally a blog done on video.

People love video content and want to see more of it.

That means you need to get on the bandwagon.

The great part about vlogs is that they’re really affordable.

Don’t believe me? Let me prove it.

Look at your phone. It has a camera, right?

And I assume you have a Google/YouTube account, right?

Congratulations. You can make a vlog for ZERO dollars. Click To Tweet

Vlogs also give you the choice of being formal or informal.

What do I mean by that?

Well, if you want to make a formal vlog like we tend to, you can write out a complete blog and record a scripted version of it for the vlog.

Your other option, to do things informally, is to forego the script and blog post, set up the camera, and start talking.

Either way, you can create great, engaging content for little cost.

Collect Some Great Tips From Your Industry

You know, there are tons of experts in your industry.

They all have great tips for any of your target audience.

This blog format is where you’re going to gather a whole bunch of those tips about one topic in one place.

Creating an article like this is simple.

Again, you have two choices.

The first option is to scour the internet looking for expert opinions on a given topic.

As you read different blog articles, scan social media posts, listen to podcasts, and watch videos, you can pull quotes about the topic from experts.

Compile these together and include a link back to your source.

You can even expand on the ideas if you want.

Your second option is the one-question interview.

Email, direct message, tweet, or otherwise contact a ton of experts.

Ask them all the same question.

Compile their answers in the same way.

There’s no need to link to the source because that’s you.

Again, expand on their answers if you feel inclined.

Either way, it’s a great way to create shareable content for 2 reasons.

  1. You don’t have to be the creative one. You’re getting answers from others.
  2. These often come in the form of a listicle, making them more shareable.

You can check out this great example from Articulate Marketing, and this one from OptinMonster.

Break Down A Recent Keynote

Anyone who attends seminars either in-person or virtually has seen a great keynote.

If you haven’t yet, go do a quick TED Talk search.

There is so much great information to hear and learn from in keynotes it astounds me.

And clearly, as the cost and attendance of conferences rises, I’m not the only one.

A great source of traffic inducing, shareable content comes from those keynotes.

From one perspective, the person giving the keynote can take advantage of that content for quite some time.

Just look at what Gary Vaynerchuck does with his.

But for those of us who tend to watch more keynotes than we give, it’s not against the rules for us to offer our takeaways. Click To Tweet

Go back to the notes you (hopefully) took on the keynote.

Share a summary of what the talk was about and who gave it.

Create a blog post that expands your viewpoint on what was said.

Share your remaining questions, resulting ideas, or residual concerns about the speech.

And, if it was a recent live keynote that others may have tweeted about, include some of the tweets about it in your article.

Make A Checklist For Your Audience

I mentioned people love lists. They love checklists even more.

People love to “tick” off the boxes to get them to a goal.

I mean, you know the feeling every time you go to the grocery store or finish a to-do list.

Because when you're right, you're right.

Checklists are such a simple type of content to make that it’s foolish not to use them.

Think about something your potential clients might want to do, like prepare to buy from you.

What steps do they need to take to be ready?

Are there things they should have in place?

Simply list out these items with a brief description of what they are and why your audience should have them ready.

As an example, if you sell cars you might create the New Car Buying Checklist.

We recently did a 10-point checklist for digital marketing.

Once you have your checklist down, share it to get people started down the path to becoming your client.

Interviews With Industry Leaders

I mentioned the one-question interview earlier.

It’s a great way to get input on a single question.

But once you’ve built a bit of a relationship with an industry leader, interviewing them in full about your industry is a great next step.

It’s also a great way to tap into their audience.

Interviews are helpful ways of providing a perspective to your readers that you may not otherwise have.

You can do them live and 1-on-1, recording their answers to your questions for later transcription or as a part of a podcast.

Or you can send an email with the list of questions and get their answers in return.

The goal is to get as much information as possible that your audience might want to know.

If you need ideas to spark the questions you’re going to ask, consider:

  • What insights do they have about your industry?
  • How do they feel about upcoming innovations or changes in your field?
  • Do they have any expert advice they could offer to your audience?
  • Are there any unique lessons they may have learned along the way?

Here’s a great example from RankWatch of what one of those interviews, conducted by email, might look like.

A CliffsNotes Post

Everyone knows what CliffsNotes are.

Some of us would have never gotten through school without them.

The fact is, some people need content broken down into a format that’s a little easier to comprehend.

CliffsNotes style posts are going to work a lot like a keynote breakdown, except they’ll be about something that’s maybe a little more difficult for people to digest on their own.

Maybe it’s a great book your audience might want to know about.

It could be about an online course that they might be interested in.

Consider the top things you learned from that resource, then break them down into a format that’s both easy to read and easy to share.

Add some quick tools to make it even easier to share, and you’re on your way to more traffic.

Review A Product Or Service

Who buys anything nowadays without first reading a review or twenty?

If that’s the case, people will want to know your opinions about the products or services you use.

So why not review them?

When you purchase a product or service that your audience might want to use, take some time to offer the ups and downs of it.

Would you recommend it to your readers? Click To Tweet

Look, if your audience is coming to you regularly for information, they’re going to find your opinion valuable.

You can even review several products at the same time as a list, like this review we wrote not-to-long ago.

This information is also a great way to get your content into a trending topic if that product’s or service’s release is getting headlines.

Infographics

The power of infographics can’t be understated.

According to DemandGen, they can increase traffic as much as 12% by themselves.

The simple reason is that they make data so much easier to understand.

By visualizing information, they reduce the boring factor and create a better learning experience.

While a more professional infographic is usually more beneficial, you can use a PowerPoint chart just as well as something you had made professionally.

The most important thing is that you create a visual representation of data that gets the point across in a glance.

There are tons of tools out there to help you create a great looking one, and they usually have an ROI that’s well worth the time it takes to make them.

Turn Your Content Into A SlideShare

A great SlideShare presentation is like an infographic on steroids.

You not only get to break your data down into something that’s quick to understand, but you can also break down the sections of data.

Most people know how to make a PowerPoint presentation.

SlideShare is just a place to share those presentations online.

However, SlideShare boasts a solid 80 million users that may see your deck.

The distribution benefits are marvelous.

Stick to the keys to making a great presentation and you’re on your way to SlideShare success!

Put Competing Products And Services Side-By-Side

Let’s say there is a main product or service category that your audience might want.

Within it, there are probably a few competing options.

A great way to fuel your content is to put two or more products side-by-side and see how they compare. Click To Tweet

The best opportunity is if you’ve reviewed them individually first.

Afterward, follow those reviews with a “group review” where you compare features, benefits, and flaws alongside each other.

You won’t go as far in-depth, but you can offer more widespread insight.

Check out this series we did on Linux distributions years ago.

These tend to make really good infographics, too.

If you feel up to it.

Share The Success Of Your Customers

Like in The Wizard of Oz, everyone likes to know what’s happening behind the curtain.

They also want to see people get what they want.

That’s part of the reason case studies make such effective content.

You’ve had more than one success story with your clients.

If you hadn’t, you wouldn’t be in business.

Look at some of your best ones and consider which stories are the most interesting.

Correspond with them about the ways they’ve improved their situation with your product or service, then share that story.

Also, looking forward, make sure you document what you do with future clients that may prove interesting.

The more you can share about your client’s success, the better. Click To Tweet

Like this case study about one of our customers who grew their email list by 300% using giveaways.

In it, we included more than just the case study.

We expanded on the method our client used and offered some advice on how our audience could do the same.

It’s a great example of how to make a case study work for your blog.

Demo One Of Your Products, Services, Or Features

How would you like content that’s interesting, a sales pitch, and an instructional for your existing customers?

That’s the versatility of a demo video.

By showing off the products or services you offer, you can hit 3 different objectives at once.

Demo videos are awesome because they’re often done quickly.

They’re also best done in one take, so it shouldn’t take too much editing work.

Make a couple of enhancements to the recording that points things out or enhance certain steps.

Add some captions of what you said.

After maybe a half hour of editing, you’re ready to go.

Host the video on YouTube for a fourth benefit: Start your YouTube channel.

That’s going to provide you with an additional content outlet, as well as informative and entertaining content for your audience.

Tastefully Rant

I’m going to refer back to Gary Vaynerchuck for an example again.

One of the most powerful pieces of content he produced was a rant.

It’s proof that you can speak whatever is on your mind, even if it’s unpopular, as long as it’s done tastefully and honestly.

Remember, any time you unleash your opinion over the internet, people are likely to become upset. Click To Tweet

If you’re tasteful, respectful, and share ample research to back your point, it’s rare that your rant will do any major damage to relationships.

However, they can often become viral, which could plant the seeds for plenty of new relationships.

Is it worth the risk? I can’t say for sure.

That part is up to you.

If you choose to, though, I recommend some quality control.

Find someone who is a little more hesitant to share their opinions read it over.

Trust me, their inner inhibitions will help keep you from framing your rant as something you’re going to regret.

Put Together The News & Events Of Your Industry

Don’t tell me you don’t follow the news in your industry.

It’s one of the most important things you should be paying attention to as a businessperson.

You need to know what’s happening that’s going to affect your business.

And your audience is the same.

For a long time, we shared the weekly news that our audience could learn from.

It worked really well, and we still share news often.

By switching from a news consumer to a news provider, your audience will turn to you.

When you become a critical part of their routine, they build their trust in you.

Take the time to catch up on what’s going on, then put your spin on it.

Add thoughts, criticism, and reactions.

Your audience will have even more reason to consider you a trusted authority.

How Pop-Culture Is Influencing Your Industry

Pop-culture has some level of impact on any industry.

By definition, it’s also popular.

That makes any form of pop-culture that has an impact on your business a trending topic.

Any time you see pop-culture affect your industry, you have an opportunity to make a comment on it. Click To Tweet

Your audience wants to know what things affect your industry (which is why I suggested you become a news provider).

They’re even more interested if it’s a part of popular culture.

That’s going to give you a great point of comment for your content.

It’s also going to give you the opportunity to latch onto something trending in the world, giving your content a boost to its visibility.

Not to mention the fact that it’s a great chance to have a little fun that varies from your normal posts.

Document Your Story

When you got started in your industry, unless you were a frontrunner from the beginning, you looked towards those who were successful for inspiration.

Call them your heroes.

An up-and-coming football player might look to Namoth or Montana.

Investors the world over look to Warren Buffett.

The gold you look for is the methods that got them the success they had.

You want to know what you can replicate.

One of these days (if it isn’t already happening), someone will be looking at you.

Share the things that you’re doing to build your business.

Don’t just share the stuff that works, either.

Share your losses and what you did about them.

Give people that behind-the-scenes access to witness the realities of trying to grow a company in your industry.

No, you don’t need to share trade secrets.

However, you should share the reasons behind some of the things you do.

Give them something to learn from, find fascination in, or get a laugh from.

Just like the Facebook video we shared with outtakes from a vlog we were filming.

Compile A Ton Of Tweets About A Topic

I’m assuming there are occasional tweets about your industry.

I imagine there are more than you think there are.

Twitter is an active place full of tons of conversations about a myriad of topics.

Search out the ones revolving around a topic in your industry.

When you find comments or questions that might be useful for your audience, screenshot them or grab the embed code.

Put together several tweets around the topic, then give commentary on them.

If you’ve grabbed a question or two, answer them completely.

It’s a quick and efficient way to build solid content around ideas that people actually care about.

It’s also not a bad way to get examples for your posts, like the ones we’ve used in previous posts.

Busting Industry Myths

I’m sure you’ve come across a ton of misinformation about your field from clients and colleagues alike.

It can be super frustrating.

Many times, these myths are causing harm to your clients, giving them problems that you could easily correct if they weren’t convinced of some false truth.

A great way to deal with some of these myths is to bust them in a post. Click To Tweet

It can be incredibly fun, too.

Put together a list of some of the most common, frustrating, or harmful myths people believe about your industry.

Explain where those myths might have come from.

Then expose the truth about them.

It’s also a great opportunity to build another infographic.

For examples of myth-busting posts, you can check these out.

How-To Guides

Have you ever wondered how to do something, so you looked it up on the internet?

People do it all the time, and lots of times those how-to articles lead them to a company they buy from.

Sometimes it’s because the DIY route is more than they can handle.

Other times it’s because the how-to lead them to something else of value.

Either way, they’re a great way to add value to your content for your clients.

They’re also super easy to write.

That’s because most of the how-to guides you’re going to write are about things you already know intimately, like your product.

Think about something your potential clients want to know how to do.

Break it down into the smallest steps possible.

Describe those steps in a way that an 8-year-old can understand.

Never ever assume your audience knows what they’re doing.

Come from a place that wants your audience to understand completely.

If it’s a well-written tutorial, like the one we recently did, your readers should come away with a completed task and no issues.

Questions Your Clients Need To Ask

If you’re smart, you’ve got an FAQ on your site.

Frequently asked questions are a great way to provide information to your average site visitor.

They also save you a ton of time by answering the most common questions.

But have you ever considered a QSA?

A “Questions You Should Ask” post can help teach your audience about the questions an informed buyer would ask.

A real estate agent might put together a list of questions every homebuyer should ask about their fixer-upper.

Or a nutritionist could write a series of questions relating to an athlete’s diet.

A web designer might mention the questions a business owner should ask before they build their online presence.

Whatever your QSA is, make sure it teaches your audience what questions to ask and why they should ask them.

Share the answers you’d give to those questions as well.

After all, those are the right answers.

Share A Sneak Peak

The next time you’re working on a special project (unless you’re working on one right now), give your audience something to look forward to.

Sneak previews are a great way to build customer loyalty.

It gives them a sense of exclusivity by allowing them to peer into the development process.

They get to see something that others can’t yet. Click To Tweet

It’s also a shot for them to ask questions and give input on the project.

It also has a benefit for you.

When you let them in on the roadmap or timeline of the project, you’re more likely to keep to your deadlines.

After all, when you put a goal out there, you’re more likely to stick to it to save face.

That’s also likely to keep you on track if you get sidetracked easily.

Gotta stick to the project once you promise it.

Get Podcasting

Podcasts are fantastic content tools.

What other way can you reach people without taking them away from their other tasks?

Audio content is the only type of content that people can consume without taking them away from their regular work.

They can put headphones on and do their thing while they listen.

Podcasts are also incredibly easy to make.

Using a service like SoundCloud you can plug a headset into your phone and record your thoughts on any topic.

Upload it to the service and get it distributed to the different podcast platforms.

Eventually, you can turn it into a complete show.

But in the meantime you can talk your way into solid content.

Get your thoughts into audio content that you can share to your audience.

I’ve been podcasting for quite some time now and it’s provided great benefits to my company and to our audience.

Once you get your podcast listed on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play Music, as well as other platforms, you’ll see more audience growth.

Need to know what it takes to start a podcast? Check this guide out.

The Entertaining Posts

Some posts are written just for fun.

Or they humorously use sarcasm to get a point across.

But either way, they’re a lot of fun to read.

Posts that are written to entertain tend to make people laugh and smile, which generally leads them to share.

I don’t recommend straying too far from the main topic of your blog, but you don’t have to be precisely on-target here.

As an example, The Huffington Post wrote a completely sarcastic article on sarcasm.

The meta was beautiful.

You could write a post that includes 20 reasons not to buy your product, which are really reasons to buy it written in a sarcastic negative.

I promise it will be a ton of fun and your audience will catch on quick.

Writing a parody like this can give you a great break from your standard writing and allow you to engage different parts of your creativity.

And, if you’re clever enough, it can give you an opportunity to repurpose some of your older content, saving you some time.

Put Together A Gallery Of Fails

Everyone enjoys a little schadenfreude every now and then.

Need proof? Check out what Fail Army has been doing for years.

Jump into your industry and look at some of the mistakes people make that are absolutely hilarious.

Compile them or comment on them in a post.

It’s an entertainment post at the next level.

There are tons of examples of how things go wrong in your industry that your audience is going to get a laugh about. Click To Tweet

You can even comment on them or give your audience advice on how to avoid that fate themselves.

There’s never anything wrong with expanding the value.

But the best part about articles like these is that you don’t have to create anything.

You can just find it and curate.

That gives you a great opportunity to take a day in your posting schedule off.

Plus, since people love comedy, they’re more likely to share it.

That means you get more exposure from a funny video or example and you didn’t even have to create it.

These Blog Post Formats Are A Great Start

If you’re building a complete content marketing strategy, these blog post formats will get you going.

Once you’re comfortable with them, you can start expanding what you do.

Work hard, have patience, and avoid the critical mistakes.

If you can do that, you’ll start seeing traffic increase, along with leads.

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About the author:

Michael McNew
Web developer, marketing innovator, technology enthusiast, and founder of Visceral Concepts, Michael McNew has developed a passion for delivering value to small business, turning his creativity towards image and reputation building for small business owners.