It’s no secret that blog posts are one of the most effective tools when it comes to content marketing.
It’s also no secret that the internet is saturated with blog posts.
So, how do you make sure your blog posts stand out in a chaotic and crowded market?
Well, over the last 5 years, we have collected a lot of data on the blog posts we have published for a wide range of clients we work with. This data is used to help us refine our content strategies and ensure we are maximising the potential engagement and reach of those posts, as well as ensuring we have the best possible chance of ranking for the keywords we are targeting.
There are lots of different types of blog posts to explore and each has its pros and cons. Take this post for example. What we hope to achieve with this post is to leave you with a good idea about the type of blog posts that will work for your business. The type of post that will help you to achieve your objectives – whether that’s driving engagement, driving conversions or simply raising brand awareness through reach and exposure.
So, let’s dig in and take a look at some of the most effective blog posts that you should be using.
1. Original research posts
Hands down this is the most effective way of driving engagement, reach, shares – you name it, people will usually go crazy for some original research, especially if you can shed some light on something your audience can really relate to.
The downside? It’s also the most time-consuming type of blog post to create, often taking tens of hours of research, refining and data analysis. You need to collect enough data to make your research credible, refine the data collected, visualise the data and then work out how you will present that data in a way that brings value to your audience.
No easy task but one that can reap huge rewards when done well. Over the past few years, we have worked on a couple of huge original research content pieces for our clients with the goal of raising brand awareness and driving bookings. One was a detailed look at the cost of taxis in cities around the world and an update looked at the cost of taxis and Ubers vs renting a car.
Both required a huge amount of research, however, the results were well worth the effort as the pieces were featured on local, national and international news websites and drove not only huge amounts of traffic to the site but also a lot of high-quality backlinks, part of our overall objectives for the content pieces.
2. Step by step posts
A really helpful way to bring value to your customers and prospective customers is to talk them through a potential problem they are having in an easy to follow, step by step guide post. These can sometimes take the form of a checklist post, however, the principle is the same – provide highly actionable steps that can be easily followed to help them to solve a problem or complete a task.
Posts like ‘The ultimate digital marketing checklist’ or ‘5 actionable steps to better social media posts’ are not only really useful for customers who discover them, they are also highly discoverable (and clickable) due to their click friendly title – why wouldn’t I want to check out five actionable steps to better social media if I work in social media?
If you want to take this to the next level from an SEO perspective and drive more clicks, including things like, ‘[number 3 will surprise you]’ in the title is a great way to build intrigue in your post and drive more clicks – just make sure you deliver with a killer step number three so your post delivers on the promise in the title.
3. Expert tips posts
No matter what field you work in, there will always be experts in that field that people look to for content, comment, and insights. Whether that’s a blog they write or maybe going to see them talk at a conference, every industry has its big hitters.
A great way of engaging with your audience is to reach out to these experts for comment or advice on a specific topic. Don’t just stick to the usual topics we’ve seen a thousand times before though – no one gets excited by a ‘7 leading marketing experts give us their top digital marketing tips’ – you need to think of a topic that is different. Something that has not been covered before. Something that would pique your own interest if it landed in your inbox.
Sometimes referred to as crowdsourcing, you can’t just launch straight into a request for comment. Build up a relationship with these experts through social media and showcase your own expertise in the posts that you are already publishing. That way, when you reach out for quotes and comments, you are much more likely to be successful.
Some of the most successful crowdsourced posts use expert quotes and comments to support a strong overarching post – a chance to showcase your own expertise alongside other experts in your field and then benefit from the ‘borrowed’ authority to get more engagement.
These types of posts also appeal to Google and their E-A-T philosophy – expertise, authority and trust. All of these can be demonstrated through an expert comment post.
4. Listicle posts
We probably have people rolling their eyes a bit with this one as it seems the whole world is creating listicle posts, however, our data speaks for itself. Our top-ranking posts and the ones that drive the most traffic are, in many cases listicle posts.
That’s because they are easy to digest, they are relatable, and they meet a need. Lots of the listicle posts we write are in the tourism sector when people are often searching for things like ‘things to do in Auckland’ or ‘places to eat out in Queenstown’. A listicle post, with a list of the best things to do or the best places to eat in these specific destinations, is often the best way of answering the search query in a way that drives clicks.
Think about your own search behaviour. Are you more likely to click on a link with the title ‘The top 10 places to eat in Queenstown’ or simply ‘The best places to eat in Queenstown’. The listicle element, or simply the number, indicates to people that you are presenting them with a number of options, not just one thing and that it will be presented in an easily digestible format – a list.
This post is a good example of a listicle post. It’s a list of 5 different types of posts you can use to help drive more traffic and engagement. No matter how you found the post, you clicked through because you knew what to expect and that in itself is a good reason to consider listicle posts for certain topics.
5. Ultimate guide posts
Sometimes referred to as a pillar post, an ultimate guide post, as the name suggests, is a highly detailed and comprehensive post about a specific topic. In that post, you are aiming to provide the reader with all the information they need to know about a given topic and the aim of the post is to stand your business out as the authority on that particular topic.
Your ultimate guide post will include lots of subtopics that are highly relevant and these may demand a post of their own, however, you will include enough detail within your pillar post that people can understand that subtopic without having to click through to another post for further information.
These additional content pieces are often referred to as cluster content pieces. Think of it like this; at Digital Hothouse, we talk about SEO, Content Marketing, AdWords, Social Media, Design and Analytics. Those are essentially our pillars. Within SEO, however, we may want to talk in-depth about technical audits, or keyword research for example. We need to include both of these in our pillar post as they are essential elements of SEO and an ultimate guide would need to include them, however, the cluster post would enable us to go into more depth about the topic.
The key is good internal linking between the pillar and the cluster, demonstrating to Google your expertise in the area and making it easier for visitors to find out as much as they need about the topic.
These are just five of the types of blog post that we have found to be most effective for our clients. There are, of course, hundreds of different ways to write a blog post and present your content and it’s all about finding what works for your audience. You can only do this by putting in place effective steps to measure the success of each post and this means setting goals and objectives for your blog content and applying a benchmark against which all posts can be measured.
We’d love to hear about the types of blog post that work for you or if you have some success using one of the five types of post above – drop us a line in the comments below.