There are so many different types of blogs online these days, with different goals and purposes. Blogs help you with your SEO and SEO rankings. In this article you see some of the most popular blog types and formats to help you determine which one is right for the blog idea you’ve got milling around in that head of yours.
10 Popular Blog Format Types
1. How-to’s and Tutorials
The how-to is the most powerful of all the blogging archetypes.
Think about it. Why do we go to the web? Sure, it could be because we want to find out the latest sports scores, catch up with old friends or visit IMDb to find out who that familiar actor was on last night’s Law & Order SVU.
But often it’s to learn how to accomplish something—change our oil, get debt under control, connect webmaster tools to Google Analytics, etc.
Your prospects and customers are the same. They have a problem, and you can help them solve it by creating a step-by-step post that walks them through a solution.
A lot of bloggers and business owners are afraid of the how-to post. They think, “If I show them how to do my job, why would they hire me?”
If a 500-word post or a 2-minute video can expose your entire business model, you might be in the wrong business.
How-to’s and tutorials establish your credibility and expertise. Even if a reader chooses to do it on her own, at least she knows about your business now. She may consider you for other opportunities down the road.
2. The ‘What’ Post
The ‘what’ post is the perfect format to introduce or explain a specific concept, highlighting what it is and why it’s relevant to your reader. It essentially serves to answer the ‘what is …’ question posed by people who are looking for a thorough explanation of the importance or relevance of the subject.
When structuring a ‘What’ blog post, it’s best to keep in mind that you’re the expert on this subject, not your reader. You’ll want to try and simplify the subject for your reader by doing the following:
- Avoid industry jargon (or explaining these words and phrases when used)
- Use analogies of concepts that you’re sure your readers do already understand
- Write in short sentences.
3. The ‘Why’ Post As Popular Blog Types
Whether it’s a current trend, new tool or a general concept, the ‘why’ post can be helpful to draw attention and significance of the topic at hand.
Much like the ‘what’ post, the ‘why’ post is inherently quite introductory in nature but goes a step further to back up the importance of the subject by answering the ‘why’ element of the argument. Why is this important to me? Why should I care? You should follow the same 3 simplified writing rules that I set out in the ‘What’ post to create an outstanding ‘Why’ post.
Bonus Tip: The ‘Why’ post is also a great contender for Google’s featured snippets, in answer to all those “Why?” search queries.
4. The Listicle
Format: List of similar items or content.
Another very popular blog post format, the list post (commonly referred to as a “listicle”), is characterized by content organized in a list. List posts are easily recognizable by their titles, since they usually include a number in headline, and they’re great formats for beginner bloggers since they’re very formulaic. Unfortunately, it’s for this reason that listicles have gotten a bad rap, and are often perceived as low quality pieces of content … probably because there are indeed a lot of crappy list posts out there.
But when done right, lists posts are great for posts that seek to aggregate tips, tactics, or ideas under a certain topic, and they can result in high-quality content. Plus, people love ’em! To learn about how to create a high-quality list post, check out this post.
5. Popular Blogs: Resources or Link Lists
Very similar to, if not overlapping with, the list post is the resource post. The difference is that resource posts curate other people’s content (albeit usually in a list format).
Resource and list posts are perfect if you’re just learning about a category. You’re probably gathering resources for yourself, so why not share them with your readers?
Don’t have the time to research? Resource posts are an easy type of post you can hand off to your intern or virtual assistant to do the research for you!
Alternatively, you could ask experts in your field for a tip, then curate those answers into a new blog post, like 29 Social Media Tools Recommended by the Pros or 13 Podcasting Tips From the Experts.
Many times when you share a list of tips from experts, they’ll promote your post for you.
6. Cheat Sheets, Checklists and To-do’s
Often what your audience seeks from you is direction. If they have a question, they want someone to answer it—or at least get them on the right track.
While not too different from a how-to, these posts tend to focus on how to do something more efficiently and ensure nothing is forgotten.
As a bonus for your readers, you could add a printable PDF. It’s up to you whether you want to brand that PDF with your company information or put it behind an email registration.
7. The Curated Post
A curated post is essentially a compilation of helpful resources about a certain subject or topic.
Sounds easy? It can be, but research can also be time-consuming. The benefit of this blog format is that readers appreciate the fact that they can refer to a single post as opposed to scouring the internet and wasting their time. Curated posts are perfectly suited to posts that aggregate content, such as statistics or industry examples, and also help to build trust with your readers by aligning yourself with popular industry thought-leaders on various topics.
This type of post is fabulous for establishing yourself as a go-to resource and building relationships with other bloggers and businesses that you reference in your post (no-one ever says no to a great link now do they?).
Bonus Tip: If another blogger reaches out to thank you for linking to their blog, don’t waste the opportunity to ask for some requited love. Make sure to request a do-follow link back to your blog from them.
Example of A ‘Curated’ post:
5 Laws of UX that will help you to create a better user experience.
8. One Of The Most Popular Blog format: Reviews
There are two kinds of review posts: A straight review of a product or a compare-and-contrast of multiple related products.
Many blogs have made a business out of straight reviews of products and services. You can find review posts of books, software, local restaurants and everything in between.
You should know, though, that reviewing products regularly may get you free, unsolicited samples from people looking to get coverage in your blog, so be prepared for free gifts!
As consumers, we rarely if ever have the time to fully test every product in a category ourselves, so we do research on the web. Offer a head-to-head comparison of products to drive a lot of traffic to your site.
In Social Media Examiner’s LinkedIn Networking Club, members are often asking each other if anyone has experience or advice on one piece of marketing software or another. It’s handy to be able to point someone to a direct comparison of a few tools.
9. The FAQ Post
Format: Question and answer (Q&A) format.
The FAQ post is another format that’s great for beginner bloggers, considering the Q&A format is a built in template. These posts are great for addressing common questions your audience has, grouped under a specific topic.
A great way to generate posts like these is to ask your sales and services departments (the people who are talking to prospective and current customers all the time) to write down any common questions they hear. You can also collect questions you get from blog and social media commentary, as well as attendee questions during webinars. These questions are great fodder for Q&A type posts, and as a result, they can become great resources for your sales and services teams as well.
The Definition of SEO in 100 Words or Less [FAQs]
10. A New Popular Blog Type: Podcast Show Notes
The business case for podcasts has been made many times before and rightfully so. They’re a great way to build a passionate audience for your product or service.
As a bonus, behind every great podcast are the show notes, which you can publish as a blog post. You can use a full transcript of the show or just highlight the main themes.
Publishing podcast show notes not only gives additional information to your listeners, it introduces your podcast to your readers. It’s also the type of post you can easily outsource to a transcription service, virtual assistant or co-worker.
Is That Everything?
No, of course not. There are other types of posts. Case studies. Stats. Reports. Weekly or daily roundups. Breaking news. Personal stories. The list goes on, and each type probably has several subcategories.
The takeaway here is this: By understanding the main blog post archetypes, you can quickly move past blogger’s block and start creating valuable content for your audience.