Continued from: How to Create Effective Blog Content
Creating a blog is a great way to drive traffic to your website and showcase your knowledge. Here are 12 blog tips that have been used in some of the most successful blog posts on the Internet. What makes these ideas so effective is that they are universal–with a little thought and creativity, you can apply them to any industry.
1. How-To Guides
“How to…?” tutorials do extremely well. You can focus on any subject to help your readers solve a problem, explain a complex process or guide them to complete a task. Give your readers simple step-by-step instructions they can follow and they will love you for it.
With these types of posts, you demonstrate your subject expertise and immediately establish a connection with a happy and educated visitor.
Readers love lists. Give them numbered lists, bulleted lists, and checklists. According to Moz, lists draw twice as much traffic as other types of posts. Lists tell the reader exactly what to expect, and the information is broken down for them so they can focus on one item at a time or skip to those of interest. The longer list doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better, but numbers over 5 are generally perceived as “more complete.” You don’t need to have a thousand items on your list. I recommend focusing on quality and subject matter that your readers find useful: “Top 20 Ways to…”, “10 Websites for…”, “15 Tips for…”
3. The Best / Top
Another commonly searched post is “The Best” or “The Top” lists: “Best Ideas for…”, “Best Blogs for…”, “Top Tools for…”, “Best Anything”. The keyword “Best” subconsciously makes your list better than the others and implies that you’ve done the research and legwork to find and select “the best of the best” and save the reader substantial time.
Compare these two titles and decide which one you would choose: “10 Ideas” or “10 Best Ideas”. People also love ratings or charts. When a “Best / Top” list is numbered, it implies that the items are in order of greatness. You can use the keyword “Best” or “Top” to jazz up any post. Another spin on this concept would be “The Worst” list.
Example: Best 20 Law Firm Websites
People love quick tips and actively search for them. Think of ways you can help your customers by giving them useful tips. “Tips for …” are very popular and can be easily converted into “The Best” lists, making them even more effective. In addition to tips on what to do, people often search for tips on what not to do.
5. Mistakes & Myths
People don’t like learning from their own mistakes, and many will make a concerted effort to avoid mistakes. This is why “Mistakes to Avoid” is another popular post subject. What are some of the common mistakes that your customers make? Write a post to help avoid them.
Another effective approach is myth busting. What are some common misconceptions in your industry? Write a post to bust those myths, and position you as an expert.
6. Series and Follow-ups
Once you have enough content, you can start grouping your posts in series based on subject matter or sequence. The idea is to create a list post that references your other posts.
A “Follow-up” is a similar idea where follow up is done, expanding on a post that has been successful. Remember, you can always do a “Part II” post and link them. The new post will piggyback on to the first popular post, and eventually both posts will mutually benefit in traffic.
7. Trends & Predictions
Trends and predictions are always sought-after because people want to keep up with trends now and in the future. By making these predictions and declaring trends, you position yourself and your company as an expert in the field. Consider writing a post on “Top 10 Trends for [next year]“.
Many writers are reluctant to make predictions because they don’t want to be wrong. You should look at this as an opportunity. First, if you are wrong, it will stir discussions, and direct attention to you. Controversial posts actually work very well, and a lively discussion around your prediction (even though erroneous) is great PR. Second, even if you are wrong, it will be years before anyone can point it out, and by then, it is old news.
8. Reviews and Opinions
Write unbiased reviews to provide your commentary and opinions about any solutions, tools, vendors, books, products or services that your customers may find useful. Consider doing competitive comparisons and cite differences, benefits, shortcomings and the overall experience. When writing reviews, be sure they are unbiased. Stay away from directly comparing your own products or services to those of your competition.
Another similar subject is voicing your opinions, objections and rebuttals to anything in the industry. Controversy sells and will help attract traffic to your website. However, you should be ready for heated discussion and potential criticism.
Interview an expert, and include the transcript of their interview (or a video interview) with their short profile (bio and credentials). You can interview clients, members of professional associations, independent consultants, vendors and even your competitors.
Interviews add massive credibility to your blog, because the content doesn’t come from within your organization. By hosting someone else’s interview, you get a type of indirect endorsement. Celebrity power works great. Securing an interview with someone known or influential is always a challenge, but it’s worth a try. Don’t underestimate a person’s ego. With the right approach, you would be surprised how many people would enjoy an interview for your blog. They will most likely share the interview on their social networks as well.
Consider recapping events, conferences, seminars, trade shows, presentations or training exercises in which you or a team member may have participated. Don’t simply tell readers you were present. Turn it into an informative, educational and entertaining experience for the reader so that they can enjoy it vicariously.
Newsjacking is riding the wave of breaking news in your industry, which generates a ton of traffic to your website when done properly. In order to catch that wave, you have to produce a post early in the game and promote the heck out of it as public excitement grows. The key to this approach is to monitor the news, recognize specific pieces of news that will be big and jump in first. Then, as people search for news of the event on the Internet, your post will appear in the results, other websites will link to it, and people will share it on social media.
Regardless of your company’s product or line of service, you can always find an angle to write relevant content on annual events or holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, Valentine’s, etc. It is certainly easier for consumer brands, but even B2B services can benefit from seasonal content. Your customers are people who enjoy holidays. Posting lighter material around holidays is entertaining and ultimately rewarding.
Example: Best Mother’s Day Gift Websites
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