social media how toNeed more blog post ideas?

Have you ever stared at your screen, unable to figure out what to write?

Are you wondering what type of content will best engage your audience?

In this article, I’ll share 12 types of blog posts that can help you kick blogger’s block to the curb and keep your readers coming back for more.

Why Create a Variety of Blogging Topics?

You have writer’s block, so why am I giving you a list of types of posts instead of topics? I’m not giving you a list. Well, I sort of am, but really I’m giving you the tools that will lead you to topics.

tool belt

Use a selection of tools to create valuable content for your audience. Image source: iStockphoto

Choosing from a proven set of blog post types can actually free your creativity and allow you to deliver valuable, engaging content to your ideal reader or customer.

When Batman needs to take out a threat to Gotham, he relies on a set number of bat-tools on his utility belt. When he chooses one, he uses it in a creative way to subdue some member of the rogues gallery. (OK, I’m a geek. So sue me.)

Likewise, you can improve your writing and deliver high-quality posts in less time by leveraging some popular post archetypes and customizing them with your own content and perspective.

Take a look at the list below and add these arrows to your blogging quiver.

#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.

example of a how to blog post

How-to posts are the not-so-secret sauce of successful business blogs.

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: Lists

List posts streamline information into a numbered list that’s easy for your readers to read, share and put into action. They speak to our desire to find the best information in the shortest amount of time.

example of a list blog post

List posts are attractive to readers because they offer the promise of the best results in less time.

Some bloggers hate list posts because they feel it’s been done to death, but there’s no denying it’s effective.

All you need to do is visit any newsstand and check out the cover stories of popular magazines: 10 Exercises for Tighter Abs, 101 Ways to Save for College or The 5 Best Family SUVs.

#3: 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!

example of a resource blog post

Always consider adding your own blog or resource to any “best-of” list.

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.

#4: 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.

example of a checklist blog post

Don’t forget to pack the kids!

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.

#5: 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.

example of a review blog post

Comparison posts can generate interest from people who will ultimately need your services.

I should tell you, 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! (If you ever needed a reason to review bacon on your blog, I just gave it to you.)

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.

#6: Controversial Posts

If you want interaction, take a controversial stance on a subject your audience is passionate about.

example of a controversial blog post

I really rumpled some feathers with this post. Kicker was that the post was at my responsive website!

One of the first posts I ever wrote for the Marketing Agents blog was the case against responsive web design, the popular approach to mobile-friendly design. To this day, it’s one of the most shared and commented-on posts I’ve ever written.

But I have to warn you, if you do write a controversial post, be prepared for some angry comments from the other side. If you don’t have thick skin or an excellent therapist, this post type may not be for you.

#7: Infographics

I can’t count the number of times an infographic has bailed me out of writer’s block. They’re easy to find and interesting to read.

You can find an infographic by searching on a certain topic, like “dog infographic” or “restaurant infographic.”

search results for restaurant infographic

Everyone loves a good infographic, and they’re so easy to find.

When you find one you like or you think will appeal to your readers, there’s usually some code that you use to easily embed it into your post. Then it’s just a matter of adding a paragraph or two to provide context for your readers.

People love sharing infographics and easy-to-digest statistics, so it’s a good bet they’ll share your post with their audience.

#8: 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.

example of podcast show notes blog post

Podcast show notes give your podcasts a wider reach.

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.

#9: Videos

If you’re creating videos and posting them to YouTube, that’s great! You’re taking advantage of the second-largest search engine, gaining access to over a billion people who watch YouTube videos every month and building rapport with the people who watch your video.

But why stop there? You can reap even bigger rewards by embedding your videos in an article on your own blog.

example of video blog post

I’ve got a face for radio, and a voice for newspapers.

Surround your video with related contextual copy, or just include a transcript of the video to create a valuable blog post. Either way, you’ll be getting more views for your video and increasing the time visitors spend on your blog.

#10: Interviews

Interviews are a great way take the pressure off of you to create content. Talk to industry leaders, satisfied customers or a random guy at the coffee shop to get a fresh perspective you can share with your audience.

example of blog interview post

Make sure you include notes or a transcript for audio and video interviews to improve your search engine visibility.

When you put your post together, you can provide the interview as text, audio or video, depending on which option best fits your (and your audience’s) needs.

And hey, your interviewee may choose to share the post with his or her audience once it goes live.

#11: Guest Posts

Getting outside experts to contribute to your blog gives you fresh content without having to write it all yourself. Sites like Social Media Examiner, Convince & Convert and Copyblogger have successfully used guest blogging to build massive audiences.

However, you can’t put your guest blogging program on autopilot. You’ll still need to set up editorial guidelines, vet the quality of the work and make sure each post is original.

example of guest blogging guidelines

Set high standards for your guest bloggers.

As you accept guest posts, keep in mind that often the guest blogger’s goal is to drive traffic from your site to theirs. But by regularly providing amazing, valuable content, your readers will keep coming back to your site for more.

#12: Blog Series

Sometimes an idea is just too big for a single post.

One way to maximize the impact of a “big idea” is to break it into parts. A series helps build anticipation for the next post and improves your SEO if you link from one post to the next in a natural, organic way.

example of blog series post

An example of 30 days of blogging goodness.

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.

So next time you have a juicy piece of valuable content you want to share with your audience, but you’re not sure how to begin, pull up this list of ideas and find the one that best fits your content and editorial goals.

It’ll be like having your own Bat utility belt, but for blogging.

What do you think? What’s your favorite type of blog post to write? Which type is most popular with your audience? Let us know in the comments below.

Image from iStockPhoto.
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  • It’s all about building authority quickly, effectively, and without compromising quality. You managed to nail most of the content forms that enable bloggers to do this. My favorite is the INTERVIEW format. So deep. So many ways to benefit from it 🙂

  • Rich this is such a great post! I’ll be sharing it with my clients today 🙂

  • Gene,

    It’s also great because it’s sustainable. It’s tough to create your own content day in and day out, but by relying on a cadre of experts, you can shine the spotlight on them and step back…but still get great content for your blog!

  • Thanks, Stephanie! I hope they enjoy it. 🙂

  • Great guide, whenever I get writer’s block I will definitely be referring to this post to get me unstuck!

  • Thank you for this post Rich. There is so much there isn’t there. I am just about to set up a blogging schedule for the next month and was thinking about a theme/topics. I can definitely create a variety of blog posts around a theme but from a different angle each time. Thanks again.

  • Sonia,

    Good point. These are just frameworks, but they can help you remix your content in different ways to keep things fresh. Good luck on your blog!

  • Fantastic post thank you I was just talking yesterday to a client who uttered those common words “I’d like a blog but have no idea what to write in it….” I have shared this with him, perfect timing.

  • Nathalie Pare

    One of the hardest thing to do as a blogger is to have ideas worth writing about. Thank you for this list, this is great!

  • Really nice! I have used a variety of posts for the last 5 years I have blogged, but always good to be reminded and find some new ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  • You’re welcome! Sometimes knowing the size and shape of the canvas helps you create your content.

  • Michelle Phillips

    Really great post, Rich! I always enjoy this type of blog post and especially loved your tip about creating a blog series for longer topics. Great idea! I agree that How-to’s and Tutorials are the most powerful of all. I appreciate when someone takes time to write a blog post that solves a problem. And, I was pleasantly surprised to see my review post included in the list. Thanks so much!

  • Maria Ledda

    It’s a great post! Because reading I’ve got an amazing idea for my business. Thank you!!!

  • Great post, it reinvigorated my writing desire. I did notice once small typo in the 1st type, you wrote Law and Order SUV, but I’m sure you meant Law and Order SVU.

  • Good one Rich

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  • Karin

    Hi, great tips! I would appreciate if someone could tell me what software or other online resource you can use to do interviews as shown in tip number 10. Where you can show both parties (interviewer/interviewee) to the audience. Thanks.

  • Raquel

    I think all of these things are great ways to grab attention of people looking. I personally always get drawn into lists and To do’s. If it is so simple that it can be listed, it must be something I can do too! Tying in other social media is very important as well as giving variety such as having a guest blogger, which I did not think about until now.

  • List posts are a useful framework to hang ideas from, and if you are struggling for inspiration, they are a good way of driving yourself through bloggers’ block. Everyone knows this though, so if you use them too often, you end up looking a mite desperate.

  • Anna


    A quick question about the infographic posts. Do you make them yourself? You said there’s some code you can find to easily embed it in your post… Does this mean we can steal them off the web and embed them into our own blog? I am just not sure I understand how it works. The post was great though. Thanks!

  • Jitendra Padmashali

    Very nice Therichbrooks, According to me now a days people like to post more and more blogs and be update in all things. Every marketer in their right mind knows that in order to drive more traffic to your blog, you need to come up with blog post titles that are actually enticing.

  • Michelle, glad you enjoyed it! And glad you found that “easter egg.” 🙂

  • Brook,

    What?!? You haven’t been watching the latest L&O spinoff about soccer moms and suburbia? 😉

    I’ll pass that along to the editors at SEM…I mean SME. Thanks!

  • Thanks, Mitch! See you in the clubs. 🙂

  • I would guess that Jaime’s using Skype and Call Recorder, a $30 add on that allows you to record both sides of an audio or video Skype interview, and create a split screen video of that interview. That’s what I’ve used in the past.

  • Agreed! Bacon is delicious, but I wouldn’t want it on every dish.

    Wait, I may have accidentally stumbled into the exception that proves the rule!

  • Anna,

    You could make them yourself, or hire a professional designer. However, many people create infographics for the purpose of getting people to share them. Here’s a quick break down of what we recently did for a client. They were trying to get some breweries as clients.

    I did a Google image search on “beer infographics.” (There’s approximately a billion.) I found one I liked and clicked through to find the original post, where there was an embed code below the infographic. I used that code in the HTML window in WordPress and added some commentary that would be valuable to breweries and hit publish. BOOM! You’re done.

    More recently I wanted to do an infographic on Instagram usage. I found one the same way, but this site didn’t have an embed code, so I used the image by itself and created a link to the the website creator and gave credit. (I could have gone the extra step and asked permission, but I think I forgot. Whoops!)

  • ScottRobinett

    good article

  • Hi Rich, thanks for your article. There are a couple of ideas that I haven’t considered before : # 4 an # 12 and i’m going to try them. One question: I love infographics and I embed some of them in my site. The problem is… they are written in English. That’s not a problem for me, but it could be for my readers. Sometimes I add a little bit of translation in the post but it is not as reading the infographic. I wonder if there could be a way (asking the author’s permission, of course) of taking the layout and pictures, and simply translate the content into the target language. This could be a wonderful way of spreading information and knowledge (as is doing about videos!).

    Thanks for now, Claudia from Italy

  • Thank you so much for sharing this up! Its really true! I will share this to my friends and clients today!

  • Anna

    Riiight! That’s useful to know.

    Thank you very much, Rich! The post was very useful and the reply prompt and comprehensive. You just got a new subscriber to your articles.

  • Hahaha! What’s also funny is that, that premise, if marketed correctly would probably do wonders with the middle aged tv watching female demographic.

  • Good catch! Thanks.

  • Thanks for sharing, Raquel!

  • Claudia, having worked in international business for over 30 years I understand your point. You would have to ask the author’s permission and you’d also need to raise questions on who and how to make the changes on the original graphic. This may or may not be quick and easy to do/coordinate.

  • Great post – I’m saving this one!

  • AmandahBlackwell

    I like reading How To and List Posts because they’re easy to digest; these are popular with my audience. Videos are good, but I like to provide a transcript. This way people can download the information and read it again and again.

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  • Glenn G

    I think posting in a blog series is a great idea. It’s an incentive for the readership to stay invested in certain themes and topics. I agree that it helps build anticipation and does a great job of planting seeds over and over without coming off as annoying to readers.

  • Wow! I just read something interesting! Great guide!

  • Hendrik-Jan Francke

    Thanks. Nice to have the ideas all in one place!

  • Helpful!

  • This is an excellent post that is packed with valuable content. I love this site because you provide examples of the content that you are talking about. Personally I use How To, List and Resource posts for my audience. Going to experiment with adding video later this year.

  • Great information. I actually wrote a blog post about doing “List posts” and received quite a bit of traffic from it. I also did a “Poll” asking my readers what they thought of it and it turned out that 50% said they liked them about 1/2 of the time so I try to do that on my blog. Thanks for all the other great ideas too!

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  • This is a great article that I will definitely be taking advantage of. I love the ease of creating and reading lists. They seems multi-functional. Hoping to focus my skills on refining this idea.

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  • Roger J. Stevens

    times we do search for blog topics but we cant think of anything good enough.
    Thanks for this post, im sure a lot of interesting ideas will stem from this,
    especially for me – since I just started interning at a digital marketing
    agency, FuturOn, we need to update blogs regularly !

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  • Great Post! This will help me with my blog. Thanks for sharing!

  • tumbur tambunan

    This one is new to me but I’ll learn step by step

  • Precious Mmeso

    thanks that’s great. they are sure tips. please talk more on seo because am new to it.thanks

  • Writing for a blog and always having fresh ideas. That’s the most desired thing for a blogger, who would like to share his/her passion too. If you want a weekly planner you need to write articles that are not so “stressing” for you. I mean, for example, writing a “how to..” or “7 Tips for..” is more challenging than a list of the “30 white and black logos you’ll love”. For me, of course 🙂
    I found many useful ideas in this post. That’s the reason I love this blog 🙂

  • Very nice post. I just came across this via Google. This helps me out a lot.

  • Mehera

    Really nice post..very useful for me as I am blogging beginner..Thanks for sharing it

  • Great thinks it’s all about how to increase and drive more traffic on Blog posts

  • Wooo.. great list thanks for sharing.