In a blogging rut? Try one of these alternatives to the standard long-form post instead!
It could be argued that the key to any good blog is consistency. Consistent value, consistent voice, consistent output and distribution. But there’s a fine line between consistency, and just doing the same old same old. Readers online have increasingly high standards. That usually means giving them the information or entertainment that they crave, with a presentation that keeps them on their toes, and leaves them wanting more.
How do we do both? Consistency and repetitiveness do not have to be scarily similar, so when you’re feeling like you’re in a blogging rut, and you find yourself struggling to satiate the roar of the masses, playing around with the format of your blog is an easy way to elevate your content.
Check out our post on the types of content people love , and try these seven blog formats to continue to give the people the consistency they need, but with the variance that they want to keep coming back for more.
7 Blog Formats to Incorporate Into Your Content Calendar Now
1. Curated Posts
Curated content is not just something you can do for social media, it can make great blog posts too. Consider that by curating content, you can establish yourself or your company as being in-the-know or up-to-date on the latest news and trends. It’s also a great indicator that you are constantly learning from others, and readers can turn to you for valuable insight.
Try a weekly "top stories" post, or a roundup of the most shared articles, relevant to your industry. Using this post format is a great option for those readers seeking instant gratification, and who are looking to be able to get all the information they need in one place. Add in the consistency element, and you can create a following based on the authority you build on being a go-to source for information.
Ever see a trending topic, event, or big announcement that makes you think "I have the perfect blog idea for that!"? Why not use your platform to jump into a timely topic? One of the best things about planning your content calendar is that it’s flexible.
Say you have a post in the pipeline about using video in social media marketing campaigns, and suddenly you hear about Instagram’s new video looping feature…. Get that post done and out right now!
Use the foundation that you have, with the knowledge you already possess, and relate it to something that’s happening now. Prioritizing this aspect in your blogging will lead readers to start to look to you for your take on what’s happening in real time, and customers will appreciate your extreme relevancy.
Interview posts are a great way to break up the typical content you may be posting to your blog. While you may be providing great information and value on a regular basis, interjecting an interview post now and again does well to provide readers with a first person insight that they may not be able to find elsewhere, and therefore will look to you to get.
Interviews can be done in a few different ways. The interviewee can be someone from within your company, from the CEO, to the Director of Sales, to the newest hire for web design. Think about which area of expertise you are looking to hone in on, and the perspective that person can lend to your readers.
Or you can interview someone outside of your company. A great subject would be a customer who has had particular success with you and your products or services. Or try contacting a thought leader within your industry. By interviewing someone high-profile or respected, you can establish yourself with more credibility as well.
Gaining in popularity is the AMA - style interview, or the “Ask Me Anything.” These types of interviews allow readers and customers to ask their own burning questions to the interviewee of your choosing, upping the level of interactiveness and making sure to actually answer the questions that people have.
Few things are as attractive to readers these days as a good story. Though storytelling from a company is still a bit surprising, it’s a great way to show the human element of your business that consumers today want. Use the story of how your company was founded, how the founders met, what the inspirations behind the products or services were, or a story of failure in the beginning days of the company.
Stories are compelling. They play into the emotional sides of readers, and make you, in turn, more relatable, transparent, and interesting. Stories are also easy blog posts to create, because they come directly from the horse’s mouth, with little study, research, or finesse needed. Personal anecdotes can also be interjected into informational posts, to show authenticity and self-awareness. By adding a human element to your blog, readers may be compelled to come back for more of the story.
5. On-trend Posts
Similar to newsjacking, on-trend posts utilize what is currently popular to drive relevancy, and create greater awareness for your brand and blog. On-trend posts are topical, or utilize trending hashtags or social media events to enter into a larger community. Consider getting involved with #TBT (Throwback Thursday) and post an updated recycled article, or a picture post from the first conference your company attended.
Jump on the #inspiration train, with posts with quotes from entrepreneurs or social scientists, or advice in your areas of expertise. You can post content relevant to holidays or current events, (think: 10 marketing tactics to be thankful for this Thanksgiving).
Just remember to not force the subject. If you can’t find a blog topic that actually works with what is on-trend, it’s probably better to just skip it. Throwing in your two cents on a current event can be another way of humanizing your brand, but err on the side of caution, especially when it comes to sensitive topics.
Don’t jeopardize your legitimacy by being insensitive or missing the mark, but having the right tone and matching content can help boost your brand awareness and company respect.
6. FAQ Posts
Frequently-Asked-Question blog posts are a great way to show readers and customers that you are listening and responding to them. Not only is it good business to make sure your customers and potential customers have all the information that they are looking for, but providing an FAQ document that is updated regularly shows readers that your are acting, reacting, and evolving to suit them. An FAQ post can also address questions that some users didn’t even know they had, but they may find the information very valuable.
An FAQ post can tie into your overall User Experience (UX) and make customers more willing to trust that you have their best interests in mind, or that you are not trying to hide something from them. Use FAQ posts to also address questions people may have about areas of your expertise that you can answer for them. You can categorize these posts by specific topic or area of interest, and watch as readers look to you for transparency, or answers to their biggest questions.
While visuals in content marketing are becoming ever more present, consider using a SlideShare post format to illustrate and present a blog topic in a more compact and exciting way. SlideShares allow you to demonstrate your ability to not only produce well-written content, but also the visual and interactive style of content that audiences seem to want more of. SlideShares can be used for a range of topics, from your company culture, to a step-by-step guide for using a product or service you provide, or informational through the use of graphs, charts and survey outcomes.
SlideShares allow you to be more precise and condensed in your text, but add an educational feeling to what you are sharing with your readers, through the enhanced use of audio, video, and quotes. SlideShares are also great content to be shared through promotional channels, and can double as gated content, depending on the topic or level of comprehensiveness. Use of SlideShare can show your viewership that you are capable of higher-level production and that you take time and effort in creating quality, useful content.
What will you try next?
When it comes to your blog and content marketing, you always want to keep it moving, while still providing your readers with what they want and need. If you take care of the quality of the content you are providing, and mix it up with the format of your blog posts, you are sure to have enough possibilities to get out of any blogging rut.
Remember that consistency is key, but you don’t have to let yourself slip into repetitiveness. Your readers will appreciate what you create for them, and will continue to come back for more.