“Right! I’m going to blog today” you say to yourself.
Then you sit down at your computer and ask “What the frick am I going to blog about?”
Then you think “Oh shit! I don’t have any idea why I’m doing this.”
Then you curl up in a ball in the corner of your room for 8 hours and stare blankly into space.
Okay, I realize it may be a slight exaggeration, but let’s be honest! Blogging feels hard!
The Ultimate Blog Post Playbook
The good news is, after spending months painstakingly researching every type of blog post, days writing use cases for each type of post and hours putting this post together, I can now present to you the ultimate business blog post playbook (Yes, this is the longest it’s ever taken me to write a blog post and… possibly the longest blog post I’ve ever written).
And, this post is just the beginning. In the following weeks, I’ll be sharing blog post plays to suit your marketing goals, from book launches to building a community around your brand. In this post, you’ll find examples for each type of post. In addition, you’ll find blog post recipe ingredients you can plug into the app to help you create each type of post I feature below.
Bookmark this blog if you are hungry for ideas and inspiration to get you out from the corner and into readers’ eyeballs! Yes, that sounded weird… Right! Let’s get started.
1. Call to Action Post (List Post)
In a Call to Action post, your aim is to get the reader to take a specific action. Your objective here is to call the reader out on their BS, show them how to take action and then give them an incentive to do it now.
A great example of a call to action style post is a Challenge Post, where you run a challenge to motivate your reader to take action. It could be a formal challenge where readers sign up to participate, or an informal challenge designed to foster a sense of community. The blog post would inspire them to take action, would call them out on their excuses and give them a quick run-down on how to get started. A Call to Action post can be a great way to attract new followers but also a terrific way to convert your warm audience if your challenge is a paid one.
The Merrymaker Sisters have a great example of a challenge post. Check it out here.
Want to write a Challenge Post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Call To Action Post | Challenge | Reader Response: Inspired | Brand Positioning: Magician | Post Length: 401 to 600 words | Timing: Time Specific
2. Case Study
A case study is where you share someone’s experience, both good and bad, of your product/service/place to help the reader make an informed buying decision. Typical case studies are written about a customer’s experience, so you can demonstrate how a product or service helped them. You can also write case studies about your company or organization to show how you handled a particular issue or to give a behind-the-scenes view of your operations.
You can also write company case studies on how a company responds to external events such as natural disasters or even public events. Lastly, you can write a case study from your own perspective to show how a product or service has helped you. Case studies are mainly used to nurture your audience but they can also be used to attract and convert new customers.
Infusionsoft provides in-depth customer case studies to show how versatile their product is. Here are some examples:
Want to write a Case Study like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Case Study Post | Customer | Reader Response: Fascinated | Brand Positioning: Guide | Post Length: 800 to 1000 words | Timing: Evergreen
3. Cautionary Tale Post
In a Cautionary Tale, you share a story that shows the reader what not to do. Cautionary Tales are terrific because everybody can relate to stories about mistakes. You can write them from your own perspective, from a public perspective–about a known person or event, or from another person’s perspective.
Your character doesn’t even need to be real. Some of the most famous Cautionary Tales are the parables from the New Testament. Cautionary tales are primarily used for nurturing existing prospects. This example from American Express Open Forum shows how powerful a Cautionary Tale can be.
Want to write a Cautionary Tale like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Cautionary Tale Post | Personal Story | Reader Response: Encouraged | Brand Positioning: Regular Person | Post Length: 1400 to 1600 words | Timing: Evergreen
4. Checklist/Cheatsheet Post (List Post)
In a Checklist or Cheat Sheet Post, you present a common or unseen problem and provide step by step solutions to that problem. A great example of a cheat sheet is a Decision-making Pathway where you show the reader what to do next based on their previous responses.
Cheat sheets and checklists are great for attracting new readers to your blog and converting new readers into subscribers. If you’re writing a blog post and you think you could create a checklist or cheat sheet from your free blog content, I’d encourage you to do that and make it available to your readers as premium content they can access in exchange for an email address. Here’s an example of a cheat sheet blog post on Pop Sugar.
Want to write a Cheat Sheet like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Checklist/Cheat Sheet | Action Plan/Pathway | Reader Response: Helped | Brand Positioning: Teacher | Post Length: 401 to 600 words | Timing: Evergreen
5. Competition/Giveaway Post
In a competition or giveaway blog post you promote a product or service by enticing the reader to enter a competition. You can create a huge variety of interactive experiences. Some of the more popular styles of competitions include a “Leave a comment to win” style competition or “Tell us in 25 words or less” style competition.
On Writally, our recipes cater for 8 different kinds of competition/giveaway posts. My friend Angela Henderson from Finlee and Me actually helped create the competition/giveaway recipes for Writally. Here’s an example from her blog.
Want to write a Giveaway Post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Competition/Giveaway Post | Share a Social Media Post | Reader Response: Happy | Brand Positioning: Creator | Post Length: 201 to 400 words | Timing: Seasonal
6. Crowdsourcing Post (List post)
In a crowdsourcing post, you feature user-generated content in a blog post. There are two main types of crowdsourcing posts: one where you invite the reader to participate and the other where you feature opinions from experts, audience members, or customers who have participated.
Crowdsourcing posts help you create relationships with your readers and with those who participate in your post. This post demonstrates that crowdsourcing posts aren’t just for fun, creative blogs. They can be used for dryer topics as well:
Want to write a Crowdsourcing Post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Crowdsourcing Post | Expert Feedback | Reader Response: Enlightened | Brand Positioning: Authority | Post Length: 1800 + words | Timing: Evergreen
7. Encouragement/Inspirational Post
With an inspirational or encouragement post, your goal is to share an inspirational story designed to encourage the reader. Your inspirational story could be about a person, a team, an event, a company or organization, a place or a concept. In fact, you could create an inspirational post about just about anything.
The important thing to keep in mind with this kind of post is that you want your reader to feel inspired to take action or change perspective after reading it. Encouragement posts are helpful for attracting new prospects and nurturing your existing audience. Here’s an example of an inspirational post from my own blog.
Want to write an Encouragement/Inspirational Post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Encouragement/Inspirational Post | About a Concept | Reader Response: Encouraged | Brand Positioning: Empath | Post Length: 401 to 600 words | Timing: Evergreen
8. Guide Post (List Post)
If you’ve ever had trouble choosing a gift for your Dad for Father’s Day or Christmas Presents for the kids, you’ll love Guide Posts! Guide Posts provide guides to suitable products and services, to help the reader make a choice. For instance, a gift guide is where you suggest different gifts on a chosen theme or for an upcoming season.
A place guide might recommend 5 different places you must visit in San Francisco. A product guide might feature different products for a specific purpose. For example: “The 5 Best Laptops For Students in 2017.” Guide posts are mainly used to convert warm prospects into customers. Here’s a fun Guide Post from Instyle.
Want to write a Guide Post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Guide Post | Gift Guide | Reader Response: Helped | Brand Positioning: Guide| Post Length: 1601 to 1800 words | Timing: Seasonal
9. How To/Instructional Post (List Post)
It makes sense that the How To or Instructional Post is the most popular type of blog post requested on Writally. Most people like blog posts that help them achieve a goal or overcome a frustration. In an instructional post, you teach the reader how to do or achieve something and you break it down for them. A great example of a How To post is a Beginner’s Guide where you walk the reader through a process they are new to. You can also blend in cautionary tales and inspirational posts and turn them into How To posts by incorporating ideas on how to get started, turn a situation around or where to find help.
Not all How To Posts have to be long. You can break up larger topics into several posts and create a series of Crash Course Posts. This is where each post shows you how to do one specific thing and the following post builds on the previous one. For example, “How to create a content calendar in 7 days: Day 1.” You can then put together what is commonly called a Fishtail Post, where you summarize each Crash Course Post and link back to each one to provide your readers with a quick reference guide.
Other types of How To Posts include a Debunk a Myth post where you take a commonly held belief and show the reader how to smash it to pieces, a Top Ideas Post where you share your top X ideas to achieve a goal. We include quite a few different styles of How To Posts in the Writally App. What you choose depends largely on what you want to achieve. If you want to explain one concept in detail that’s different to suggesting a bunch of ideas, but both are explaining how to do something. Just choose the post style that resonates for you. How To posts are designed to attract new prospects. This post on Smallville is a classic example of a How To post.
Want to write a How To Post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: How To/Instructional Post |Guide the Reader | Reader Response: Enlightened| Brand Positioning: Authority| Post Length: 1201 to 1400 words | Timing: Evergreen
10. Interactive Post
With interactive or gamified posts your goal is to entice the reader to participate in an activity. Interactive posts can also be competitions and giveaways, but they don’t necessarily have to be.
You can run surveys and polls, quizzes, offer free downloads (with no strings attached or in exchange for an email address), ask your readers to contribute to a story by sharing their views or ideas in the comments, or ask them to share a quote or tweetable from your blog post on social media using a specific hashtag you’ve established for the task.Tweet This
Interactive posts nurture community and provide a valuable way for you to gain feedback. Buzzfeed is known for its games and polls. Here’s an example of an interactive post from their website.
Want to write an Interactive Post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Interactive/Gamified Post|Survey/Poll | Reader Response: Happy| Brand Positioning: Comedian| Post Length: 101 to 200 words | Timing: Evergreen
With an interview, you ask someone questions and feature their answers on your blog. In a business context, you would typically interview customers, experts in your field, colleagues, employees audience members, award winners, interesting characters, and authors.
The goal with interviews is to talk about an issue from another person’s perspective while also sharing their story and expertise. It’s a fun way to get to know experts and audiences alike and a very easy blog post type to create because your interviewee provides most of the content. You just have to ask the right questions.
Interviews are terrific for attracting new prospects as well as nurturing your audience. You can either do interviews as live video or audio (such as in podcasts) or you can send questions to someone via email and have them answer them in writing. If you want to connect with your interviewee, it’s usually best to do your interviews in person or over skype/zoom, record them and have them transcribed. Here’s an example of an interview with an expert:
Want to write an Interview Post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Interview| With an Expert | Reader Response: Enlightened| Brand Positioning: Authority| Post Length: 801 to 1000 words | Timing: Evergreen
12. Launch Post
While blogging is mostly used as a soft selling technique, you can launch new products and services via your blog–absolutely!! Using a launch post, you can share the story behind the launch and show your audience how that new thing you’re promoting will help them. Launch posts are suitable for anything from physical products to services, venues such as restaurants and bars, tourist attractions, books, films and events such as festivals and concerts. Launch posts are great for converting already warm prospects into customers. Here’s an example of a new product launch from The Woodford Folk Festival.
Want to write a Launch Post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Launch| Product | Reader Response: Reassured| Brand Positioning: Hero| Post Length: 601 to 800 words | Timing: Evergreen
13. Newsjacking Post
When you write a blog post that piggybacks on something that is featured in the news media, that’s a newsjacking post. You can news jack anything from public events and charity events to awareness days and public holidays. You can also news jack news items on the latest research, industry trends and cultural trends.
Newsjacking is a really easy way to create buzz, build authority, and nurture your audience. If you think your business is too boring for a blog, think again. Even the most vanilla business types can use newsjacking to bring life to their brand. Here’s a great example from Land Surveys, a surveying firm in Western Australia.
Want to write a Newsjacking Post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Newsjacking| Charity Event/Cause | Reader Response: Happy| Brand Positioning: Regular Person| Post Length: 201 to 400 words | Timing: Time Specific
14. News Report
A news report shares factual news about various issues. In a business context you may write news items about the state of your company (like an annual report), company updates on new initiatives and products, people within a company (including yourself), public events such as a company’s response to a natural disaster or charity event, new resources, your customers, a company milestone or something happening behind the scenes. HerBusiness, a membership organization for women entrepreneurs and business owners, uses news posts to support their member community. Here’s an example from their blog.
Want to write a News Post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: News| About a Customer/Member | Reader Response: Fascinated| Brand Positioning: Hero| Post Length: 101 to 200 words | Timing: Evergreen
15. Personal Story
A personal story shares a lesson for the reader through a personal experience. The experience could be negative (a cautionary tale) or positive (inspirational), funny, disastrous, something that reveals a hidden truth to the reader, something that shocks the reader or a moral tale where the reader learns a vital life lesson. I wrote this personal story when I was preparing to launch my book (Your Brilliant Un-Career). It’s actually an excerpt from the book.
Want to write a Personal Story like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Personal Story| Encouragement/Inspirational Post | Reader Response: Inspired| Brand Positioning: Leader| Post Length: 1201 to 1400 words | Timing: Evergreen
16. Podcast Show Notes
Even if you produce your primary content via a podcast, you will still want your listeners to visit your website and your listeners may still want to read your show notes and learn more about the issues you talk about on your show through an accompanying blog post. What style of show notes you create depends on how you do your show.
You can create show notes for solo shows, interviews, and panels, or you can simply provide a transcript of your show. Regardless, your post will need some structure and formatting to be useful to your audience and you’ll want to include your audio file within your post to make it easy for people to listen to your show from your website. Podcast show notes help to nurture your audience because you are giving them a reason to revisit your website. Here’s an example from Ronsley Vaz’s Should I Start a Podcast show.
Want to write Podcast Show Notes like these?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Podcast Show Notes| Interview | Reader Response: Inspired| Brand Positioning: Guru| Post Length: 601 to 800 words | Timing: Evergreen
17. Polarizing Post
In a polarizing post, you take a side and share your opinion on an issue. You can write polarizing posts about products, services, places, ideas, films, events and shows, people, sports teams and more. Basically, if you can have two different opinions on one thing, you can write a polarizing post about it.
Polarizing posts are designed to elicit an emotional response from your reader, so don’t expect everyone to play nice. You must be prepared to respond to comments on social media. I wrote this post on LinkedIn Pulse and it went viral. It then led to the creation of another post which ended up being picked up on Mark Schaefer’s blog and was also shared prolifically. If done well, polarizing posts are great for attracting new prospects who are open to your way of thinking.
Want to write a Polarising Post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Polarising Post| About Ideas | Reader Response: Angry| Brand Positioning: Revolutionary| Post Length: 801 to 1000 words | Timing: Evergreen
A profile is when you share the story or history about the person or thing. You can profile influential people who inspire you, a company, a customer, a community or group, a product, event or place…anything that you feel will inspire your reader. Profiles are great for attracting new prospects and nurturing community. Here’s an example from the NASA website.
Want to write a Profile like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Profile| About an Interesting Character | Reader Response: Inspired| Brand Positioning: Authority| Post Length: 1201 to 1400 words | Timing: Evergreen
19. Q & A Post
A Q&A post helps the reader understand a concept by anticipating and answer their questions about a product, phenomenon, service, place, book etc. Q&A posts are terrific to accompany product launches and are therefore great for converting prospects into customers. Here’s an example from the Smithsonian Magazine.
Want to write a Q&A Post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Q&A| About a Person | Reader Response: Fascinated| Brand Positioning: Revolutionary | Post Length: 601 to 800 words | Timing: Evergreen
20. Research Breakdown
If you want to establish your authority as an expert in your field, writing about research is highly recommended. If you can explain the latest research to people so they can understand how that research might affect them, you will be their hero.
You can write about surveys, studies, white papers or even academic papers in a blog post. You can also draw from various pieces of research in a blog post to prove a point to your reader. This post by Autism Speaks breaks down a single piece of academic research:
Want to write a Research Breakdown post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Research Breakdown| Academic Research | Reader Response: Enlightened| Brand Positioning: Teacher | Post Length: 401 to 600 words | Timing: Evergreen
In a review, you share your opinion on something to help the reader decide whether or not that thing is for them. You can review products, places, venues, books, films, events, services… anything really. If your review you will want to highlight the good and the bad, and share your overall rating with the reader. Reviews are terrific for attracting new readers, nurturing your audience and building your authority. A great example is Kim Doyal’s review of Dan Norris’s book: Create or Hate.
Want to write a Review like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Review| About a Book | Reader Response: Inspired| Brand Positioning: Guide | Post Length: 601 to 800 words | Timing: Evergreen
22. Roundup (could be a list post but doesn’t have to be)
In a Roundup you summarize and compare related or competing products or event features in a blog post to give your reader an overview of information available on a topic.
Different kinds of roundup posts do different things. For instance, if you’re doing a product roundup, you’d be comparing different products (similar to what you might do in a gift guide, only you might include products in a roundup that you wouldn’t want to recommend to your readers).
The main exception with roundup posts is when it comes to an event roundup. Typically events have many talks and sessions and you can do a round up of a single event or several related events. You can do roundup posts about anything from products and services to films, opinions, news, and resources. Roundup posts are great for attracting and nurturing your audience. Here’s an event roundup example featuring a few different events.
Want to write a Roundup like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Roundup| About an Event | Reader Response: Fascinated| Brand Positioning: Guide | Post Length: 801 to 1000 words | Timing: Time Specific
23. Satirical Post
Satire can be a very effective tool to help you make a point. However you need to be very careful when writing satirical posts. Your reader can be easily offended, or can get the wrong end of the stick, because they can’t see your body language, or facial expressions, and they can’t hear the tone of your voice.
Satirical posts can make a real impact when done well but you need to be prepared to defend your position on social media and also be prepared for some not to understand you are being satirical. Satirical posts are great for nurturing your audience and building authority but they can also undermine your authority, so be very careful about using satire. Jeff Goins gives some sage advice on writing satire here and here’s his satirical post on Jon Acuff’s old blog Stuff Christians Like.
Want to write a Satirical Post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Satirical Post| Reveal a Flaw in Conventional Thinking | Reader Response: Amused| Brand Positioning: Comedian | Post Length: 1001 to 1200 words | Timing: Evergreen
24. Suggested Resources Post (List Post)
Your audience loves it when you suggest resources to help them solve a particular problem. While a suggested resources post is a type of How To post, it can also stand on its own as there are several types of suggested resources posts that you can write.
You can suggest resources to solve a specific problem, suggest products, services, people, events, and ideas. You can also suggest resources that are suitable for beginners or more experienced users of a product or service. Suggested Resources Posts are great for attracting new prospects. Here’s an example from Entrepreneur:
Want to write a Suggested Resources Post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Suggested Resources Post| Compare Solutions to One Problem | Reader Response: Enlightened| Brand Positioning: Explorer | Post Length: 801 to 1000 words | Timing: Evergreen
25. Thought Leadership Post
In a thought leadership post, you lead the conversation about a topic, issue or trend via an opinion piece.Thought leadership posts are primarily used to align readers with your purpose.There are several ways in which you can tackle this kind of post.
You can write a “what if” post to inspire the reader to imagine an alternative reality, you can challenge conventional wisdom by presenting a different paradigm, you can respond to a reader question sarcastically (don’t recommend this one unless you really know what you’re doing), and you can start a debate or comment on a current debate that others have already started.
You can reveal a hidden truth to share your insights about a deeper issue the reader may not see, coin a phrase to identify a trend, analyze a trend, share your vision on an issue to inspire or motivate your reader or share your purpose. Mark Schaefer is the thought leadership post master. Here’s a great example from his blog:
Want to write a Thought Leadership Post like this one?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Thought Leadership| Trend Analysis | Reader Response: Concerned| Brand Positioning: Authority | Post Length: 1201 to 1400 words | Timing: Evergreen
26. Video Show Notes
Similar to podcast show notes, in a video blog post you embed your video in the blog post and use the notes to elaborate on different aspects of the show. You can use video show notes for solo shows right through to panels and you can present your notes as dot points or transcripts.
Video notes are used to improve your SEO when you post videos on your website and to nurture your audience. Amy Schmittauer is the video blogging queen. Here’s an example from her website.
Want to write Video Show Notes like these?
Writally Recipe Ingredients to Plug In: Video Show Notes| Interview | Reader Response: Helped| Brand Positioning: Teacher | Post Length: 601 to 800 words | Timing: Evergreen
How to Use Blog Posts to Support Your Marketing Goals
Now that you can see the different types of posts you can create, how do you decide which ones to create?
Well, first you need to know what your purpose is. Different types of blog posts suit different communication goals.
For instance, if you want to launch an event, you will want content which attracts new prospects so you have an audience to launch to. Then you will want some posts that help you nurture your audience to align them with your vision and purpose. Lastly, you’ll want to create posts to help lead your warm prospects to book in for the event.
Once you have your primary blog content, you can repurpose snippets of it and create supplementary content such as social media posts, cheat sheets, ebooks and emails to further your reach and drive more of the right people to your business.
Stay Tuned For More
If you’ve made it this far you deserve a medal. I don’t have a medal, but I do have a cheat sheet that summarizes each primary blog post type. It’s yours free when you sign up to the Writally app wait list.
Next week, I am going to feature a blog post play for launching a course! It just so happens I am launching a course, so this will also be good practice for me.
What marketing goals would you like to see a blog post strategy for? Let me know in the comments or hit me up in the Writally Facebook group.