There’s a reason I’m so romantic about blogging — it works.
I’ve seen it for myself and I’ve seen it for my clients.
For instance, I have a client that has only been blogging for a few months. Just last week, they received a lead from their website for a service that they had just blogged about a few days before.
Just a coincidence?
I think not.
If you are looking for a solution and you find a website with a blog post that addresses that particular issue you have questions about, wouldn’t that make you more likely to buy from them?
I know I would.
That’s what makes blogging and content marketing is so darn powerful.
The challenge is coming up with the content that makes sense for your business (and finding the to create it).
To get started, I strongly recommend creating a content plan for your blog. As you build the topics you’re going to write about, it helps to think about how you’re going to present the information.
Types of Blog Content
Here are the five types of content you should be including in your blog:
1. Educational Posts
Educational content should be the backbone of your content marketing efforts.
These posts come in the form of how-to guides and answers to questions your clients and prospects commonly face.
Think about the questions you get from your clients on a regular basis. Chances are good that your prospects have these questions too.
Your job is to answer these questions. The goal here is to sell through education. You do that by helping make your prospect’s life a little bit easier.
Here are some ideas:
- Help readers break down complex issues in a way that’s easy to understand.
- Explain recent changes in your industry (i.e. healthcare reform, law changes, tax updates, etc.).
- Offer up tools or resources that can be useful to your prospects.
- Provide a step-by-step guide for solving a common problem.
- Show unique ways your product or service could be used.
Creating content that helps people solve problems and better understand the work you do will be extremely beneficial to you.
Thought Leadership Posts.
You don’t want a blog that’s full of “me-too” content. You need to be willing to plant a flag for what you believe as a company.
Taking a stand on
issues and offering original opinions and ideas
differentiate you from your competitors.
People want to know they are working with talented experts and this kind of content will help you demonstrate your capabilities.
Here are some ideas on how to do this:
- Call attention to problems in your industry and discuss what you’re doing to help solve them.
- Offer a different view or angle on a popular topic. Don’t be afraid to be contrarian!
- Share your opinion on
how recent news or events impacts your community or industry.
- Write a manifesto that articulates what you stand for
and why you approach things differently at your company.
- Discuss important trends or make your own predictions about what trends people should watch. (Here’s an example.)
- Share industry data or research and interpret what that means for your target audience.
These kinds of posts should be written somewhat sparingly, but they are an important component to successful blogging — especially if you want to position yourself as a thought leader and a go-to resource for your industry.
3. Humanizing Posts.
Because blogging can help readers better connect with you and your company, you should make a conscious effort to weave in some posts that help humanize your brand. You could either dedicate content around this idea or make sure to weave storytelling and personality into everything you do.
There are so many ways you could do this. Here are just a few ideas:
- Create videos to introduce key members of your team.
- Develop a Q&A series that has employees answering the questions.
- Show photos of your employees having fun together — at events or on a day-to-day basis.
- You could share the community involvement of your staff member or encourage people to join in your company’s fundraising efforts.
- Tell a story of someone who was impacted by the work you do.
Don’t be afraid to let your hair down and let your true colors, or “killer swag” shine through. Doing this will help people get to know you better and make them much more likely to want to work with you.
4. Buying Decision Posts.
Because your blog is supposed to help you drive leads and business, you need to also write content that will help readers make the decision to buy.
Think about the questions that people have when going through the buying process. What questions do they ask about your products or services? What are their biggest hangups about buying?
Writing content that answers prospects questions will help them determine whether
your business is a good fit for their needs. They are self-selecting whether they want to work with you. Which means when they come knocking on your door they will be more prepared to buy.
A great example of this kind of content is to
talk about pricing. People are searching for this information and if you can be the one to provide it, they will be more likely to buy from you. Not to mention, this could decrease the sales cycle by weeding out unqualified leads.
Here are some additional ideas:
- Compare your product or service to your competitors to help readers make an educated decision about the options available.
- Write use cases that share ideas about how and when your service is a good fit for customers.
- Talk about when your products or services are NOT a good fit for customers.
- Write about the telltale signs a company should look for a solution to their problem.
Here are some examples of buying decision content I’ve written:
- Should You Outsource Your Social Media Efforts?
- Hiring an In-House Marketing Team vs. Marketing Agency
- Should You Hire a Digital Marketing Agency?
Each of these posts offers information to help someone determine which solution will be best for them. Think about how you can offer similar content with your blog.
5. Case Studies and Examples.
One of the best way you can sell the work you do is by showcasing the results you’re able to help generate for others. Case studies are a great way to do just that.
This is a great way to sell your services by letting someone else to the talking.
And, if you’re unable to get case studies and client stories (or you’re unable to do so for compliance reasons), you could always showcase examples of other people or businesses that are doing things right. People love to see how ideas or theories can be put to work and showing how others are applying those ideas can be super powerful — even if they’re not your own clients.
Balance Your Blog Content
The best way to be successful with your blog is to integrate all of these types of blog posts into your writing. Not only with the varied types of blog content appeal to different audiences, but it will also help readers who are at different stages of the buying process.
If you focus on writing these kinds of posts on your blog, you’ll be sure to see the benefits of it.
Are you writing these kind of blog posts? Which ones do you still need to add to the mix?
NOTE: A version of this post was originally published on February 19, 2013.
But, because the tips are still so relevant today, we dusted it off from the archives and refreshed it a bit for our newer readers (or those who missed it the first time). We hope you enjoy it!
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9 replies on “5 Types of Content You Should be Writing for Your Blog”
Great post Laura. Just a question on Educational Content. Is there any value in writing a 5 Tips to Get Twitter Followers type of post if that same post and information has been written by every other marketer? Should I be writing it BECAUSE it has been written by every other marketer?
Is a post only educational if you are adding new information to the pool of knowledge? Does every educational post also need to be a thought leadership post?
Just some things that have been running though my head lately. What are your thoughts?
Hi Rob – Great questions. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
In regards to educational content, I think it’s okay to write something even if it’s been said by others because chances are good that you’ll have your own unique twist or spin on the information. After all, YOUR audience may be hearing this information for the very first time. I wouldn’t, however, write something because everyone else is. Instead, I would look for ways you can make your version stand out or offer a different look at it.
As far as the pool of knowledge on a subject, it’s vast and very deep. Don’t psych yourself out about writing something that NO ONE has ever written about before. You would be hard-pressed to do that. Instead, focus on developing content that is going to be educational and valuable to YOUR people, YOUR target audience, YOUR tribe.
And no, not every post needs to be thought leadership. Those are opinionated posts or deep thinking posts that are intended to take a stand or advance a conversation. Sometimes, you can educate while doing that, but I would try to keep them separate. For instance, THIS was an educational post, but this one is more about thought leadership and opinion: http://flybluekite.com/2013/02/11/social-media-marketing-decline/
Laura you speak truth. That’s why I like you. 🙂 Thanks for answering my questions. I was thinking along those lines.
I think part of my problem is that I come from the land of SEO where spin has a different meaning and “educational” articles are churned out non stop by underpaid writers hunched over ancient laptops in dark rooms. 🙂 Thanks for setting me straight.
Eeek! That sounds like the awful template guest post requests I get all of the time – “I’ll give you you very own, unique article for your site – and the best thing is that I won’t charge you a thing!”. Yuck.
Glad you’re breaking free from your SEO colleagues. Quality is far more valuable than quantity that’s filled with junk.
I believe I’ve hinted at my feelings on this topic before: NO, NO, NO!
What the world doesn’t need is the 1,000th version of the same article. Instead, be the 1st person to take the contrarian point of view.
If you are going to write article # 1,001 you’d better be damn sure that your version (as I acknowledge you wrote, Laura) stands out or offers a different look.
Great tips! Ya know, I’ve been doing quite a few of those humanizing posts, but more and more I’m trying to weave in detailed educational posts. There are many interesting posts with regard to this type of post and pillar content vs. 500-700 word posts. Regardless, it’s all about quality and those Edu posts do take some time to write.
Also, I think you know how I feel about taking a stand on an issue, so no, I’m never chickening out with my blog 😉
Hi Craig – Yes, I DO know how you love to take a stand! 🙂 You’re an excellent example of someone who shows personality in everything that you do. I love that.
I think adding in educational posts would be super powerful for you. I know you’ve already started doing that, but adding in more would be great. As far as length, I don’t think educational posts have to be epic, long content. Sometimes, that makes sense. But, I think you can still educate in 500 – 700 words. Not always, but length doesn’t always equal quality either. Just something to consider.
Thanks for weighing in!
As we near the completion of our site re-design, I will definitely be saving this compilation for my Editorial Calendar– very good reference. Thanks Laura!
Glad you found this to be helpful! Keep me posted on your site redesign – can’t wait to see it!