If it’s blog post ideas you’re after congratulations, your long search is finally over. Take a breath and relax because you’re about to go on a journey through a web content wonderland I like to call: “The Big Blog Post Idea List”.
Note: Don’t forget to check out the ‘Exponential Blog Post Enhancement’ section at the end of this post to learn how today’s Internet has opened the door to almost unlimited formatting possibilities.
Because I’m a naturally helpful type, I’ve broken down this subject into 8 categories with each category highlighting a different approach to post creation. You can jump straight to each category by clicking on any of the following links or you can read as you go.
- The Entertaining Post
- The Promotional Post
- The Timely Post
- The Useful Post
- The “Let’s Connect” Post
- The Engaging Post
- The “We’re All in This Together” Post
- The Controversial Post
Okay. Now that you’ve resisted the urge to jump ahead you’re ready to take the plunge. So without further ado let’s start with category….
1) The Entertaining Post
Not everyone has a flair for creating entertaining content but if you do you’ll have a proven way of pulling in a certain demographic that strives to be entertained and informed. Here are a few different approaches you can take to the “Entertaining Post.”
Tell a Story
People luuuuuv stories. I can personally attest to this because every time I tell my gf a story about where I was the night before she listens with laser intensity.
But seriously, stories are as old as the human race. Before there was writing there was the oral tradition of passing down important tales from generation to generation. Storytelling is in our blood. Take advantage of it. Here are some great tips on how to write an effective “story post”.
Meme’s have been called everything from the DNA of pop culture to the product of a decadent, self-absorbed consumer lifestyle. What they’ve never been called is unpopular.
Use memes as a way to lighten the atmosphere of a post or create a “meme post” using a set of curated memes to drive your point home in a hilarious way.
Satire is a way to lay bare human frailties without resorting to outright verbal attacks. But then you’d know that if you hadn’t spent your senior year of high school researching medical marijuana. (< satire).
The “satirical post” is a great way to cover delicate topics. Check out this excerpt from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” to see how he handles a sensitive topic with satirical humor that lightens the mood and exposes media foibles.
Parody is another way to poke fun at individuals by exaggerating their mannerisms, speech patterns and dress while lambasting their worldview. Parody can be particularly effective in the political sphere. The “parody post” is almost always employed in a humorous, good-natured fashion.
2) The Promotional Post
One of the most common uses for blogs these days is to promote a company’s goods and services. Posts are created that have an air of objectivity to them but are really just veiled promotional pieces for the company itself. Here are a few examples of this type of post.
Compare and Contrast
With the comparison post you pit products against each other rather than just reviewing them individually. Of course the fix is in for your product to emerge smelling like roses but at the same time you need to make it seem like a fair fight. Click this link to read a detailed explanation of why such “comparison posts” are important.
Showcase a Project
This type of “project post” is a shameless recounting of a fabulous success you or your company have recently experienced. Go ahead and give yourself a big pat on the back but make sure to sound dutifully humble while doing so.
Beat the Earnings Drum
With this type of post you continue to beat the “I’m great and I know it” drum by regaling your readers with tales of your earning acumen.
The only danger with this type of “earnings post” is that you may engender jealousy and envy from shut-ins who’ve been trying, with no success, to monetize their Nasal Inhalers blog for years.
Repackage a Presentation
Why spend valuable porn-surfing time writing engaging original content when you can just repackage one of your colleagues’ presentations and offer it up as a “presentation post”?
Release Your “Greatest Hits”
Hey, if the Beatles can release greatest hits after greatest hits collection why can’t you?
Cobble together your most popular posts into one “Best of post.” It’s a great way to leverage previously successful material while reminding people you’re more than a 1-trick pony.
Release a Product Update
The “product update post” is the blog equivalent of the movie trailer where you ratchet up your customer’s anticipation level about products in the development pipeline.
3) The Timely Post
Most people post when they have time, but being timely means it’s the news that drives your posting schedule not your availability. Here are different ways to approach the “timely post.”
Review Something, Anything
Nobody wants to read about the 2016 Camaro in 2017. They want the full scoop before it hits the showroom. The “review post” requires getting out in front of a product’s relationship with the fan base and helping to influence the form that relationship takes.
Post on Current Events
The word “current” pretty much says it all.
Publish a Survey
If there’s a hot topic or product you want to write about put together some survey questions and present them to your audience via mass emailings, man-in-the-street interviews or online questionnaires. Then compile the results and publish as a “survey post” with witty asides galore for added flavor.
Write About What’s Hot
People love to be the early birds when it comes to catching the latest pop culture waves and they remember where they heard about things first. Gain a reputation for publishing prescient “what’s hot posts” and the sky’s the limit as far as subscribers go.
4) The Useful Post
“If you can’t change the world at least be useful.” That’s what grandpa used to say to me while he was popping open another cold one while watching “All in the Family” rerun marathons. And you know what? The old codger was right.
Everyone benefits from useful information and here are some great ways to deliver it.
Make a List
Who doesn’t like a list? They’re easy to read, don’t take lots of your valuable time to digest and make everything seem nice and simple.
Check out this post on problogger that explains the enduring popularity of the “list post.”
Go the “How-to” Route
If you’ve ever had to research a topic on the net, you know how the explorers of old felt as they chopped their way through endless miles of impenetrable jungle growth.
Don’t be the jungle growth. Be the clearing. To create an effective “how-to post” edit vigorously to distil the message to its essential points and keep the visuals uncluttered and on-point. The masses will love you for it.
Click here for an example of a ‘how-to’ post that’s overrun with jungle growth including confusing imagery and useless cliches such as “create compelling content” that are basically like saying “Get rich by making lots of money.”
Use Case Studies
The “case study post” demonstrates how essential your product or service is to the masses. It can be a more effective way of promoting your product then simply listing its virtues. Here’s a good example of a case study post from the folks at econsultancy.
Present Your Own Research
This will require some grunt work on your part but if you can pull it off you’ll go a long way toward establishing your ‘expert’ credentials. Limit your “research post” to your particular field of interest and present your results clearly.
Create Helpful Checklists
People often run into problems when trying to get things off the ground. Often it’s because they’ve overlooked important steps. The “checklist post” is like having mom with you when things get challenging: “Did you remember to unplug the toaster before you stuck the knife in dear?”
Become the Ultimate Authority
Create a “guide post” on a particular subject that’s comprehensive enough that it can be considered authoritative. How do you do that? Check out this guide from problogger on the essentials of authoritative content.
Explain Why They Need You
Sometimes the market needs to catch up to the product (hello PCs). In cases like those consumers need to be educated on what the product can do for them and why they’d be wise to spend their hard-earned money on it. A “definition post” can do that.
Provide Useful Stats
Statistics make the digital world go round so the more posts you can author that present useful statistics (whether your own or someone else’s) the more you’ll endear yourself to readers. Check out this “statistics post” that’s a good example of compiling existing stats in a useful way.
Cut up Existing Videos
Find a video on the net that provides useful information in your niche. Then paraphrase the video content and use individual frames as illustrations. Such a “video cut up post” is a great way to get things moving if you’re experiencing writer’s block.
5) The Generous Post
We’re here to help each other, right? Right? Well, even if you subscribe to the belief that the world is a festering sinkhole of competing agendas it’s still nice to keep a good thought.
In that spirit writing posts that (gulp) promote other people is often a good way to establish productive relationships that will help grow your readership. The following are several ideas for creating posts that leverage cyber networking to your advantage.
Profile a Mover-Shaker
You’re not the most influential person in your niche… yet. To help you get there consider creating a “profile post” of the person who currently occupies the mountaintop. Make sure you let them know what you’ve done. That way they can crow to their readers about the glowing write-up and you get on their radar.
Become the Opinion Aggregator
Sometimes called the “crowdsourced post” (though there’s no money involved) the idea is to reach out to industry leaders to get their opinions on various topics. When you have enough responses on a particular topic create a post using their opinions. The fact that the post is essentially written by industry bigwigs will help drive traffic.
Interview Someone Important
Everyone loves to be interviewed. Take advantage of this latent narcissism in human beings by reaching out and offering to interview a leading figure in your niche. Then create an “interview post” that will serve the dual purpose of raising their profile even further while leveraging their name recognition to drive traffic to your blog.
Harness the Power of Links
Do your readers a favor by bringing together a list of links they can use to learn more about various aspects of your subject/product. This type of “roundup post” will save them time, help them become better informed and make you look like a swell guy who’s blog is worth subscribing to.
Create your own “quote post” that brings together quotes from the world’s hoi-polloi that may (or may not) have some relevance to your area of concern/expertise/interest.
Even the folks at AOL/Huffingtonpost aren’t above using the quote post to generate traffic. See for yourself here.
Just to break things up create the occasional post that leverages an interesting image. You can even combine it with a relevant quote from a famous person to generate original insights.
Follow the Leaders
Create a list of influencers in your niche and provide ways for your readers to stalk them get to know them better through links to their website, fb page and appearance schedules. This type of “people you should be following” post will help your visitors become more fully engaged in your niche.
Aggregate Relevant Content
The net is home to lots of quality content that’s being buried under an avalanche of cyber-drivel. Do your readers a favor by creating posts that bring together useful information created by others that can help them become better informed.
This short video will provide you with a quick overview of content aggregation.
6) The Engaging Post
While most of the time direct engagement is not the goal of blogging, there are times when you may want to break the fourth wall and mix it up with your readers/visitors. There are a number of ways to do so that won’t generate interest from the FBI’s cyber crimes division and here are some.
Ye Olde Q&A
Solicit questions from your readers and then bring them together in a single “Q & A post.” Or handle one question at a time in what’s known as “A reader asks post”. In either case the back and forth can be continued in the comment section.
Challenge Your Readers
Create a “challenge post” that spurs your readers to respond. Say your audience is mostly unemployed stoners obsessed with comics. Challenge them to come up with comic book characters that were once popular but were killed off or have been discontinued. You can do follow-up posts galore that feature their responses and generate further challenges.
Profile a Reader/Customer
A great way to build rapport with followers is to do the occasional “profile post.” In this post you feature a dedicated follower/customer, give a rough sense of their background and let them talk about what your blog or product means to them.
Give Something Away
Create a “giveaway post” that provides your readers a chance to nab nifty merchandise for nothing. Here’s a pretty good example of a giveaway post from betterrecipes.com.
Run a Contest
Depending on what your particular field of interest is a “contest post” may really help ramp up the engagement. Here’s a good example of the contest post in action over at theexpertinstitute.com.
7) The “Only Human” Post
Basically the idea behind this type of post is to reach out to those offended by critical thinking and show how everyone is human and how, with determination (and secret backdoor financing from wealthy relatives), we’re capable of great things.
Leverage the Holidays
The holidays are a special time when families get together at the hospital where the black sheep is in the ICU again after drinking too much eggnog and wrapping his car around the town’s Christmas tree.
A “holiday post” is a good opportunity to demonstrate your ‘oneness’ with your readers by sharing your own treasured holiday memories and wishes. The iblogzone website has some good ideas for holiday related posts.
Rub Your Humility in Your Reader’s Faces
Your readers may not know how humble you are. Use a “guard down” post to let slip a tale about how you once volunteered at a soup kitchen during the holidays (leave out the part about it being a condition of your parole). Then sit back and collect those comment-kudos!
Go Behind the Scenes
People love to see how things are done and a great way to do that is to create a “behind the scenes” post. This type of post may be more appropriate for bloggers that actually have some kind of ‘behind the scenes’ activity going on than for lone wolves who work long hours at their computer.
Fly Off the Rails
Every once in a while indulge yourself by posting about something that has little or nothing to do with your niche. These “off topic posts” can be a great way to introduce your readers to your other areas of interest and generate feedback. Just make sure your ‘other interests’ won’t attract the attention of law enforcement.
Fly Off the Rails II
With a “rant post” you demonstrate your humanity by showing that you’re capable of being passionate about something that may be of interest to your audience. You’ll want to be careful before publishing such a post though because there’s a fine line between sounding passionate and sounding unhinged.
Here are some good tips from wikihow about writing an effective rant post.
8) The Controversial Post
If you’re like most people you’ve spent time ranting at your monitor, tablet or smartphone screen because of some trollish top 10 list you stumbled upon.
Why do you think they made their list so incredibly screwed up? Because they actually believe George Clooney is a better actor than Gary Oldman? No. It’s because they’re smart and they know that controversy attracts attention like Walmart attracts crazy.
Here are some ways to promote glorious, attention-getting controversy with blog posts.
Embrace the Hypothetical
Hypothetical arguments are controversy engines. If you blog about Vikings try a “what if” post that asks the question: “How Would Europe be Different if the Vikings Had Stayed Home?”
This type of “what if” post can really get your readers worked up and engaged.
Get a Debate Going
To create a “debate post” find someone in your niche that disagrees with a position of yours and create a post highlighting both sides of the argument. Then invite readers to chime in in the comment section about who they think is right.
Ready, Aim, Fire!
If you feel that your blog is a little too sedate, liven it up by creating an “attack post” that lays into someone or something. For the sake of visibility pick a big target that’s been chewing up lots of cyberspace and let the venom fly.
Here’s an example of an attack post aimed directly at former US first lady Hillary Clinton.
Make a Prediction
Predictions are a great way to draw attention to your blog. If you’ve ever spent any time perusing the yahoo homepage you’ll notice that every other headline is someone predicting the end of something. Of course they’re never right but that’s not the point. The point is that people read them.
React to a Known Quantity
Embed a popular video in your blog post and below it write your reaction to the piece. Done. What could be simpler? Check out this video for a more in depth exploration of the “embed reactor post”
So that’s it. Now that you’re on your way to becoming master of the blogosphere let’s look at how you can take your individual posts and enhance their potential impact
Exponential Blog Post Enhancement
Let’s face it, the text based web has been gradually disappearing for years now. Creating a blog post today no longer just means writing and presenting copy. As a result your post can take on any one of four different formatting options.
- Text – Still the most popular format but steadily losing ground.
- Video – Video blog posts can be simple talking heads or more involved.
- Images – Infographics, charts and graphs are effective ways to relay information.
- Audio – Audio files can be embedded in a post or uploaded to podcast sites.
Since any type of post can now be delivered in any one of 4 different formats your number of presentation options increases exponentially.
- In January you can present a “survey post” in text format.
- In May you can do a different survey post as a video.
- In August you can create yet another survey post as a series of graphic images.
- And in October you can create yet another survey post as an audio podcast.
With so many delivery options at your disposal you’ll never run out of interesting, unique blog posts for your followers to enjoy. Good Luck!