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Articles that educate the reader on different types of blog posts are very popular. Content experts from Problogger to HubSpot have shared comprehensive outlines of posts you can use to keep your blog fresh. Heck, even we’ve championed three of our favorite formats.
But are there some kinds of content that keep your blog fresher than others? And some that perhaps you should skip altogether based on what you know about your customer?
The answer is “Yes!”
Much like the frequency at which you post, the type of content you post needs to be a strategic choice based on the needs of your customer. Here’s a rundown of five popular kinds of blog post content and when you should save them or skip them.
The "newsjacking" post picks up breaking headlines and repurposes them to include your unique insight. This post capitalizes on the quick influx of SEO on particular search terms and gives your company the opportunity to take a unique angle on the topic.
Good for: Companies with cutting-edge products that directly relate to topics that break in the news. This could include manufacturing practices that feature a certain chemical or technology solutions that deal directly with security. For example, take a look at this post we wrote for a client, where we helped the client communicate lessons learned from a chemical spill.
Not for: Most situations, actually. You can sometimes frame current events loosely enough to make your point, but more often than not it’s a stretch and your customer is not terribly interested in hearing about it. If it's a stretch, don't use it.
How To or Instructional posts provide instructions for how to perform a certain task or action. These posts can help you target specific natural keywords (“How to Write a Blog Post,” for example) and can easily be packaged into an appealing DIY library on your website or on YouTube.
Good for: Technology companies with customers who are short on time. These posts are easy to write, easy to read, and very helpful. If you offer tech support or anything that requires careful instructions, How To posts can be effective in displaying your support capabilities and helping your customer before you have a personal interaction. These posts can also be good for companies that write for existing customers. These blogs are great to send as follow-ups to customers when they call for support as a reference.
Not for: Customers that don’t want to DIY. Sometimes much of your value proposition lies in preventing your customer from having to do all the work. If that’s the case, your customers are too busy to figure out how to do it themselves, and you’re better off with a different kind of blog post.
Infographics are a form of media that draw attention to a unique, data-heavy image. They’re often accompanied by customized graphics or illustrations, as well as a list of cited sources.
Good for: More informal, evolving industries that rely on quick-hit facts and impressive displays of information. Infographics show statistics visually or tell a more visual story, and are also excellent opportunities for social sharing, as networks like LinkedIn and Twitter respond positively to images and visuals.
Not for: Deeply rooted, formal industries that prefer to be informed by research papers and other academic sources. Infographics rarely convey the kind of authority needed for heavy-hitting insight, so if that’s what your customer is looking for you might be better off writing an insightful, neatly-formatted blog post.
Top 10 List
Top 10 List posts are popular because they meet our desire to satisfy our curiosity in round numbers. Lists of any number are popular because they provide a quick, detailed opportunity for a reader to learn more about a given topic.
Good for: Busy customers that have a specific problem they need to solve. It allows them to completely grasp a topic and quickly assess whether or not you know something they don’t.
Not for: Customers that need a complete history and perspective of a given topic or solution. Top 10 List posts often assume a lot of pre-knowledge about a topic and then present specific information. A customer looking to be deeply informed would get more satisfaction out of an eBook or white paper.
Research-heavy posts lie somewhere between a blog post and an eBook, but they appear on your blog. They provide extensive background information to root the reader’s knowledge of a given topic before diving into current details and predictions.
Good for: Complex industries that require a significant amount of background knowledge or training in order to understand the full scope of the value proposition. A Research-Heavy post gives you the opportunity to display your precise knowledge and establish credibility.
Not for: Customers that don’t need to or want to be educated on the topic, or companies that don’t need to establish their authority within an industry based on special credentials, insights, or accomplishments.
Effective content marketing doesn’t require you to write any and everything that comes to mind. Instead, you should figure out what "clicks" with your target customer and follow through accordingly. For some, that means deep Q&As and interviews. For others, the complete opposite. Consider your customer before jumping into these different content formats to make sure your content marketing is as targeted and effective as possible.