Attract, inform, educate, entertain, and influence customers with your blog
I doubt that I need to tell you why your small business needs a blog. You may already have mind-mapped a stream of blog content, and then created a business blog calendar by:
- Committing to regular rotation of blog posts
- Thinking about your customer journey
- Considering your upcoming events
- Remembering the outside world
- Considering your customer profiles
You can read more about this in my blog ‘5 steps to turn content ideas into a business blog calendar’.
The question now is, how do you write engaging posts that capture your audience? How can your blog help convert readers to business leads and prospective customers?
In this post, you’ll learn about the types of blogs that businesses of all sizes use to attract, inform, educate, entertain, and influence potential (and existing) customers.
Why you need to write different types of blog posts
With your blog calendar in place, you’ll probably want to get stuck into writing. Before you do, put yourself in the shoes of potential readers. If you serve only sausage and mash every day, a person would soon get bored of eating. Variety is the spice of life, and with blogs it is no different. The reader has no obligation to click on a link to a blog post, or to read when they get there.
You must grab the reader with the title, and keep them entertained and wanting more from the beginning to the end of a blog post. This need to entertain (and inform) also holds true from post to post. You’ll need to employ different styles of blog post to add in the variety that your reader craves.
Here are eight styles that will achieve this aim:
(Hey, here’s a BIG tip: Choose a great title every time, and remember it has only one job to do. Its objective is to turn potential readers into readers of the first line of your content.)
1. The Straightforward Blog Post
This is the easiest of blog posts to write, and will be one of the most common types you use. Quite simply, the abstract sets up the article with the main body explaining the points required, before the conclusion ties it all together.
2. The Evolution Blog Post
The evolution blog post is perfect when discussing the history of a company, industry, product, sport… in fact, almost anything. The main body may include what changes have occurred through the period being reviewed (for example, ‘the last 20 years’ or ‘since the turn of the century’), as well as the reasons for those changes.
This style of post will contain a lot of facts, and so it is important that you research fully and double-check dates, places, and people. This is a great type of blog post to show an in-depth knowledge of a subject.
3. The Review Blog Post
A review blog post analyses and evaluates. The review could be of a book, a car, a movie, or any product, industry, company, restaurant, etc. The list of reviews that can be written is almost endless.
Most reviews will be written from an unbiased point of view, and in a formal manner. However, sometimes a more informal approach is requested, particularly where a more subjective point of view is called for (movies, music, and cars, for example). If the review is a comparison, then remember that each product must be compared on a like-for-like basis.
4. The Features Blog Post
Some clients will need the features of a product or service described. A feature is simply a character that makes the service or product what it is. When writing a features blog post you should never give opinions, because then it becomes a review. However, you should still ensure a positive tone.
5. The Benefits Blog Post
The benefits blog post helps to draw the reader in to using a product or service (though it could also be written about a state of mind, exercise regime, and so on). It points out the outcomes the reader will receive from the product or service written about. Benefits are received because of specific and unique features. Benefits might be pertinent to the individual or a group of people, the environment, economy, business sector, etc. The blog post may also highlight ways to achieve benefits.
6. The Interview Blog Post
The interview blog post provides answers to questions that the audience might want to ask. These questions should be posed to a relevant person – a known expert in the subject area, or someone who has benefitted from a product or service, for example. This type of post is a fantastic way to express someone’s point of view, experiences, or opinions. Any number of questions might be asked, but typically it is best to use between six and twelve: too few questions and the post will lack substance, and too many make the post more difficult to ‘stick with’.
A tip when writing this type of post is always to send it for approval to the interviewee before you post on the blog. This is particularly necessary where you have paraphrased answers to questions posed.
7. The Negative and Positive Effects Blog Post
This type of blog post describes the negative or positive points of an event, product, service, or industry. It might be purely about the effects themselves, or, like the example below, it may introduce tips to avoid negative effects/benefits from positive effects (‘5 ways to…’, ‘7 tips to…’ are great titles to encourage website hits).
A good technique with this type of post is to include a story of an actual event to which the reader can relate. The basic outline becomes:
- Thoughts (from an expert, or your client, perhaps)
This type of article gives exceptional potential to link through to the story post, providing extra SEO possibilities.
8. The Pitfalls Blog Post
Pitfalls, dangers, or common mistakes make great blog post themes. Posts can be structured to describe the pitfall and then explain avoidance strategies, position the writer as the expert the reader requires, or the product as the answer to the reader’s needs. Another benefit of writing this type of post is that titling lends itself to attracting website visitors.
Here are a few more blog types you should consider writing for your audience:
9. The How-To Post
Educational and informative, great for helping to generate organic traffic.
10. The Listicle
Content is presented in a list format, though they can be a little formulaic.
11. Thought Leadership Blog Post
Can be difficult to write, because you’re presenting your ‘crystal ball thoughts’. Also, these can be controversial, so must be well thought out before writing.
12. The FAQ Blog Post
Question and answer format, perfect for addressing common questions you hear in meetings with a client.
13. The Curated Blog Post
A post that amalgamates news or views from other companies, and presents them as a list of links to other sites.
In my next blog post, you’ll learn the basics of editing your small business’s blog posts. In the meantime, email me today for your free copy of my eBook “How to write engaging blog posts and grow your online audience”. I’ll reply personally and attach my eBook for you.
Because quality content matters,