Lost the spark with your blog? Not feeling much excitement as you pen your hundredth article? It can be difficult to create good content when you feel like you’ve been giving your blog CPR for the past few months. Instead of pulling the plug, consider trying something new. Believe it or not, there are more content types out there than just simple articles.
We’re going to delve into the 21 content types that can help you inject some excitement (and life) back into your blog, not to mention increase engagement and traffic. So, get your pen out and start taking notes!
Content types you should be using…
There’s a good reason why infographics are one of the best content types out there and that’s because they’re just so darn effective. They condense a range of important stats and figures into bite-sized chunks, making them incredibly readable. Not only are they great for educating and entertaining your readers, but they’re also easy to share on social media.
If that wasn’t enough to have you racing to create one, they’re also an effective method for gaining high-quality backlinks. If another website thinks your infographic is useful, they’ll include it in an article or on a resources page, with a link to your website. It’s a win-win situation!
2. How-to guides and tutorials
How-to guides and tutorials are a nifty way of helping your audience learn how to do something new, build upon their existing knowledge and/or solve a problem that they’re struggling with. If you’re able to give them the answers they’re looking for, it will keep them coming back for more and help to cement you as an expert in your field.
To create a successful how-to guide or tutorial, you need to pinpoint what questions and issues your audience is struggling with. The best way to do this is by carrying out keyword research, looking at FAQs and checking out relevant forums. Once you’ve got your topic, you’ll want to break it down into clear, numbered steps that your audience can follow. If you can, try to throw in relevant diagrams, tables and videos to bolster the information.
3. Beginner guides
This particular content type is in a similar vein to how-to guides. You’re still trying to engage and educate your audience, except here, you’re specifically targeting beginners—people who are attempting to understand a topic that seems complex and impregnable, with little-to-no existing knowledge.
As with how-to guides, you’ll have to carry out keyword research to come up with a list of topics that your audience wants to know more about. Remember, you’re starting from the absolute basics here. Don’t rush through your steps or assume that they’ll be familiar with the foundational elements of a topic. Assume they know nothing and proceed from there.
Who doesn’t love a listicle? There’s a good reason why this content type hasn’t gone out of fashion yet and that’s because they’re easy to digest, quick to create and great for sharing on social media.
If people haven’t got much time on their hands, listicles tend to be more appealing than standard, long-form articles. That’s not to say that listicles are short and lack value. On the contrary, you can present a swarm of data, statistics and information in a listicle—it just looks shorter and easier to scan because of the way it’s formatted.
The beauty of listicles is that you can create them for any topic imaginable. Whether you’re talking about ’10 facts you didn’t know about X’, or ‘5 ridiculous mistakes you’re making with Y’, the world is your oyster!
Is there anything more satisfying than creating a list of tasks you need to sort out and crossing off each item as you go along? With checklists, you’re helping people figure out what steps or tasks they need to complete in order to meet a specific goal. It helps simplify processes for them and also acts as a powerful motivator.
There’s a lot of flexibility with checklists. You can craft one that is the simple bare bones—a quick list without any elaboration—or go the extra mile and add more information to guide the audience through their tasks. You can even add them to existing content that involves actionable steps.
We won’t lie to you, it can take a lot of time and effort to create eBooks. They require heavy research and careful planning when it comes to their structure. If you’re successful, though, the pay-off can be astounding.
Long-form content is far more effective in terms of engagement and sharing—BuzzSumo’s study found that content over 1,000 words receives more shares and links than short-form content. So, if your eBook is successful, it could pull in a wider audience, increase engagement on social media and lead to countless high-quality backlinks.
Now, as tempting as it might be to write thousands of pages, try to remember that quantity does not equal quality. A short eBook will be far more valuable than a long, rambling mess.
You can also get more bang for your buck by repurposing your eBook after you’ve published it. You could create listicles of your findings, infographics or even post snippets on your social media!
7. Resources and tools
People are always looking for ways to increase their productivity, cut corners and speed up difficult tasks. It can be a pain, however, to try and find the resources and tools to combat these issues. This is where resource and tool compilations come in handy!
By researching and compiling the best types of resources and tools for a specific topic, you’re doing all of the heavy lifting for your audience. All they have to do is click on the post and bam! They’ve got everything they need right at their fingertips. If you’ve curated your list carefully enough, you could end up with a few quality backlinks out of it.
Not only will it be useful for your audience, it will also help you to build up strong relationships with the businesses and websites that you’re linking to.
8. Latest news
Writing about current events and changes to your industry is a brilliant way to stay relevant and get on the radar of your intended audience. It’s also really easy to do! All you’ve got to do is monitor the web for the latest news (in your industry or related interests) and report on it—don’t forget to add your own commentary and any context your readers might need.
Not only will this help to present you as a figure of authority in your industry, it’s also an effective method of building up backlinks. If you’re one of the first to comment on a specific event, it’s likely that news outlets will link to your post and potentially quote you in their own pieces.
9. Opinion pieces
Opinion pieces can be a breath of fresh air for writers. It gives you a chance to write freely, without heavy research or a reliance on facts to back it up. Whether you’re commenting on an issue that’s currently circulating, or talking about something that happened years ago, it’s bound to stir up some interest.
Now, whilst you are free to be as controversial as you want, bear in mind that pushing the envelope too far can backfire if you’re not careful. Though controversy can cause engagement metrics to go through the roof on a short-term basis, you run the risk of alienating or angering your audience—which can have an impact on your sales and organic traffic.
Before you go all lone wolf, you might want to consider making it a group project. Round up your fellow content writers and get them to share their opinions on a subject matter. It could generate some interesting debates.
Interviews are a great way to entertain and educate your audience. Like opinion pieces, they’re an original form of content—though you or your guest will be commenting on a specific topic or event that others have spoken about, it will involve a lot of personal and unscripted commentary.
So, where do you start? Get in touch with industry experts and relevant professionals, and ask them to share tips, advice or comments about current events/areas of interest. Alternatively, set your sights on your own employees. Ask them to explain topics, dissect key issues or conduct a Q&A. If you’re not sure where to start with your questions, get in touch with your audience on social media and ask them to send you questions!
If you’re successful enough, you might get people asking to be interviewed—it’s good publicity for them and for you. And, like most content types on our list, it’s a handy way to pick up a few backlinks here and there.
11. Case studies and testimonials
If you’ve attempted to push promotional content on your blog, only to end up with zero engagement, you might want to consider case studies and testimonials instead. People are rarely going to take your word for it that your product or service is the best thing since sliced bread. What will stop them in their tracks, however, is the word of actual customers.
Reach out to businesses, or individuals, who’ve used your product/service and ask them to explain how it has helped to improve their work/personal life. The more detail they can provide, the better. The best way to do this is by emailing them over a questionnaire to fill out.
Once you’ve got your responses, you can craft individual blog posts, e.g., ‘How our product helped BUSINESS NAME increase engagement by 125%!’ and create a section on your website to display them.
Like infographics, slideshows are a brilliant way to present facts and figures in a visual format. They’re digestible, shareable and, for the most part, pretty easy to make. You can create them using PowerPoint, SlideShare, Google Slides and a bunch of other online tools.
Though they’re easy to make, it can be difficult to figure out how to balance the need to be informative and entertaining. The trick is to keep it short and snappy. Avoid long paragraphs and try to be as concise as possible. If you want to add extra information, create an accompanying blog post that delves into the topic more deeply.
What’s the one thing that people look at before buying something? Reviews! Whether it’s clothes, electronics or holiday packages, we always look for reviews before taking the plunge and making a purchase.
If there are products or services that you use that are relevant to your industry or interests, write up a review so that you can help your audience determine whether or not it’s something that they actually need. Break down the main features, weigh up the pros and cons, and finish with a final verdict. If you get stuck, try to think about what you’d want to know about a product before buying it.
Comparisons are very similar to reviews, except for the fact that you’re pitting two items against each other. This can include anything from products to businesses, e.g., Moz Pro vs. Semrush, or Mac vs. PC.
When you write your comparison, list the features of both items side-by-side so that people can see the differences and similarities. If you can, include screenshots or images to back up your points and opinions. You’ll want to hone in on exactly why you think one item is better than the other—is it the lower pricing, advanced capabilities or a superior UX?
Though the temptation might be there to compare your product with a competitor’s, it’s something that will require a lot of finesse. You don’t want to come across as overly biased. So, if you can, be as objective as possible.
If there’s one thing that you can be sure of, it’s that your target audience will always have questions that need answering. And that’s where frequently asked questions (FAQs) come in!
One approach you can take is to add an FAQ section to the bottom of certain articles, so that your audience can quickly scroll down to find the answer to their question. A better approach, however, would be to create an entire post dedicated to FAQs. To get more bang for your buck, create a series by breaking up your FAQs into separate topics, e.g., if you’re a digital marketing agency, you’d break it down into SEO, content, PPC and so on.
Not sure where to start? Try some keyword research to see which questions crop up the most. Next, get your departments (sales, marketing, customer service) to compile a list of questions that they frequently encounter from customers.
Do you work in an industry that comes with a range of tricky jargon? The last thing you want to do is confuse your readers because you’ve forgotten to define something in your blog posts that you don’t even think twice about anymore.
Instead of assuming that all of your readers are on the same page, and have the same knowledge as you, why not craft a glossary? Though it will take a lot of time and effort to compile your relevant terms, it comes with a range of benefits. For starters, it helps your readers understand jargon they’ve been struggling with. It also means that, instead of defining terms on every single blog post, you can just link to the glossary.
Make sure you go back to your glossary every six to twelve months to add any new terms that have cropped up in the meantime.
If you’re looking to mix up your content with something more interactive and fun, you can’t go wrong with quizzes. They’re a great way to engage your audience and they’re very shareable.
You can use quizzes to reinforce your written content. For example, if you have an article on ‘what you need to know about X’, you can create a quiz that tests your readers’ newfound knowledge. Alternatively, you can leave your niche entirely and create a quiz that’s based on the interests of your readers that you’ve honed in on in your buyer personas.
18. Polls and questionnaires
Continuing on in a similar vein as above, polls and questionnaires are a handy way of engaging your audience and getting your hands on some useful information/data along the way.
You can use them to get an idea of what your audience thinks about a specific topic or issue, e.g., the latest industry changes you’re facing. Once you’ve got your results, you can use the feedback to create a research-driven article with hard data.
You can also use them to shed light on how you can improve your business. In a poll, you can ask your audience to pick out the best/worst aspects of your business. In a questionnaire, you can be slightly more thorough with open-ended questions, e.g., asking what they want to see more of on your blog, how you can improve your customer service and so on.
19. Giveaways and competitions
If there’s one surefire way to increase engagement and interest, it’s through giveaways and competitions. The best part is that they’re not just beneficial to your audience—you can get something out of them too!
If you’re keen to onboard more email subscribers, then you can push people to subscribe as part of your competition, e.g., “Sign up to be entered into our prize draw!”. Similarly, if you’re looking to up your presence on social media, ask people to share your giveaway/competition posts and follow you.
Your content doesn’t all have to be written. If you’re looking to engage your audience on your blog and social media, videos are your go-to format. With them, you can convey dense information in a fun and lively manner. You can create video tutorials, screencasts, talking-head videos or even Q&As—hosting them on your website, or uploading them to YouTube and embedding them.
As with other content types on our list, videos will require a bit of time and finesse. Unless you’re trying for a humorous approach, you don’t want it to come across as low in quality and budget. Fortunately, there’s plenty of handy video editing software available.
Who doesn’t have a podcast nowadays? All jokes aside, there’s a good reason why podcasts are so popular and that’s because they’re insanely accessible. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, there’s time to squeeze in a quick podcast episode.
There are endless possibilities with podcasts. You can talk about topics that you’ve already discussed in your blog posts, conduct interviews with industry leaders or employees, or even break down FAQs that your audience has been struggling with. You can then embed them in blog posts and include transcripts, and even share them on social media.
Not only are podcasts relatively easy to produce and edit nowadays, they’re also a brilliant way of giving your business a voice and building a personal connection with your audience.
And there you have it! You’ve now got a brand new arsenal of content types at your disposal! If you’re still struggling to inject excitement into your blog, check out our blog for more tips or contact Supersede Media directly!