Keep your blog interesting and lively for your community, while keeping on-topic with your chosen niche, by using a variety of types of blog posts:
Debate and/or dialogue – One of the things that makes blogs so enjoyable is the sense of community, and the ability to discuss, and even debate, topics. Keep your blog lively by encouraging debate and dialogue, but do have rules to keep things from becoming ugly. You may sometimes have to close down the comments on a particular post, or block a particularly difficult participant. These kinds of posts can be interesting and even fun, but they do require close attention on your part.
Evergreen – These are posts that never lose their value. You might call them “timeless” as they provide information related to your niche that is always useful to your readers. Some bloggers will keep an “evergreen” post at the top of their blog; others will list some of these posts in a side column with links to the posts; others may put them on a special “page”; and yet others will re-post them from time to time so new readers have a chance to see them.
Flagship – These are resource and reference posts that provide your readers with the key concepts of your blog, that demonstrate your authority in your niche, and that provide very useful information. Your flagship posts may include your “manifesto,” or link to special reports, email newsletter series, or other specialty products you have created for your readers.
Case studies – Have you done special research or achieved success within your niche? Do you know of others who have been very successful in areas related to your topic? Present case studies to help your readers learn by example how they themselves can succeed within your area of interest.
How-to’s, guides, tutorials, lessons – These are always popular posts, especially if you can present them in a way that is unique and entertaining, or really appeals to a particular readership “culture.” Consider a variety of ways of presenting your lessons: not just written information, but perhaps video, audio, graphical – and even special “products” your readers can order/purchase, or live seminars or classes.
Images, photography, art/graphics – We live in a world that is more and more focused on information presented in “picture” form, whether it is still photography, video, video games, graphics, or the wide variety of fine arts, as well as audio formats. It is always good to from time to time offer some media variety in your posts, and it is important to consider your audience. This blog is aimed primarily at seniors and authors, who are very familiar with and comfortable with the written word, but if I were focusing on a younger audience, I would be spending a lot of time developing video and other skills. On the other hand, I have another blog, http://pentictonpedestrian.wordpress.com which is basically a photo blog, with just short written commentaries, as I am sharing my impressions of my community as I SEE it while out taking my daily walks. So make sure your posts fit your audience, and your blog’s niche and purpose!
Series – Do you have a topic that you’d like to go into depth about, or consider from different aspects or viewpoints? If so, rather than trying to pack it all into one long, complicated post – or just write about it here or there, from time to time, so that the posts lack connection and continuity – why not consider writing a series? Create an initial post that tells what your overall topic is about, and then make a list of the posts that will be in the series. As you write each post, be sure to add a link to it from your original post; and a link from your new post back to the original. That way, whether readers first encounter the original post, or one of the posts midway through the series, they can quickly and easily find the other posts. (You can still write non-series posts along the way, but with the links in your series posts, continuity is preserved). You can even create mini-series within a series. For example, this mini-series of posts on “Different kinds of posts,” is part of the larger series “Planning Your Blog Content.”
Community – Create posts that help your community to really connect in some way. Maybe start a “community conversation” or offer an email product especially for your members, or begin a forum, or do something else that brings your faithful readers together, making them feel that they really belong, and can communicate and share with each other. You could also from time to time ask your readers to comment with information about their blogs, activities, etc. Let them boast a bit about their accomplishments!
Video blog posts – More and more bloggers are doing some (or all) of their blogs in video form. Creating a simple video of yourself talking to your users provides a stronger face-to-face feeling. And of course if you videotape some of your activities or do a videotape demonstration/ tutorial, your readers will also enjoy and appreciate it. Or mix the two together: how-to content with a personal touch!
News flash – Mix it up from time to time by passing on current news, or commenting on a current event or topic. If it is related to your niche, great. But even if it isn’t really connected to your blog topic, if you have a strong opinion, or a strong personal interest and perspective, you can still do a post about it. It will help your readers know and understand you better, and if it is a hot news topic, they’ll likely be interested anyway. Just don’t do it so often that you lose focus on your content, or your readers might go looking elsewhere for focus on your real niche.
Guest posts – From time to time feature posts by other bloggers. Not only will it provide a fresh voice and perspective on your blog, but guest posters often mention on their own blog that they’ve posted on another blog and their readers then go to check it out, so you end up with new readers on your blog! Of course your readers, if they enjoy your guest’s posts, may well visit his/her blog as well. It is generally a good idea to support your blogging peers; while you might occasionally lose a reader to a different blog, overall you will profit, in your relationship with other bloggers, in gaining new information and perspectives from fellow bloggers, and in connection with the blogging community that is interested in your niche.
Charity – Just like “brick and mortar” companies support various charities and organizations, giving back to their communities in that way, so you can do on your blog. Use a post from time to time to raise awareness about something you support. It is, however, a good idea to choose a cause that applies to or relates to your community/reader base in some way, so that they will be interested and share your enthusiasm and support.
Be sure to go on to read Part 1, Part 3, and Part 4. And add your own ideas for kinds of blog posts – or comment on the ones I’ve suggested – in the comment section at the end of each part of this mini-series.
(This 4 part mini-series is part of the larger series: Planning Your Blog Content )
Question of the Day: Have you seen a blog that uses a good variety of kinds of blog posts? Why not provide us with a link (in the comments) so we can all check it out?
Tip of the Day: While variety in blog post types is important, stay focused on your niche and purpose, and don’t overdo the variety to the point that your personal “voice” gets lost or your blog develops a scattered feel.
Put it into Action: Choose a post topic you are planning to write about. Write a post in your “usual” format. Then try re-writing it in 2 or 3 other formats, choosing ones you think best think fit your topic. Are any of your “re-writes” more effective than your usual approach?