Is your blog getting kind of stale? If you’re still just thinking about blogging, are you afraid you’d run out of ideas? Do you need something to spice up your blog? Check out these blog post types:
Contests and competitions – Almost everyone enjoys a contest or competition from time to time, and if you can make it relate to your niche, all the better. If you’re planning a new blog, or writing a new book, or creating a new product, consider a “name the new ____” contest. Or perhaps do a give-away of a few copies of your book in return for readers participating in a certain conversation on your blog. Maybe just create a fun FAQs contest, where readers can fill in a Q&A form about facts related to your niche – or even to your own blog itself – and you provide a prize(s) to the winner(s). The ideas for contests and competitions are as varied as your imagination, and they will always add some excitement and fun for your community.
Community involvement – Ask your readers for feedback and suggestions about your blog, about a new direction you’re considering, or whatever relates to your life and your blog community. It will make your readers feel more involved and valued, and you’ll get lots of valuable input too. Win-win!
Giveaways – Have you just published a new book? Received free items from a publisher or manufacturer in return for a review? Created something crafty related to your favorite hobby or art? Why not do a giveaway? While you could make it into a contest (see above), you could simply do a random draw among all the readers who respond in the comments to that post. Most folks love a freebee!
Off topic: From time to time you might want to do a post about something different from your typical content focus. No problem – as long as it is something that will still likely appeal to your target audience in terms, for example, of their age or culture or beliefs. It will help them understand more about you and your interests, it might just make a refreshing change (especially if the topic lends itself to a presentation format that is different that the format you usually use), and so on. But don’t do this so often that your blog starts to lose its focus and your loyal readers start to drift away.
Resources related to your topic – People are always looking for useful information and resources. You might do a blog post about other blogs in your niche, about good research resources on the internet related to your niche – or even off-internet resources like useful books, magazines, college courses, seminars, conferences and so on. Even the act of gathering together and listing resources you have found useful means that you end up with a list of them in one place, and when you want to use them again, there they are all listed (with links or contact information) in one place for your own use, as well.
Announcements – Your faithful readers really are interested in events in your life as well as events related to your blog. Of course if you over-do it, and your blog starts to become a daily diary, some folks will likely leave. But announcements about important events in your life (birth of a child, engagement or marriage, new job, a conference you’ve been invited to speak at about your blog niche, an upcoming launch of a new product) usually are enjoyed by your readers. If it is informational and of use to your readers, or if it evokes an emotional response (usually happy, but sometimes even more negative emotions work), an announcement can be a great now-and-then type of post.
Humour – Some of the most popular blogs feature regular humour, either as humour just for fun; as satire or irony; as a reflection of your personality; or as their usual form of presentation. Every blog can use a little humour, a little bit of light-heartedness, now and then. Why not give it a try? Just be careful about using “off colour” humour: you could really offend some of your readers, if you don’t keep your audience’s needs and tastes in mind.
Testimonials – Blow your own horn now and then by creating posts that present testimonials by people who enjoy your blog, who have tried out and liked your books or other products, or who have purchased your services and found them useful or entertaining. Those people could be someone famous that everyone knows about and respects, but testimonials by “ordinary people” can be effective too. Again, keep your audience in mind. Who would they believe and respect if they read a testimonial by that person?
Portraits – Write portraits/ bios (include pictures, or even videos or audio) of people whose interests and life activities are related to your blog niche. It is good for readers to see “real people” doing “real things” with the information/theory you present in your blog. Even post portraits of yourself doing things hands-on in your niche area. Make your blog – and yourself – more real to your readers.
Research – Presentations – Infographics – Powerpoints – What do you do in your niche area besides writing blog posts? Do you teach classes? Create infographics? Speak at conferences? Do research and present it at seminars or in journals? Let your readers see these aspects of your life, through video, audio, or written transcripts, as well as graphics, powerpoints you have created, links to journal articles, and so on. Your “authority” will increase by leaps and bounds, and your blog will be more interesting.
Compare and contrast (and more!) – Just like in essay writing, there are different ways of presenting your ideas. Analysis (relationships of parts to whole: cause and effect; underlying assumptions etc); comparison and contrast (differences and similarities); evaluation (apply your judgment to your analysis results; opinion based on clear criteria and evidence); argumentation (controversies; debate; for or against; based on evidence and reasoning) are examples from essays. What other kind of writing have you done in the past? What forms of presentation can you glean from those writing experiences? What about genres? Your past “non-internet” writing offers all kinds of possibilities.
Long form – editorial – journalism : While most blog posts are short, or if longer, presented in list form or other easily scanned formats, you might want to mix it up now and then by including a post that is longer, more detailed, and in a more traditional format. While many blog posts are around 300 to 500 words, a post of this style might be as long as 1500 to 3000 words. Of course, unless your audience really likes that kind of writing, you’ll want to do it just occasionally, and for a purpose (perhaps news related, editorial, or a research report) that suits this longer, more intellectual/traditional style.
Be sure to go on to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 4 – and add your own ideas for kinds of blog posts – or comments 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: Think of a blog you really like. What kind of blog posts does it use? A mixture or just one kind?
Tip of the day: “Variety is the spice of life” – and while your readers come to your blog for particular reasons, and expecting a particular style and content, some variety in your kinds of blog content and style from time to time will keep them interested!
Put it into action: Tell us (in the comments) about a blog you like (even your own!), and how the kinds of posts the blogger uses make it a great site.