In our next instalment in the "Blog 101" series, we look at the different blog post ideas to inspire and engage readers.
So, you're got your blog. It looks great. You've got a target audience and you're ready to start writing.
One problem. What do you write about?
Finding blog post ideas and engaging ways to present your knowledge to your audience isn't easy. Here's a quick list of different styles and formats to keep your readers reading and you writing:
1. Write a Story
I'm no Roald Dahl, but a simple story can breathe new life into your blog.
A recent blog post of mine uses storytelling elements to criticise a gadget often lauded as the solution to get your kids to sleep (SPOILER ALERT: it didn't work for me). It was a big hit and brought in new readers to the blog. And it was really nice to break out and give readers an insight into my life as a freelance writer and mum.
This post on the art of bringing storytelling to your blog post has some great tips if you want to try this format. You don't have to pen the next War and Peace, just try writing a few hundred words to relay your real life experiences.
2. Interview Someone
Some of the best blogs rely on interviews to fill their posts. This format brings a new level of insight and expertise to your blog - and you may just bag an exclusive interview with an elusive expert, bringing more readers to your blog.
It's also a great way to save a little time. I recently conducted an interview for Do What You Love For Life - the post focused on my experiences as a freelance writer and was a basic transcribe of the interview, which can't have taken long to write up. It's also free marketing for the interviewee - make sure you ask them to promote their interview post to the masses to widen its reach.
You may also want to consider guest blog posts - where a third party writes a post for your blog. It's a great hack if you're struggling to come up with blog post ideas or just don't have enough time to dedicate to your blog. It’s also a win-win situation; you get a blog post, and your contributor can build up their name or brand.
3. Review/Criticise a Current Trend
If you're writing a blog, you have to keep on top of current trends and topics in your industry. As a freelance writer, I'm actively engaged in the self employment/small business space and regularly write about the issues faced by the sector.
This blog post on Julie Deane's self-employment review received a lot of interest when it was published. Yes, the title "Why Julie Deane's self-employment review is a wasted opportunity" is a little cheeky - but it got readers clicking and commenting on the post.
One word of warning though: don't go overboard and remain objective in your approach. You don't want to be liable for libel.
4. Invest in a Competition
Give something back to your readers by running a competition. For example, you could run a month of giveaways where every day you create a new blog post and include a small gift at the end of the blog for readers who engage with the post by commenting on or sharing the post.
Alternatively, you could host a guest blog post pitching competition where readers can pitch their idea in the comments section. The winning pitch will turn into a published blog post on your site.
5. Love Lists
Everyone loves a list. It's my blog post staple when I'm struggling to present an idea or concept in a simple yet engaging way.
Try to iterate on this format too. Come up with a glossary of terms and jargon used in your industry. Publish a questions and answers post. Create a list of useful resources for others working in your sector. Highlight the highs and lows of the industry. Do an A-Z post. Write a quiz. Make a list of hacks.
It's really up to you. And remember it's your blog - so stay true to your style, your voice and your objectives.
Need help with your blog?
I'm the freelance writer who gets tech. So, I blog on three core topics:
Science and Technology