You’ve probably heard the cornerstone of Inbound Marketing, as well as being found online, is to consistently create compelling and valuable content for the personas you serve. And the most effective way to do this is through blogging. This post will help demystify blogging and help you with your planning so you’re not stuck staring at a blank screen as you attempt to tackle this profitable activity.
If you’re like the majority of the marketing folks out there, hearing about the importance of blogging causes a tightness in your stomach and anxious thoughts about how the hell you’re going to find the capacity to create enough fresh content to improve your position online. You’re not alone!
I personally believe that marketers are some of the best problem solvers on the planet, and that there is a clear point of differentiation between the top marketers and all the rest. The lower level marketers end up giving in to the anxiety and simply throw their hands up in the air and essentially say, “I give up” and frantically try to find other alternatives beyond blogging to bring people to their website. This typically leads to advertising, which is essentially renting attention, instead of putting in the work to build a strong foundation which continues to produce fruit long after you’ve exerted effort.
If you’ve ever tried to rely on advertising, and you pay attention to your analytics, I’m sure you’ve noticed this type of attraction strategy leads to extremely poor conversion rates. In fact, the latest stats show that organic results (which blogging directly impacts) are 8.5x more likely to be clicked on versus pay per click (PPC) advertising. The bottom line is: unless you’ve got a bottomless pit for your marketing budget, you need to take a deep breath and embrace blogging for your long term strategy. This will help expose you to 85% of your available market, instead of settling for 15% reach.
The following are 22 different styles of blogging you can utilize as you plan out your content. I’ve listed each of them in order of ease, and included the “buzz index” which is the likelihood of your content spreading. This is a 1-5 scale with 1 being the worst. I’ve also included the maximum amount of weekly blog posts for each style.
Anyhow, here we go…
- Review Blogging: Share your expertise and professional opinion on a product or service which your target personas may be evaluating. Max Weekly Posts: 5+ | Buzz Index: 3 | Difficulty: Easy
- Survey Blogging: Start a conversation related to a hot topic amongst one of your target personas and include a survey with an open ended question or encourage them to provide feedback through a blog post or a comment on your blog. Max Weekly Posts: 3 | Buzz Index: 4 | Difficulty: Easy
- Ambition Blogging: Blog about something you aspire to accomplish and target the decision makers you’d like to reach within the post. Max Weekly Posts: 1 | Buzz Index: 2 | Difficulty: Easy
- Curated Blogging: When it comes to blogging, most marketers tend to forget that not all content creation has to be 100% original. You can selectively gather and share only the most relevant, comprehensive insights and resources from around the web with your readers (You can download a free curated blog template here). Max Weekly Posts: 2 | Buzz Index: 1 | Difficulty: Easy
- Classified Blogging: Create a post which identifies a need you have or talks about things you are willing to share, trade or sell to others. Max Weekly Posts: 1 | Buzz Index: 2 | Difficulty: Easy
- Life Blogging: This is also referred to as reality blogging and is a post that refers to something which has happened to you in your personal life. Max Weekly Posts: 5+ | Buzz Index: 2 | Difficulty: Easy
- Contact Blogging: This is a post you create about an individual which you’re interested in connecting with, or where you write about the experience of meeting someone which isn’t an interview post (highlighted below). Max Weekly Posts: 2 | Buzz Index: 2 | Difficulty: Easy
- Meme Blogging: This is where you start a thread of discussion by answering a question and inviting bloggers to respond on their blogs with their thoughts. Max Weekly Posts: 1 | Buzz Index: 5 | Difficulty: Medium
- Brand Blogging: Write a post about a product or brand which includes an “inside look” or positive attributes. These are typically official or unofficial views based on your personal opinion. Max Weekly Posts: 5 | Buzz Index: 2 | Difficulty: Medium
- Guest Blogging: This is where you create a post intended to be included on a blog other than your own. This can help expand your reach as you’re exposed to other blogger’s followers. Max Weekly Posts: 5 | Buzz Index: 3 | Difficulty: Medium
- Interview Blogging: Conduct a video and post as either audio or video and include a transcript of the interview. Max Weekly Posts: 5 | Buzz Index: 4 | Difficulty: Medium
- Event Blogging: Share your insights, opinions or content you’ve received by attending an event such as a workshop, seminar or conference. This will help position you as a resource while benefiting those who couldn’t attend. Max Weekly Posts: 5 | Buzz Index: 4 | Difficulty: Medium
- Live Blogging: This is where you blog at a fast pace about something in real time as it happens. Often times this is done with a mobile device or via twitter. Max Weekly Posts: 5 | Buzz Index: 4 | Difficulty: Medium
- Feature Blogging: This is where you create an ongoing category and share new thoughts and content in a scheduled, ongoing manner. Max Weekly Posts: 2 | Buzz Index: 4 | Difficulty: Medium
- List Blogging: This is a very popular format (like this one) which provides numbered lists. These are often bookmarked and shared. Max Weekly Posts: 5+ | Buzz Index: 5 | Difficulty: Medium
- Evangelist Blogging: This is a passionate post about a social cause, favorite product, organization, or a person which the writer has a strong affinity for. These are meant to inspire others to join the “movement.” Max Weekly Posts: 5 | Buzz Index: 3 | Difficulty: Medium
- Photo Blogging: This is a post where the majority of the content are photos which may, or may not include captions to tell a story. Max Weekly Posts: 5+ | Buzz Index: 2 | Difficulty: Medium
- Link Blogging: This post is where you create a list of links to websites, blogs or other helpful content as a resource for others in a single blog post. Max Weekly Posts: 2 | Buzz Index: 4 | Difficulty: Medium
- Detractor Blogging: This is where you share a passionate hatred toward a product, service or person or recount a negative experience you’ve had. You’ll want to be extremely careful with this style and think it through so you don’t start a social media shit storm. Max Weekly Posts: 1 | Buzz Index: 3 | Difficulty: Medium
- Response Blogging: This is where you respond directly to a challenge issued by someone else, or to a crisis situation where you share your opinion and point of view. Max Weekly Posts: 5+ | Buzz Index: 3 | Difficulty: Medium
- Video Blogging: This is where you create an original video and post it within your blog,or where you embed another video from YouTube and include commentary on it. Max Weekly Posts: 5 | Buzz Index: 3 | Difficulty: Hard
- Announcement Blogging: This is a post which covers “breaking news” and provides your insight into the situation. The most effective way to carry out this type of blogging is to be the first to announce something. Max Weekly Posts: 5+ | Buzz Index: 5 | Difficulty: Hard
Obviously there are a lot of blogging styles for you to choose from. It’s important to note that you have complete flexibility and there is no reason to simply stick to one or two of these styles. I’d encourage you to use these during your ideation sessions as a high level format and utilize the most effective style to get your point across.
Over time, as you analyze your data, you’ll start to see which style resonates best with the personas you’re reaching. Most importantly, HAVE FUN and don’t allow blogging to become a chore. The results you’ll receive will make it one of the most impactful tactics of your Inbound Marketing strategy.
Remember: Not all content creation needs to be 100% original!
You can selectively gather and share only the most relevant, comprehensive insights and resources from around the web with your readers. Here's a template that walks you through step-by-step on how to create a high quality blog post from curated content - from identifying your audience to creating your outline to optimizing it for search!