But changing post types regularly offers several advantages. It provides variety for your readers. It allows you as a writer a break from routine and some flexibility in choosing formats. That flexibility can offer a creativity boost as well.
Here are nine common types of blog posts.
1. The List
The list is perhaps the most popular type of post on blogs and even news sites. It offers an easy way to group or rank information. Its format adapts well for social networking site posts. People often respond to lists with their own suggestions and criticisms.
Some list posts are based only on the writer’s opinion. Articles with titles such as “The Best Science Documentaries of All Time” or even the “The Best Documentaries of All Time” rarely present any rationale for the list or its order. They also rarely present any research to support the list or its order.
The best list posts are researched and supported. List items derive from facts, statistics, and quotes. Or, list items are framed in a specific way, such as a famous person’s favorite documentaries.
2. The Roundup
A roundup brings together a wide variety of information about a topic in order to provide an overview of what is being said about it. A popular roundup example might examine news coverage of a current event, while another example might bring together the reviews for a new film.
The smartest approach for a roundup is recurring ideas. As you read, look for themes that appear throughout the content. Use those themes to structure your post and choose supporting evidence.
Avoid ordering the information by source by source. This approach provides information, but it fails to make sense of that information. It also looks amateurish and lazy.
A final warning: While roundups build credibility and make for great content, they take significantly more time to develop than almost any other post type.
How-to posts, or posts that teach people how to do or make something, are another popular type of content online.
But the instructional posts you create must be different than the thousands of similar posts already out there. Anyone can create a post for cooking brown rice or petting a cat. You must find a unique angle or approach, or solve the problem in a different way, in order to create content that engages your audience.
How-to posts also prove challenging because they require careful balance of the instruction and detail. Some writers add too much detail, while other writers struggle to provide the right amount of steps, sometimes leaving out key steps altogether.
Reviews are an engaging type of blog post. Reviews evaluate a product, a procedure, or something else for its qualities. What is evaluated must be relevant to your audience.
While some reviewers resort to focusing on just the positives or negatives, more sophisticated reviewers dive deeper, getting into specifics and their implications. Even better reviews situate the object in larger contexts, such as describing how people might use it or comparing it to similar items.
One mistake that novice reviewers make is not taking a specific, stated position on the product or text. They will write about the positives and negatives, but they will omit their own viewpoint or leave it implied in the other writing. That opinion is important because it provides the frame for the entire post and contributes to the voice of your blog.
A typical story consists of multiple characters, a goal, an obstacle or two, and a resolution. To be compelling, stories must have relatable people and, more so, a sustained conflict throughout the post.
The conflict must be resolved in a satisfactory way before the post ends. Don’t leave your audience hanging. Avoid dragging out the post too long after the conflict resolves. Further, make sure that the story is clearly relevant to your blog, its goals, and your audience.
News posts follow the journalism practices of answering the 5 W’s and an H:
Beyond answering these basic questions, one more question must be considered: So what? Much information can be used to answer these questions, but without a compelling reason bringing it all together, audiences will find news posts quite dull. Consider news values as part of answering the “so what?” question.
Profiles offers snapshots of a person with a unique aspect to their life. This person might live an ordinary life and do an extraordinary thing, or this person might be extraordinary in some way and do an ordinary thing. Much viral social media content focuses on one of these two approaches.
Two tactics exist for creating profiles. The first, and less credible, is to create the profile using secondary sources, such as news articles, interviews, YouTube videos, and their social media accounts. The result will provide a snapshot, but it will fall short on the level of detail.
The second, and more credible, tactic is to interview the person yourself, as well as people familiar with the person, to develop a deeper, more nuanced, and more focused profile. The level of information deepens with doing interviews, as they often reveal information not available through other sources. That exclusive information can be a boon for your blog.
Two mistakes writers often make with profiles. First, they fail to consider, why is this person or their story interesting for my audience? Second, they fail to find a unique angle within the story around which to build their post. That angle is key for developing the outline and choosing relevant details.
A problem-solution post begins with outlining a problem, the reasons for the problem, and the need for its solution. Sometimes the problem is one that people are already aware of, but sometimes the problem is one that they should be aware of but are not yet. If your audience remains unaware, you face the additional task of convincing them.
The post then almost must include workable solution(s) to that problem. In other words, the solutions must be within the audience’s reach, such as through available tools, modest financial investments, or something else accessible.
Also, if possible, consider adding information of what people might do to prevent the problem in the future.
9. Case Studies
A case study is another kind of story used to illustrate a problem and suggest solutions. It starts with a main character seeking a goal but facing some obstacles. This character might be you, another real person, or a composite of several people with the same issue.
Instead of just presenting the solutions like a problem-solution post would, a case study presents a series of possible solutions. It then works through each of the solutions, examining their pros and cons. It may even test them to see what works and what fails.
The end of the case study examines the outcomes of the solutions and proposes the best one for the scenario. Provide explanation and evidence for why this solution bests the others.
A final note about multimedia content: The nine options mentioned above frequently appear across format types, including written, audio, and video.