What should you blog about?
Stick with these five formulas for captivating blog posts and you will never have writer's block again.
The listicle is Buzzfeed’s bread and butter. While it’s done to death, it’s a formula that keeps millions entertained and coming back for more every day. No matter what the subject of your blog, you should be able to pull together a list to share with your audience.
Why do they work?
A list is everything that internet content should be: punchy, informative, relatable, and entertaining. Throw in a few hilarious gifs or interesting images and your audience will be even more likely to share it online.
Here are some of my favourite ever listicles to give you some inspiration:
2. Answer a question
If you’re looking to become the top blogger on your subject, you should be writing blogs that answer questions. Why? Because Google Hummingbird says so. Last month the new Google algorithm Hummingbird went live, and while the search engine’s new rules are a closely guarded secret, one of the clever people responsible for it gave us a few clues. It seems that people are using basic keywords less often when searching, and instead typing full questions into Google or asking questions aloud to their devices (naturally, as it’s still a big pain in the arse to type on smartphones).
Here are a few ways to search for question and answer inspiration.
- Your competitors' blogs: Have they answered questions before? Can you give a better or more detailed answer? Read their posts, the comments section, and try to come up with questions worth answering.
- Google Keyword Planner: You can search for questions relating to your blog’s subject area and choose the one that gets the most monthly searches.
- Google Search: If you start typing the first few words of a question relating to a topic you know about, Google will tell you what people commonly search for.
3. Write a review
Is there a hot new product or service in your blog’s subject area? If it’s free or cheap (or you were planning to buy it anyway), you should get in early and share your thoughts on it with your audience. Online research plays a massive role in most purchasing decisions, and if your review is detailed and helps them to make their choice then they’re likely to come back again and again.
4. Disagree with something
When a controversial topic hits the news agenda, TV producers will immediately assemble a panel of experts, all of whom will be either for or against whatever is causing the controversy, to pull the issue apart and do battle with each other.
Humans love conflict, if not to be involved in it than to observe it. It’s the stuff of soap operas, every political election, stage play and playground squabble; even Winnie the Pooh and Piglet have arguments for our viewing pleasure.
If you want your blog to cause a stir, then don’t write about what you agree with. Find something current (in the news in the last 48 hours) that you think is wrong and explain why. You can even combine this with a listicle for further attention-grabbing points.
5. Make a tutorial
In the same vein as number 2: answer a question, if you can explain to your audience how to do something that they will find useful, then do it! Tutorials are hugely valuable for bloggers and a great way to position you as an expert and all-round helpful chap.
YouTube is a great example of why tutorials are King. People have made entire careers out of YouTube tutorials, but if you’re camera shy then use step by step instructions with photos, print screens, or diagrams to get your point across. If you run a business, you should use tutorials to help your customers get the most from your products and services.
Think you don’t have anything useful to demonstrate? If you’ve learned something by trial and error in your subject area with nothing but time and lots of late night Google searching, then that’s a tutorial in itself. Here are some great examples: