Customers expect their favorite brands and businesses to offer value beyond a product and a point of view they can endorse. Smart brands use content to communicate that value and point of view. For the bootstrapped or small-but-growing business, blogging on a brand website is the essential place to start. If you want to use content to grow your brand and business, these are the 4 essential blog posts your website needs.
The listicle is the tried and true ordered list blog post (and people love lists). A well-written listicle is easy to skim and is very accessible to readers. Why it works: This type of light reading is highly sharable because people endorse content that can hold their attention from beginning to end. Plus, assigning value to any ordered list (think: top ten "best of" or "worst") is debatable at best and controversial click bait in some cases. Content that engages opinionated points of view is sure to be read and shared.
The explainer blog is in-depth, detailed, and informational content. This can be an "everything you need to know about _____" guide. Why it works: Content that answers a need or solves a problem is incredibly valuable to a reader, and even more so when the resource is an accessible, free blog post.
How-to content offers utility and informational value similar to an explainer blog post. Where the two differ is a how-to is typically structured as a step-by-step guide. Why it works: This type of content is instructional. It may even be the first asset a reader would want to access before getting into the details of an explainer piece. Plus, for visual learners, a how-to blog post can often be accompanied by an infographic or illustrative video. Visuals are essential to creating blog posts that are compelling and sharable.
Think of this type of blog as the transcript to an interview or curated takeaways from an epic ask me anything session. For the savvy business, a Q&A with the founding team behind your product is absolutely an essential piece of content that needs to live on your brand website. This type of blog is a compelling way to tell your story and connects customers to the purpose and passion of your brand. Why it works: The expert/influencer/guru Question and Answer blog post is compelling to readers because it offers an insiders' look into the point of view of a person of interest.
What Makes This Content Engaging and Sharable?
While these posts are a great place to start filling your content marketing funnel, ultimately, why people will read, engage with, and share content is not only dependent on the format. Put the audience before your interests in becoming the go-to thought leader or making a sale. What would your audience like to know, feel, or do? How can content enhance or add value to these activities? Plus content should not only appeal to reason but emotion as well. This 2010 New York Times study found that content that is most likely to be shared online falls into these categories: awe-inspiring, emotional, positive, inspiring. This isn't a new concept but it is one that separates the brands we love from the other meh content online.
Are you starting a blog for your personal brand or business? Check out this post: Starting a Business Blog 101 - 3 Steps to Consider Before You Hit Post.