Content marketing is one of the most powerful forms of marketing online. This is true for many reasons, including the law of reciprocity.
When you provide great free content people just naturally want to reciprocate by joining your list, sharing on social, and yes, even buying your products.
But sometimes it’s hard to come up with WHAT to write about. For some the ideas flow so freely that choosing is the hard part.
For others, just getting started is the problem. After all, who really loves the blank page?
And then there is the time challenge – we all have busy lives, right?
The answer is templates.
Far from robotic “fill in the blanks” forms, true content templates encourage your creativity and help you get started.
Plus, they help you save massive amounts of time so you can be free to do other things.
Sounds like a win-win to me!
In my 15 years as a content marketer, I’ve tried many methods to make creating content easier. Of all of them, templates are my favorite.
Here now are my 10 Blog Post Templates That Work Like Crazy!
This post is simply two opposing points of view.
You can quite easily find content that approaches almost any topic from both sides or look at a point of view from two different sides and curate that.
Always providing attribution to the sources of course.
If you prefer, you can write your article from both points of view instead.
This post is easy to write because it has a simple structure.
“Here are the reasons for and here are the reason against.” Simple as that.
And then you let the reader decide which point they prefer.
This type of template is designed to create interest and thought in the reader and to get them engaged.
I have found when I’ve used point / counterpoint posts that I’ll get a higher number of comments. This is natural because people like to share their opinion, which is a good thing.
The structure of this post is simple … this is news.
To be clear, you are not trying to BREAK news like CNN or Fox. You are simply trying to provide an overview of the most up-to-date information in your niche.
If you do that regularly people will see YOU as the clearinghouse of news, and love you for it.
My advice is to NOT have an entire blog about news unless you are a news junkie and want post very often.
It is much easier to add a category to your blog for news so that people can see what they want when they want.
That adds another dynamic to your blog and can be an excellent addition.
The Round Up
This is where you’re rounding up the most interesting information on one particular topic.
These posts are often a little bit longer, because what you’re doing is “filtering the flood” of information that the reader would have to go through in order to find this broad-ranging information on their own.
A great way to do this is with Google Alerts.
You simply set up an alert and let Google do the research for you. You can use Advanced Search terms in an Alert, and Google will email you on the schedule you choose.
Top Three Ways
This is another one of my favorites.
The world seems to work in trinities, doesn’t it?
We have Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We have red, blue, and green. We have small, medium, large.
Because it is natural for people to think in threes, these posts often get high engagement.
HINT: Always entitle the post “Three Ways To X” That consistent formatting can become branding for you.
These type of posts are fun to write and to create and they’re a lot of fun to read. The key here is to list the TOP three ways to do a thing.
Don’t list all the ways and then say “these three are the best.” That will create a super-long post that might not get read.
Instead, serve your reader with short, actionable copy that lists the TOP three ways to get the job done.
Don’t know the top three ways on your own? This is a perfect place for asking specific questions of leaders in your niche.
Many leaders are more than happy to help when they can provide that help quickly and from their own experience.
Step By Step
Give your reader a step by step process to follow where you tell them, “Do this first, do this second and then do this third.”
To make this even stronger, use images or screen captures to illustrate how to do each of the steps.
If you are familiar with any of my Common Sense Guides you have seen this in action.
If you are not familiar with them, join my list using the form below this post and you will get immediate access to the first of them.
One key to this type of post is to really focus in on one specific task.
For example, rather than writing a step-by-step post about how to format a blog post write one about how to make a bulleted list in a blog post.
And the another one about how to apply bold and italic to your blog posts.
And then another one about how to set the “read more” tag in blog posts.
If you follow this advice you will produce short, actionable content AND post more often. Both are very good things.
Readers will LOVE you for that because you’re giving them basically the instruction manual for what they want to accomplish.
The more you can help them to be, do,and have what they really want, the better they’ll like you.
Mistakes To Avoid
This type of article is the exact opposite of the “what TO do” type of articles.
This is a very good thing for two important reasons.
- It makes the article easy to write. You just reverse the advice you gave before an add in some of your own experience.
- People understand more when they see both sides of an issue. You are proving to your reader that you can see or have experienced, both sides of an issue. This balance leads to trust.
Our lives are very much a compilation of learning from our mistakes.
When you fly an airplane from New York to Paris it doesn’t go on a perfectly straight line, there are 1,000 little course corrections along the way allowing for variances in wind speed or weather or turbulence.
This is the nature of life, we all have to make mid-course corrections.
The wise learn from their mistakes. The very wise learn from the mistakes of others. This type of post allows you to share your wisdom in both ways.
When you share openly mistakes that can be avoided, especially if you add a little bit of your own personal experience to it, you will create a tremendously powerful post that will help readers. And that is a beautiful thing!
Reviews And Comparisons
Reviews are incredibly popular. Which is why you should consider adding them to your blog.
To be clear, I am NOT talking about using spammy “don’t buy until you read this!” methods. Those short-term tactics always backfire.
What I AM talking about is sharing openly and honestly about the things you love.
And I know this is radical but it’s okay to share WITHOUT using an affiliate link. 🙂
Of course, use links where you can and always disclose your affiliate relationship. This is content MARKETING after all.
Amazon set the bar on reviews. They mastered the art of selling with reviews and forever changed how people buy.
Millennials are especially sensitive to reviews. Studies indicate that millennials will often check social media JUST BEFORE a purchase.
So work hard to get your review posts ranked on page 1 of Google!
Nobody wants to be the first one to buy anything and people want to know they’re getting the very best deal possible.
So reassure your readers with open and honest reviews.
When creating content for your blog don’t forget about the classics in your niche.
For example, if you have a blog about selling, read classic books by writers like Earl Nightingale or Dale Carnegie to get article ideas.
These concepts have stood the test of time.
While it’s fine to share the “latest and greatest”, paying tribute to the giants who came before us is wise and effective.
Many people in business, and in other walks of life, feel that the old ways might have been the better ways.
Many clients will ask me, “What is the most PROVEN way to do a thing?”
Sometimes that is the latest and greatest technique. But often it is something enduring, something that had worked for decades or even centuries.
Predicting The Future
This is different than news because it is more prediction of what is to come that sharing what is happening now.
This will not be for every blogger. But if you are a researcher at heart, this is for you.
How many times have you felt that you knew what was coming next only to be proven right?
You knew that product would be a hit. You knew that color was the next big thing.
It takes courage but sharing your observations can often make you stand out from the crowd.
If you attend trade shows, read lots of blogs or just generally can spot trends, you will stand out by sharing on your blog.
Fair warning – when you get it wrong (and we all do) your readers can sometimes be unkind. So know that going in.
Fair warning #2 – Never, ever engage in hype on your blog. I’ve seen SO many “email is dead” messages come into my EMAIL that it makes me laugh out loud.
Not to be rude but anything USING email to promote the idea that email is dead needs to rethink their strategy.
Hard Core How To
This is perhaps the most common type of blog post. And for good reason.
People need and want help doing things. That is one reason why Google? process over 3 billion search requests a day.
Three … billion … a … day.
Home Depot has made an entire industry out of do-it- yourself. And their positioning could not be better.
For decades they have been telling us that we CAN do this … and they can help.
According to the genius marketer Don Miller, our jobs as marketers is to position ourselves as the HELPER to the hero of a story.
Not as the hero … as the helper.
When you write your “how to” posts be sure to remember two very important things.
- You are the helper, not the hero. When you share from your experience do so in a way that helps your reader take the action, not one that brags on your accomplishments.
- If your blog is like most, you will have visitors in three stages of development. So be sure to write for the beginner, the intermediate, and the advanced readers too.
Content marketing is fun, profitable and very durable. My blog receives new readers every week to articles I wrote years ago.
The key to great content marketing is simple – aim to help readers.
p spellcheck=”false”>When you use the 10 templates in this article you will be able to do that more quickly, more easily and more often.
And helping readers is a beautiful thing indeed!