You’re probably in a routine, pushing out a new blog article every week. Fine; at least you’re creating new content. Now that you’re getting serious about your online presence, there’s something else you need to give attention to: the format of your next blog post.
Essay articles are great, but you can also be posting videos, infographics, and more. Some formats work better than others to present certain information and appeal to specific audiences. For the most audience impact, here’s how to choose the format of your next post.
Why You Shouldn’t Be Writing Essay Articles Every Single Week
Your audience probably loves to read your articles – they keep coming back and sharing. This leaves you asking why you shouldn’t just write articles. Frankly, there’s much more to blogging than writing, editing, and grammar. The format you choose can often make or break your online sales. Factoring in what your audience really wants, the best way to present your information, and branching out to multiple platforms can multiply your traffic.
Think about it; if you share a slideshow, you can upload it to Slideshare before you embed on your blog. You will not only earn traffic from your website and promotions, but organic traffic from the Slideshare platform as well. The same goes for Youtube and Vimeo for videos, Infogram for infographics, Flickr for photo hosting, and more. Not only is your content more digestible when you present it in the right format, you can also piggyback on the hosting platform to get more traffic.
What Does Your Target Audience Want?
The first step in choosing a blog post format is to consider your audience – what is it that your target customers want? Are they more likely to watch and share videos, images, or something else? Also, what are their networks likely to share? Spend some time researching your target demographic and the apps and platforms that they are likely to frequent before you choose the format of your next post.
For example, Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers all have completely different online behaviors. Millennials are more likely to be on social media and mobile web than others. Find out if your audience would rather be on Vimeo or YouTube before you upload a video to either platform.
7 Self-Exam Questions for Choosing a Blog Post Format
As you near your blog format decision, there is more to consider. Ask yourself this series of self-examination questions so that you can plan thoroughly and execute perfectly:
- Which formats seem to be engaging your audience, presently (video, images, GIF, etc.)? If it is working, there’s no need to try to fix it. Instead, go with what already engages and enhance the popular styles with better imagery and complimentary slideshows.
- What topic will you be sharing on? For example, if the topic you want to present is a tutorial, it could serve you to add a video that shows more than can be explained with words alone.
- What are the goals for this next post? Are you looking for more shares, views, or purchases? Depending on what stage in the buyer’s journey your readers will be, your topic and format needs to be in alignment with your goals.
- Are you currently launching or building your brand? If you’re launching, you should focus on relationship building – brand building should place you in a seat of authority. Pay attention to where you are before you make a format decision.
- Which social media platforms do you plan to share on? What formats work best with the platforms you’re using? Infographics will be great for Pinterest, but won’t be so shareable on Instagram. Factor your sharing platforms into your choice.
This is Where to Collect Data for Your Research
When answering the above questions and collecting information to create content for your post, you should know where you can find what you need. Here are some avenues for researching your target audience and their behaviors.
- Consumer research studies
- Online groups and forums (great place to harvest long tail keywords for your SEO)
- Social media profiles and trending topics
- Census information
- Your brand’s customer relationship management platform
- Google Analytics
- Your competitors
Make sure to hold onto your customer research. You will want to build upon this and cross-reference new information in the future.
Put More Energy Into Planning Your Budget
Your blog should be included in your marketing budget. If it’s not, take some time to reconsider. An estimated $958 million is overspent by B2B companies in the US who inefficiently produce content. You’ll save money later and have a higher return on investment with planning.
This doesn’t imply that you should decrease your budget. Using paid tools to help with content creation can often save you the cost of hourly work that goes into creating everything from scratch. You may also be able to find professional writers on one of the online writing services where you can pay per project to help increase your ROI. Take all of this into consideration.
Monitor Engagement to See What’s Working Best for You
Pay attention to the posts that get the most engagement. You need to track your pageviews, bounce rate, clicks, and shares. This way, you see what’s working. If you have a video that did really well in the past, and you’ve been posting nothing but articles since, it may be time for another vlog.
These platforms can help you with blog analytics, and you should be using at least one, if not all of them.
Jetpack Stats – Jetpack is a standard plugin with any WordPress account. It can help you keep track of the engagement of your posts with simple navigation. It’s great to see the best posts of each week, month, year, and all-time. You can also easily see where your traffic is coming from.
Google Analytics – With a Google Analytics account, you can get more insight than what’s possible with Jetpack alone. Learn about the location and demographics of your website traffic. This platform requires a little more knowledge and understanding of SEO, but it’s well worth any learning efforts.
Hubspot – You can pair Google Analytics with the all-star marketing package offered by Hubspot. Other customer relationship management (CRM) platforms give you access to similar data, but when you see everything that Hubspot offers, you’ll understand the price tag.
When to Try Something You’ve Never Tried Before
If you’ve never posted a certain format before, should you try it in your blog? Probably – it’s never too late to try something new. The only time you shouldn’t try out a new format is if you don’t know how.
Take the time to learn about whatever format you choose, if you haven’t already mastered it. Remember, sometimes it makes more sense to hire someone else to create your content for you. Outsource advanced media projects to experts when necessary.
What Format is Best for the Information You’re Presenting?
Visual content takes the lead on social media, when it comes to posts getting shared and clicked-through. But, you can’t very well make everything an image or a video. So, which blog post formats get the most engagement? According to Hubspot, here are 13 types of blog posts to choose from:
- Newsjack – write a timely post in alignment with trending topics.
- Infographic Post – explain what you want to say in an image.
- SlideShare Post – create a slideshow on SlideShare and embed it into your blog.
- Interview Post – interview an authority in your niche and share their responses in your blog.
- FAQ Post – what are some frequently asked questions in your niche? Share the answers in an article, infographic, or a video.
- Feature Story – share research on popular topics, people, or trends.
- “Why” Post – write an expository article that lets readers know why they should or shouldn’t do something.
- “What” Post – what is going on? Let readers know.
- Fun Post – give readers a dose of “edutainment.” Your fun posts should be geared toward readers who want to learn something in an entertaining way.
- Thought Leadership Post – these should make readers think deeper about a particular concept, relevant to your niche.
- Curated Post – highlight and curate someone else’s popular content. Accentuate the best parts for your readers to focus on.
- Listicle – present your information in a list format (these posts are highly shareable).
- How-To Post – explain how to do something that is relevant to your readers.
Include tutorial videos and infographics with your essay articles to enhance the shareability. Once you get the hang of it, feel free to mix it up, but be careful when mixing multiple formats. You want everything to be well-constructed, visually appealing, and easy-to-navigate.
As your blogging deadline approaches, give careful consideration to what format you will choose. Don’t just write plain essay articles every week. Learn what your target audience mostly wants. Harvest data from consumer research studies and other info-rich platforms that can help you become informed. Conduct a thorough self-examination to get an idea what’s going on internally. Stop neglecting your budget. Use industry standard tools to monitor your engagement. Get your mental wheels turning with ideas from the list of 13 blog post formats above.