According to Buzzsumo, 75% of articles and blog posts get fewer than 40 shares on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter; half of all content gets 8 or fewer shares. But some types of blog posts will get you more attention and a bigger audience than others, all things being roughly equal. Let's take a closer look at five specific types of blog posts that are highly effective at generating buzz, attracting clicks, and increasing traffic to your site.
- The expert roundup
- The case study
- The super-long list post
- The short-but-super-detailed list post
- The thought-leader post
The expert roundup
A well-crafted expert roundup post is a great way to get your feet wet in influencer marketing. It helps you forge authentic connections with thought leaders in your niche, expose your work to an exponentially larger audience, and further your own reputation as a leader in your field. A great example is this expert roundup post on blog post promotion in which Small Business Ideas Blog interviewed over 40 experts and shared their best promotion tips.
To implement this post type smartly, start with the experts you want to target. They should be leaders and influencers in the subject niche. Once you've identified a pool of candidate experts, work to make it as easy as possible for each of them to contribute to your post:
- Double-check their sites for their preferred contact methods.
- Make an effort to craft the best possible question for your roundup. It should be open-ended, but not too vague. You may want to give your experts a choice of two or three questions, if it fits your topic. That way, they can respond the way that feels most on-brand for them.
- While it's perfectly fine to start with a template email or contact form message, personalize each and every message you send.
- Don't get offended if they don't respond! Busy bloggers at the top of their fields can receive dozens of these kinds of inquiries a week, or even more. Give them time to reply, and follow-up with them once — say, a week later or so. If you don't hear from them by then, move on.
- Don't forget to show them “WIIFM” – “what's in it for me?” They'll expect links back to their sites, of course, but also offer to include links to social media profiles or share other valuable resources in your post (as long as they're relevant, of course).
- If you want their help promoting the post, make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Include a click to tweet link for each participating expert’s section, for example.
Once the post has been published, get back in touch with all your experts with a link to the post, letting them know the post is live, and thanking them for participating.
The case study
Whatever it is that you do — whether you're selling your words, your services, or physical products of some kind — you can probably create a case study post around it. The case study has one defining characteristic, which is the sharing of results and specifically how those results were achieved. It also has a defining tone: factual, transparent, and data-driven wherever possible.
One notable and fairly popular case study was shared by Alex Turnbull at GrooveHQ’s blog: A SaaS Startup’s Journey to $100,000 a Month.
A few things to note about this case study example:
- It's not bragging or boastful in tone. The idea is to share the route to the end results — not to sell or persuade but to demonstrate.
- It's factual. Note how Alex shares data — revenue, users, etc. — in addition to the story that makes sense of that data.
- It's transparent. Alex's case study shares the journey, warts and all, and points out mistakes where they were made.
Pick a case study subject that your users will be able to relate to. Readers should be able to put themselves into the subject's shoes fairly easily.
Don't overwhelm the reader with unnecessary or irrelevant facts. But tell the story as a narrative. One good formulation is to start with an introduction, transition into describing your challenge, briefly summarize the goal you were trying to reach, then go into a detailed narrative describing what you tried, in sequence, to reach those goals.
Support your case studies with visualized data wherever possible — charts, graphs, etc. Use formatting to help the reader process the case study. Include the judicious use of subheadings, bold/italics, bullet points, and screenshots wherever possible.
The super-long list post
Both this post type and the next are variations on the listicle — the familiar list-based post popularized and used to great effect by sites such as Buzzfeed. This kind of list works beautifully for examples, strategies, tools, and tactics for any specific challenge.
You can either go broad or deep with listicles; the choice should be determined by the nature of your topic. In this variation, we're looking at a large — 75 or 99 or even 101 items. There's no real minimum or upper limit, though odd numbers seem to attract clicks and eyeballs in greater numbers than even ones. One example is this post about ways to boost creativity:
You can see that super-long lists aren't terribly detailed. They work best for challenges or topics that involve either a perceived lack of resources or some kind of creative work that involves brainstorming. These listicles can become a massive piece of content with lots of information.
The short-but-super-detailed list post
A variation on the listicle theme is the list containing significantly fewer list items (say, 5 to 9), but going into a far greater level of detail on each one. The same preference for odd numbers in the headline applies. The defining characteristic here is the depth of information and granularity of detail. The short-but-super-detailed post is excellent for meatier “how-to” posts when you want to include more than one approach to a broader problem.
The thought-leader post
This one's a bit different from the others; it's really more of a function than a separate type on its own. You could conceivably marry the thought-leader post with any other type, especially a case study post. This kind of post has two key traits: Share something unique to you – something you developed or refined or came up with and in so doing…share the new phrase or word you coined to describe that new concept, process, or refinement.
A popular example here is Brian Dean's post: Skyscraper Technique:
Brian shared his technique for building great content based on existing popular content, and coined the phrase “skyscraper technique” to describe it. Now, anytime anyone sees that phrase and searches for it, they inevitably run across Brian's name and the Backlinko site.
Before you hit publish, do a thorough Google search — not just for the name or phrase you created, but also for the general technique itself. The last thing you want is the ugly shock of discovering that not only weren't you as creative as you thought, but now people think you plagiarized from someone else's work! Which probably is the last thing you would want.
Conclusion: Effective blog post types to increase traffic
You still need to write the best post possible, and promote it like crazy when it's published, of course. But picking the right blog post type can help you conquer blogger's writing block, as well as meet your blogging goals more easily. Did we mention your favorite “go-to” blog post type? We would love to read your feedback. Share it in the comments section below.