Test Post for NEDMA's Social Media Marketing 101 Workshop

Despite the many benefits of blogging, there are still a number of reasons why someone might not want – or be able – to establish a presence in the blogosphere.

First of all, you have to have the time.  After all, most blogs take at least a few hours a week to write and maintain, the best among them much longer.

And if you’re writing a blog, you have to have at least a modicum of talent.  Sure, you’re not writing the great American novel, but you are putting words to computer screen over the course of a long, indefinite period of time. To build and hold an audience, you need to have the gift of gab and be part correspondent, critic and commentator. To write a successful blog, you really need to be as prolific as you are informed, repeatedly producing fresh, new content that your readers will find interesting and worthwhile.

Finally, not every wannabe blogger knows what to write about or, even if he or she does have a topic, what type of post to write.

The truth is that a post can be as short as just a sentence or two or as long as a full, feature-length, 500-word article.  It doesn’t have to be perfectly written, either, as the main attributes of a prototypical post are mainly that it’s somewhat conversational in tone, timely and, most important of all, engaging.

There are many different types of blog posts.  I have listed 15 below, but the possibilities are almost endless.  So if you can think of any others, please don’t hesitate to share with us all by leaving a comment at the end of this list.

15 Types of Blog Posts

1. Instructional – Write about your specific area of expertise and, ideally, include a few outbound links to corroborating material found elsewhere. Chris Brogan does a great job of this on his post, 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business.

2. Informational – If you have any news to share, whether it relates to the organization you work for or is just something you’ve heard about in the industry, blogging about it is a great way to spread the word. Read the blog, Groundswell, for many good examples such as this one here.

3. Entertaining – All work and no play can make yours a very dull blog.  So every once in a while, find something amusing or even comical to feature in your posts.  Here, B.L. Ochman posts about the extremely entertaining – and effective – viral video from J.C. Penney entitled, The Doghouse.

4. Reviews – Whatever books, magazines, articles and, yes, blogs you read…if they could be of interest to your constituents, they’re worth your candid critiques. For instance, in one of his regular Book Review Friday posts, Michael Hyatt reviews Seth Godin’s latest book, Tribes.

5. Analysis – List the pros and cons of an important industry trend or development and give readers your take on its merits (or lack thereof). Here on the Habitually Good blog, the pros and cons of Google Chrome are discussed.

6. Opinion – Express your honest feelings about a topic or issue that would be of interest to your colleagues, clients and anyone else who is reading your blog. One of my personal favorite bloggers, Steve Rubel, almost always has an opinion worth considering on his popular blog, Micro Persuasion.

7. Diaries – Give readers an idea of what you do during a typical day on the job.  Or tell them how you and your team pulled off – from start to finish – a successful initiative.  Authenticity and transparency will add to your credibility and help build your own personal brand. Here are two refreshingly personal posts, one written by Todd Defren just before Thanksgiving 2008 on the blog, PR Squared, and another one written recently by C.C. Chapman.

8. Findings – If you have numbers, charts, graphs or any other information that will help your audience develop and fine-tune their respective skill sets and “best practices,” don’t hesitate to share. On Dianna Huff’s B2B Marcom Writer Blog, the author provides some interesting YouTube survey findings here.

9. Interviews – Put on your journalist’s hat and pose a few questions to a notable industry expert, then post the Q&A on your blog. Yvonne DiVita, founder and president of Windsor Media Enterprises, regularly interviews others as part of her blog’s Smart Woman Online series.

10. Accolades – Offer kudos to award-winners and knowledge leaders, even if they’re competitors.  Flattery will get you, well, maybe a new friend in the one who you praise.  For example, check out this list of the Fifty Most Influential Bloggers compiled by blogger, Leo Babauta (which I’m sure resulted in countless, and well-deserved, backlinks for Leo).

11. Questions – Take a strong position on a hot topic or issue and ask your readers whether they agree. Some bloggers, such as SMM king Chris Brogan, frequently close their posts with a question or two, which invariably results in a number of good comments.  Here, he closes by asking the question:  So what do you think makes a speaker into a rock star?  Yes, I was one of the 72 readers who answered.

12. Case Studies – Real-world examples, whether your own or not, help illustrate and reinforce your blog’s value proposition. David Meerman Scott uses the Barack Obama presidential campaign to illustrate 10 good marketing lessons.

13. Multi-Part Articles – If one post alone won’t do your topic justice, consider breaking up your thoughts into a series of posts, bringing readers back for more time and again.  That’s what my colleague, Justin Barton, has done with his thoughts on website optimization and demand generation.

14. Polls – Conduct a survey on something topical and reveal the results down the road. For instance, take a look at the results of this poll on the top Internet marketing tactics here.

15. Lists – Finally, you can simply add up all the reasons for doing something – anything – and turn your list into a long post like this one, the one you’re reading now.

So there you have it…a total of 15 different types of posts to help you overcome writer’s block and turn your blog into a better read.  Of course, there are many more, the number of ways to approach writing a blog really only limited by your own imagination.  What types of posts might I have overlooked?  If you have any other ideas, please don’t hesitate to share them with us all here by leaving a comment below….

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