High Five! Five Article Formats to Keep Your Blogging Fresh
Writing original content for the Internet can honestly be a struggle. Not only do you have to generate topics and actually write your pieces, but you have to find an article format that suits each subject that you choose. And it can be hard to get started—that blank page is intimidating each and every time you open a Word Document. Not only that, but you can start to feel like you’re just pumping out the same old same old—the topic may change, but you can still feel stuck in a writing rut.
To help you find the right format—and hopefully to spark some ideas if you’re trapped in a never-ending cycle of editorial pieces—here are five blogging formats to help get you in a creative-content.
A quick note: We covered How-To articles on our article about different types of creative content —don’t forget that one, that’s a keeper.
1) Q&A Interview Format
Who doesn’t love a good interview? And what writer doesn’t love an article that’s half-written by someone else?
In all seriousness, though, interviews are a great way to spice up your blog. They allow a new voice to spend some time on your blog, which can be a little refreshing to even the most dedicated of your readers. Interviews also encourage the topic to be treated like a dialogue, and they also show that you’re engaging with discussions about issues relevant to your brand.
They’re also pretty darn formulaic, which can be nice for a change. Just introduce the topic, then introduce your guest. You should tell your readers enough background information that they don’t feel left out of your conversation, but not so much that the interview isn’t informative and fresh. Then hit those Q’s and A’s.
And remember, don’t leave your readers hanging—you want to make sure that every blog you write engages with your reader. You need to finish up the article yourself, and give your readers that final call to action or contemplation.
2) Numbered List
Hey! Look! You’re reading one now. Funny how things work out, isn’t it?
Numbered lists are a really common format, popularized by companies like BuzzFeed. They’re one of the most popular forms for text posts online, and they lend themselves to catchy titles. What can we say? People love lists. No, it’s actually a thing. People just love lists.
Lists are great formats because not only do people like them, but they’re also pretty easy to crank out—they’re pretty step-by-step, and they help you divide your article into sections, which makes the whole article an easier undertaking. When approaching the list format, brainstorming is key. Try taking your topic and seeing how many branches you can split that subject into—that’s the number of points on your list. Make sure that you can talk pretty evenly about each point, though. If not, the list’s probably not the format you want to shove that article into.
Every field has a number of questions that are difficult for newcomers to answer—and even for old pros to handle. If you’ve got the answer to some of these questions, why not have a Frequently Asked Questions article? We recently wrote one ourselves, LINK. FAQ articles are extremely useful. They attract new customers interested in your product and help establish you as a resource and expert to new competitors in the field. FAQ articles are also easy to find inspiration for; you were once new to the business yourself! Ask yourself what questions you would have liked answered when you were just starting out.
FAQ’s then sort of function like a Q&A interview, except you’re playing both parts in the conversation. Make sure that your explanations are thorough, but clear and concise. The worst thing you could do in an FAQ is to make your readers even more confused. Sort of takes away the article’s point.
Yes, this is an image of Simon Cowell. Yes it is 2016. He’s on the X-Factor, he’s still relevant. He judges reviews people for a living.
Is there a new product in your field? A new company offering services related to your company or for online businesses in general?
Why not write a review?
You’ve seen them on film sites, you’ve read them on Amazon. We’re all surrounded by reviews online, and we love to read them, especially when we’re considering something that could cost us money. Writing reviews on your blog is great for SEO. They also help establish your blog as both a source of knowledge and as an opinion your readers can trust. And since they’re different than your typical blog posts, reviews are an easy way to spice up your usual posting schedule.
A fun idea? If you’re planning on writing multiple reviews, why not come up with your own system of ranking whatever you’re reviewing? What would your company-specific version of a five star system look like?
Features are wonderful formats for blog posts. They give you a little break when it comes to generating original content, for one.
So what’s a feature? Essentially it’s a bit like an interview, but instead of breaking down the article into a Q&A on a specific topic, you take the information you get from the interview and format it into a more editorial-style blog. Choose someone in your field, or someone in your company, or a service you’d like to highlight, and then interview or research that subject. And then turn it into a story—let the whole blog focus on sharing the story, the character, the idea behind that subject. That’s a feature.
Features allow diversity on your blog, and they also give you the opportunity to learn more about the people in your company, or more about a featured customer’s experience. They’re relatable, they’re engaging, they provide a change of pace in terms of your blog’s focus. Features can even help your blog strengthen its brand.
So go at it! Generate good written content, and play with how you’re presenting it to the audience. Formats are there to help make your writing more cohesive—try not to stress out about them too much. Let them guide you, but don’t feel trapped by them, and make sure to vary your approach to them. And remember, no matter what format your article takes, follow the rules of good content and offer your reader a reason for reading, whether that’s to inform or entertain or persuade.