Done right, blogging is one of the most simple, cost effective and successful ways to raise the profile of your business, enhance your reputation as an expert in your field, boost your SEO and attract the attention of potential customers.
Problem is, blogging can be very… very time consuming. And you’re a busy person. You simply can’t afford to spend hours of your time thinking up fabulous original ideas for every post. It’s time consuming, it’s stressful!
So what’s the solution? How can you keep posting fresh, engaging ideas when you’ve got just a small amount of time in which to create your content?
I’ll tell you a secret… back when I worked on one of the biggest customer magazines in the UK we used to have a creative brainstorm at the start of every issue. Do you know what we bought to that meeting? Pages from other magazines. In the industry they’re called ‘tearsheets’. We’d take a fashion feature from an Australian lifestyle publication and use the style as a basis for a food feature. We’d adapt the style used in a beautiful homeware advert in a U.S magazine to create an editorial beauty feature.
And you should do the same.
I’m not talking about blatant plagiarism here and you should never, ever claim someone else’s work as your own. This is about taking a proven formula – used by hundreds of newspapers, magazines and blogs all over the world – and tweaking it to suit your business, your blog and your needs.
In this blog post I’ve compiled 40 of the most popular, most shareable and most clicked on headlines in the blogosphere, if you blog once a week that’s pretty much your entire years content ticked off. Hurray!
All you need to do is fill in the blanks and get blogging!
The ‘How to’ blog post
The ‘How to’ blog post is one of the oldest and most popular blog post types for a very good reason. They work. How to posts are delightfully scannable, which makes them perfect for impatient readers AND search engines. They may not be clever or sexy, but when you need an instant blog post this one never fails. Simply fill in the blanks below and get blogging!
- How to [do this/find this/get this etc]
- How to [do/achieve this] in just [time/year]
- How to use [your fab product or service] to [solve a natty problem]
- How to be [insert desirable quality here] to [desired target audience]
- How to [do something awesome] that your [desired target audience] will love!
- How to [do this essential thing/solve this hideous problem] – The ultimate guide
- How to be super savvy in an industry of screwed up [group of people here]
- How to [achieve impressive goal] while you [do something else at the same time]
- How to stop [pressing problem your tribe have] for good
- How to solve [massive problem] in just [impressively short amount of time here]
- How I [solved this problem/got this fab result] a step-by-step guide
The ‘Problem Solving’ blog post
Like yourself, your lovely readers are a busy lot. They’ve got a job or perhaps a business of their own, bills to pay, laundry to wash, grass to mow and so on. Offer to share with them the key to a simpler, stress-free life (particularly one that saves them time or money) and you’ll soon have their undivided attention. These posts actually work really well as a hook to sell your products and services, simply pepper your copy with questions or leading statement that get your readers nodding their heads in agreement. Get them thinking yes and you’re one step closer to them saying yes!
- Falling behind with your [super important task]? Use these expert tips to [simplify/streamline/solve the problem]. Fast
- Take charge of your [super annoying problem] in just XX easy steps
- The instant guide to solving [insert annoying, super common problem] forever
- XXX Hacks! Super simple shortcuts for [completing boring ikky process] in super quick time
- Frustrated with your [current thing that doesn’t work] here’s how to get rid of [annoying recurring problem] once and for all
- Stuck on [annoying problem]? Here’s how to solve it in XX simple steps
- Solve your [irritating but easily fixed issue] today! An instant guide
The ‘Listicle’ blog post
Similar to a ‘How To’ post but less detailed, these bite-sized blog posts are hugely popular with readers because they can be scanned in just a few minutes. Vary your sentence length, use numbers, clear sub-heads and images to slow down scanners and draw your reader in. For extra SEO points use your keywords or synonyms of your keyword in the sub-heads.
- Six quick and simple ways to [do something wonderfully useful/essential]
- Six [naughty/easy/mind-blowing] secrets every [your target audience] needs to know
- Six totally [shocking/unexplainable/surprising] reasons that [expert group] do [thing your customers need to do]
- Get [awesome solution here]! 10 ideas that work fast
- 10 must-have resources for [your readers common problem] and where to find them/how to use them
- The top 10 [resources/blogs/plugins etc] for your [thingy/problem]
- 10 important lessons I’ve learnt from [process/timeline/event]
The ‘OMG!’ blog post
When it comes to business, we’re all afraid of something, which means we all have the potential to be shocked into action! Do you know what keeps your readers up at night? If not, ask them! Once you’ve got it you can use that knowledge to create clickable blog posts based on the ‘oh no!’ factor.
- The shocking truth about [blank] what you need to know
- How [important people/company etc] gamble with your [important thing]: Five ways you can protect yourself
- How safe is your [valuable person/object] from [vile nasty threat]?
- Eight shocking secrets your [trusted person] won’t tell you (but I will)
- 10 don’t ignore warning signs that could [mean bad news]
- The great [your wide expert subject] hoax exposed! Discover the real truth about [specific expert subject]
- Revealed! Six big fat fibs that [important group of people] love to tell you
- XX little-known factors that could seriously affect your [important thing]
The ‘Piggyback’ blog post
Ever heard the term ‘industry influencers.’ Whatever niche you are in there are bound to be some big players and tracking them (and their content) can prove super useful when it comes to creating your own blog posts. These posts are most powerful if you can actually interview or get a comment from your influencer, but if not, be sure to research your information thoroughly and give credit where required.
- How [important industry influencer] does [essential task/impressive achievement]
- XX ways to [do thing] just like [famous brand/influencer]
- [Industry influencers]: Their top 10 tips for [achieving goal/solving problem]
- Revealed! The little-known secrets of [industry influencers/important experty people]
- What [big important brand] can teach you about [thing you need to know/do/achieve]
The ‘You’re doing it wrong!’ blog post
What makes these blog posts so irresistible is that they allude to the reader making a mistake of some kind, but don’t say what it is. And if your reader wants to find out, well they’ll just have to read the whole post won’t they!
- Are you making these seven [expert area] mistakes in your [business/life/work/relationship]?
- Five [expert area] mistakes that make you/your business look totally unprofessional
- Seven [expert area] mistakes that make you [look/sound] like a total [insult here]
- 15 [expert area] mistakes you don’t know you’re making and how to fix them
- 10 ways [this simple mistake] could be losing you business
Ready to rock the world with your next business blog post? Now you are!