Blogging Basics for Aspiring Authors: Lesson 9
I want to end January with a roundup of a five additional post structures that can provide core content for your blog. A roundup actually is another type of blog post that would fall into the core content category, and it functions much like a list post; it “rounds up” a group of similar concepts or things and discusses them. All of the posts I’ll be describing today add a huge amount of value to your readers. Additionally, they will make you and your blog “the source” for expert information on your topic. And that’s what you want to achieve. You want to become the expert or thought leader in your field.
The reason these posts provide such fabulous core content is simple: They provide the information your readers are searching for on the internet. Most people using search engines want to know:
- How to do something
- The definition of something
- The answer to a question
- The solution to a problem
As you provide this information, you develop expert status. You become known as the go-to person for the information people need and want on your topic. You become a thought leader. And the more information you post, the higher your blog rises in the search engines. Earning #1 Google search engine page ranking helps you be recognized as an expert as well.
The “How-To” Blog Post
Write a blog post that teaches your readers something they want to learn how to do. Any one of the posts I’ve written this month would qualify. However, a great how-to blog post will actually take readers through a process step by step. Take a look at this guest blog post I wrote for Writer’s Digest: 7 Tips for Turning Your Blog into a Book. It’s a good example. If you know how to do something, you can write a how-to blog post. And knowing how to do something, makes you an expert—even if you just know a bit more than someone else.
Similar to the how-to is the technical blueprint post, so I’ll just include it here. To write one, focus on the technical aspects of how to do something providing step-by-step advice. Many of these posts have lots of visuals to help show how to accomplish a task, like this one by Ed Ditto. You can find good examples on Social Media Examiner and The Future of Ink. (You could also produce this type of post with a problem and solution structure.)
A Definition Blog Post
Every industry or specialty has key concepts or terms that new readers don’t know or understand. Sometimes they are complicated. A definition post simply defines or explains those concepts or terms…one by one. It may also discuss how to implement that term. Here’s one I wrote about keywords: Use Keywords in Your Posts.
You might even write a post that defines all the terms you use on a regular basis in your blog posts. Or you can create a page or a category that you populate with these types of posts. Other bloggers or websites may refer back to your page if it ends up being very useful.
A Theory or Argument Blog Post
If you blog about topics that are controversial, or if your industry changes often, or if you simply have many ideas that you like to write about, you might want to write theory or Argument posts. Make sure you actually write about something new; present a unique though or opinion. Don’t just regurgitate what others have said. If you can do so, you will amplify the information already available, and your post will be noticed when people search for information on the topic you have discussed in your post.
A great example of this was the one I mentioned in my last post by Dan Blank on Seth Godin’s Kickstarter campaign, Lessons from Seth Godin’s Kickstarter Project. Everyone else was fawning over what Seth was doing, but Dan took the time to pick it apart and offer his theories and arguments. If you can create some controversy or stimulate conversation, you will have done a good job with this type of post. (You can tell if you’ve accomplished your job by the amount of engagement you achieve in the form of comments and sharing. Dan had 41 comments, including his own.) Dan’s blog post is comes up 5th on Google’s search engine results page for this search: “Seth Godin’s Kickstarter campaign.”
The Problem and Solution Blog Post
Much like a how-to blog post, a problem and solution blog post tackles a problem by providing the solution to it. If you are tapped into your readers’, customers’ or clients’ problems, if you know what they struggle with daily, you can set out to solve them on your blog. These posts can be step-by-step how-to pieces, or they can be advice driven. You can offer tips or tools. You might employ lists of resources. Here’s a post from Roger Parker with a resource, a promotion for his own product and a nifty click through to some tips: 22 Tips for Proofing and Improving Your SlideShare Presentations.
The Question and Answer Post
This post falls into the same category as the problem and solution post. If you know what questions you get asked most often by our readers, customers and clients—or if you go to the online forums and groups or to conferences and pay attention to the questions asked by those in your industry or field, you will know exactly what posts to write. And in these posts you simply answer questions. I did this for quite a while after I offered a teleseminar for Writer’s Digest. I promised to answer all questions on my blog, and I did. Here is one: Why Your Blogged Book Should Be Self-Hosted.
In conclusion, I want to mention that some blogged books don’t lend themselves to using the core blog posts structures I’ve described during the past four weeks’ focus on helping writers build better blogging skills. However, as a book blogger you can always find value in learning how to produce core posts. If you don’t use these formats while actually blogging your book, use them afterward as you begin seriously promoting your book. Or you use them when you guest post on other blogs. You can guest blog now to promote your blogged book or later by conducting a blog tour after the release of your book. These core content posts always will provide sound structures sure to provide great value to readers, SEO and traffic to your blog.
Next month I will continue the Blogging Basics for Aspiring Authorsseries with an additional four weeks of tips for improving your blogging skills so your do a better job blogging your book.
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