14 Content Types to Supercharge Your Blog

  • Categories:

    Content Marketing

  • Date:

    April 19, 2022

14 Content Types to Supercharge Your Blog

Content Marketing

1994: Friends debuts on NBC. Baseball cancels the World Series. Swarthmore College undergrad Justin Hall creates a site called links.net.

While the last event may seem the least significant, Hall’s brainchild would confuse and excite internet users for years, eventually becoming one of the most fundamental content marketing tactics for nearly every industry and brand: the blog.

The term “blog” or “blogging” may spark a variety of preconceived notions in your mind, from a prepubescent teenager’s personal angst to a Veronica Mars–style view of life and the world, but it is much different for professionals. According to HubSpot, “blogging is an effective way to regularly publish and promote content that provides valuable information and addresses your prospects’ and customers’ problems.”

But despite its enormous potential, companies can do blogging poorly. If you fail to understand your audience’s unique challenges, for example, you won’t provide real value for the people you most want to engage. Furthermore, if you don’t regularly publish new content, you’ll miss out on giving your audience what they need when they need it — and perhaps future sales.

If the idea of consistently producing educational or inspirational content tailored to your target audience seems daunting, you may just need to mix up your methods. Here are 14 different approaches to keep the ideas flowing and your blog content fresh and engaging.

14 Content Types

Note: I numbered this list, but it doesn’t mean one entry is better than another; it’s simply more manageable for the brain to put information together when ordered. Interestingly enough, that brings us to our first content type.

1. List Article or “Listicle”

These clickable, engaging and easy-to-read experiences perfectly blend marketing and psychology. In many instances, your audience will click on a list article much more often than other content. They are:

  • Ordered. The brain doesn’t have to break down information already parsed out.

  • Easily consumed. Click, scan and enjoy. Lists make it easier for readers to browse info to find what they want or need, especially when they’re scrolling content on their phone (and half the time, they are: According to Statista, 50% of all internet traffic is mobile).

  • Delivering on a promise. When you promise X reasons to read a piece of content, that’s what they expect, and that’s what you provide. It’s a clean transaction.

You may notice that I tend to write list articles for these very reasons. Personally, headlines that include a number grab my attention more often than others. I wonder what made the list, if I can guess what the writer chose and more.

2. Q&A

Like the listicle, you will find the tasteful and timeless Q&A article in the same content family. This interview-themed content piece features intriguing, clickable headlines and engaging, easy-to-read experiences.

The Q&A is one of digital marketer Neil Patel’s favorite types because it “provides a more personal experience for the viewer or reader.” The Q&A format puts the subject matter expert front and center and allows you to include user-generated content by fielding questions from your audience beforehand.

3. How-To

How-to posts are a go-to piece of content for B2B or B2C audiences: Everyone is curious about ways to complete a task or project, whether in a professional setting or at home.

These posts should feature easy and clickable titles such as “How to Install XYZ Product” or “How to Select the Best Solution for XYZ Challenge.” For example, if you want to learn how to optimize video content on social media, Wray Ward has a blog post for you.

Put yourself in the shoes of your audience for a moment. If they don’t know how to accomplish a task, what is one of the first things they will do? They’ll most likely open Google and start typing “How to …” Not only do these posts meet a common need for most people, but by putting “how-to” in the headline, they will also help your searchability on almighty Google.

4. Guest Post

Many brands must swallow the hard truth: No matter how much they love you, your audience doesn’t always want to hear from only you.

Some of the most trusted, well-respected brands include blog posts written by industry experts in their editorial calendars. Yes, you want to be seen as a thought leader and authority in your industry, but sometimes that means bringing in other voices to share their expertise on your behalf — and validate your brand as an expert.

Guest posts spice up your content with new voices and help your SEO value. Giving the guest author permission to share a link to the post on their blog and/or social networks tells Google that your original content is high quality. This, in turn, can help you rank higher in search results.

5. Case Study

Case studies, in the traditional sense, aren’t typical blog content. However, their ability to connect your brand or product to an important topic, as well as their malleability, make them ideal candidates for blog content. You can mold these striking content pieces to meet your needs in other areas.

Call them case studies, project briefs or spotlights, but either way, you can feature much of the intro content in the blog post, providing an engaging background and narratives that focus on pain points and allude to how your product(s) solved the problem. You can leverage the full case study as a gated download to collect emails (read: leads). The case study can also support your email marketing, direct sales and other efforts.

6. Checklist or Cheat Sheet

Remember the idea that our human brains love to order things because it makes them easier to consume? Checklists and cheat sheets fall nicely into that category, with a twist: They also help the reader achieve a goal or become a better version of themselves in some capacity.

Like a parent before a long vacation or any professional working on an important project, checklists boil down essential items for us to remember in a quick, easy-to-read format.

Here are several examples of clickable headlines that put all of this together:

7. News

Yes, Justin Hall created a personal homepage to share his view of the world, but we are long past the days when “blogging” consisted only of personal, journal-style entries. Today, a company blog can serve as a frequently updated hub for not only inspirational content, opinion pieces and the like but also news releases, event updates and more (speaking of which, you can browse Wray Ward’s agency news on this blog).

8. Product Review

While the term may spark thoughts of Tom’s Guide, G2 or Consumer Reports, product reviews can be a powerful tool for your blog. Your brand may not have the same gravitas as those previously mentioned, but it is more attuned to customers’ needs and wants in a product. As a respected thought leader in your industry, people will value your input more than other sources.

What product or service does your brand choose more than most? Tell your audience why and what will benefit them most.

Two caveats to be aware of:

  1. Be careful what you say about a product, especially if it’s negative, as that could tread into defamation territory. It’s unlikely, but it’s always a possibility. If you are concerned about a product and can’t be straightforward and respectful, skip the review.

  2. If, by any chance, you have a working or monetary relationship with the company or product you’re reviewing, clearly state it upfront. The more transparent you are, the more credibility you keep in a situation like this.

9. FAQs

You can handle FAQs in at least three ways concerning your blog.

First, you can use your already created list of frequently asked questions as a content generator. This list serves as an easy way to write about a topic that interests your audience. Take the website’s current FAQ page or document and knock out new blog posts that go deeper into each issue. An FAQ post can also become a content hub to reference if you decide to create a separate blog post based on one of the questions.

Second, you can just publish your existing FAQs as a blog post. Doing so follows the psychological principles of orderly, easy-to-consume content.

Or, you can come up with a whole new set of FAQs that address a prevalent challenge for your blog’s target audience. See how Huber Engineered Woods did just that to unpack some of the most common questions about ZIP System™ wall sheathing.

10. Glossary

Think of a glossary post as your brand’s living dictionary. Every term that may not be well known or easily understood can live on your blog and be continually updated as the need arises. A glossary creates a helpful post, chock-full of SEO-friendly words that your audience will search for, but it also is the perfect piece of evergreen content that you can reference in countless posts including backlinks to beef up your SERP scores.

P.S. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about marketing automation, start with Wray Ward’s — you guessed it — marketing automation glossary post.

11. Video

This quote from HubSpot says it all: “According to a report from HubSpot Research, more than 50% of consumers want to see videos from brands … more than any other type of content.”

The continued reign of YouTube, combined with the meteoric rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels, is proof that audiences voraciously consume video content.

How does that help your blog post? By simply embedding a video — whether a native, a YouTube or a Vimeo link or from a social channel — into the blog post and including a headline and short copy to introduce the video, you’re adding a new, engaging visual element to your blog while tapping into the power of SEO. See how Wray Ward tapped into the power of video to take blog readers on a 60-second tour of our Charlotte office.

Insider hint: Unleash SEO’s full power by writing up a transcript of the video and publishing it as text on your blog along with the video. Not only does it help searchability, but it also allows the audience to consume the content in a way that best suits them.

12. Infographic

These effective content tools can tell your brand’s story or educate your audience on an important topic with easy-to-digest visuals. Whether you use a true infographic — which includes more visuals than words to tell a cohesive, compelling story — or charts and graphs, you can make a real impact.

While these are great pieces of content, beware: If you make them too complicated, they won’t work well onscreen, especially if your audience is using a mobile device. Instead, try pulling out one or two data points as simple visuals and offering the full infographic as a gated download. It’s a win-win!

13. White Paper

White papers about a critical topic on which your organization is an expert can be an excellent investment in time and resources. But because they involve a heavier lift than many other content types, it makes sense to squeeze every last bit of content out of them to get the most value. While white papers are meatier and more brand-agnostic than case studies, you’ll still approach them similarly when promoting them on your blog.

As best you can, summarize the thesis and main points of the content included in the white paper and tease out the final results or main takeaways to generate more interest. Finally, offer the full white paper as a gated download to provide qualified leads to your sales team, or at least have a conversation starter in a more personal approach moving forward.

14. Presentation

Our last content type — for this blog post at least, as there are many more out there — is the presentation or slide deck. Your marketing department and sales team are already creating presentations for speaking engagements or client presentations, so why not tailor them to benefit your blog audience?

Of course, you will want to remove all proprietary information from the slides, but if these presentations help tell your story or go in-depth on your product or service and the immense benefits they provide, use them. Depending on the length or quality of information within the slide deck, you may consider using pieces to engage your audience, and then lead them to download the full presentation by completing a form.

Scratching the Surface

This list is pretty comprehensive, covering a lot of the strategies I use to attract and engage an audience. Many of these, furthermore, pique my interest or grab my attention as a consumer. However, I haven’t covered comparison posts, polls, surveys or other potentially effective content types. Luckily, the creativity aspect is one of the best parts of content marketing. With that said …

Don’t see something you’ve tried on this list? Have a completely new idea for an approach to content? Go for it! You may just supercharge your blog.

Explore more articles from Wray Ward.