When blogging is done right, it provides your target audience with valuable information that encourages engagement with your business. It also gives you, a small business owner, a resource with well-written content that you can repurpose across all of your marketing activities – from social media and emails to one-pagers and client onboarding materials.
While there are countless styles in which you can write a blog, some formats perform better than others. These blogs successfully impact your audience, improve your SEO, and drive more traffic to your website. Today, I’m sharing seven of the best blog formats for small businesses.
I’m starting with how-tos because they are arguably the most popular blog post format out there. Not only are they ideal for any sort of educational content you share, but they perform well from an organic traffic standpoint.
Think about it. You’re searching for guidance on something, whether making a new recipe or trying to DIY something for your business. How likely are you to type “How to…” into your search engine? How-to blogs give search engines and readers exactly what they’re looking for.
How-tos are perfect for instructional content, or that can be broken into steps. To set up your how-to post successfully, be sure to start with an introduction that addresses a problem or question readers have.
Provide detailed guidance on the steps readers need to take (odd-numbered guides including 3, 5, and 7 steps get the best readership). Adding an instructional infographic or even a video clip will amplify your content.
Here are a few great examples of how-to blogs:
- How to Start A Business Blog: A Step-by-Step Guide
- How to Plan a Month of Content in One Day
- How to Set Up your Brand Kit in Canva Pro
Lists, or “listicles” as they’re affectionately referred to in the blogging community, are another high-performing blog post format. They’re often called listicles because they are, in effect, the combination of a list and article.
List posts are typically packed with a list of resources or information your readers want. You might be giving them hacks, secrets, strategies, reasons, or items, among others. Lists are indexed, bulleted, or numbered and let you share a lot of value with efficient yet descriptive text.
This blog format is so popular because it serves two important purposes: making it very easy for search engines to scan your blog, and making it easy for readers to skim and locate what they need.
If you’re writing a list post, keep in mind that, because it’s such a commonly used format, you need to make sure yours is filled with value and quality.
Know precisely what your target audience is seeking, and ensure your list will benefit them. Research the heck out of what you include on your list, and provide a thoughtful and experienced rationale for why you’re sharing each point.
Check out these list format posts:
- 10 Essential Design Resources for Creative Entrepreneurs
- 7 Women Founders to Have On Your Radar in 2021
I’m personally a big fan of FAQ posts for new creative businesses because they give you a chance to address the questions you receive most from prospective customers. They also allow you to highlight core elements of your products, service, or business operations that you want people to know.
FAQ posts are commonly structured as Q&As, which you can organize by specific topics or themes. And the great thing about FAQ posts is that they can serve as a resource for you in your customer service communications.
Forget typing out lengthy emails to the questions you receive regularly. Simply direct inquiring minds to the FAQ post that has your well-thought-out and carefully crafted response.
Once you invest the time in creating a quality FAQ post, you can also repurpose its content into one-pagers, client guides, or even onboarding materials.
To write a FAQ post, start by reviewing your social media accounts, website contact submissions, and other places where prospects and current customers ask questions or for more information.
Create a list of the most pressing topics, as well as any topics you want to talk more about. Then you can take the opportunity to develop thoughtful and informative answers and share them in your post.
These are a couple excellent FAQ posts for your reference:
Client story blog post formats provide you the opportunity to feature and highlight your customers and emphasize all of the things your business is doing right. They demonstrate to your prospective customers that you can actually do what you claim to be able to do for them.
Think of client story blogs as a combination of a testimonial and a case study. They build your credibility with your target customers and give you a space to talk about your competitive advantages.
The key to a good client story blog post is to share your client’s full tale before, during, and after an experience with your service or product. If possible, discuss what brought the client to your business.
What need did they have, or what problem were they looking to solve? This gives you a chance to appeal to your target reader and engage them by offering a scenario they can relate to.
Then, explain how your service or product impacted your client and successfully provided the solution they needed. This is your chance to highlight the aspects of your offerings that you really want to sell.
Ideally, your client story blog post will feature several direct quotes or statements from your client. You can really make an impact by including a video snippet or photos of your client using whatever your business provides.
Take a look at these great client story blogs:
- Breaking new ground with Asana: Entrepreneurship advice from Black founders
- Crossland Construction: How a strong IT foundation connects content and teams across the business
You might be thinking: blogs are text, why is “Video” on this list?
Well, it’s because embedding a video into your blog is a great way to combine two powerful content formats. Video format blogs still feature text content, but the post’s primary draw and focus is the featured video.
With a video blog post, you provide a video clip or segment along with either supporting text or a transcription of the video. From an SEO standpoint, the accompanying text for the video helps search engines to identify and understand what the post is about. And for readers who don’t want to sit through the video (or turn on their audio), the text provides a convenient reference.
Video posts are excellent for informative content that is most effectively shared with video visuals. Think tutorials, customer reviews, or videos where your personality or voice can add a nice personal touch to the topic. They provide a nice avenue for forming a connection with your target customers in a way text just can’t.
Here are a few quality video blog posts to check out:
Nothing lets your audience see who you are and what you stand for like a personal story. Sharing a personal story lets people get to know the person behind the business, and at the end of the day, that can be a deciding factor when they’re choosing whether to do business with you.
Readers want to know about your insights and experiences, in addition to topics relating to your business. Personal story blog posts are a good fit for talking about the journey you took to start your business, why you love what you do, and what motivates you to keep going with it.
What pain point did you see people experiencing that you wanted to resolve? What do you love about doing what you do?
Personal story blogs are especially impactful when you share personal photos, anecdotes, timelines, and other elements specific to making and managing your business.
These are a couple of good examples;
- How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World
- My Story – How I Became a Photographer
Infographic posts are effective blog post formats because they usually provide a large amount of information or data in a visual format that people enjoy looking at.
One of the best qualities of an infographic blog post is that they are some of the most shareable content you can create. A well-designed infographic, paired with supporting blog text explaining and expanding on the concepts it covers, is a recipe for engaging and informative content that people will want to share with others.
When you’re creating an infographic for your business’ blog, make sure it reflects your brand. Use the colors, fonts, and overall style that your readers and customers are accustomed to seeing from you.
While the infographic blog post should definitely make the infographic the center-of attention in the post, it should be accompanied by supporting text content (similar to how you present a video blog post).
The infographic and text should complement one another and contribute to the same overall goal for your post – what you want to share and what you want readers to take away/do with that information.
These infographic blog examples perfectly demonstrate just how impactful this format can be:
- The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post [Infographic]
- Secrets of a Killer Blog Post [Infographic]
- A Lesson in Content Repurposing, Infographic Style
No matter what blog post format you choose for your business, taking the time to research and write quality content will ensure you get the most out of your efforts.
Not only will you have a valuable content source that you can reuse again and again across your marketing efforts, but your target audience will learn more about your business and how they will benefit from your knowledge and expertise!