One of the hardest parts of content creation is knowing what to create.
This is especially the case if you’re trying to create content to build your brand and your business. When you’re using your blog as a brand-building tool, you can’t just write about what happened in a particular day.
I get stuck here a lot. I’d told myself I’d have 3 pillar posts done by “the weekend” and now it’s Monday and I’m only on the second one. Yikes.
There’s an art and strategy to creating content with the intent to grow your audience.
Your blog doesn’t serve as a personal journal. Your videos aren’t the place for random personal opinions. You’re expected to be entertaining on your livestreams.
You’re also expected to provide value on every platform, even when you do get personal. And don’t get me wrong, there’s totally value in getting personal and being down-to-earth with your audience.
Overall, you need to share things that will add value for your readers and watchers while still allowing them to connect with you in your own unique way.
So how do you decide what content to create? Well, hopefully this guide will help!
Take a Cue From Professional Bloggers
Constantly coming up with new topics and angles that will add value to your readers is no small feat. It requires creativity, insight into your audience, and the ability to create fresh content day after day.
That’s enough to cause even the most accomplished creators to burn out.
So I want to take a look at what I believe has been the most thoroughly researched and attempted forms of content creation, blogging!
Blogging has been done for a long time. It’s one of oldest forms of online content creation.
It stands to reason that bloggers have a pretty good idea of what makes for good content that will attract viewers. The right viewers.
So I’m going to share some tried and true blog post ideas that will take you from hobby to pro content creator, whether you write a blog, create videos for YouTube, or share tips on TikTok. These are formulas that put your target audience first so they want to keep coming back to you for more.
Engaging Content Ideas that Will Grow Your Authority and Your Audience
Below are 17 different types of content formulas that are often used by bloggers but can be replicated no matter where you create content. These provide easy-to-follow frameworks for you to use when you write blog posts, create podcast episodes, or film videos.
You may use some of these formulas a lot and others not at all, but you’ll be well on your way towards success as long as you produce and market your content regularly.
Let’s dive in!
Blogging Idea #1: How-To Guides and Tutorials
These are some of the simplest, yet most effective blog posts that you can create, and they serve a real need that your readers have. You can guide your readers, step-by-step, through a particular process, showing them exactly how to do something.
Your readers are looking to you as the expert, and it’s your responsibility to show them exactly how to achieve their goal.
Examples of this type of blog post include:
- How to Create a Blog
- How to Install the Facebook Pixel on a Website
- How to Get More Email Subscribers
- How to Do More Pushups
- How to Set Up a Roth IRA
Your goal is to give your readers a simple-to-follow guide that will make it as easy as possible for them to achieve their desired outcome.
When writing how-to and tutorial blog posts, it’s critical to break things down into the smallest, simplest steps possible. Avoid assuming that your readers know what they’re doing. Remember, they’re looking to you for help.
Also, ensure that your tutorial is as complete as possible. Don’t leave your readers hanging with one or two steps left in the process. Guide them the entire way, from start to finish.
Your goal is to make things as easy and simple as possible for readers. If possible, include things like screenshots and videos to make your tutorials even simpler to follow.
If you need inspiration when writing a how-to or tutorial blog post, consider watching some related videos on YouTube. YouTube is known for having millions of tutorial videos, and you can surely find one related to your subject. It’s often acceptable to even share any videos you find useful with your audience as well.
Blogging Idea #2: News and Current Events
Do you skim the news each morning to identify industry trends and get up to date on current events? Why not turn your morning routine into blog posts?
As you skim through the news, identify the most pressing industry trends and current events and then blog about them. Highlight important details, quote relevant sources, and link to the most important articles.
Help your readers to get a sense of what’s going on in the world and why it actually matters.
Keep in mind that you can focus on news within your niche/industry as well. Share your take on latest developments, new releases, or other announcements.
What’s important in these blog posts is that you add your own unique spin and flavor. Don’t simply regurgitate the news. Don’t be a headline aggregator. There are already plenty of websites that do that.
Rather, thoughtfully interact with what you’re sharing. Include your own comments, opinions, and views. Dissect what’s happening and help your readers to see the bigger picture.
Always remember to relate the news back to your readers.
- Why does it matter to them?
- What effect will it have on their day-to-day lives?
- Why should they care about this or that particular news item?
It’s critical to keep your readers in mind. You’re not simply talking about the things that interest you. When you blog about news and current events, it should be of critical relevance to your readers as well.
If you need help staying on top of current events, you may want to consider using a news aggregator like Feedly or Pocket. These services allow you to import all your favorite news sites into one location, as well as save relevant articles for later reading.
Once you’ve aggregated your news sources, you can read them all in one location rather than having to flip back and forth between numerous websites.
Blogging Idea #3: Controversy
It’s no secret that controversy sells. There’s a reason that people love to read the tabloids and that reporters are always chasing controversial subjects. If you’re smart, you can use controversy to your advantage when it comes to blogging.
Consider writing about different controversial subjects within your industry. These types of posts are guaranteed to interest readers and generate a response from them.
Notice that we said to write about controversial subjects within your industry. In other words, primarily focus on subjects in which you have expertise.
Avoid simply writing about any and all controversial subjects. Your goal isn’t to become a tabloid. Your goal is still to be informational, educational, and entertaining. You’re simply using a controversial subject to achieve that.
When blogging about controversial subjects, be smart. You don’t want to alienate your readers or drive them away with your opinions. Rather, you want to carefully, thoughtfully analyze a controversial subject. Your goal is to provide thoughtful analysis of the subject without offending people unnecessarily.
Granted, you can’t please everyone with your writing. But aim to write in such a way that people will come away informed, educated, and minimally offended.
One simple formula that allows you to write about controversial subjects is the “This vs. That” formula:
- Mac vs. PC
- The Health Benefits of Coffee vs. Tea
- Keto vs. Intermittent Fasting
- Using MailChimp vs. ConvertKit
You’re simply comparing two different, popular things and then giving your opinion about which is best.
Blog Post Type #4: Checklists
As humans, we can be forgetful, which is why many of us use checklists! Checklists help us remember everything we need to about a particular subject. We use checklists to help us remember what to take on vacation, to get specific projects done, and even while livestreaming to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Checklist blog posts can be hugely valuable to your readers. You can help them remember everything they need to around a given subject.
For example, let’s say you’re in the photo industry. You could create a checklist blog post of everything that needs to be taken to a photo shoot.
Or maybe you’re a real estate agent. You could create a checklist of things a person needs to do to get their house ready to sell.
Or maybe you’re a fitness coach. You could create a checklist of all the exercises in a particular workout.
To create the perfect checklist, take a common task (such as selling a house) and break it down into much smaller sub-tasks. Just make sure that your checklist is thorough and complete.
Checklists also present you with a unique opportunity to build your email list. You can offer a downloadable, nicely formatted checklist that people can access in exchange for giving you their email address.
This method of email list building is often called offering a “content upgrade.” Your readers can “upgrade” the content they get from you (the downloadable checklist as opposed to just the blog post) in exchange for their email address.
Blogging Idea #5: Listicles
We all love lists. That’s why magazines are constantly publishing articles like, “10 Ways To Lose That Stubborn Belly Fat,” and “5 Ways To Be Happier Now.” Lists are easy to quickly skim, allowing us to take in an entire subject in just a few moments.
Additionally, they make us feel like we’re taking in a lot of information in a short period of time. Skimming a list of 73 different items in just a few seconds is quite satisfying.
Finally, listicles make it easy to break down a bigger subject into smaller, more digestible pieces. It’s easy to read part of a listicle, stop, and then pick up where you left off.
You can take advantage of our love of lists in your content creation efforts. Create written, graphic, or video listicles in which you list a number of items related to a particular subject.
- 27 Ways to Quickly Build Your Email List
- 9 Easy Ways to Generate Leads
- 7 Ways to Burn Fat and Get Shredded
- 19 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Speaking
Typically for blog posts, the more items you can include in your listicle, the more appealing it will be to readers. Bigger listicles are able to more thoroughly cover a subject, thus making it seem more valuable to the readers.
So, for example, “101 Ways To Build Your Email List” will appeal more to readers than “27 Ways To Build Your Email List”.
For audio of video content, you may want to stick somewhere around 5-10 items, as it’s not as easy to quickly skim over the full list. If you do have 100 items you want to go over, you can break these into other videos/audio files and create a series out of them instead.
Blogging Idea #6: Case Studies
Case studies are incredibly valuable to readers for several reasons.
First, they let the reader see what’s going on behind the scenes of your business. Readers love being taken behind the scenes and by writing a case study, you give them a look at how things work in your business. You show them the inner workings of your business, which can provide valuable insights to your readers.
Second, they provide valuable lessons regarding how you achieved success in a particular area. For example, let’s say that you tripled your sales in six months. You get to walk your readers through exactly what you did, why you did it, how you did it, and what the results were. Your readers can then implement similar steps in their own businesses.
If you don’t have a personal case study to write about, you can write about how you’ve helped one of your customers. In other words, write about how you enabled one of your clients or customers to achieve massive success.
Look through your customer list and determine which one(s) has been successful using your products or services. Then email them and ask if they’d like to talk through how they used your product or service to grow their business.
When writing your case study, try to provide as much concrete, actionable material as possible. You want your readers to be able to take your case study and apply the lessons in their own businesses.
Blogging Idea #7: Profiles and Interviews
Profiles and interviews allow your readers to become familiar with important people in your industry. They also allow the readers to learn valuable insights and expert secrets.
What’s the difference between a profile and an interview?
In a profile, you simply highlight a person without actually interviewing them. This could be an important, established person in your industry, an up-and-comer, or a relatively unknown person.
There should always be a reason why you’re profiling the person:
- Why do you want your readers to know about this person?
- Are they going to disrupt your industry?
- Have they written a series of books that your audience should read?
- Are they pioneering a new way of doing things?
Ensure that it’s clear to your audience why you’re profiling a particular person.
In an interview, you ask questions directly to the person. This allows you to get much more up close and personal with them. It allows you to tap into their expertise and extract the secrets of their success. You can find out what makes them tick, what drives them, and how they’ve achieved what they have.
Before you interview someone, ask yourself, “What would my readers want to know?” Then try to get that information over the course of the interview.
You can also try involving your audience by sharing your plan to interview someone and asking them what questions they’d like to have answered. Mix some of these questions in with your own to create a complete experience.
Blogging Idea #8: The Expert Roundup
An expert roundup is like an interview on steroids. It involves asking a common question, or set of questions, to a group of experts, and then compiling all their answers into a single, coherent, compelling blog post.
The goal is to gather as much expert advice on a single topic as possible and bring it all together into one location.
- You could ask email marketing experts about their favorite hack for growing their email list.
- You could ask weight loss experts what exercises they recommend for losing weight quickly.
- You could ask tax experts what the number one overlooked tax deduction is.
Expert roundups tend to be easier to create than interviewing a single person. Because you’re only asking one (or a few questions), it makes it much easier for the experts to get back to you. They don’t have to answer a huge list of questions and are still able to feel like they’re contributing their expert advice.
Expert roundups have a much greater chance of going viral than standard interviews. Why?
- First, because it’s in listicle format. Listicles in general tend to go viral more often than other types of posts.
- Second, because you’re combining so much value into a single post. You’re tapping into the expertise of numerous individuals, making the post incredibly rich in value for the reader.
Blogging Idea #9: Reviews and Comparisons
What’s the first thing you do when looking at a product on Amazon? If you’re like most people, you probably look at the reviews. We want to see what others thought about the product before we purchase it. We also have questions that we want to have answered regarding the product.
Reviews are an incredibly important part of the purchase process. This is why reviews are one of the most popular ways to sell products as an affiliate marketer.
By reviewing and comparing products, you can provide a hugely valuable service to your readers. You can help them make educated decisions regarding products and services. You can enable them to purchase a product or service that’s best for them and help them avoid making non-beneficial purchases.
In a review, you discuss the pros and cons of a single product or service. Your goal is to provide your readers with a thorough understanding of:
- How the product works
- Its advantages and disadvantages
- The specs of the product or service
- Whether or not you recommend it
In a comparison, you’re comparing two (or more) related products or services against each other with the goal of recommending one. You’re essentially reviewing multiple items and then deciding which one you recommend to your readers.
The more reviews you do, the more of a trusted resource you become for your audience. They’ll look to you to help them decide which products and services are right for them.
Product review websites like Wirecutter get millions of visitors each month because they provide reliable, unbiased, extremely in-depth product reviews which can’t be found anywhere else.
Blogging Idea #10: Resource Roundup
There are so many resources available on the internet that it can be overwhelming trying to find what you’re looking for. With millions of new resources being published each day, finding the best can seem almost impossible.
This is why resource roundup posts can be so helpful. All the best resources related to a specific topic can be found in a single blog post.
For example, you could…
- Create a blog post in which you link to the best blog posts, videos, and podcasts related to Search Engine Optimization
- Create a post in which you link to the best Keto recipes
- Link to best blog posts, podcasts, and videos related to Facebook marketing
Technically, this post you’re reading right now counts as a resource roundup as well!
Granted, resource roundup posts aren’t necessarily easy to create. You have to do a fair amount of research to find the best resources related to a specific topic. You have to spend a lot of time reading posts, listening to podcasts, and watching videos to determine which ones are the highest quality.
But these types of posts add huge amounts of value to your readers. By gathering all the best resources into a single location, you spare your readers from having to search high and low throughout the internet.
These kinds of blog posts tend to get shared a lot because they’re so high in value. They also tend to bring readers back again and again because they contain so many valuable links.
Again, this is where using a tool like Pinterest, Feedly, or Pocket can be very valuable. These tools let you save links, and then you can put them into your resource roundup post when you’re ready.
Blogging Idea #11: Quote Roundup
This is a hybrid between an expert roundup and a resource roundup.
In a quote roundup, you gather together a large number of quotes on a particular subject and put them all into a single post. This gives your readers a sense of what a large number of people have said about a given subject.
For example, you might create a large blog post that has numerous quotes about:
- Overcoming limiting beliefs
- Following your dreams
- The power of intention
- Achieving success
- Rising early
- The power of faith
These posts tend to be more inspirational than other types of posts since they feature poignant quotes. And because they feature so many poignant quotes, they also tend to get shared quite a bit on social media.
If you’re having trouble finding quotes on a particular subject, simply Google “Quotes About [SUBJECT]”. You’ll probably find dozens, if not hundreds of quotes on the subject at hand.
Blogging Idea #12: Behind The Scenes or A Day In The Life
If you have a sizable audience, there’s a good chance that they want to know what a day in your life is like. They want to go behind the scenes of your business and see how you do things. They want to learn from you and see what things are like from your vantage point.
Doing behind the scenes or a day in the life posts are a great way to let your audience get to know you.
Start from the moment you wake up until the time you go to bed. Chronicle what each element of your day looks like.
- What is your morning routine?
- What sorts of meetings do you have?
- What strategies do you use to be productive?
- What do interactions with your team look like?
- What is your nightly routine like?
- What do you do to unwind?
Your goal is to give others a sense of what your day looks like. If possible, you also want your readers to learn valuable lessons from how you go about your day.
For example, maybe you work out early each morning because it helps you to feel energized throughout the entire day. Communicate that to your readers.
Or perhaps you eat a specific type of superfood because of the numerous health benefits. Clue your audience into that.
Or maybe you do yoga every evening because it helps you to relax. That’s a great tidbit to share with your audience and something they can learn from.
If you don’t want to write a behind the scenes blog post, you could always video yourself throughout the day and then post that on your blog. Sometimes that can be even more effective than a written post.
Blogging Idea #13: Data-Backed Posts
Blog posts that are heavily data-driven and backed by research are an outstanding way to position yourself as an expert. They show that your ideas and thoughts aren’t just your own but are backed by hard data.
Additionally, data-backed posts tend to generate a significant amount of traffic since they are often quoted in other posts and heavily shared.
If you’re seeking to establish yourself as a thought leader and industry expert, you should dedicate a significant amount of time to writing data-backed blog posts.
But data-backed posts aren’t necessarily easy to write. After all, they require data, which must be acquired somewhere.
This means you must do one of two things:
- Do original research yourself. This takes a lot of time and effort and is usually beyond what most bloggers can do. However, if you have the ability to conduct in-depth research, you can generate a huge amount of traffic for yourself. People will link back to your post and quote it to support their own posts.
- Rely on research others have done to back up your primary points. This isn’t quite as powerful as doing original research, but it’s still a very effective way to write a blog post. If you can find data to back up each one of your main points, it goes a long way in establishing you as an expert in your field.
Writing data-backed posts takes a significant amount of time and effort, but it’s well worth it. The more you do it, the more people will come to rely on you for proven industry insights that are backed up by hard data.
Blogging Idea #14: Inspirational Stories
People absolutely love inspirational stories. It’s why millions of people visit websites like Upworthy every month. We love to feel inspired to do more, be better, or pay it forward. We love stories of people who have overcome long odds and tales of those who have accomplished great things despite facing innumerable obstacles.
If you have an inspirational story, consider turning it into content. There’s a good chance it will go viral, generating thousands of social shares and an avalanche of web traffic.
But there’s one thing you must consider before you write an inspirational blog post: what is the point of the post?
In other words, what exactly are you trying to accomplish with it? Yes, you’re trying to inspire others. That’s a given.
But how will the inspirational blog post help you achieve your business objectives?
Your goal is not just to inspire people with your blog post. You also must seek to further your business in some way.
This means that, generally speaking, the inspirational story should be in some way related to your business.
For example, if you’re a fitness trainer, it makes sense to share inspirational stories about people losing dozens of pounds. It doesn’t make sense to share inspirational stories of people saving money. The first type of story will motivate others to want to get fit, which is directly related to your business.
So, as you consider writing inspirational blog posts, always remember to tie them back to your overall business objectives.
Blogging Idea #15: Frequently Asked Questions
There are probably certain questions that come up again and again in your business. These are the questions that people email you or that consistently come up when you host live events. Inevitably, you end up repeating yourself as you answer these questions again and again.
Instead of answering the same questions over and over, why not create a Frequently Asked Questions blog post in which you give in-depth, definitive answers to the questions?
When creating your FAQ blog post, try to be thorough and answer as many questions as possible.
Your goal is to create a resource to which you can send people again and again. A document that will stand the test of time. When they email you with a question, you want to be able to say, “Here’s a document I created in which I answer that question.”
If you don’t feel like creating one, long FAQ document, you could write a series of blog posts in which you answer one commonly asked question in each post. That way, when someone asks a specific question, you can point them to a specific post.
However you do it, be sure to answer the questions in as much detail possible. You don’t want people sending you follow up emails with more questions after they read your post. You want to try to answer each question in as much depth as possible.
Over time, you can add to your FAQ post as people ask more questions. It can be a “living document” of sorts, which continues to grow, change, and evolve.
Blogging Idea #16: Top Takeaways
Top takeaways posts are blog posts in which you write about your top takeaways from something, such as a book, podcast, conference, movie, or other item.
These types of posts allow you to both recommend resources to your readers as well as show them why you recommend them.
For example, let’s say you read a great biography about Steve Jobs:
- You could write a blog post entitled “9 Things I Learned From The Life Of Steve Jobs”.
- In this post, you would not only recommend the biography itself, but you would also highlight important lessons you learned while reading the book.
- You could talk about all the different ways that Steve Jobs inspired you to be a better person.
You’re providing a valuable resource to your readers by creating this sort of blog post. First, you’re introducing them to outstanding resources that can truly benefit their lives. This, in and of itself, is a great service. With so many resources to choose from, it can be hard to know where to get started.
But that’s not all. You’re also helping them learn important lessons from those resources that they might not learn or notice otherwise.
Blogging Idea #17: Beginner’s Guides
Finally, we have the beginner’s guide. These posts are “how-to” posts that are geared specifically toward beginners. They teach newbies in your industry valuable skills and insights that only experience could teach them otherwise.
This is my favorite type of audience building content because you can help someone right at the beginning of their journey. If you can take this person from being a complete newbie to someone who has a more complete idea of what they’re doing, they’ll become a loyal fan.
Examples of this type of post include:
- A Beginner’s Guide to Lead Generation
- A Newbie’s Guide to Running a Marathon
- A Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing
- A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media
Consider these important items when writing these guides:
- Make your guide in-depth but not overly technical. You want to cover the subject thoroughly without overwhelming the beginner with a lot of technical terms or industry jargon. Try to keep the posts straight-forward, to the point, and relatively easy to understand.
- Use a variety of media, like screenshots and videos, to clarify your points. Remember, you’re writing to beginners and people learn in a variety of ways. Some are more visual learners, while others learn better from text. Try to cater to all types of learners in your posts.
Beginner’s guides, when done well, can be an incredibly valuable resource to those who are just getting started in your industry. They can also establish you as an expert in your industry – someone that beginners can look to for advice.
In some ways, these beginner’s guides allow you to mentor newbies from a distance, which can be incredibly rewarding.
From Blogging Idea to Video, Audio, and Social Content
By using the post writing strategies from bloggers, we’ve discovered 17 different types of content that you can create on any platform, not just as a blogger! These ideas encompass what people want to consume on a daily basis, not just what works well for writing blog posts.
To recap, here are the formulas once more:
- How-to guides
- News and current events
- Case studies
- Profiles and interviews
- The expert roundup
- Reviews and comparisons
- Resource roundups
- Quote roundups
- Behind the scenes/a day in the life
- Data-backed posts
- Inspirational stories
- Frequently asked questions
- Top takeaways
- Beginner’s guides
Now that you have some proven formulas for creating content, you can produce content much faster and feel confident that it will boost your authority and turn your audience into raving fans.