The 7 Types of Blog Posts for Better ROI

Updated 31 May, 2024 | Blog, Strategy

Here are the blog post types that can guide buyers through the sales funnel and boost revenue

Regardless of whether your blog attracts prospects, nurtures leads, or helps your customers make better use of your products, the ultimate reason for having a business blog is to increase sales. Unfortunately, not all business blogs do drive sales. In fact, many are nothing but a drain on resources. So, how do you make sure your blog will help you win more sales and boost revenue? One critical piece of the puzzle is choosing the right types of blog posts for each part of your sales funnel.

Once you understand what different types of blog posts can do — how they contribute to each part of the sales process — you can start creating content funnels that efficiently convert members of your target market into loyal customers that make lots of repeat purchases and tell all their friends how awesome you are.

These are the most useful types of blog posts for small businesses and the goals they’re most relevant for. If you prefer listening, click on the audio or continue reading by scrolling down.

Aggregated-content blog post — create an instant hit

Woman drawing together multiple pieces of content to create an aggregated-content blog post.

Do you want to create a blog post that’s pretty much guaranteed to please your target audience and the Google gods? Are you a little short on time? If so, the aggregated- or curated-content post is a great option.

This kind of post groups together content that’s already popular with your target audience. By taking existing content that you know is popular, you can create new blog posts that are sure to be a hit as well.

Aggregated-content post examples

  • Top fudge recipes
  • Our favourite sewing patterns for beginners
  • Most outrageous news stories of this month

Benefits of aggregated-content blog posts

  • Quick to write
  • Popular with the target audience
  • Rank well in Google search results (SERPs)
  • Highly shareable on social media
  • Can be used to aggregate your own content

Pitfalls of aggregated-content blog posts

Many people are attracted to this kind of post because they think they won’t have to do any work to create one. They just google a bunch of recipes (for example) and link out to them. The problem with this approach is it adds very little value to the audience — they can google just as well as the next person. So, these kinds of posts do nothing to drive sales. They can even harm your brand’s reputation.

The key to a good aggregated-content blog post

The way to make this kind of post work for you is to deliver unique value to your specific audience. For example, when sharing a list of the top fudge recipes, you might give your audience tips for what foods and drinks they can pair each type of fudge with or when each type of fudge is the best choice.

There must be a reason for your audience to use your aggregated-content posts instead of just googling the information themselves.

List-based blog post — give your audience something easy to read

Woman writing a list.

List-based blog posts or ‘listicles’ are incredibly popular at the moment. They’re easy to read and they’re easier and quicker to write than many other post types too. As with the aggregated-content blog post, they’re a great option if you’re short on time. Importantly, list-based posts could improve your chances of achieving a featured snippet in the Google search results for keywords related to your blog post.

This kind of post, as the name suggests, is based on a list of information. Aggregated-content posts group and list related pieces of content, but they usually deliver the content via hyperlinks to the original pieces of content. A listicle includes all the information within the listicle.

Note, a step-by-step guide could technically be classed as a list-based blog post, but this kind of post is better classed as a ‘how-to’ blog post.

List-based blog post examples

  • This post 😃
  • 5 things all new gardeners must know
  • The 50 most important sight words your kindy kid should learn
  • Best places to visit in Italy
  • 9 things not to do during your graduation ceremony
  • Shortlisted photographs from our Spring photo competition

Benefits of list-based blog posts

  • Quick to write
  • Popular with the target audience
  • Easy to read
  • Highly shareable on social media
  • Increase the chances of being included in a featured snippet
  • Don’t rely on sending your audience to other people’s sites!

Pitfalls of the list-based blog post

Because they’re so popular, it can be challenging to come up with a unique listicle idea. And if you’re going to produce a listicle on the same topic as a competitor, it can be challenging to come up with more list items than them. However, the biggest pitfall with these kinds of posts is that many people misunderstand when their audience will benefit from a listicle. Sometimes your audience will want a helpful article they can read quickly. At other times, they’ll want a really meaty article that goes into lots of detail on a topic. If you publish a listicle in the latter circumstance, it can weaken your brand in your audience’s eyes.

The key to a good list-based blog post

The way to make listicles work for you is to really understand your audience. Once you know what information they want and when they want a quick read vs a detailed explanation, you can make really good use of list-based articles. Listicles can also make great hub pages from which you can hyperlink to detailed articles on each list item, meaning you can provide both quick reads and detailed explanations as needed.

How-to blog post — teach your audience something

Woman explaining a concept in a how-to video.

How-to posts are another incredibly popular type of blog post because, unless readers are procrastinating, they’re often reading blog posts because they want to solve a particular problem. And what better way to solve a problem than to read a how-to explanation that guides you step-by-step through the process of solving that exact problem?

How-to blog posts are sometimes lumped in with list-based blog posts. But, while how-to blog posts are often written in the form of a list of steps, the way you need to go about crafting the two types of blog posts is quite distinct.

How-to blog posts work really well when you want to describe:

  • How to solve a finance, maths, or science equation
  • A methodology, approach, or way of thinking
  • How to accomplish a task with step-by-step instructions (and you can include images and videos to support your blog post)

How-to blog post examples

  • How to tie a slip knot
  • How to make a meringue
  • How to sew a recessed zipper
  • How to fill in your tax return
  • How to cut and install cornices

Benefits of how-to blog posts

  • Answer a specific question (which is a popular search term)
  • Solve a problem for the audience
  • Rank well in the SERPs
  • Demonstrate authority and expertise
  • Increase the chances of being included in a featured snippet

Pitfalls of the how-to blog post

There are two common types of how-to posts that can infuriate an audience:

  1. Posts that promise to tell you how to do something when there’s not really a proven or repeatable way to do it (e.g. how to make your crush fall in love with you, how to make a million dollars on the stock exchange)
  2. Posts that only give written instructions when visuals are far more effective

The first kind of post is often very attractive to an audience and can be effective. For instance, when a multimillionaire stock trader shares a guide to profitable stock trading, people can find a lot of value in the post. But this kind of post can often backfire. For instance, when an amateur stock trader shares the steps they used to make massive profits on the stock market and claims it’s a recipe for guaranteed success, many or even all of the people who follow the how-to are probably going to be disappointed. And those people are likely to be vocal about how disappointing the instructions are.

The second type of post is a good example of not fitting the content type to the needs of the audience.

Now, don’t get me wrong, having written instructions for any how-to guide is important. Written instructions help with SEO, give people something to refer to as they follow each step, are great for people who need the information in situations when they can’t listen to the audio in a video (e.g. people consuming content from their office computer during their lunch break, mums consuming content while their baby sleeps on their chest), and are critical for people using screen readers (unless you want to put all the instructions from a video into the alt tag).

But there are many circumstances when images and/or video make it far easier for an audience to follow instructions (unless the audience is visually impaired). If you’ve ever tried to put together flat-pack furniture with illustrated instructions and no written instructions, you’ve probably experienced this first-hand. If not, imagine you’re learning to tie shoelaces for the first time and there’s no one around who can teach you. What do you think will help you the most? Reading step-by-step instructions, reading step-by-step instructions with accompanying photos, or watching an instructional video? I know which one I’d pick.

The key to a good how-to post

The best way to write a good how-to post is to pick a topic that suits the type of post, write a comprehensive explanation of each step, and then give it to someone who’s never done the task and see if they can easily follow the instructions. If they ask any questions, include your answers in the post.

What-is blog post — answer your target market’s questions

Question mark with a head inside it. People are pointing to text marked with a tick or a cross.

A what-is post answers a ‘what is’ question that your target audience might type into Google or might ask themselves when they first start reading your posts. There are thus two main reasons to write a what-is blog post:

  1. You need to define or explain a term you use regularly
  2. You want to answer a specific question that you know your target audience is searching for, usually when they’re at the beginning of their sales journey

These posts are also useful if you’re trying to get more featured snippets.

What-is blog posts answer a specific question, but they’re not always ‘what is’ questions — ‘when is’, ‘where is’, ‘who is’, and ‘why is’ are all types of questions that fall into the same category.

What-is blog post examples

  • What sound does a meerkat make?
  • What’s the biggest river in the world?
  • What does SMB stand for?
  • What’s the difference between a redback and a black widow spider?
  • When does daylight savings end?
  • Why do ladybirds have spots?

Benefits of what-is blog posts

  • Can be quick to write
  • Answer a specific question (which is a popular search term)
  • Rank well in the SERPs
  • Increase your chances of being included in a featured snippet

Pitfalls of the what-is blog post

Some people write massive blog posts to answer simple questions because they think they need to write heaps of words in order to achieve great search results. As an example, if you wanted to answer the question ‘what does SMB stand for?’ in a blog post, your audience would probably appreciate knowing it stands for small to medium business along with some basic info about which kinds of businesses are classed as SMBs. Your audience is unlikely to read 1000 words on the topic.

On the other hand, some blog posts give a basic answer when there are several facets to the answer. For example, to comprehensively answer the question ‘what is the biggest river in the world’?, you’d need to state the longest and widest rivers as well as the river with the greatest volume. You might also mention the longest underground river. You’d probably also write a sentence or two describing where the rivers are located and maybe even link to detailed information about each river in case the reader wants to know more about them.

The key to a good what-is blog post

As with all marketing, the most important thing you need to produce a good what-is post is an in-depth understanding of the needs of your audience, so you know how much detail you need to provide. It’s also, often, a good idea to answer related and follow-up questions in the same blog post, or at least link to those answers, so your audience doesn’t have to go elsewhere to find additional answers.

Ultimate-guide blog post — become the go-to source of information for your target market

Woman creating an ultimate guide as a  blog post.

Have you ever seen a blog post that was called ‘The ultimate-guide to V’ or ‘The definitive guide to W’, or maybe ‘The X handbook’ or ‘The Y playbook’, or maybe ‘Z 101’? Those kinds of long blog posts, when done properly, cover pretty much everything the target audience wants to know about a topic of particular relevance to the brand. That’s what an ultimate-guide blog post is.

Ultimate-guide blog post examples

  • The ultimate guide to expressing breastmilk
  • The cheese toasty handbook
  • The tomato grower’s playbook
  • Windpower 101
  • The definitive guide to Cluedo

Benefits of ultimate-guide blog posts

  • Demonstrate your authority on a topic
  • Offer a complete source of information on a topic, so your target audience needn’t go anywhere else for answers to their questions on that topic
  • Provide a comprehensive solution to a prospect or customer problem
  • Can be repurposed into a variety of other marketing assets including a print booklet or brochure, a training mini-course, or an ebook
  • Offer the best chance of ranking at the top of the SERPs

Pitfalls of the Ultimate-guide blog post

When an ultimate guide leaves the audience with unanswered questions, they may wonder whether the author is actually an authority on the topic. This failure to produce a comprehensive guide is the most common reason for a failed ultimate guide.

The key to a good Ultimate-guide blog post

Ultimate-guide blog posts can be the most valuable asset in your marketing toolkit if done well. To do a great job with these kinds of posts, you need to be sure you’re focusing on topics that’re dear to the hearts of your audience, and you need to do a lot of research on the topic. Even if you’re the complete authority on the topic, you at least need to research what your audience wants to know about the topic.

Newsjacking blog post — take advantage of news hype

Do you remember when the iPhone 6 came out and there was lots of hype around it bending if you kept it in your back pocket? KitKat capitalised on that news really effectively with a newsjacking twitter campaign.

Newsjacking blog posts do the same thing. They take advantage of popular news to drive website traffic. The idea is to take a current news story that’s trending and then write your own article about that news and how it affects your target audience, so you can attract people searching for information about the piece of news and turn them into new leads.

A newsjacking blog post can take two forms:

  1. A short blog post that gives a summary of what’s happening now. This kind of post needs to be produced as soon as possible after a newsworthy event occurs.
  2. A more detailed blog post that looks back on what happened and gives readers an idea of what to expect once things settle down again.
Woman looking at the news on a computer.

Many brands choose to write an initial ‘breaking news’ type post to alert their audience to the news and then edit that post as more details are available.

If you have the time or resources to constantly monitor news sources that are relevant to your target audience, then you have the option of writing a type 1 newsjacking article. If your resources and/or time are more limited, you’ll probably need to stick to type 2.

Newsjacking blog post examples

  • What Breaking Bad can teach us about investing
  • Winter is coming — 10 autumn tasks to get your garden ready

Benefits of newsjacking blog posts

  • Capitalise on existing news hype
  • Can be quick to write
  • Add spice to your blog post mix
  • Tell your target audience how breaking news affects them, positioning you as the go-to source of information
  • Prove you keep up to date on the latest industry changes

Pitfalls of the newsjacking blog post

Social media is rife with newsjacking blunders, usually when a brand has newsjacked a sensitive event.

The key to a good newsjacking blog post

Be quick, be witty, and add value!

Infographic blog post — give your audience something special

Woman presenting an infographic.

An infographic is an image that presents information or data in a visually appealing way. Charts and graphs are one form of infographic, but these days infographics usually comprise a series of images that convey more information than can be delivered in a single graph.

Infographics are really popular and are a great way to deliver information. If you have a lot of information to convey to your audience, an infographic is a particularly good way to summarise it, so your readers can quickly refresh their memory of key pieces of information at any time after the first read.

Infographic blog post example

This infographic about why people love infographics is a fantastic example.

Benefits of infographic blog posts

  • Summarise key information
  • Make information easier to remember
  • Make brands more memorable
  • Can be combined with most other blog post types
  • Highly shareable on social media
  • Particularly powerful on Pinterest

Pitfalls of the infographic blog post

Too many people make little images that just illustrate a simple piece of information and call them infographics. This is such a waste.

Also, some so-called experts say infographics should do most of the talking in an infographic blog post. I disagree. If everything you want to say can be said in the infographic with nothing more than an introduction, then what’s the point of writing a blog post about it? Just share the image.

Instead, the best infographic blog posts go into a lot of detail and use one (or more) infographics to provide a succinct summary.

The key to a good infographic blog post

Find a post that includes a lot of information or data and get an experienced infographic creator to make an image that cleverly summarises the information.

Next steps

These seven types of blog posts are the cornerstone of building your brand’s identity. With these, you can fill your blog with interesting and varied blog posts that are truly useful to your target audience, enabling you to take members of your target market by the hand and lead them all the way through the sales process until they’re loyal customers that keep buying from you again and again.

Now you understand the value of each type of blog post, your next step is to develop a strategy that lays out the topics your blog will cover.