When you start a blog, whether to make money or for fun (both if you’re lucky), it’s easy to fall into the trap of writing the same type of articles over and over. I do it. I’m guilty as charged. When something works, I milk it for all its worth.
When I got started in this publishing racket, I bought some ebook that talked about how product reviews could make a lot of money. I no sooner finished that guide and proceeded to write dozens of product reviews. They weren’t great, but they made some money. I soon stopped because I didn’t like writing them and didn’t think they were very good. Also, my site needed some variety. A site loaded with reviews is not my cup of tea.
These days I make an effort to branch out and write a variety of articles for my niche sites, including fatstacksblog.com.
If you’re drawing a blank for article concepts, you’re in the right place. Below I set out dozens of article concept options you can add to pretty much any type of website or niche.
Table of Contents
- 1. Listicle
- 2. Best Of
- 3. Product Reviews
- 4. Mistakes to Avoid
- 5. How-To Guide
- 6. News
- 7. Checklist
- 8. FAQs
- 9. Common Myths
- 10. Industry Analysis
- 11. Industry Forecast
- 12. Research Data
- 13. Interview
- 14. Video
- 15. Infographic
- 16. Photo Gallery/Slideshow
- 17. Event Announcements
- 18. Community Spotlight
- 19. Thank You
- 20. Future of the Organization
- 21. Expert Roundup
- 22. Business Survey
- 23. Comparisons
- 24. Guest Posts
- 25. Case Study
- 26. Solutions for Common Problems
- 27. New Product Announcement
- 28. How to Choose
- 29. Glossary
- 30. Best Tools or Resources
- 31. Op-ed
- 32. Definition articles
- 33. Curated content
- 34. Personal stories
- 35. Polls, Surveys or Quizzes
- 36. Buying Guides
- 37. User Generated Content
- 38. About / Profile Article
- 39. Timeline
- 40. Social Media Roundups
A listicle is simply a blog post that includes a list, counting down or listing out several different examples of the main topic. This could be anything from, “The Top Projects We’re Most Proud Of” to “8 Beautiful Birds You Need to See to Believe.” Listicles are immensely popular because they can be about almost anything and they are very easy to digest from a reader’s point of view. Headlines for listicles are also easy to make and use to attract attention for the post. They also make excellent blog articles to share on social media!
The primary downside of a listicle is that you can’t have every post be one, or your blog articles will start running together and look boring. Variety is important! Also note that listicles can be very competitive – there’s a higher chance that someone online has a similar listicle that could be competing for views. Make yours as unique as possible.
In case you haven’t realized yet, this article is a listicle.
2. Best Of
Best Of articles are a specific type of listicle that list the best potential products or services for the reader. These articles are also very versatile and can be anything from gift guides to review roundups of popular products. Brands often include their own products or services in this list, but that isn’t necessary for Best Ofs. However, it’s important to do your research and make sure you aren’t just copying similar Best Of lists that exist.
3. Product Reviews
Actually you can review anything – service, event, product, place, etc. However, most sites review products.
If you own products relevant to your niche, you can review them. These can earn money if you provide an affiliate link to the merchant that sells them. This is a very popular way to generate revenue from a website. Look around your home; no doubt you own plenty of stuff you can review.
TIP: An offshoot of the product review article is a “vs.” article, which is an article that compares 2 to 3 products. These are very long tail in nature which I like because you can start getting a trickle of targeted traffic to your website fairly quickly.
4. Mistakes to Avoid
These popular articles go over mistakes that people/businesses should avoid – common things people forget, security flaws everyone should know about, warning signs for scams or poor quality products, and so on. These articles are effective because readers will usually have a desire to know what not to do, especially when making an important decision.
It’s important that businesses stay within their realm of expertise on these articles when possible: Experience with processes is a great way to understand the mistakes that customers or others are likely to make, and write a well-informed blog about it that makes the brand look authoritative and knowledgeable.
5. How-To Guide
These general tutorial articles come in all different forms and are very helpful for blogs, because they add a lot of value and usability. There are usually two types. The first type of How To deals with a very specific guide for company products or services, designed to help customers. For example, a company that sells blenders may make a How-to article about “How to Make the Best Breakfast Smoothies with Our Blender.”
The other type of How-To is more general – it still has useful information, but it can help out all kinds of people, not just customers that are using a particular product or service. Think of articles like, “How to Open a Bank Account” or, “How to Know If Your House Has a Pest Problem.” These articles should still tie into the brand’s specialties and value offerings, but they can reach a broader audience searching for unique solutions.
A final note: User intent (the specific reason organic searchers are looking something up, usually expressed through the words they use) is very important for all blog articles, but it’s especially important for How-To pieces. Try to use language that the searchers themselves will use when browsing, and provide for specific, actionable statements that browsers will recognize as good information.
This article option is simple: Report on some of the latest news so regular readers of your blog can stay informed! This is a great option when you are starved for blog ideas and need to produce an article quickly. It also helps writers and marketing teams keep up on the latest news that’s affecting the company, which is good to know and can also lead to even more blog ideas in the future.
However, news pieces should always be related to the brand. Talking about general news won’t help you gain any traffic, and will confuse readers who expect you to discuss related topics. Keep focused on news that affects the industry, your customers, or some related facet of the business.
Checklists are just that – a checklist that people can use when doing something. Checklists won’t work for every blog, but they can be very useful for blogs that provide specific advise or talk about products. Common examples make include things like, “Your Winter Car Readiness Checklist” or “Your Checklist for Ensuring Data Security on Your Phone.”
These can be similar to How-To articles, but should contain a full checklist of products people need or steps that readers need to take when doing something. A checklist should always feel necessary – like something people need to consult before beginning a process, and maybe copy for future reference.
“Frequently Asked Questions” is a particularly strong article option for businesses, organizations, forums and similar groups. A company that has been in business has no doubt encountered a number of questions from customers, or the company has had questions itself that need to be answered. The FAQ is a great place to provide answers to these questions.
There’s an important caveat, however: Specific FAQs related to brand services or the organization’s mission should have their own webpage on the site where visitors can quickly access it. The blog is a better spot for more general FAQs about popular topics or related subjects.
9. Common Myths
Common Myth articles go over things that many people believe, and then talk about why these things aren’t actually true. These articles are very informative and a great way to communicate helpful information with a slight sense of urgency (after all, no one wants to be stuck believing in myths).
These articles can also be a little demanding. To really debunk myths, you need to fully research what people believe about a topic, and then find reliable sources and explanations for why that isn’t true. However, these articles can also get a lot of traffic and are very shareable, so it’s a good idea to include one in your blog. Sticking to topics where the writer has plenty of experience will make these pieces easier to write!
Final tip: You don’t want to talk down to your readers with articles like these. Myth articles shouldn’t feel like they are mocking people or telling them how little they know. Instead, they should focus on a helpful, informative tone that seeks to educate and lift up.
10. Industry Analysis
Industry Analysis pieces talk about the industry that a brand is in, usually about a specific piece of news that just broke in that industry. What does this news mean for the industry? What should customers and partners know about it? For example, if a new regulation is passed that affects the business, the blog can talk about that regulation and the impact it is likely to have. Other industry analysis can report on mergers and acquisitions, new players entering the industry, new technologies, and many related topics. There’s a lot of potential here!
11. Industry Forecast
An industry forecast is like industry analysis, but it takes a look at the future industry. These articles often look like, “What 2020 Holds for Fiberglass” or “How Fuel Technology is revolutionizing the Modern Motorbike.” These articles can be very interesting, but they also have another big advantage: They’re particularly attractive to partners and other businesses in the industry, which makes them a great way to build brand authority and expertise (Google’s algorithms also like this). These articles make great options for publishing on LinkedIn and similar places, as do many other industry-oriented pieces.
12. Research Data
Research Data articles explore specific data related to the organization. This could be surveys, polls, market value reports, growth reports, and many other types of studies. Research data is very valuable, and you should try to report on it whenever you find it. Many journals and publications release regular reports with valuable data for a variety of industries, but they may also require subscriptions, so keep costs in mind.
When revealing research data, try to compare it to your own findings and what you are seeing from direct experience. Tying data back to your activities is always helpful.
An interview piece is simply an interview with someone interesting and related to the blog’s topics. This could be an expert, a company founder, a partner business with a specific specialty, a consultant, a community leader, a nonprofit organization you’re working with…there are so many opportunities for interviews it’s hard to list them all! Interviews show that your organization is connected to others, and provides information that people may not be able to find elsewhere.
Remember, when conducting an interview, make sure you have a topic or two in mind to keep your questions more focused.
Video is an interesting option since it’s more of a format than an article type. Some of the other articles we’ve discussed, like interviews, can work well over video. But there are also many things that only video can do, making it a powerful form of content for your blog. Common video-specific examples include a company walk-through, a drone-based overview of a work site, a travelogue following employees, a real-time announcement, a visual tutorial, and so on.
Video is an incredibly popular form of online content right now, and a great choice if you want to bring in more traffic. If you’re worried about video quality, there are many guides and apps that can help you create good videos – all you need is a phone! Video posts can also be posted on additional platforms like YouTube blogs if you want to expand your reach even more.
Infographics are graphic images that combine multiple charts and visuals into one larger piece that explains a topic, often a guide or study. Infographics excel at breaking down more complicated information into basic facts for easy digestion. They’re also very easy to share across social media, and make great authoritative content.
Infographics can take a little work to create, especially for brands that don’t have a lot of experience. Don’t be intimidated! Many online tools make creating infographics very easy and provide a number of templates that you can use if necessary.
16. Photo Gallery/Slideshow
While video is very popular, it isn’t always the most convenient way to show visual information. Sometimes, blogs benefit the most from a photo gallery that shows off a series of photos on a single subject. You probably have a good idea if an event is a good option for a photo gallery: Popular subjects tend to be building projects, big events or parties, new business establishments, grand openings, and special partnerships. Set up the slideshow so that it’s easy to view on the blog post – and make sure that it works well on mobile devices, too (this applies to all your content, but mobile optimization is particularly important for more visual content).
17. Event Announcements
Event announcements are ideal posts if the brand has an important even coming up – something like a contest, special dinner, fundraiser, partnership event, festival presence, or something else that the company will be involved in. It’s important to spread the word about these events to raise awareness and show that your organization is active. These posts don’t have to be long or complicated, but they should include all the important event information that you might need.
A common follow up article deals with event results or event participation. Readers may also want to know how the event went, and where they can go for follow-up information!
18. Community Spotlight
A community spotlight piece is one exception that doesn’t necessarily have to be about the brand itself. Instead, these articles focus on talking about an aspect of the local community: This could be a volunteer opportunity, a local leader, an important community event, a new development project, a renovated business, or any number of other things. The goal is to show that you are involved in the community and care about what happens. More community content can also help improve local SEO, which is an important goal for many businesses these days.
19. Thank You
These posts aren’t common, but they can be very important. A Thank You article simply thanks customers and the business community for their actions. This could be thanks for a big volunteering project, or just thanks for being loyal customers as the business grows over time. A Thank You post is a great way to look back on the past successes of the company and share appreciation for those successes. Heartfelt and honest, a good article like this can help inspire loyalty!
20. Future of the Organization
These posts are very important if your business is going through any significant changes. Keep your customers aware of these changes, show that they are a part of your growth, and help get your audience excited about what’s going to happen! Common topics include expansions to a new area, big renovations, going public, selling the company, unveiling a new line of products, planning for a big new investment project, and any other upcoming change that seems significant.
21. Expert Roundup
This valuable type of article collects quotes for a variety of experts in the industry on a particular subject – such as where the industry is going, how technology is going to impact the industry, and so on. These articles require contacts with experts in your field, which could take some work. But they also offer a whole lot of value, and are frequently go-to articles for people doing research on topics. Put an article like this together if you can and enjoy the benefits!
22. Business Survey
We already talked about how valuable articles discussing research data can be. However, there’s another type of article that can be even more powerful – survey or poll results that you conduct yourself. In these cases, you can create a survey using online tools and send it out to your audience, then summarize the results in a blog post. Some surveys can be useful when collecting original information to make decisions with, but general industry surveys are also useful and can even lead to others citing your work!
Comparisons are basic “vs.” articles that compare two different products or services directly. They tend to take a look at pricing, features, technology, design, durability, and other factors (often in chart form) so that readers can make a quick decision about which one is right for them. Not all products or services are right for comparisons, but they can be very useful in the right circumstances, depending on the subject of your blog!
24. Guest Posts
Guest blogging means inviting a guest writer to create a blog post that’s posted on your blog. Yes, this changes things up, but there are good reasons for try this out, especially if you can find blogging partners to exchange content with. A guest blog is often published on both your blog and the guest’s blog at the same time – and even if it isn’t, a guest blog is still likely to be seen by the guest’s own unique audience. That means a whole lot of new eyeballs on your blog, which can lead to new subscribers and leads!
25. Case Study
This type of article is primarily for businesses: It’s an in-depth look at a real-world problem that a client had, the tools the business used to solve that problem, and how success the solution was. This is a very, very powerful type of blog post that demonstrates clearly how skilled a business is, its track record with past clients, and how it approaches problems. If at all possible, put together a case study about a very successful project to showcase how your business operates. Get feedback and quotes from the client if you can to make the study even more meaningful.
26. Solutions for Common Problems
This article is usually set up like, “Poor Phone Battery? This One Trick Will Extend Your Battery Life By Hours.” It lists a problem, and promises a particular solution right upfront. This type of post works well if there are very common problems in the industry that customers, clients or fans frequently experience – and there’s a fix that can help them out. These are quite similar to How-To guides, but presented in a different way with a focus on fixing a problem that people may be searching for.
27. New Product Announcement
If there’s a new product, service, or piece of content that your organization/blog is excited about, then announce it! Let everyone know about it, and why you are looking forward to it. If it’s something that you’re creating, be sure to explain why it’s worth others’ time, and add any useful pricing and availability information as well.
28. How to Choose
These articles focus on how to choose the best of a certain product or services, such as, “How to Pick the Best Streaming TV Service,” or “How to Pick the Best Local HVAC Contactor.” Then the article lists out useful advice and compares different options to equip readers with what they need. It’s important that these articles dig down into the specifics of what to look for, what to be careful of, and where to find the necessary information.
Some blogs deal with subjects that are a little more complicated than the average online browser is used to. In these cases, a quick glossary post can help explain technical terms. List out acronyms and words that your blog uses which people may not be familiar with, and what they mean. If this blog post becomes particularly popular, consider making it a separate webpage for easier access.
30. Best Tools or Resources
These articles gather the best tools for a task in one spot. Examples include “The Top Research Links for the Pharmaceutical Industry” or, “The Best Apps for Managing a Family Budget.” These blogs are useful for someone that’s trying to accomplish something and needs some resources to help get started. Ultimately, these lists do tend to take people away from your site and into the resource itself – that’s a sacrifice you’ll have to make when creating such useful content! Businesses that can provide one of their own links or tools for such lists should always do so.
Op-ed stands for opinion editorial. It’s an article where you state your opinion on an issue and set out support and opposing views. These are fun to write because who doesn’t like to put forth an opinion?
32. Definition articles
Some concepts are complex and so what I call “definition articles” can be a great type of content. I’m not talking about starting a dictionary. I’m talking about writing in-depth articles that explain more complex concepts.
Example: What is a niche website?
That alone would make up an entire article.
33. Curated content
Curated content is when you take a little bit from multiple pieces of content on the web and create a comprehensive article. It could be “25 cleaning hacks” which could include YouTube videos (which you’re permitted to embed on your website), snippets from other bloggers, etc. Just be sure to give attribution with a link crediting the source. FYI, you don’t need to give attribution with embedded YouTube videos.
34. Personal stories
You can write about your personal experiences. This works better in some niches such as travel where readers will be interested in your experience.
35. Polls, Surveys or Quizzes
A poll, survey or quiz can form the entire piece of content or be part of a larger piece of content. Either way, they can be a great addition to pretty much any site.
36. Buying Guides
Buying guides must help people who are looking to buy something, whether a service or product, to hone their list or even help them choose something.
These are often extensive articles that pretty much step readers through every step of the buying process of a particular product line. Here’s a sample outline for basketball shoes.
START SAMPLE OUTLINE
What are basketball shoes?
- What do they do?
- Who are they for?
Benefits of basketball shoes?
Key differences among different basketball shoes
How to choose the right basketball shoe for you
Basketball Shoe FAQs
Where to Buy Basketball Shoes
END SAMPLE OUTLINE
37. User Generated Content
I know I already listed “Guest posts” which is a type of user generated content I suppose, but it’s less natural. Guest posts are typically discussed between the guest post writer and editor/publisher.
User generated content, technically speaking, is content created by a variety of users on the site. A forum is an example.
38. About / Profile Article
Many sites can benefit from dedicated articles that profile something, someone and/or places. An example would be “All about Email Marketing”. Or it could be “All about Larry Page”.
Most niches have influential people in them. For example, A sneaker website could profile founders of sneaker companies. It could also a historical write-up about Nike Air Jordans which have a rich and interesting history in the sneaker industry.
I should do more timelines because they are a great way to present lots of info in a succinct way. Most niches have something to which timelines apply. Coming back to the sneaker niche, you could do a timeline of Nike.
40. Social Media Roundups
You see these often on top-tier publications. These are articles that embed a series of social media posts in an article with some commentary. I actually like these, especially Twitter discussions or Instagram posts. Twitter threads can be convoluted so spending the time to curate the thread to include the salient Twitter posts is a benefit for the reader. While these won’t be SEO hits, they can still be worth doing for your audience.
Did I miss anything? I probably did. kindly let me know in the comments.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes that’s “the best blogging email newsletter around.”
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.