When you’re marketing for a startup, you’re constantly experimenting with new channels. Quickly identifying which channels will be key for your growth.
It’s a constant search for ways you can successfully improve traffic.
While some of the new channels are exciting, the most important and sustainable channel businesses have is through great content marketing. But as you grow, it can become a challenge to ensure your blog’s content maintains consistent quality.
The best possible solution is to create a series of blog post templates that scale as you do. With blog templates, you ensure consistency across various post types as well as consistent improvement as they’re updated to fit your audience.
You can arm your in-house marketers or freelancers with great templates that help them create great content that fits your company’s standards.
Templates are what allow quality to scale.
And in this post, I’ll discuss why blog post templates are critical, key tips to getting your templates right, and the 6 blog post templates you should start building today.
Table of Contents
While blog templates allow you to scale the actual creation of your content, it’s key to establish the proper groundwork for your blog before increasing your output. These are some of the key themes the most successful blogs we see utilize.
With over 87 million blog posts created and shared every single day, there’s no way that every single one is high quality.
You can create a loyal following by blogging about topics that are actually helpful. Not only will your audience appreciate it, but search engines will too.
According to the Backlinko blog, “B2B blogs that create education content receive 52% more organic traffic.”
The average blog post takes 3.5 hours to write. And that is on the shorter side. This particular post has taken me a few weeks to through and write.
While blog post templates will make it easier to create content that looks great and follows your best practices, it’s also important to remember you need to spend time creating content that is quality.
While that may not seem sustainable, quality content really is more likely to not only drive organic traffic, but to improve your goodwill and convert website visitors.
By establishing a posting cadence your readers and subscribers will ensure you maintain it.
Your posting cadence should match your content goals and how much you can feasibly produce. Make sure you don’t set an unattainable goal or you may disappoint yourself or your audience if you can’t maintain it.
The below image from HubSpot may help identify the perfect blogging cadence for your company.
Without explicitly saying that they use bounce rate or time on page as ranking factors, Google does discuss how they analyze page usability to determine whether or not to rank a page.
When Google sees someone clicking through the search results to your blog post and immediately going back to the results to find a different one, that doesn’t look like a good experience.
Make your introduction as compelling as possible to ensure users stay on your page.
Ensure them that you will answer their query within the page, but also keep them engaged through stories, examples and facts.
What Google does tell us is that they explicitly look at the relevance of your page for specific queries.
And with how sophisticated search engines are becoming, it’s no longer just about keywords. Ensure that your blog content discusses all aspects of a top or question.
Since questions are a great place to find out what to write about, try pooling your audience or looking at search data to identify questions your users are asking. Then cater your blog posts to that.
Website accessibility isn’t just good for increasing your organic rankings, it’s just the right thing to do.
There are many things your blog templates can do to embrace accessibility, such as:
For even more tips, see the W3C recommendations, which are also recommended by Google.
Are you always using your desktop to read content? If you’re like me, probably not.
Ensure that your blog templates and content are mobile friendly. Not only will this improve your rankings, since Google now crawls most sites with a mobile-first Googlebot, but it ensures the best possible user-experience.
This mobile friendly testing tool from Google will help.
While your blogging topics may change from post to post your post templates will remain consistent. That’s why it’s critical to ensure that each blog template you create follows some of the best practices for every single blog post.
No matter the type of content you’re creating, there are key formatting components to include in your article to ensure it’s optimized for organic search.
These are some of the most critical tips to keep in mind while planning and formatting your own templates.
Google absolutely appreciates properly structured websites and website content. Structure is critical for them to develop a hierarchy of information and an understanding of content.
And readers appreciate how easy a blog templates’ structure makes it to find the information they need. In fact, 43% of readers admit to just skimming blog posts.
The best way to easily add structure to your post is through building a hierarchy through various headers.
Readers love lists. They’re skimmable, compact, and full of information.
Ordered lists are those that include numbers and unordered lists use bullets. They’re great because:
Adding a table of contents serves dual purposes.
First, it provides the reader an overview of what they’ll find in your article as well as a simple way to get to where they’d like.
Second, when structured properly, list items from your Table of Contents can appear in the search results along with your post.
Let’s look at an example from a company that clearly knows their SEO: Moz.
I’d wager that most marketers have read or heard of Moz’ “Beginners Guide to SEO”. That guide has helped more SEOs than any other out there. But one thing you may not have noticed, they have their guide broken down by chapters with drop-down navigation.
Due to that smart bit of breaking up their content, when searching for most key phrases like ‘guide to seo’ you’ll find that post.
You’ll also see the links at the bottom which deep-link searchers directly to the content they’re looking for.
Table of Contents are a must for modern bloggers and post templates.
65% of B2B companies use stock imagery for their blogs. One way that you can set yourself apart is by creating your own unique posts that are relevant to the topic you’re writing about.
These types of images are compelling, and sharing them on social channels may lead to an increase in shares for your content.
Let’s face it. We’re not always the subject-matter-experts for the topics that we’re writing about. When you’re creating a blog template, make it easy to add good looking quotes right within the post itself. These are typically called “Blockquotes”.
Now that we’ve covered the building blocks critical for blog content to perform well, we’ll dig into the different content formats you can use to get your message across.
Everyone reading this post has likely read, seen or written their own listicle post.
Listicles can be easier to create than many other types of blog posts and are incredibly popular with readers and the search engines alike. Not only that, but if you create your blog post template in a certain way, you can ensure the search engine will pull rich results right into the SERPs.
Like this example list of competitor analysis tools from a Sprout Social blog post.
You can see above that when someone types in “competitor analysis tools”, Google recognizes that Sprout Social has created a list of tools that fit this category and pulled it right into the search results. That grants them much more real estate in search results.
You can imagine how powerful that is if you actually sell competitor analysis tools.
In order for your results to appear like the example above, your page must have a clear structure where each item of your list follows a specified format. In the example from Sprout, each of the items in the list is set as a Heading 3.
A similar example from a company called Woopra which looked into the best marketing automation platforms also had rich search results.
Their structure set each of the items in their list to an H2 with a corresponding unique ID in the HTML. This is a type of structured data that tells crawlers that each of these items makes up a list that they can deep link to.
Something to keep in mind as you build your list is to pull a diverse category of examples for your list. In doing so, you’re much more likely to answer all user queries.
If your blog post is a list of companies or tools that will help readers, you can then share that post with the companies you mention and they may be more willing to share those posts externally with their fans.
And to keep things extra meta here’s a listicle of the 7 tips to keep in mind when writing your own listicles.
The two examples above are great resources to consult as you build your listicle blog template, but here are even more.
Listicles are great for users who are looking for specific products. Searchers will frequently look for “the best…” or “the easiest…”, and that’s where you’ll see these lists perform really well.
How-to articles come in different shapes and sizes depending on the topic you’re writing about. They address the process one would go through to accomplish a certain goal or finish a task. They’re incredibly educational and will help your audience understand how to do something relevant to your brand.
Great how-to posts cover how to accomplish something in a comprehensive, step-by-step way. Assign each step of the process with a number so readers understand the chronological nature of the task.
Additionally, make sure you note which steps are “optional” so readers can know what is and what is not critical.
Google has a very specific type of structured data for “How-to” content. When you use Google’s structured data, your blog post will appear in results like the one below.
These types of results pages encourage users to click through to your website to learn more. The markup will also show users how many steps there are and how long a particular project may take.
Some people are very visual learners, and if you’re writing about fairly complicated topics, images or videos that guide users can be invaluable for them.
These videos and images will also earn you even more real estate within search results.
Since all audiences are searching for ways to accomplish a task, you can write How-to articles for anyone. The audience that you find with your post will rely completely on the topic you choose.
These types of posts are when you take a specific subject and write everything someone could possibly want to know about it. They’re exhaustive articles that detail every single nuance of a particular project.
When you jump into a topic for the first time it’s extremely beneficial to detail the background of the topic so that everyone has context.
Write about why someone should actually care about your topic. Why is it important to you as a writer, and why should it be important to them as a reader?
If it’s possible for the topic you choose, write a section on how-to get started in that topic if someone is interested. How they can leverage the data within your article for their own projects.
If there are tools or resources pertinent to your topic, write a listicle within the post to detail those for further reading and education.
These types of posts are typically best for people who are just beginning to learn about a topic. It is best to consider this audience as those at the top of the funnel.
The idea of blog post “Pillars” is somewhat new in the world of content creation and marketing.
HubSpot has a fantastic article on what a Pillar page is and why it’s important for content marketers. The main concept is that a Pillar page is a long-form piece of content that aggregates all possible blog posts around that specific topic.
Each of the above “Hubs” has a Pillar page in the center which links out to all of the relevant pieces of content for that subject.
Pillar pages are usually created to rank well for important, competitive keywords for a topic. In the marketing world, these are incredibly popular topics like:
That’s because when done well, Pillar pages can actually rank for these highly sought terms.
Pillar pages are the ‘high-concept’ posts that introduce a topic. Those posts then link to more specific blog posts that detail article subjects.
For example, you may create a Pillar page for “Marketing Automation”. From that page, you would link to topics like:
Pillar pages take a lot of effort to create, so it’s important to choose topics that are important to your brand. Pillar pages create the opportunity to target keywords that you normally may consider far too competitive.
Similar to “How-to” blog posts, the audience for Pillar pages differs greatly depending on the subject matter you’re creating. For the most part, the audience is those that want to learn everything possible about a particular post.
Not every piece of content you create will be for teaching your audience about a particular subject. You’ll likely also want to create and share pieces of content that detail news about your company. These are sometimes categorized as “Press” on an organization’s website.
This is obvious, but make sure you build a place in your template that details what your announcement is.
Move into discussing why this update is important to your audience, why they should care about the announcement, and how it may impact their life or workflows.
Company News posts are best for your customers, your shareholders, and anyone who may have a vested interest in your organization.
Data posts are those that contain unique or proprietary research that your company has. Data reports are great for sharing dense information in a consumable way, and they also have a knack for generating backlinks from websites that pick up and discuss your research.
While it’s possible to create a post about someone else's data with your own spin on it, the most impactful data posts are those that use new and unique data. That ensures that when and if someone decides to share that information, they’ll link to your website instead of the one that pulled the data.
It’s important to detail what the data actually means and how you interpret it. If you simply share the raw data, individuals may not know what it means, or may even create their own take-aways that are totally wrong.
Data is typically very dense, and individuals without an analytical mindset may not actually know what it means. The best way to help those readers is to turn each data point into a visual that is easier to digest. It’s easy to do that with the free web design tool Canva.
Data reports are best for individuals well versed in a particular subject.
Once you have an arsenal of blog templates that you can create content for, you may be wondering “which is the best post type for this particular subject?”
In those situations, it’s best to consider what you’d like readers to know.
Once you set your goal you can choose your post type and get to writing.
Content marketing remains the best way to organic drive traffic to your website while also teaching visitors about your subject matter. While creating a blog with consistent posting may seem like a herculean effort, if you create the right templates for your writers, filling in the blanks becomes simple.