If you own or manage a business blog, you know how difficult it can be to keep up with the type of regular publishing calendar that's needed to form a connection with your audience. Dare to slack off even a few times and miss a few weeks of posting, and you'll likely find that the readership you so carefully cultivated has all but disappeared in favor of greener, more regularly updated pastures.
So if you're struggling to come up with new content ideas to fill these potential gaps, consider the following blog post templates. These basic structures can be reworked over and over again -- giving you the steady stream of content needed to sustain your blog's reader base.
The list post is a popular type of blog post, given that it's often easy to write and tends to be more widely shared among social connections than other types of articles. You've probably seen these posts all over your favorite blogs. This very article is an example of a list post, in that it discusses a list of three possible blog post types to consider when you're out of content ideas.
Writing a list post involves coming up with a collection of different items that suit an overall theme that's related to the subject of your site, an industry issue or any other topic of interest to your readers. For example, a few sample list post topics from the Entrepreneur home page include:3 Rules You Must Break to Expand Your Email Marketing List5 Problems With Business Hotels (and How to Solve Them)4 Habits That Are Keeping You Up at Night
Your list posts don't need to feature only a few items. Including 25, 50 or even 100 or more items can help to create great reference posts for your readers, without requiring the mental effort needed to draft lengthy content-driven posts instead.
2. Link round-ups
Another popular type of blog post is the "link round-up." Instead of writing an entire post of your own fresh content, gather links to interesting articles throughout your industry and compile them into a new post on your own site. When pulling content for your link round-ups, be sure to pull from reputable websites in your own industry and related fields.
Not only do readers often appreciate discovering new websites through link round-up posts, sharing another author's content on your own site can help build rapport with him or her. These relationships could eventually lead to reciprocal link round-up mentions, guest post opportunities and more.
To see an example of a link round-up post, take a look at The Lede section of the popular Copyblogger website. In particular, the recent, "5 Writing Articles You Should Read" incorporates elements of both list posts and link round-up posts in order to create a highly useful resource for the site's readers.
3. Quick interviews
Finally, if you can't come up with anything interesting to say on your own, why not try an interview post? These are fairly self-explanatory, as they consist of asking another person a series of questions via email, phone call or video chat.
Ideally, the person you're interviewing should be someone whose experiences and interests enable him or her to provide valuable answers to your readers. One example is a recent Marketing Profs interview with business guru Daniel Pink.
This type of blog post offers a hidden advantage: Interviewing the right people -- that is, people with significant influence in your industry -- can send a flood of traffic back to your blog if your interview subject happens to mention the post to his or her followers. Though you may not have the clout to secure these types of posts initially, building up a solid reputation as a good interviewer can help you to eventually land the interview subjects who can dramatically expand your blog's recognition.
However, keep in mind that interviews take time to produce. Not only will you need to initiate contact with potential subjects in advance, your final posts may be delayed based on these subjects' schedules.
For this reason, interview posts should be looked at as a way to fill your future post slots with interesting content that doesn't require much effort on your part. If you're in need of an immediate article, both list posts and link round-up posts can help you to develop content quickly in order to prevent your blog from drying up and your readership from disappearing.