Woo, blog posts are great! You just sit down and let the words pour out, man! No rules, no form, no fussiness–just writing from the heart. Except not really. You might be able to sneak by with that formlessness in a personal blog post, but not in writing for your business.
Any medium from a novel to a journal entry has a certain form that’s designed to make it easily digestible for the reader. A meandering, pointless blog post is crying out for structure, a basic framework to hang your awesome information on. Without that, you’re just floating out in the ocean like a dead jellyfish.
Of course, there are hundreds of different structures you can use in blog posts, but here are some of the most common architectures for blog posts:
- Intro – Bullet Points – Conclusion. Oh hi. Does that sound familiar? This is the structure this very blog post uses, and it’s one of the most popular. You start by explaining what you’re going to talk about, then you break it out into either steps or bite-sized chunks of easily digestible information. It’s great for posts which explain how to finish a linear process or as a tactic to link together disparate tips that don’t necessarily need to be in narrative form. Be careful: you don’t want to become overly reliant on this structure. Make sure the list format actually enhances the content–don’t use it because some marketing ninja-guru-acolyte told you to do it. Make sure it makes sense with the content, and it can be incredibly effective.
- Problem – Solution – Lesson. Think of this as a case study format. It can either be profiling work you did with a certain client or a general problem you encounter in your industry. Whenever you can, be specific about the problems. Don’t just say “clients have problems with dinosaur attacks,” say “clients had problems with vicious velociraptors breaking in through their bedroom windows at night.” The more details you can give, the easier it is for clients and prospects to feel that pain acutely -and understand how you can help them get rid of it. At the end, in the lesson portion, you broaden things back out to make the lesson more widely applicable.
Notice anything about these structures? That’s right, they’re both takeoffs of that old introduction – body – conclusion essay structure you learned back in elementary school. While many of those primer lessons can be chucked out the window (go ahead, dangle your prepositions!), this one’s a keeper. Tell people what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them. It’s a tried and true method that will keep your blog posts coherent and successful.
What are your favorite blog post structures?