The Craft of Blogging (2) … types of posts

I have written over 80 posts and read many other blogs, so I have come across many types of posts. Which form to use? Lists are very common. Have you come across titles like these?

  • 5 ways of selling yourself on-line
  • 10 things every writer needs to know
  • The 12 best book blogs
  • 6 good books about rabbit breeding
  • My 100 most successful world record attempts

This post is an example of the format: a list of types – so I shouldn’t mock. Anyway lists, in particular, have the advantage of inviting the reader in – a hook! What will be on it? Will the reader share the choice, the order?

69 ten moreLists appeal to me (I once made a list of all the lists I had on the go at that moment!) and to many bloggers and readers. But they don’t suit every theme. Form needs to match purpose! A complicated argument does not lend itself to a list. A story is best told as a story.

The form or type also needs to take account of the on-line platform: ie be immediate and accessible, interactive and connective (as discussed in the first post on the craft of blogging).

Here is my list of some possible types of posts, with mainly literary examples of how it might be used.

  1. List

Ten things you never knew about blogging

5 recommended books on blogging.

  1. Story

What happened after I read this book …

A case study81 JA Carpe d

  1. How to …

Practical advice on a writing technique eg before and after editing.

Analysis of some aspect of writing.

  1. Photo or other illustration

The star of the post is an image, as in the Write One Picture exercise, or a daily image such as the Persephone Post, or occasional and interesting images, like Desktop Retreat.

Comparison between images; such as book covers.

81 platform 9

  1. Opinion or Point of View

Your individual ‘take’ on a topic, such as an author.

A topic on which you are passionate, eg libraries.

  1. Controversy

An addition to a debate on a topic – easy if you are a feminist.

Being provocative about a contentious topic. Ditto

  1. Review/Preview

Your response to a specific topic; eg an author, fiction from one country, words as therapy.

  1. Giveaway or Competition

I have no experience of giveaways or comps. Sometimes it’s a lucky dip: we’ll pick one lucky person to receive a copy of my brilliant novel – just leave a comment. It might be something that the blogger will judge: nominate your favourite book by X and we’ll send you Y. Hmmm?

81 boots

  1. Interview or profile or guest post

The subject could be another writer, or reader, or publisher. I have co-written several posts with Eileen on the subject of writing collaboratively.

  1. Prediction

An obvious form in January but also useful to announce or raise interest in forthcoming events, such as prizes, publications.

  1. Round-up

A cross between a review and a list: a collation of articles you’ve read, people you met at an event, talks, etc on a theme.

81 woman reding

  1. Something different

A variation on your most frequently used format: eg including video if you mostly produce static posts; a very short post; a conversation with a colleague; a comment on previous content …

 

(This list is adapted from Robin Houghton’s (2012) Blogging for Creatives, published by ILEX: Lewes Sussex.)

 

And did that work? Was a list the best way to present the information in this post? My own response to my list will be to try some different forms over the next few months.

 

Next post in the series The Craft of Blogging will be in April and will look at a checklist for a post – another list!

 

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4 Comments

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4 Responses to The Craft of Blogging (2) … types of posts

  1. Lists are addictive – we all like reading them and I think the way they demand tight writing makes them particularly suitable for most blogs. (The exception are bloggers who go in for slow blogging – who only post once a week or maybe even just once a month but when they do it is a carefully thought out piece that explores an issue in-depth . ) My blog is very much in the former group, hopefully informative about writing and writers, hopefully humorous as well as useful. I try to think of titles that will grab attention, especially on twitter,but it’s not one of my strengths.
    The most popular post I’ve ever written (out of 3000 or so) had a very dull title: WRITE A SHORT STORY FOR RADIO but every time I ran it I could guarantee getting at least 100 more views than I would normally get.
    You might think that was because most of my blog readers have a burning desire to write for radio but the strange thing was that very few (a handful out of 1000+ views) clicked the BBC link. Go figure…!

    • Caroline

      Thanks for this comment Bridget. I guess I am one of your slow bloggers, although it doesn’t feel like it as I always have some post on the go, a schedule (another list) for posts for some weeks ahead – of which one will concern the editing of blog posts, for thoughtful and polished blogging.
      My most popular post is the review of Mrs Palfrey at The Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor, although I dont think it has attracted any comments. It’s always up there in the top 5 read posts, week after week.It’s a good and recommended read, but I’ve written better reviews and looked at other interesting material.
      I think there is little to link the quality of a post with the size of the readership.But I may be wrong.
      Anyway, I support good quality writing, which may be why your post on radio stories does so well. I’ll be over to look myself any day now!

      Thanks for the comment. Please come back again soon.

      Caroline.

  2. You’ve got me thinking (as ever) Caroline. hadn’t thought there could be so many different types of posts. Another source of variation for me is seriousness and humour. I try to vary the tone on my blog but not sure I always succeed.
    And another difference that springs to mind is how much the blogger is writing for his/herself and how much targeted at engaging other people.

  3. Eileen

    Another great piece Caroline, very useful.
    I particularly like the illustrations on this one – what a range!
    Keep going, they get better and better.
    Eileen.

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