Blog posts are one of the tools we use most often when it comes to growing our top-of-funnel traffic. If you're looking to quickly increase your organic traffic, and then segment those visitors based on their interest, having a solid blog post template is the first place you want to start.
At ClickMinded, 70% of our traffic comes from blog posts, so we know how powerful it is to invest time and resources into them. Compared to other types of content, they are relatively inexpensive, easy to create, and have a long life span.
In this post, we’re going to cover examples of content that work great for the top of the funnel. Plus, for each example, we’re going to dissect the formulas used - so you can copy them and apply them to your blogging. We are going over 6 types of blog content that work great for any business. Let’s dive into those now:
Types of Blog Post Templates
1) Walkthroughs/ How-to Posts
The first great blog post tactic is walkthroughs. We love walkthroughs at ClickMinded!
The walkthroughs are one of the easiest types of blog posts to create. Someone wants to learn how to do something, you know how to do that thing, then you teach them how to do that thing - pretty straightforward and simple.
The reason why there’s so many weak walkthroughs out there, is because bloggers don't go the extra mile of making it crazy, stupid, easy for the end-user to accomplish their goal.
The best walkthroughs include extremely detailed instructions with clearly defined steps, templates, resources, pictures, screenshots, and examples.
They make it so obvious how to go step-by-step all the way through and complete the end goal. You leave every detail on the page. That's the way to design the best walkthrough.
Let's look at some of the walkthroughs that we create here at ClickMinded.
We call this one our social media content calendar templates, and this is what it looks like:
People who want to read the walk-through usually have a very specific goal in their mind. And that's why we tell them exactly what they're getting right at the very top of the article.
We open with something like this:
This post will teach you the step-by-step process on how to create a social media calendar that helps you attract more traffic leads and sales from social media. Plus, we've included the exact template that you can use.
Now if you're looking for a social media content template and that opening sentence sounds attractive to you, you're likely going to commit to this post, and that’s how we like to start these things off.
This section lets readers know in less than five seconds that this post is exactly what they were looking for. When people first get to your page, they're still in that judgment phase a little bit like, “Am I in the right spot? Do I want a pogo stick back to the search result? What is this?”
You want to alleviate any of that uncertainty right away if you can.
1. Reinforce why this is important, sometimes by digging into the pain point
Next, we use our intro section to accomplish two very specific things. The first is to try and reinforce why it's important - sometimes by digging into the pain point of what users are trying to solve.
In the social media content calendar example, we say something like this:
You can imagine social media managers having these kinds of conversations at the office, being very frustrated and annoyed. So we're trying to dig into that pain point for these users.
2. Give them a reason to trust you
In the second one, we try to give the user a compelling reason for why they should trust us, as well as let them know they’re in the right spot. This template was designed by Jasmine Atherton, who has managed social media for companies like Airbnb and Delta.
The results speak for themselves. Then we have a couple of screenshots of some outrageous Airbnb social media posts that get insane amounts of engagement. There's our social proof right there.
At this point in the posts, we're hoping that the readers are fully convinced that this is the post for them. It's the answer to their problem and they're going to stay and commit. All that's left to do is to try and dive into it.
Pro tip: For very long walkthroughs, we provide a table of contents that people can use to navigate through it or jump to the particular section that's most important to them.
So you can jump to that section of the content if they need to.
Each step is explained in excruciating, detail. We have annotations, screenshots, examples, how to avoid mistakes, links to other resources, different things like that. Go through this again. It's just painful how detailed we get.
If you’re someone who’s just casually browsing the Internet, this is going to seem like overkill. But if you're someone who’s actively looking for this content, it's a dream come true! This is exactly why this type of content works so well. It’s highly relevant and useful to a small, focused target audience.
If you’re ready to get started, here’s a great tactic you can use before you create your next walk-through: Assume that every one of your readers is a complete beginner, and maybe even a step before that. Imagine they just woke up, they just entered this millennium and they just opened a computer for the first time. We take that angle by assuming that every one of our readers is a complete beginner.
Write each step in a way that they won't need to look anywhere else for more instructions.
Finally, it's safe to assume that someone who reads one of our walkthroughs and gets some success out of it is likely to become an eventual customer.
We try and kill it on every single one of these. If people get a lot of value out of the content, we’ve found that they very frequently will come back to our site.
Finally, we summarize the walkthrough by framing each step as an accomplishment, and then we encourage the user to take action.
Here’s what that looks like:
It’s important to remind your readers how much value they got out of the post, and summarize everything that it covered.
To summarize, here's the walkthrough formula that you can use in your post. If you're convinced to start writing walkthroughs, here's how you should do it.
- Start with the introduction right at the top: To describe exactly what they're getting, reinforce why this is important, and then demonstrate that you are trustworthy, that you are the person that they should be listening to.
- The table of contents: If it's really long or if you think it would be valuable to the user, that makes it easier to navigate to the walkthrough and jump to the section that they might need.
- The detailed steps: Excruciating details, instructions, tips, annotation screenshots, infographics, images. Imagine like they just opened a computer for the first time and they have no idea what they're doing. You want to go step by step, just completely overdo it if possible.
- The conclusion: You kind of want to overdo an overview of why what they learned and why their life is ultimately going to be better.
2) Mega Guides
Next up are Mega Guides. This is another fantastic top-of-funnel tactic that you can use. It is different from walkthroughs, but still extremely powerful.
Mega guides, are designed for deep dives on an extremely specific topic. You can use mega guides to cover a massive topic or complex topic and make it fun and easy to understand.
Make it a journey. While walk-throughs might be viewed as more transactional, with a clear start, clear finish and a clear end goal, a mega guide could be viewed as more like a mini college course on a particular topic. We like to make it fun and easy to understand and sort of gimmicky to some degree or a little bit more enjoyable than just a big wall of text.
We'll go through an example of how we like to do this. This is aimed at complete beginners.
For example, we noticed that when people are searching for a digital marketing strategy, most of the companies that had stuff that was ranking were offering blog posts with pretty generic tips or things like, “find inspiration” or “engage your audience”.
We didn't like a lot of the content that was ranking for this term digital marketing strategy.
That kind of stuff isn't going to help you to come up with a digital marketing strategy if you tell people to find inspiration. What we decided to do was create a ultimate guide around this topic. Let's take a look at our digital marketing strategy mega guide.
Reading a mega guide is a huge time commitment. It's a massive time commitment. We usually start by making it clear about what they're going to get out of it.
Most people won't give you the time of day because it's such a huge time commitment.
We want to let the user know exactly what they're going to get if they commit. So we started off with massively increased traffic and sales on any website with digital marketing.
Mega guides are guaranteed to be long and we always include a table of contents with these things, with walkthroughs, they're not necessarily always long.
With a mega guide, they're almost guaranteed to be very, very long, you almost have to have a table of contents because they're just too large. On top of that, we also allow searchers to download the mega guide and we take their email addresses in exchange.
We know most of the marketers aren’t going to read and consume the whole thing. We want to grab their email address if they do ultimately end up leaving. We like to start those mega guides right towards the top and with a call to action to grab that user's email address. Good for them, good for us.
We start by giving users a very high-level view of the topic.
We start at a high level on that subject. Then we break out all the main topic ideas of the guide into subtopics.
Subtopics are these individual components of a much larger picture. In this case, for this digital marketing strategy guide, here are our subtopics.
Those are all the kinds of subtopics within that mega guide. Each subtopic gets its own detailed explanation. It's a little lecture.
If this were a college course, each subtopic would be maybe a week's worth of content.
Finally, if the topic is very broad, we even create mega guides to do deep dives on some of those subtopics. Digital marketing is the mega guide we have, but individual channels are guides as well.
Each one of these is just as comprehensive as the original mega guide. It depends on your business, the search volume of the keywords, and how comprehensive the topic is. This is going to be a little bit of your preference, but you can often turn one of those subtopics back into a mega guide if it makes sense for your users.
With mega guides, you can continue going deeper and deeper into more specific topics if you'd like. Then you can link them all together. This is an amazing internal linking opportunity. This will serve as a massive resource for new visitors, you can become a fantastic place for anyone who's entering your industry to start their learning process.
To summarize, here's the mega guide formula that you can use for your posts that we have had a lot of success with:
Introduction: Clearly state the benefit of reading the guide and provide a little social proof if you can. This one is important because these mega guides are often big . People are going to bail if they don't understand what they're getting out of it.
Table of contents: You have to make it easy to navigate. This is more important with a mega guide than it is with a walk-through because mega guides are absolutely massive. Then you have a downloadable version so you make it easy for the user to download it. If they can't get through it, they can read it later. And you also grab their email address at the opportune time.
Subtopics: The detailed explanations of each component of the main topic of that guide.
(Optional) Other guides: It depends on how broad the category is. Giving them easy access to other guides or other resources if they want to go even deeper on those subtopics.
If you want to see the best examples of mega guides that break down complex topics, we highly recommend you check out the Wait But Why blog by Tim Urban?
3) Power lists
The next type of blog post for your top-of-funnel content is power lists. This is a fun one, not to be confused with the listicles or any of the low quality content that many clickbait sites use. Power lists are different, power lists go deep into every single item on the list. Power lists don't leave out any details. Instead of that, they lean into the details.
The details are important to power lists so readers don't have to look for more information in other places. It's not shallow, it's deep, it's a power list posts.
It goes extremely deep on each bullet point. So look into one of the power lists that we've created here at ClickMinded.
This is our SEO checklist and we're going to see here how this checklist works.
First, we like to make it clear that this isn't a typical top ten post. It isn't a typical kind of clickbaity type of thing. It's a very comprehensive list. In this example, it's 51 points, which is pretty large
Next, we state the benefits to the reader and we provide proof that we know what we're talking about.
We open it up and we say this is why you should listen to us.
Next, we grouped list elements into categories and we use those to build out a table of contents.
It makes it a little bit easier for the user and very good for SEO. Any time a user clicks one of those, they'll move down on the page to exactly that section of the checklist.
Unlike listicles, which just include a short blurb about each element, each power list element gets a detailed explanation, steps to get started, and links to more resources.
It's not one line and then an ad and then another line. Each line is a massive kind of thing. It's this whole writing process that your brain has to wrap around and you have more links to and you can get more ideas from.
We go through why it's important, screenshots, links out to other resources, and then we move on. It's an incredibly comprehensive single bullet point, which is the difference between a power list and just kind of clickbaity stuff.
To summarize, here’s the power list formula you can use for your posts:
- Introduction: Highlight how comprehensive the list is. You write the benefits to the reader and why they're in the right spot. You provide proof that they should trust you and that you know what you're talking about.
- Table of contents: This is optional, but pretty helpful. If you can pull it off, it makes it easier to navigate, especially if it's a very long power list.
- List elements: Every single one shouldn't be this fleeting kind of one or two-sentence thing. It should be very detailed, have explanations, screenshots, links out to other resources as well.
If you want to see more examples of power lists, check out the product reviews at WireCutter. They do a good job of this.
Let's talk about using stories in your blog post as a top-of-funnel content strategy.
A lot of people shy away from sharing stories because they don't believe it will help their business. We think this is a mistake.
A lot of people try to be very buttoned up. Even if your customer avatars are a very buttoned-up type of person, we still disagree that shying away from stories is a good idea.
Stories can be very powerful and helpful for your business. We've lost count of how many times a customer has told us they bought one of our courses or signed up for a product just because they liked the story.
They weren't even a true customer avatar or maybe even in the market for what we are doing. But they were attracted to the story and bought into the vision from theirs..
You can tell stories about you personally, about your company, a product, a campaign, the founder or employees at the company or customers showcasing customers at the company, almost anything that you want.
Let's look into one of the stories that we wrote that had a lot of success:
We have a post on our site that's called Burning the Boats: Going All-In on a Side Project.
A blog post on why Tommy quit arguably the greatest job in the world to go all-in on a side project, a digital marketing training course called ClickMinded. It's what you're reading right now.
First, we start with a summary that tells readers why they should care and leaves them wanting to learn more. That's the setup and it’s entirely up to you to read the rest of this post. It turns out that works very well and a lot of people read this post, which is an extremely long post.
Then, we break the story into “chapters”:
Each chapter includes plenty of details, screenshots, and images. As we go through the story, we like to go back in time and actually pull out screenshots or audio files or photos that depict what's happening. On top of that, we've got a lot of great feedback on this.
Plus, we don’t shy away from talking about mistakes. In this case, we're talking about a launch that we did that went very poorly. Turns out people seem to enjoy that.
Finally, we go over lessons learned:
Ultimately, there are many ways to write a story—so we don’t have a formula for you
But there is one thing that gets close to it.
The hero’s journey from Joseph Campbellis a storytelling template followed by many popular books and movies. Every single story ever follows this formula, or like every Disney movie follows this formula.
5) Case Studies
As with all of our blog posts, we try to start strong and catch people’s attention.
Next, we provide some context.
Then, we divide the case study into “chapters”.
Always trying to provide plenty of visuals that help illustrate your points.
In our case studies, we like to provide enough details that readers could potentially replicate our results.
Finally, we close the case study by explaining what we learned.
To summarize, here’s the case study formula you can use for your posts.
If you want an in-depth article and templates on crafting a powerful case study for your business, check out our article on 7 Powerful Case Study Templates.
6) Curated Resources
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information. It’s a great mission… but there’s one big problem.
When you have access to all of the world’s information, the challenge is finding the right information.
It's getting harder and harder and harder to sift through a lot of Google's results. If we go to Google right now and type in how to create a blog post, we’re going to get 12 billion results.
To make things worse, what makes it to the first page of Google is often not the content you need.
Curated resources solve this problem by providing hand-picked, high-quality information.
Let's dive into one of our favorite curated resources by UAB Coach.
Commercial and recreational drones have become extremely popular during the last few years. Since this is mostly a relatively new technology, regulations for drone usage are either non-existing, extremely complicated, constantly changing, and hard to find.
This is exactly the type of topic where a curated resource can be extremely helpful. First, they describe the problem people are facing when trying to find information about this topic.
Next, they simply list out an index of the locations users can check regulations for.
In the case of UAV Coach, it makes sense to use an alphabetical index, but you can consider grouping resources into more helpful categories in your post.
When you click on one of the links, you get a new post describing the location-specific regulations.
Each of these pages are “mini curated resources” for the regulations of a specific location. They contain links to the official pages where the regulation are published.
(Your curated resource doesn’t need to have 2 or more levels, this is just a great example of solving an incredibly complex topic).
To summarize, here’s the curated resource formula you can use for your posts.
Introduction: Explain the problem that your post solves, just like UAB did.
Index: You want to make it as easy as possible for users to navigate through the content you have. Group the resources in a way that's reasonable to your users. It can be alphabetical. It could be based on the most popular. It should be based on whatever is best for your users.
List out the resources: Provide context or a summary of what the user's going to get from each link in the resources and then try to include a comprehensive list of only the most high-quality stuff that you can find.
If it makes sense, a curated resource post is a fantastic strategy for your top-of-funnel content.
Get Your Free Blog Post Template To Create Great Content
Woot, we covered a lot today!
We talked about six different types of posts that you can write about, and why they are helpful for your business.
If you implement any of the blog post ideas we’ve mentioned above, you are sure to create value-packed blogs that get your reader excited to keep coming back!
If you are struggling to put together a new blog post, a blog post template can be very helpful. We’ve created a list of blog post templates to structure your post format and make them useful for readers.
Here’s a sneak peek:
Want it? Don’t forget to download it below!