10 ways to boost blog shares and comments

If readers aren’t engaging with your posts as much as you’d like, it might be because you’re writing the wrong content. Try one of the following formats, and get ready to watch the comments roll in.

During a recent marketing conference, I had some great conversations about the state of blogging.

Everyone was talking about how comments are dead, no one shares anything anymore and readership continues to decline. We all need to reach new audiences, but there isn’t a great way to do it.

Facebook sponsored posts work to some degree, as do other types of advertising, but what are we to do?

As it turns out, there is content you can create that will get lots of shares and comments.

Following is a list of 10 types of blog posts that still spark engagement:

1. The manifesto post: A few years ago, Chris Brogan blogged about three words he was going to use as his manifesto for that year-kind of like a New Year’s resolution. He’s done it every year for the past four years, and many bloggers have followed suit, including Mitch Joel and Felicity Fields. Not only does such a manifesto help you think through your New Year’s resolutions, but it holds you accountable to your readers.

2. Newsjacking: This works incredibly well if you do it right. I’m not talking about writing a post like “The Three Marketing Lessons You Can Learn from Celebrity Deaths.” But what you can learn from the PR disaster that is Wells Fargo. Consider how you can derive helpful lessons from what’s happening in the news.

3. A debate: We often commiserate that there isn’t enough debate in the blogosphere, so why not create it? That’s what Paul Sutton and I do about once a year. Sometimes one of us plays devil’s advocate so we can show both sides of an argument. We’ve debated both Pinterest for business and freelancer versus agency.

4. The good: I was a bit leery about showcasing good PR case studies, but the tactic works well if it’s researched, well-written and provides valuable lessons. I tested this theory with how FedEx handled a customer service crisis with video, and it’s one of my most popular blog posts.

5. The bad: It’s no surprise that people share bad case studies over and over. Earlier this year, Honda recalled even more vehicles, and the communication around it was, well, severely lacking. Most people discovered their cars were recalled after seeing friends post about it on Facebook. It was really bad.

6. The ugly: Let’s be real: People like train wrecks. They can’t stop watching. If you can figure out how to write about a train wreck without attacking someone, your post will be popular. Ragan often does a nice job of this by using terms such as “most hated” in their headlines. It grabs attention and makes people want to read and share. (Editor’s note: Thanks for the shout out, Gini!)

7. Lists: People like lists. (You’re reading one now!) Nate Riggs is an expert on them. In fact, he led a webinar on the topic. Lists are easy to read, or bookmark and return to later. Make sure you include the number of items on your list in the headline.

8. Freebies: Give stuff away! You could give away a book a friend wrote, a collection of free eBooks by other bloggers or your own eBook. Danny Iny does a fantastic job of this. You can download three pieces of extraordinarily valuable content right from his home page. (I recommend it. You’ll learn a ton.)

9. Ranked lists: I don’t do this on my blog because, well, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. This works really well for other bloggers, though. Cision, InkyBee and many others rank the top PR blogs every year. The InkyBee post has more than 2,000 shares. In today’s world, where shares are a premium, that’s impressive.

10. The “something of the year” (or month or week) post: Just as People publishes its “Sexiest Man Alive” issue, you can do the same for your niche. Write about an app of the month or a productivity tool, as Michael Schechter did with his Perfect Computer blog post. I publish the Spin Sucks Inquisition every Friday, and others do monthly book reviews. Figure out your topic, and then determine how often you’ll write about it (annually, quarterly, monthly or weekly).

What other content types drive comments and shares in today’s attention-deficit blogosphere?

A version of this article originally appeared on Spin Sucks.

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