5 Extraordinary Blog Post Types that Will Grow Your Audience Faster

5 Extraordinary Blog Post Types that Will Grow Your Audience Faster

If you’re working to build your blog’s audience, you can’t afford to waste time writing mediocre posts that don’t say anything useful or help your readers out.

You have to focus on what works and learn from techniques other successful bloggers have used to create huge followings. I like to say that you have to ruthlessly focus your efforts on those things that work, and stop spending precious time on things that don’t.

For every blog post you write, you should be asking yourself these two essential questions:

  1. How will this post deliver unmissable value to my audience? (also known as the “what’s in it for my readers” question)
  2. How can I present this information best so that it will be read and shared by as many people as possible?

When it comes to presenting the information in the best way possible, there are really two things to focus on most, headlines and something I’ll call post types here.

Headlines are utterly important. They have a specific job to do (getting people to click on your link to read more), and when done right, headlines can mean the difference between a dud post and a runaway viral hit.

If you’re not spending a lot of time crafting great headlines, you need to start now. Tim Ferriss wrote a fantastic post about how to write headlines that get retweeted. Check that out for some killer starter headline ideas.

Beyond headlines, there are certain types of posts that constantly attract more readers, comments, tweets, stumbles and links than other types of posts. What do I mean by “post types?” It’s more than just a headline. I’m talking about the overall structure and concept of a post. Frameworks, if you prefer.

If you study popular blogs, you’ll find a number of different post types that are constantly used and that constantly become the most popular posts on the web. I scoured several of the popular blogs that I read regularly for the most effective post types. I combined what I learned from those blogs with my own experience on this blog and at other blogs I’ve worked on.

I narrowed those different post types down to ten that will grow your audience much faster than the run-of-the-mill stuff you might currently be writing. Check these out, study them, and try them on your own site. You’ll be happy you did.

Here they are, 5 extraordinary blog post types that will grow your audience faster:

1. The Influential People Round-up Post

50 Netsetters You Should Know About

Flattery can definitely take you places online. When you mention someone in a post, there’s no question that the chances of that person sharing your post or linking to it are high.

And what’s better than mentioning one person in a post? How about featuring dozens of special people all in one round-up post? The “people round-up” post is highly effective not just because of the flattery factor, but also because it typically uses another effective type, the list post.

When the Netsetter blog (part of the Envato) network decided to relaunch, they were smart to ask Jade Craven to write a post for the relaunch week. Jade created a round-up post called 50 Netsetters You Should Know About (no longer live) that was a huge success.

I used this post type to grow my audience quickly myself when I was just getting started blogging in a post called 10 Digital Nomads to Learn From, and again in another post called 41 Creative and Adventurous Bloggers You Should Know.

2. The Over-the-top Generous Free Resource Post

Minimalist Workday: 50 Strategies for Working Less

Blog posts are a dime-a-dozen. You probably write one to three of them a week. There are millions published every day. So if you want to really grab people’s attention, you have to sometimes give more than just blog posts.

That’s where the “over-the-top generous free resource post” comes in.

Big name bloggers like Chris Guillebeau, Dave Navarro and Everett Bogue each support themselves by selling information products, like ebooks and online courses. But those guys all know that there’s a time to sell and a time to give things away.

That’s exactly what Everett did recently with his free eBook called Minimalist Workday: 50 Strategies for Working Less (no longer available), and it was a huge hit. The post announcing the book was retweeted nearly 300 times, and the book itself was downloaded over 5000 times in the first week alone.

Chris Guillebeau’s free eBook A Brief Guide to World Domination put him on the map in a big way, and has been downloaded over 100,000 times. The eBook formed the basis for his print book that just came out, The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World.

Dave Navarro used a similar strategy before releasing a product last year, and is doing it again by giving away some intensely valuable free videos ahead of his 2010 More Buyers Mastermind launch.

3. The (Almost) Too Good to Be True Post

From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs. of Muscle in 4 Weeks

When you read a blog post title that seems too good to be true, how can you not be compelled to read more? It’s a classic headline technique that just works.

The trick with writing about something seemingly impossible is that you have to deliver “the goods” so to speak, or your readers will be turned off by the bait-and-switch.

Tim Ferriss is a master of the “too good to be true” post type. He constantly pushes the limits of what you might think is possible on a range of topics from fitness to entrepreneurship. His book, The 4-Hour Workweek is an excellent example of this, and he relies on the framework in many of his most popular blog posts.

Check out two of Tim’s most popular posts of all time (which is saying a lot, considering how hugely popular the blog is overall). How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise and From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs. of Muscle in 4 Weeks (picture above) both seem far outside the realm of what’s possible, but Tim comes through with detailed proof about exactly how he achieved such superhuman results in both cases.

Glen Allsopp has also written some of his most popular posts over at ViperChill using this technique. Check out the super popular How a 3 Month Old Website Received 958,373 Visits from Google as an example.

4. The Soul-Baring Post

33 Things I’ve Never Told You

This is one post type I’ve had especially worthwhile first-hand experience with recently. A couple of months back, I decided to take the advice of some of the people I respect most online and dig deep to find my real voice and share it with my readers.

The result was a very personal post called 33 Things I’ve Never Told You (or, How to Re-Introduce Yourself and Kick Your Watered-Down Self in the Ass). It quickly became my most commented post and one of my most viewed posts overall.

Soul-baring posts are a great way to grow your audience because of how much they stand out. So much of what is published online is formulaic and lacks character or any real human connection. When you write something that people can really relate to on a personal level, you can form stronger bonds. These “soul-baring post” types tend to build true fans, the kind who will really pay attention to what you say and share it with friends.

Johnny B. Truant is great at writing in a relate-able style, and he does it by revealing intimate aspects of his personal journey, although interestingly enough he does it through a pen name. Check out his post called How To Be Real Online (And Get Paid For It). Naomi Dunford has arguably built her entire business around baring her soul while always providing great marketing and business advice. Just take a look at Entrepreneurship: What To Do When You’re Scared Sh*tless to see what I’m talking about.

5. The Ultimate Overview Post

THE Blogger’s Guide to Facebook

Finding helpful, in-depth and complete information online can be a challenge. How many times have you found yourself jumping from one article to the next, gleaming a scrap of info here, and another scrap there?

It’s so refreshing when you come across a complete resource that answers all of your questions in one place.

In “the ultimate overview post” type, your job is to create something so detailed and full of info that people don’t need to go anywhere else. That’s exactly what Adam Baker, Glen Allsopp and Pat Flynn have done with posts on each of their sites.

These posts could easily have turned into a book or downloadable guide, but these guys published them as blog posts, and that’s what makes them so unique and effective. As a reader, you feel compelled to share them with friends online because they’re so damn useful.

Check out these three examples of “ultimate overview” type posts:

Not surprisingly, each of these posts has been wildly successful for Glen, Pat and Adam, respectively, and I suspect they continue to drive new visitors to their sites every day. I know I refer to each of those posts on a regular basis.

The Powerful Element Each of these Have in Common

Fundamentally, all of these different post types share something that makes them work so well at attracting more readers. At the core each of them focus on creating content worth linking to or sharing.

It’s a simple formula, really. The two direct ways you can receive traffic to your blog is through either links or sharing on social media (search traffic is actually a result of linking, so I consider it a more “indirect” form of traffic).

When you’re growing an audience then, your goal has to be to create content that is worthy of being shared or linked to. Use the post types outlined above and you’ll be on the right track.

Have you tried these types of posts before? What other types of posts are most effective for you? We’d love to hear it, so please share in the comments.

photo by Michael Oh

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  • http://www.youngprepro.com/feed Onibalusi Bamidele

    Really great post Corbett,

    You really listed some great post types and I’ve tested number one before and it brought great result (I wrote a list of the most influential 16-year-old bloggers online).

    The ultimate posts also bring in great results for me and I will be giving the other post types a try.

    Thanks a lot for this great post,

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Hey Oni, thanks for sharing. I love how many really young bloggers are out there working your butts off. Imagine how successful you all will be by your 20s!

    • http://www.theremoneyeverywhere.com Vik Tantry

      I found this post through SPI and it is outstanding. I especially agree with the free giveaway concept. I just launched a “free article marketing guide” on my blog which I hope will put me on the path to what Everett has achieved.

      Good stuff!

  • http://www.rebeccaosberg.com Rebecca Osberg

    I’m happy to see I’ve already completed two of these posts. And you are completely right, they are some of my most visited posts and they drove more traffic to my blog than most. I also did a glossary post that seemed to really resonate with readers.

    Thanks for a great post.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Hmm, the glossary post idea sounds really interesting. I’m sure there are a lot of underserved topics that could use some concrete definitions. Nice work!

  • http://www.mediagrow.net Marios

    Great Post Corbett, The Ultimate Overview Post is my favorite it tells people what to do and how to do it, It gives them step by step instructions to follow,


    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Cheers Marios, thanks for the comment.

  • http://pursuitofchange.com Mike Tiojanco

    Thanks for the post Corbett.

    Something I’m actually starting to try is the interview post – get the double benefit of connecting with someone interesting and cross promoting two audiences.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Interviews are fantastic, aren’t they? Try interviewing 10 or more big names on a single topic and bundle those up into one post. You’ll get a lot of mileage out of a post like that.

  • http://www.marriedwithluggage.com Betsy Talbot

    Hey, Corbett. We’ve had a lot of success with the soul-baring type of posts, including the “things you didn’t know about me” meme you started. One thing I’d like to become better at doing is mixing it up to include other types of posts like you have above, especially the pillar type of content with overview posts. We did that with posts on how we sold our house in a down market and how we got rid of all our stuff, and people loved them. They take a lot of time to put together, but they are worth it. Thanks for the reminder to do more of those.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Selling your house in a down market sounds like a great post topic. I’m not surprised that one was popular. Good luck with exploring some other types.

  • http://lisasonorabeam.com/ Lisa Sonora Beam

    This is just great, Corbett. I couldn’t help but notice that this very post is a bit of a combo plate of everything you are mentioning. Great leading by example!

    Like Betsy mentioned above, I too jumped on your “things you didn’t know about me” post and so far it’s gotten the most comments and my readers are still talking about it, linking to it, and continuing the meme on their own blogs.

    Looking forward to trying some of these other types of posts. I write to help my readers, and it’s so helpful to have some guidelines and structure for the type of information that is really useful for people, while also building traffic.

    Here’s hoping for traffic jams of the good kind for all your readers!

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Glad you noticed, Lisa. I always try to practice what I preach, and most of the ideas just come from watching the best in the business.

      Congrats on the success of that “things you didn’t know about me” post. I see how many comments you’re still getting since I signed up for comment notifications. Nice work!

  • http://www.simplechecking.net/blog Matt

    As a supplement to #1, “Influential People”, I notice that the Think Traffic blog also occasionally invokes very current celebrity names (Lady GaGa, Diddy)…and yep, I always read those posts as a (sometimes) follower of celeb gossip! Thanks for the ideas -

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      It doesn’t hurt to name drop once in a while ;) Diddy himself retweeted a post that mentioned him here a couple of months back.

  • http://www.1yearsabbatical.com Matt

    Great post! I usually hammer the soul baring post to death so it’s good to be reminded that there are many different ways to present useful information and different people respond to different presentations.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Variety is a wonderful thing. Both for you and your readers.

  • http://www.nileguide.com/destination/blog/bryce-canyon-national-park/ Julie Trevelyan

    Great post, and yes–wonderful example by leading. Have bookmarked and am telling friends. Thanks for these easy-to-do yet truly excellent insights!

  • http://keepupwiththeweb.com Sherryl Perry

    I love the idea of an “Influential People Round-up Post”. I’ve been seeing a few Follow-Friday posts lately and have enjoyed reading them. I now realize that I’m being foolish by not incorporating posts like that in my blog. Thanks so much for another great post.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Let me know how it goes. Almost everyone I know who has done one of those posts has seen great results.

  • http://earlyretirementextreme.com Early Retirement Extreme

    6) Write about ideas that aren’t presented practically anywhere else. Of course these ideas have to serve an unfulfilled need. However, doing something different from everybody else is almost equally able to bring in readers than trying to do something better than everybody else.

    I should say that this is more of a strategy than an actual tactic. A consistent flow of originality is needed to gain readers this way.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Great addition! I always agree with differentiation over competition as a strategy.

  • http://www.jamienorthrup.com Jamie Northrup

    Unlike some of the other commenters, I haven’t completed any of them, but I have some in progress that match 4 of the 5.

    Great list :)

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr


  • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

    Thanks for the great post. I’ve started writing more from a personal perspective (and insight) and have found it to be very well received so far. It is a little mind-blowing how vulnerable I feel at times doing so. With the redesign of my site I’ve decided to go full throttle and take it to a completely new level. I’ll try a few of these techniques!

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Great point. These post types work, but I didn’t say they don’t require courage and effort.

  • http://www.smartpassiveincome.com Pat

    Corbett – I have to be honest, I don’t stop by here as much as I should. You provide so much great content and value, I should slap myself.

    Really though, this is a fantastic post and yes, that Facebook post is still driving a lot of traffic in as it’s become quite viral now. Those types of posts take a LOT of work…a lot, but it’s well worth it in the end.

    When are you free to be a guest on the SPI podcast to talk some traffic? :)

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Hey Pat, thanks for the comment. It’s always great to hear from someone I respect so much. You’re doing amazing things over at SPI!

      I’m available for a podcast whenever you want to set it up. Let’s do it!

  • http://lifeofthefreelancer.com Robert Dempsey

    Hi Corbett,

    Just started coming by and loving the great content, thanks!

    I do a ton of interview posts (2 per week) as part of the core content of my site. The benefits of these posts were already mentioned above. Other than that, I find that with whatever posts I do, to inject my personality into everything I do, so that no matter what type of post I write, my readers get to know more about me and how I am. It helps me to better connect with them, and to be sure that I have the right people in my tribe.

    I’ve already scheduled a “most influential” type post for the site based on your recommendation here. Thanks again.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Awesome, Robert. Good luck with the upcoming post. Let us know how it goes for you.

  • http://www.liferuleswork.com Adam

    Corbett, thank you for a great everything you need type post; I was particularly interested in the “How a 3 month old website ….” post @ Viperchill you linked to, reminded me how useful Glen’s stuff is.

    I’ve already tried the “Things you never knew about me” type post with some success.

    Lots of work to do now with new experiments and it’s all your fault :)

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Sorry for the homework, Adam. Hopefully you’ll appreciate it when you’re done ;)

  • http://nickstraffictricks.com Nick Stewart

    Thanks for another great post! Catchy headlines are a must for like Tim mentioned in his article. I am going to go retweet this article now!

    Nick, The Traffic Guy

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Awesome, Nick. Glad you liked it. Thanks for the tweet!

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  • http://www.TheSouthernInvestor.com Brooks – TheSouthernInvestor

    Corbett — I’m super ADD (was that a butterfly?!?) so I just a good blog by if I can make it to the end of the post or not. If I make a comment then I made it. Congrats! Following your blog starting today Sir.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Haha, I’ll take that as a good sign. Glad to have captured your attention briefly. Welcome!

  • http://Www.retireyoung.com.au Serena Star Leonard

    Great post, I just subscribed! I have used afew of these styles but with such intention, they just happened that way. I find that I get caught up in the schedule and the need to post on time which never fits with my style of writing epic blogs. I guees thats the holy grail, having enough time to post exactly what you want, as often as you want to!!

  • http://www.internetgeeks.org Azad @ Internet Geeks

    Awesome post, I got here from Pat’s blog and wondering why I had not subscribed to this blog. No more wondering just subscribed to your blog and will be coming often. I must must say blogging about solution to problems with not yet addressed it also a great way to get traffic.

  • http://www.thephilippinesproject.com Randall

    I think I will just print this out and make it part of my blogging textbook. This is so good and so full of great tips I will reference it often.

    Between you and Annabel Candy at http://ow.ly/2Nvka Get in the Hot Spot there is so much free information out there.

    Thanks for giving us such great posts, that is why I always come back.

  • http://akhilak.com/blog Akhila

    Great post, with a lot of great tips for me to implement. A lot of really good blog posts take time to write, and require you to be honest, open & transparent as well. It’s not something you can slap together in 30 minutes. You really have to spend the time on it. And usually, I don’t go the extra mile with my blog.. So thanks for the prompts!

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  • http://www.bloggingrevenue.net Eugene

    Great post!

    I actually came across this post from Pat’s site …I believe he was using something similar to that first technique you posted :)

    Really useful stuff though. I’m going to have try some of these out. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  • http://www.wearesolesisters.com/ lois

    What a valuable post! The sole sisters are definitely going to benefit from this and use it to help build our up and coming travel blog. Thanks Corbett!

  • http://true-money-success.blogspot.com josep

    Good info, I have just started. Thx for giving good, sensible info.

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  • http://www.bloggingvirgin.com Ryan

    Interviewing other experts (#1 on your list) is something I’ve seen Rob over at robswebtips.com do quite a bit and he’s got a ton of traffic from it since it’s completely new and valuable content.

  • http://proheatreview.com bissell proheat

    this is an influential article and motivate people to keep going with their website buildings. sometimes people do not have idea to add or manage their website. this can help them to generate idea to make their website more interesting especially for the beginner like me. i get influence with the example that you post here. thanks for the posting.

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  • http://www.CodrutTurcanu.com Codrut Turcanu

    You might want to include this inside the first type of post

    40 Bloggers to Watch in 2011

    What do you say? :)

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Great example, great list, thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.cashcampfire.com Christina Crowe

    Wow, what a well put together list. While I already have first-hand experience doing the last post type on the list, I haven’t yet tried the others.

    In the coming months, I’m definitely going to get the ball rolling. Thanks for the inspiration! This deserves a retweet. :)


  • http://www.selfhelpdaily.com Joi

    Excellent tips! I actually jotted down a few notes… can’t remember the last time a blog post made me do that. I now have a dozen ideas for each of my 10 blogs…

    …better get started!

  • http://marketingodyssey.blogspot.com Tim

    Great post, Corbett. I’ll have to start working on at least a few of these. The Soul-Bearing post should be easy. Not sure about the others, but it’s nice to have a short list of great suggestions. Thanks. ^_^

  • http://www.kittywumpus.net/blog/ Cat Rambo

    Great post, thank you. I’m teaching a Blogging 101 class and will be pointing students towards this.

  • http://www.spunkyjones.com/ Spunky Jones SEO

    About six months ago, I started working on writing better titles. I have found that I get more visitors from the search engines. However, now, I have to write content that will backup the title of the post.

    It is all about content and the value it is for the readers.

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  • http://www.ravisagar.in Ravi Sagar

    I have been bloggin for a long time and never really been able to make my blog popular. Writing dull posts with focus was the main reason. After reading this I am motivated to write useful content. Thanks!

  • http://www.sadielankford.com Sadie

    When I saw there were only 5 examples in this post I thought “ugh”, but they’re great examples and I’m glad I stuck around to read them! Thanks!!

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  • http://www.herviewphotography.com Darlene

    Corbett your link to the article 50 Netsetters You Should Know About seems to be broken, FYI.

    • http://www.herviewphotography.com Darlene

      this one too 33 Things I’ve Never Told You (or, How to Re-Introduce Yourself and Kick Your Watered-Down Self in the Ass). and I wanted to read that, it is located somewhere else now?

    • http://www.pocketchanged.com Caleb Wojcik

      Hi Darlene,

      Looks like that post doesn’t exist anymore. :/

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  • http://www.thebigtraveltheory.com Clayton

    These are all great posts, they just take so much time to make that it wears me out at times. Sometimes I just wish that I could come up with more epic posts. Writing all the stuff in between keeps me pretty drained as well. These are good post types to write.

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