Blog engagement is a fickle metric.
Sometimes it’s hard to quantify why it happens for some types of blog posts but not others – especially if your posts and articles are pretty consistent, quality-wise.
If more/better engagement is one of your content goals, you need concrete data to help you decide what to post types you need to see improved numbers. Guesswork will NOT work. In fact, measuring and tracking your content goals/results is an integral component of a successful content strategy – a concept I teach in my Content Strategy & Marketing Course.
That’s why I’m sharing one major method I use to research content types to focus on for awesome engagement. It sings to this tune:
Using the BuzzSumo Content Analysis Report to Research the Best Types of Blog Posts
For my content platform, the Write Blog at Express Writers, I use BuzzSumo to monitor my top-shared blogs and their respective engagement statistics. This gives me a high-level overview of what blog types have performed well, and a blueprint for what to focus on in the future.
The main BuzzSumo feature I look at for this purpose is the “Content Analysis”.
It’s a report that breaks down the total engagement on all your posts, including engagement by content type, by content length, date published, and more. It also lets you filter the results by date, so you can see what’s performing right now, within the past 5 years, or a date range you specify.
Digging into the “Content Analysis” report has uncovered the top 5 content types that tend to perform best for us:
- Original research
- Thought leadership
- Non-generic roundups
- Case studies
- Original concepts
In particular, these content types rise to the surface when I look at the top-performing pieces of content on our site.
For inspiration for your own content, let’s break down each type and look at examples from our top pieces on the Write Blog. These data-backed content types have earned us killer engagement, and may just work for you, too.
5 Top Types of Blog Posts for Engagement Beyond Belief
Each of these content types represents the posts that get the most engagement at Express Writers, according to BuzzSumo. They’re tried-and-true winners you should give a shot for your future content creation.
1. Original Research
Original research is a big deal in content marketing. According to a BuzzSumo + Mantis Research report, the marketing-focused benefits B2Bs regularly see from research they undertook and published themselves include:
- Social shares
- High-profile mentions from bloggers, influencers, media, etc.
- New subscribers
- And more
On the Write Blog, we have seen our posts featuring original research soar. Particularly, we partnered with BuzzSumo to create an original research study on the top 100 content marketers in the industry. This is our top-performing post to date.
To create this post, we dove deep into BuzzSumo data. We cross-examined Top Authors and Top Influencers for “content marketing”, then looked at who is active in the community of digital/inbound marketing and content marketing. We looked at teams, individual marketers, men, women, and head honchos alike.
Why This Type of Blog Post Performs: Original research content takes oodles of time, effort, analysis, brain power, and investment, but it pays off. This piece, for example, earned a spot in Google’s featured snippets for “top 100 content marketers”:
This post is killing it in traffic, and it’s all thanks to our in-depth, valuable, and unique original research.
2. Thought Leadership
Thought leadership-style content can be defined as any blog post or article that displays your authority, expertise, and originality of thought as a leader in your industry.
Our second most-shared content piece at EW falls under this content type: How to Find Your Brand’s Unique Content Differentiation Factor and Use It to Your Advantage.
In this post, I discuss an original concept I came up with, the “content differentiation factor”, including a definition, examples, and how to find your own CDF.
In short, this concept has to do with differentiating yourself from your competition, setting your brand apart, and standing out online – something I know backward and forward from 7+ years deep in the trenches of the industry. I can speak about it with authority and experience, which gives this blog big-time value.
Why This Type of Blog Post Performs: Thought leadership posts are worthwhile because they act as glimpses into your brain. Imagine meeting an industry peer or newbie over coffee and offering them mentorship, advice, and insight – that’s the essence of thought leadership content.
If you have a topic you can truly own from your individual formula of experience + authority, you have the equation for this type of share-worthy content.
3. Non-Generic Roundups
Roundup posts are engagement gold. This content type belongs to the broader category of list-type content, which you can always count on for stellar results.
When you take roundup posts one step further and do non-generic roundups, you’ll hit the double-whammy of a list post + unique, stand-out content.
What do I mean by non-generic? Short answer: Any type of link roundup that includes specific people, resources, etc. which people may not be aware of.
If, on the other hand, you create a roundup post with the same-old, same-old names that your audience has seen thousands of times, your post won’t stand out or enjoy higher engagement. The key is to think outside the box and feature lesser-known entities that deserve a wider audience.
Our third most-shared post that falls under this content type is 31 Interesting SEO Experts to Follow & Learn from on Twitter.
Why This Type of Blog Post Performs: The key word here is non-generic. The above roundup post is non-generic and share-worthy for a few reasons:
- It includes a LOT of links.
- It features a good amount of lesser-known Twitter accounts alongside the ones you’d expect.
- It includes valuable information about each account to help you decide right away whether you’re interested in checking them out.
Keep in mind: Your link roundup doesn’t have to have the same features as ours to be non-generic. Try to think of ways to include unique/valuable information in your list to set it apart from similar ones.
4. Case Studies
Technically, case studies fall under the umbrella of original research. Despite that, I’m listing them as a unique content type because they convey specific information:
- Brand successes/failures
- Step-by-step of how you improved particular results over time (in content marketing, this tends to refer to engagement, traffic, leads, sales, etc. through content marketing techniques and processes)
Case studies are immensely valuable in terms of original research because they show how you achieved tangible results (or learned from mistakes) so others can benefit.
On the Write Blog, our fourth most-shared content piece is a case study: Blogging ROI Case Study: How 18,000 Keywords in Google Bring Us Six-Figure Income Months.
In this piece, I outline a typical problem plaguing many marketers (creating content but not seeing results) and explain how our content strategy has helped us not only buck this problem, but conquer it.
Why This Type of Blog Post Performs: If you have managed to achieve something awesome through a repeatable process, a case study is a great way to share that. Best of all, this type of post will always be unique (read: valuable) because it uses your individual data and your personal experiences.
5. Original Concepts
The original concepts that spring from your gray matter are perfect content fodder.
This content type falls under the broader category of thought leadership. I’m giving it its own category, however, because it’s a bit more specific.
Original concepts are easily defined as your uniquely developed ideas. You may have taken inspiration from somewhere, but as the seed of the idea grew, you cultivated it and made it yours.
The 5th most-shared content piece from the Write Blog falls under this category: Goodbye, Sales Funnel & Hello, Marketing Lifecycle.
In this post, I present my conceptualization of the marketing lifecycle – the antithesis to sales funnels. Based on the success I have seen using content marketing for my brand, I developed a unique flowchart that maps how prospects turn into loyal customers and brand advocates. It’s the 21st-century buyer’s journey.
I chart the birth of this concept, how it grew, how I refined it, and why I think it needs widespread adoption in the industry.
Why Type of Blog Post Performs: Posts like this only work if you know your stuff inside-out. You MUST be the expert, not to mention able/willing to answer questions and objections. If you can present a unique concept from a place of expertise and innovation, people will recognize and appreciate your originality of thought. Usually, that translates into engagement and buzz around your content piece.
In Content, Originality of Thought Wins
Have you noticed what all these engaging types of blog posts have in common?
All of them use originality of thought in some form, whether it springs straight from your brain or relies on original research.
To get noticed in the sea of same-old, same-old content, you have to stand out. You have to be unique, daring, and original. The BuzzSumo data backs that up, and it doesn’t lie: Our most-shared blogs at EW fall under this definition.
Yet another guide or how-to post on a tired topic won’t do much, anymore – unless you can put your original stamp on it.
Lean into original research and your original thoughts to create content people will gravitate toward, naturally. You’ll be a breath of fresh air in the stale, musty warehouse of overused content ideas.