3 High-Performing Blog Post Templates
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3 High-Performing Blog Post Templates: Just Copy and Assign (With Live Examples)

How do you create a high-performing blog? Well, it all starts with the structure of your blog posts. And that starts with setting up your writers for success with strategically crafted blog post templates. Here we offer a few of our proven best.

So many sites offer downloadable blog post templates that are nothing more than flimsy bullet lists without a glint of editorial thought or specificity. Quite frankly, it’s sad… for the writers who receive them. Unless you’ve been working with a writer long enough to be on the same wavelength, you — the brand or editor — need to be more specific about the purpose, story, and particulars of any blog post or article you assign.

With content creation, instruction is everything. And you can’t expect the writer’s intent to come across in their words unless you make your needs and intent clear to begin with. If you expect to assign a series of blog posts or articles that follow similar formats, you should spend extra time fleshing out more thorough templates. So we’ve rounded up three of our most effective ones for creating high-performing, long-form content.

These approaches are proven winners, people. They’ve garnered well over a million organic visits. And they help foster a more harmonious content review process, too.

Smarter blog post templates for effective content

You can copy each of our blog post templates and tweak them for your own needs. But please don’t forget to contextualize, contextualize, contextualize them for your own brand. These are just starting points. You’ll find many variations in our published examples based on these templates.

In all of the templates, H2s and H3s note which sections should begin with custom H2 or H3 header copy. As with any assignment or template, please integrate your own SEO guidelines and specifications that you don’t mention in your general content style guide.

Smarter blog post templates for effective content: graded comparison.

1. Graded comparison

When it comes to building trust and expertise, the graded comparison is a tried-and-true method to lend credibility to your brand or outlet, depending on your industry and company mission. The key, however, is to be transparent with your methods and never — never — grade yourself or your competitors.

The graded comparison approach works best for creators who are thought leaders in an industry, those who can be objective third parties while offering assessments of products, services, or practices important to their industry as a whole. Once you finish your first graded comparison, you can refresh a post with periodic reviews and updated grading, perhaps annually or for another set period.

Graded comparison blog post template:

Snippet Intro 30-50 words — Imagine this snippet being spoken aloud as a promo. Think of it as a teaser summary. Why are your grades important? Mention the category of the [products/services/practices] and the specific names of the entities being graded. The primary keyword phrase must be included.

Article Overview50-100 words — Introduce the category with either a commonality or personal perspective.

H2 – Why [Category] Is Important to [Group, Goal, or Topic]?  — 100-200 words — In order to better establish your objectivity, provide the reader with a broader understanding of why the overarching category of the [products/services/practices] is important. Address the needs of the personas you are addressing, their goals, or topics of concern.

H2 – Address a Common Issue 150-300 words — Address an issue common for anyone involved in the [category, group, goal, or topic] that the [products/services/practices] help solve. The subtext of this section is to convey your sympathy or understanding with your personas, to build trust and authority. Within the section include a numbered or bulleted list of at least three helpful points related to the issue. Each point should be at least 20 words.

H2 – Choosing a [Generic/Category Name for Product/Service/Practice]100-200 words — Provide an overview of the important aspects in choosing one [product/service/practice] over another within the [category/industry]. Clarify your judging criteria and provide a bulleted list with a brief description of each criterion.

H2 – Review of [Product/Service/Practice]200-500 words for each [product/service/practice] — When you are reviewing the [products/services/practices] you must apply the same parallel structure to each, not only for consistency for comparison but for fairness as well. Please use the same format and start each [product/service/practice] with a H2.

  • Brief Overview under 100 words
  • H3 – Pros/Strengths 100-200 words
  • H3 – Cons/Weaknesses 100-200 words
  • H3 – Qualified Metricunder 50 words — Share common pricing, stats, or standardized metrics that are public and useful in consideration of use or purchase.

H2 – Grading Criteria 50-150 words

  • Contextualize the system for grading. Use either a scale of 1 to 5, or of 1 to 10 for each criterion, with 5 and 10 being the highest/best grades respectively. Offer your thoughts on the “winner,” based on your grades. Do not disparage those who scored lower. Be as fair and matter-of-fact as possible.
  • Grade 3-10 criteria for each product/service.
  • Provide the data for a graded comparison chart.

H3 – Who should use [Product/Service/Practice]? each under 100 words — For the conclusion section, offer educated analysis (based on your grading) that summarizes who would benefit from or be a best fit, with a paragraph for each [product/service/practice].

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Examples of the graded comparison blog post template in use:

When it comes to building trust, the graded comparison is a tried-and-true method to lend credibility to your outlet. | #ContentMarketing | #Writing Click To Tweet

How-to blog post template.

2. How-tos with “do’s, don’ts, examples”

How-to articles are everywhere. Yet most are generic copycat fare crafted for search engine desperation. Although there is definitely a need for the basics — you know, the 1-2-3 step-by-step generica for simple everyday stuff like “how to make sure your phone isn’t listening” — when all your competitors do the same thing, you need to aim higher.

Smart people crave more. So please feed their heads with elevated thinking. If you’re covering topics that are more nuanced, well, then your how-to content ought to be more nuanced as well. Offer the expertise of experience with content that proves you’ve “been there, done that,” and share clear examples so others can learn for themselves.

We’ve found the “do’s, don’ts, examples” paradigm to be the perfect fit just for that, one of our most effective blog post templates in terms of educating and engaging. And a bonus is that you can update examples over time to refresh the post and further boost SEO with the 20/20 Refresh Rule.

Best tip for do’s, don’ts, and examples

The key to this format is using the same number of do’s, don’ts, and examples, as the repetition of a single number enhances focus, engagement and memory. The most effective number sets are 3-3-3 for simpler topics that need few examples; 5-5-5 for average topics; and 10-10-10 for highly nuanced topics that have countless examples for you to curate. Curation is key.

“Do’s, don’ts, examples” how-to blog post template:

Snippet Intro 30-50 words — Imagine this snippet being spoken aloud as a promo. Think of it as a teaser summary. Provide a key definition or raison d’être suitable for the how-to topic you’re covering. The primary keyword phrase must be included.

Introduction 100-200 words — To establish expertise and authority, you can offer a historical tidbit related to the topic or express a common, relatable issue. You’re welcome to use a judicious amount of wit or humor to engage readers on a higher intellectual level. Think smart. Write smart.

H2 – Distinguish nuanced approaches to the topic (optional) 100-300 words — If the topic you’re covering encompasses multiple approaches or subtypes (e.g., different types of leads in the “How to Write a Good Lead” post), offer a section that lists and defines them. You can approach this section as if you were a mentor, not a basic instructor. Write with experience.

H2 – Help the reader decide how to approach the task in general (optional)  — 100-200 words — If your topic is highly nuanced, offer the reader general guidance and context that applies to any approach or subtype.

H2 – How to _______: Top X do’s 10-80 words for each “do” — Craft an enumerated list. Start each list item with an imperative H3 starting with “Do…” Try to keep the word count consistent for each do.

H2 – How to _______: Top X don’ts 10-80 words for each “don’t” — Craft an enumerated list. Start each list item with an imperative H3 starting with “Don’t…” Try to keep the word count consistent for each don’t.

H2 – How to _______: Top X examples 10-80 words for each “example” — Craft an enumerated list. Start each list item with an H3 imperative sentence or label (whichever you chose, use the same format for all the examples). The more nuanced the topic, the more nuanced your examples should be. Avoid being repetitive. Use a variety of examples that capture a similar variety of instructive points. Try to keep the word count consistent for example. Cite highly credible, vetted sources when apropos.

# # #

Examples of the “do’s, don’ts, examples” how-to blog post template in use:

How-to articles may be ubiquitous. But if you learn how to make them smarter, you can score more traffic than you dreamed. | #ContentMarketing | #Writing Click To Tweet

Educated listicle blog post template.

3. Educated Listicle

Listicles are the kudzu of content. They creep into every content feed you’ve likely ever seen. And just why is that? Well — to get a little meta — NPR did a listicle on just that. And so did the BBC, as well a listicle’s worth of other sites.

People. Love. Lists.

But doesn’t that mean you need to drown your brand in rando BuzzFeed meme-ry. According to researchers at Northwestern University, lists help us make sense of the overwhelming data we encounter in our lives, which are filled with nonstop decision-making.

So to make the most of the listicle format, especially in the realm of content marketing, make your list more educational with contextual information. And that’s the key to our spin on the listicle, which we’ve used to much success in multiple variations.

Educated listicle blog post template:

Snippet Intro 30-50 words — Imagine this snippet being spoken aloud as a promo or as an educational hook. Think of it as a teaser to let the reader know the article isn’t an ordinary, dull listicle. Provide a key definition or raison d’être suitable for the topic you’re covering. The primary keyword phrase must be included.

Introduction 100-200 words — To establish expertise and authority, you can offer a historical tidbit related to the topic or express a common, relatable issue. You’re welcome to use a judicious amount of wit or humor to engage readers on a higher intellectual level. Think smart. Write smart.

H2 – Establish what you want people to learn from the listicle 100-300 words — If the topic you’re covering encompasses multiple lessons you want to get across, please include additional sections of consistent length, with additional H2s.

H2 – Contextualize the listicle itself additional 50 words optional — Provide a header with a primary keyword that introduces the listicle. Add up to 50 words for an intro paragraph, if necessary.

Include [number] of listicle items. Repeat a parallel structure for each listicle item:

  • Write 50-200 words for each. Choose a length and try to be consistent.
  • Remember you want to add insightful information to contextualize the listicle item. Include original thought and examination. Don’t regurgitate others’ opinions.
  • If you choose to break the content for each listicle item into smaller contextual sub-sections, introduce each sub-section with brief bold-text headers and be consistent in your format for all listicle items. Example: If this was a listicle on new books, the sub-sections could be What It’s About (50-80 words), Why It’s a Must-Read (50-80 words), or Who Loves It (20-40 words).

H2 – Include optional listicle of abbreviated items for further information. If in your research you found items that were interesting but didn’t lend themselves to in-depth context, you could add them here in a short-form bulleted list. Do not include a “conclusion” paragraph, as it is unnecessary.

# # #

Examples of the educated listicle blog post template in use:

Listicles may be the kudzu of content. But if you learn how to make them smarter, you can score more traffic than you dreamed. | #ContentMarketing | #Writing Click To Tweet

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Justin McKinley

About Justin

Justin McKinley is the Head of Content at ClearVoice. He has led national editorial teams, online and offline campaigns, and influencer partnerships at Fortune 100 companies, including TimeWarner and AT&T. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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