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3 Ideas for Moving Beyond List Posts: Creating an Experiential Blog

A guest post by Tara Gentile of Scoutie Girl.

As a design & craft blogger, I often struggle with putting tips from sites like Problogger into practice. But I diligently mull them over and translate them to fit my needs. One tip I struggle with regularly is mastering the art of the “list post.”

You know, the “5 Tips for Yada Yada” or “7 Ways to Blah Blah” posts. Sure, these posts are helpful. I like reading them. I frequently glean good information from them. They really work to provide useful, actionable information in an easy-to-read form. They attract traffic to information-driven blogs where people come with real problems seeking concrete answers.

But I don’t write that kind of blog.

My blog, Scoutie Girl, is much more experiential. It’s driven by images, creativity, and stories. Readers come to my blog and others in my niche to experience the artistry & passion of others. Perhaps, when it comes down to it, that’s why readers visit your blog too…

Do your readers long to connect to something greater than themselves? Are they searching for a little inspiration in a crazy world? Maybe they crave a bit of humanity or to know that they’re not alone.

Perhaps, our blogs are not so different.

Ironically, I present you with 3 ideas for implementing a bit of “experience” into your blog:

  1. Consider a lesson from your past that has shaped who you are, why you blog, or what you blog about. Share this story with your readers, embrace the personal introspection that you’ll need to endure, and find common ground with your readers when they comment in response to your post. Tell your story succinctly but completely, include details,  free yourself from a few boundaries. Use telling your story to set up a narrative around the point you are trying to make or problem you are trying to solve with your post. Once you’ve told your story, don’t just revert to your information-driven style, embrace the narrative and let the lesson flow.
  2. Take the time to source creative or inspirational images for your posts. There is so much more out there than stock photography. Check out the Flickr Creative Commons and use the “Attribution” library to find images that photographers would love for you to use, if you just provide them with a little credit! If you’re feeling especially brave, you might allow a post to be driven by a fascinating image that you find while browsing.
  3. Bring in unrelated inspiration. I am constantly amazed how much inspiration I can draw from just listening to public radio, watching good (and, yes, lots of bad) television, or watching my daughter interact from the world. None are directly related to what I blog about but each has provided fodder for some of my most popular posts. Allow yourself to be inspired by outside interests and you might hit pay dirt!

These posts my be more difficult to optimize for search engines but they are sure to engage your readers and elicit great comments. I’m betting you’ll see a nice little surge in social sharing, too! A foray into more “experiential” blogging might just give you the opportunity you’ve been looking for to reach a new level of connection with your audience. It has for me.

Tara Gentile is the editor of Scoutie Girl, the blog with a penchant for the passionately handmade, and the owner for a boutique web design business. You can also find her blogging on her personal site, Write Well, Create Often.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Every now and then I do the Numbered List post, but for the most part, I think my blog stands out because I inject my heart and a bit of my life into my posts.

  2. Writing from memories and experience works for me. It takes your post in a deeper and more personal level, allowing your readers to connect with you more, make you more human in their eyes.

  3. Pete says:

    Nice ideas….
    Photos and videos are great engagement tools.
    A great photo or an inspirational video can give a memorable experience for the visitors, hence it is more probable they will come back

  4. AdsPro24 says:

    images and list are what people love!

  5. Linda says:

    A picture tells a thousand stories so they say. I hate to see big chunks of text so boring.

  6. Ikenna says:

    You are right about that. I’ll go give it a try, Although i’ve done a few list posts that worked magic.

  7. Thank you for the article, Dawn! It has reminded me that we can not blanket all blog readers into the same category,and that blog a blog’s subject matter and purpose influence how information is best presented. For example, business and social media blogs tend to attract people looking for quick information, and lists are preferable to these readers because they are quick and digestible ways to obtain information. For your readers, who are coming to Scoutie Girl to be inspired and admire beauty and art, visual and personal posts are most appealing.

  8. WPExplorer says:

    I am so sick of list-style blog posts. They were nice for the first few months now its the only thing people do.

    I want to read some content! Not just see a bunch of pictures with links.

  9. Sarah says:

    Awesome Post Tara! Love your challenge of what seems to be boring blog convention. list posts make me tired! So glad to see you, our local blogger-goddess here on Pro Blogger.

  10. Glen says:

    I love lists posts as I think they are the most clear way to represent my content saying that I do add a picture to every post to give it more of a personal touch.

  11. Richard says:

    embrace the narrative and let the lesson flow. I like that phrase Tara. I’m starting to feel inspired. Being your natural self when writing can only put a dynamic approach to your style. Human experiences brings the best out of people.

  12. Mannnn I have about 20 blog posts to make just based on the first HALF of these comments. First, you’re not going to make everyone happy no matter what you post, lists or stories. Second I will personally never care about your stories until you are able to teach me something. Sorry not all of us use the web to just kill time. Third, why not make a point after your story as to what “I” can learn from your experience? …maybe even make a short “list” of takeaways like I just did here. My point is that just “hating” lists of any kind on all blog posts is a very strong hate…and missed opportunity.

  13. Really good tips. I have seen people run entire blogs just by doing unrelated posts that are linked to the topic in some way. But lists are also really good tools for gaining traffic. They need to go viral a lot more, and they are really popular. Used to too much against extent, though, readers can become annoyed. I do a list post every few days (I post at least twice a day), and they get at least much more traffic as my normal posts, mainly from social bookmarking.

    Funny how this post is a list post.

  14. Mike says:

    Totally agree.

    Something I try to do is weave a number of great points into my articles without necessarily always putting them in a numbered list.

    One way you can do this is by coming up with three or four compelling questions your audience is thinking about then answer them one at a time.

    Thanks for the great post

  15. My blog generally juggles two themes. One is investing. The other is fantasy/sci fi reviews of all mediums. This is a rather broad subject blog, which can confuse approachers, but I feel this is rather congruent to me, even if speculative and tentative.

    I’ve always beared a deep rooted love for the latter subject, which comes out of my keyboard at locomotive speeds. The former is something I feel is a subject, while just as close to my heart, is important to consider in this inflatable age.

    Having gandered at the simple, intuitive approach to your blog, it would be perfect for the quick fix audience, the anti-thesis of the audiences I’m seeking. I guess there’s a blog for everyone, eh?

  16. Murlu says:

    It’s amazing what a great story you could tell people just by bringing up something about your past.

    Just think about it, when you’re at a party and you’re chit chatting, what do you talk about?

    Your experiences.

    But when we blog, we often talk about the future or current events. How to articles on the latest trends.

    Why not go ahead and dig up some of your past, integrate links and media with your story to build powerful content.

    Not only will you share more about yourself (thus helping to build a relationship) but you’ll be creating timeless content people will remember.

  17. wow. Writing about your past experience? Will this blogging idea will prosper and gain traffic for your blog?

    If your past experience have a lot of keywords you can incorporate so that the post can be discovered by search engines, that would be better.

  18. I talked to this person for a long time a while back, But they couldnt reveal who they were… I only knew them by their email address which brought me to this post, how ominous!