[This is the best piece of advice I can give you in developing content...Don’t follow a format…just don’t.  Yes, there are things that should be done to make every blog post a positive, technical asset in terms of link building & brand awareness.  Not one of these things should alter your writing style/voice.  The mantra of Content is King is more relevant today than ever before (Read this amazing post on content amplification, the most important piece to consider before pushing publish).  The types of things that need to be done for bots to crawl/index WordPress are not so much visual but technical; the little minute details that tend to be over-looked like alt text and meta descriptions.  Try not to blog based on a schedule (unless a lack of a schedule causes a lack of posts...duh); schedule driven posts can lack creativity, passion, and uniqueness because they were developed under a time constraint.(Which can and does affect the tone of the post)  The more authentic and organic, the more people will be drawn to it.  Post based on your own creativity and inspiration.  People will view regularly scheduled posts as just corporate strategy.  There’s more than enough content out there to write about, frequency won’t be an issue because you should always be reading something new, researching, comparing, reviewing, etc.]

With that in mind…here’s a bunch of formatting guidelines!

Archetypal Formats
Not to be followed to the T, but an overall breakdown of the most popular formats that can be used as a guideline.

Very shareable, requires little to no research, very popular amongst bloggers, easy to write.  Example; “Top 10 Reasons You Lose Sleep Every Night,” or, “Top 5 Pillows Doctors Recommend for Back Sleepers.”  These are boring examples, the key here is to be creative because although list posts have all the aforementioned benefits, they can also be incredibly dull for readers and will lose effectiveness.  To garner the highest results from a list post, don’t limit yourself to the number of items you’ll actually include in the post, make the list huge so you can narrow it down by the most interesting points.
The best way to score an interview with the kind of person you really want to blog about, is to ask!  People love to have their egos inflated, if approached as if they are (or because they genuinely are) the preeminent, authoritative voice on a subject they will in most cases be overjoyed to help you because they see it as enhancing their notoriety.  The best path generally is the most direct one, find them on Twitter and send them a message.  Use Followerwonk to discover people talking about relevant subject matter and build lists of potential contacts.  Build your network by reaching out to these people and “helping” them.  Ask them if they have an interesting article laying around waiting to get published, tell them you’ll link to their blog or website when you post their material.  Approach them as people!
Reviews of books, news articles, apps, training programs, blogs, pinterest boards, etc.  When writing a post in this vein it is crucial to not follow the route of our politicians, be non-partisan, be fair & balanced. (Shameless Plug)  Also, be as detailed as possible.  It’s always better to create more content than you’ll actually need.  This can also feed into future posts by recycling successful material/stories/strategies.  “Recycle Success!”
Again, the best way to reach out to people is to treat them as humans.  You need something from them, so you need to offer them something first.  Not Quid Pro Quo, we’re going for finesse here.  You want those in the industry who are influential to in some way endorse your product or drive traffic to your site.  Help them out, link to them, publish their stuff (if it’s good) and build that relationship credit so that when you need their help…it just feels natural.  Readers love link round-up posts and it’s a great way to help out some friends, (Reviewers, Bloggers, Influencers of all kinds) while building up that credit. (Think of traffic as credit, sending them traffic by sharing their link might seem like no big deal, but in the world of SEO it’s as good as Gold)

Is there something that is currently accepted by the majority of people as truth, and you have a contradictory viewpoint?  “Which Sleep Position is Healthiest?”

According to CNN, sleeping on your back is the best.  

Men’s Health states, “…sleeping on your back may lead to snoring, difficulty breathing, and an overall bad night’s sleep.”

So…entirely different opinions, both based on a study of over 1000 participants, with two different doctors stating their conclusions.  Do you have contradictory evidence to a popular belief?  Do you have the science to back up your statements?  Surveys?  Studies?  This type of post must not be supported by anecdotal evidence, but something a little more solid.

The internet is rife with creative people looking for fresh ideas and how-to guides.  The point here is to develop these assets and have people link to them, blog about them, bookmark them, and share them with their friends.  Be as detailed as possible, nobody wants to follow a guide and get stuck on step 15 due to poor direction.  Have these Guides or DIY suggestions tested before posting them.  Use images & video!
The contest post has the highest potential to go viral.  We love free stuff.  We love sharing our opinions, crafts, hobbies, etc.  Make sure all the bases are covered in terms of announcement.  (Twitter, FB, G+, Blog, Email, etc)

Eleven Guidelines to Successful URLs - From MOZ’s Rand Fishkin
The Nitty Gritty

1) Titles - Best Practice (70 characters max)

Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name

Brand Name | Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword

Why do we care?  Because what we call our post title gets appended to the domain as the URL.  For example; I created a dummy page on my blog, “http://www.xyz.org” called kmg.  Wordpress automatically creates this as the URL, “Http://www.xyz.org/kmg”  Allowing WordPress to do this is fine, but always be aware that the title becomes the URL. (Which can easily be edited but then any backlink from other posts or pages must also be updated to reflect the changes)  Don’t keyword stuff, make it sound genuine/organic.

Also, try to make it a Call to Action.  Use words like;

  • Buy
  • Find
  • Get
  • Order
  • Purchase
  • Review
  • Shop
  • Sale
  • Limited Supply

2) Description - (140 characters max)  Not lengthy, a couple sentences at most to tell the reader what the gist of the post is.  Try to include, organically, 2 keywords.
3) Keyword Density - Never exceed a keyword density of 5%.  Best practice is to stay around 2%.  (Number of keywords to number of total words, if post is 400 words (which is also the advised max length), there should be a variation of 16 keywords)  At 5% your content will begin to be considered as blog spam and keyword stuffing.
4) Hyperlinks - You want these posts to be responsive & productive.  We are not blogging because we like to write and want people to read our shit, we are blogging to build awareness of our brand, to attract new and old customers with shareable information and product offers, and to build a network of people who can share our assets and help us grow.
5) Link Reciprocity - Trading links for the sake of trading links = bad, providing links to other sources of relevant information and having them link back to you = good.

 

*Tips

Always – Provide at least 1 link back to your site.

Always – Have a .75% ratio of links to total words in the post. (if 400 words, 3 links)

Always – Interlink Posts.  Find related articles, link back and forth.

Always – Provide Image Alt Txt

Always – Include subject in image Alt Txt

Always – Include subject in title

Always – click on and add as necessary the appropriate categories in the WordPress backend. (Same applies to Tags)

Always – Use Yoast SEO Plugin to analyze

Never (maybe not never, but try to avoid…) – Using keywords that the company home page & main landing pages target.  They don’t need the internal competition.  Instead use Tier 2 keywords, or Tier 1 that aren’t being utilized fully or aren’t as relevant to the most important pages on the company website.