October 3, 2017

Even the best writers struggle from time to time in generating story ideas. This can be especially tricky for bloggers, who want to produce a steady flow of content for their audience. Here are some different types of posts you can produce:

The Point-Counterpoint

This has long been a mainstay of newspapers; a simple, elegant formula that allows you to address many of the main salient arguments about an issue. The key to a great point-counterpoint is that both sides have to be strong; you have to articulate the best case for something as well as the best case against it. Neither side should be a straw man.

The Roundup

A quick rule of thumb: The more coverage there is on a topic, the more valuable curation becomes. Sometimes when a topic is attracting lots of attention, your best course of action is to gather all the interesting links on the topic and shape them into a solid roundup. At its most basic, a roundup can be a list of links and block quotes. But it can be especially valuable to tease out common themes from across a variety of coverage and distill them into points of consensus and flux.

The List

Remember, numbering is narrative. Use a list if you want to make a variety of disparate points without wasting time on transitions.

The Q&A

Got an interview with a string of compelling tidbits? Edit it lightly (and transparently) and post the entire interview. As a bonus, you can always highlight snippets and provide analysis in follow-up posts. With the right lead-in, a substantial Q&A can serve as a draw for an even broader audience.

The Liveblog

Unlike the typical event, where you often have to walk in looking for a story angle to take away, the liveblog demands your full engagement with every minute of the proceedings. You have to pay attention and capture what’s going on, rather than trying to impose patterns on the event from the get-go. If users chime in during the liveblog, the mix of voices and perspectives can make for a richer experience than you could ever create on your own. 

The Call to Action

One of the many benefits of taking the time to create a great community is that you can turn around and ask your audience to produce some stellar content. Frame your inquiry well, target a specific crowd for answers and ask focused questions. "Bike commuters, what are the best ways of making roads safer for both drivers and cyclists?" is an example of a good, targeted question that knows its audience.

The Slideshow

What’s that they say about the value of a picture? Paired with robust, informative captions, images can offer an incredibly compelling way to tell a story.

Taken from Developing a Successful Journalistic Blog, a self-directed course by Matt Thompson at Poynter NewsU.

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Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current…
Vicki Krueger

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