Writing formulas… Go ahead – try one!

August 29, 2012

Fiction genres follow specific formulas and as an audience, we expect them to. Although they are often unspoken formulas, we’d be outraged if they weren’t followed. Good content marketing need be no different. Make sure that you’re not making your own life harder by avoiding when you should be embracing formulas.

First, here is why you should try them…

  • Formulas are tried and tested: Formulaic blogs are popular because they work. There may be examples of where they have been badly done, but you can still apply the theory in a great way. It’s not lazy writing: it’s thoughtful construction.
  • Formulas help you write: Blank documents are painful and so is realising that everything you’ve just written is rambling. Formulas help you get started and keep things structured.
  • Formulas keep readers on board: They help to hold your readers attention – they know what to expect and keeps life easy for them.
  • Formulas aren’t rigid: They don’t have to be boring – tweak and add to a standard format, just using it as your beginning framework.


3 easy formulas you could try…
The How to
Headline: “How to …”
Introduction: Explain what the post is going to teach, and mention any prerequisites
Main body: Go through “Step #1 …” “Step #2 …” etc, giving clear instructions for each.
Conclusion: Tell the reader what they should have accomplished by reading. You might invite them to ask for help in the comments, or point them towards further resources (like an ebook).

The List
Headline: “21 Ways …” or “7 Tips …” etc
Introduction: Draw the reader in, and make the scope of the list clear.
Main body: Number each item, and ensure that each offers real value to the reader. Don’t pad out the list -– if you’ve only got 5 or 6 items, that’s fine.
Conclusion: Ask the reader to add to the list (or to mention their favourite tip) in the comments or by emailing you back.

The Review
Headline: “Review: [Product Name]” or “[Product Name] Review”
Introduction: Explain the product briefly, making clear what it is/does.
Main body: Consider splitting this into separate sections -“Contents” “What I Liked” and “What I Didn’t Like” could be a good basic structure.
Conclusion: Sum up… should the reader buy this item? Who is it best for?

These are very simple, basic formulas, but they work. Add your own flair, a strong writing voice, and a healthy dose of useful information, and you’ll find that these aren’t just readable posts — they’re high-quality posts.

Why make things more complicated than they need to be?