Mind Block Monday: Product Review Posts

Each week, we’ll be talking about a certain type of post or a way to get out of a creative rut – basically anything that may help you when you have writer’s block. Then if you write a post with that theme or concept in mind that week, you can link up the post and find others with similar posts that week. Along with that, you’ll be able to look through past MBM posts whenever you’re in a creative rut and hopefully find some inspiration.

This week’s topic:

Review posts are beneficial for SO many reasons, but here are a few ways review can help you grow your blog:

  • Do your own reviews. Choose a product you love, review it on your blog, and viola! You now have examples of your reviews to show to bigger companies that are interested in working with you.
  • Review popular products. Popular products get searched for so if you’re looking to make your blog SEO friendly, this is a really easy way to do so. It’s also a great way to encourage interaction of your readers by asking for their thoughts on the products that they’ve likely used.
  • Show companies your support (and possibly get something, too). There are three giveaways that I’ve done in the past that I was able to do because I truly loved the company and their products. (Think Sodastream, Skechers, Erin Condren.) I did a review of their product on my blog prior to contacting them so they already knew I had used and loved their brand. It was a great conversation starter and made the process much easier/less forced.

While they can be beneficial for both you and the reader, there are some things you should try to avoid:

  • Don’t do a review just for a free product. It may seem appealing, especially when you first start out, to do any review opportunity thrown your way. But if done correctly, product reviews actually take a lot of time and effort from you. To do that for a product you dislike or have little use for is generally a waste of time. It’s also unlikely to appeal to your core audience.
  • Neglecting the disclaimer. This one is such an easy one to do, but I see it left out a lot and it shouldn’t be because it can completely take away your credibility with the review. A simple one to two sentence review is perfect, simply stating what was given to you for you to do the review or if it was just done because you felt like reviewing a product. Also be sure to state when opinions/wording isn’t your own so people know what you actually think.
  • Don’t overdo it. Too many review posts tend to make most blogs pretty unappealing unless that’s all you do and that’s all people come to your blog for. You’ll lose readers rather quickly if you don’t otherwise.

do you use product reviews when it comes to deciding to purchasing specific items?


// <![CDATA[
document.write('’);
// ]]>

Mind Block Monday : Q&A Posts

Each week, we’ll be talking about a certain type of post or a way to get out of a creative rut – basically anything that may help you when you have writer’s block. Then if you write a post with that theme or concept in mind that week, you can link up the post and find others with similar posts that week. Along with that, you’ll be able to look through past MBM posts whenever you’re in a creative rut and hopefully find some inspiration.

This week’s topic:

I love Q&A posts. Whether it be for the reader or the writer, you almost always learn something about someone that you wouldn’t normally learn by just reading their blog or interacting with them via comments. Surveys, random questions, polls, Internet memes, ask me a question post, etc – they all accomplish the same thing: getting to know a blogger or a reader and some of their attributes.

It’s a great way to interact with other people and answer what they want to know/ask what you want to know. So here are some tips on getting the most out of these kind of posts.

For the Blogger:

If you’re sharing information about yourself, the main goal is to make it interesting and captivating enough for people to want to read it then want to know more about you because you seem like an interesting person.

  • Open it up to your readers to ask you a question. If you don’t have many readers or are somewhat shy about doing it, make up your own. Talk about things that you think people might find interesting.
  • Spread it out. If you want to share 100 different things about yourself, break it up into parts for your readers to view. It’ll not only increase your views if you link to the posts within each other, but you’ll also be more likely to keep their attention for all of it. Divide it up according to how much information is being shared and ask yourself how likely you would be to read that length of a post on someone else’s blog to help decide on the perfect length.
  • Get creative. These posts can be overdone and become boring for some so the more creativity that goes into it, the better. Put your own spin on questions/answers, do it via a vlog, add pictures, etc. Make it memorable so people want to come back and read more.

For the Reader:

If you’re trying to get to know your readers, the object is a bit different. The goal is to keep it simple enough for people to want to answer and not feel like you’re too nosy/taking up too much of their time.

  • Keep it short and simple. Any surveys/questions trying to get to know your readers should be fairly simple and easy to answer. The less time they have to spend doing it, the better.
  • Don’t require specific information. If you’re doing a poll or survey and using a feature that allows for “required” answers, it’s best if you don’t. Some people may not feel comfortable answering certain things and if the question that’s a requirement is the thing they feel uncomfortable answering, they’re unlikely to even complete the questionnaire. Leave it to them to decide what to share with you.
  • Allow for anonymous answers. Similar to the last bullet point, some people may not be okay with sharing their identity. Especially if you’re asking them a question that could be viewed as somewhat negative (IE: “What do you dislike about my blog layout, posts, etc?”)

what do you like to learn about people in these kinds of posts?


// <![CDATA[
document.write('’);
// ]]>

Mind Block Monday : Picture Posts

Each week, we’ll be talking about a certain type of post or a way to get out of a creative rut – basically anything that may help you when you have writer’s block. Then if you write a post with that theme or concept in mind that week, you can link up the post and find others with similar posts that week. Along with that, you’ll be able to look through past MBM posts whenever you’re in a creative rut and hopefully find some inspiration.

This week’s topic:

Picture posts are pretty much everywhere in the blog world today. And for very good reason. They are relatively easy to create and also add another visual to your blog to draw people in. Not only that, but they give details to your blog, your life, and post your topic that text is unable to do.

Some ideas to get you started:

  • Pictures of your week (such as the Life Via Instagram linkup)
  • Your hobbies
  • A home tour
  • Your family and/or pets
  • Food related (recipes, meals you ate, etc)
  • Parks and other nearby locations
  • Vacation photographs
  • Your crafts / handmade items
  • DIY projects
  • Products you like (Etsy, name brands, etc)
  • A wish list of what you wish you could buy
  • Bucket list (places to visit, things to do, etc)
  • A day in your life
  • Old family photos
  • Some of your favorite things

There is truly an endless list of things you could photograph and share on your blog. Even if a post isn’t a picture-only post, a decent photograph can add a lot to a text-based post. Below are some tips on ensuring that your photographs make your blog posts stand out:

  • Try to keep them the same width of your layout (at minimum, all the same width even if they are not the width of the layout)
  • Ensure that there is proper lighting
  • Make sure important aspects of the photographs are visible, not cutoff, and easily noticed
  • Use high resolution photos that are made smaller instead of low resolution photos that are made bigger
  • Don’t use so many photographs that the loading time of your page drastically slows down

what are your favorite kind of pictures to view / post?


// <![CDATA[
document.write('’);
// ]]>

Mind Block Monday: List Posts

Mind Block Monday is one of the (many) new features for After Nine To Five!

Each week, we’ll be talking about a certain type of post or a way to get out of a creative rut – basically anything that may help you when you have writer’s block. Then if you write a post with that theme or concept in mind that week, you can link up the post and find others with similar posts that week. Along with that, you’ll be able to look through past MBM posts whenever you’re in a creative rut and hopefully find some inspiration.

This week’s topic:

List posts are an easy way to create a post with a lot of information. The subject is versatile and can include a small, limited list or a vast, lengthy list. Some ideas to get you started:

  • specific topics that you are passionate about
  • facts about yourself or your life in general
  • information on your job or your entire career field
  • things you enjoy about a certain subject
  • things you dislike about a certain subject
  • places you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to
  • products you love or would like to see created
  • your favorite stores/brands/movies/bloggers/etc
  • things you wish you knew how to do
  • things you’d change about the world
  • bucket list goals
  • things you can’t live without
  • things you’d prefer to live without
  • pictures from the week or month

The list goes on and on. There’s an endless amount of information that can be shared in list form and it’s one of the best ways to draw your readers in. It’s  easy to read, quick for them to understand, and includes a lot of talking points for them to comment on. You could also encourage your readers to make a list of their own on the same topic or ask what they would add/subtract from the list you posted. If the subject that you choose to write about yields a lot of talking points for you, it could easily become a series for you to post about as well.

Some tips for the best kinds of list posts:

  • make them easy to read by numbering them or using bullets (choose one or the other), bold headings, or enough spacing to separate the ideas
  • try to have five or more list items or else the post may seem somewhat irrelevant
  • ensure that all list items are related and move any unrelated ideas to a new list
  • split long lists up (like the series posts mentioned before) to prevent your reader from giving up on a post halfway through

That’s it! List posts are some of the easiest to write and some of the most enjoyed by readers in general.

what are your favorite kind of lists to read?


// <![CDATA[
document.write('’);
// ]]>