Drawing in readers to your blog is a (massive) hurdle in itself, so the last thing you want is for content to fall flat on its face.
If a reader’s arrived, ready to be enlightened, have them take a seat.
You’ll need to serve up something they can digest quickly and easily. Otherwise, words simply get in the way of your message.
Here are four tactics to try out on your next blog post:
1) Take a Question From the Floor
Nobody knows your industry like you do, so answer questions from a confused customer base.
If you don’t know what keeps your customers awake at night, ask them. Find out what they’re saying on social media, or ask the customer service team for feedback. Keep your ear to the ground and listen closely, then use these questions to feed your blog.
You need to be explicit in your headline and tell the reader exactly what to expect from your post. This way, they know the post is written for them, so they’re more likely to take a look:
Here’s What You Get From This Blog Post
It’s aimed at people with this common problem:
– Explain the problem.
– Offer a solution.
*Add value here* (more on this later…)
2) Choose Your Words Carefully
It helps to add structure to your blog posts because internet users have the attention span of a fruit fly. A 2016 Microsoft study found we humans can now only concentrate for eight seconds, thanks to digital.
Your blog post isn’t going to get far if the headline is bland of confusing, so get a second opinion. Try using a headline analyser like CoSchedule to see what rating it gets out of 100 – you’ll soon know if you’re onto a winner.
When your reader makes it to the main body of the content, walk them through it as succinctly as you can:
Remove unnecessary words like “really” and “very”. “Very funny” is “hilarious” and “really bad” is “appalling.” One description will do.
Check for repetition of words, phrases, or explanation. If you’ve said something once, it probably doesn’t need to be hammered home again.
Check every sentence adds something new to move the reader along. If a word or sentence can be removed and your argument is unaffected, lose it.
3) Give Your Audience Room to Read
We’ve established you’re probably not writing War & Peace; nobody has the time online to read it. A digital audience flutters through your content like a butterfly.
Readers want to know instantly that your blog post answers their question, so don’t make them work for it. They won’t. To capture attention, give their eye something to settle on:
- Break up text with headings and subheading
- Use short sentences and shorter paragraphs
- Add images or video
- Use bullets and lists
- Bold some text to make it stand out
- Add quotes and indent to mix things up a little…
4) Don’t Lead a Reader Up The Garden Path
When a reader becomes absorbed, they expect your post to be valuable, not in monetary terms but in the time they spent reading it. In this context, it means deliver what you say you will in the headline and don’t skimp on the information you dish out.
If there’s nothing to really be gained from reading your blog post, no matter how well-written or well-presented, your audience wastes time and we’re all unforgiving of that.
Instead, serve up ideas your reader can savour and, chances are, they’ll come back for more:
Be specific: ‘Improve your spelling’ would be vague advice here. Instead, I’d suggest you use an online spellcheck to capture mistakes.
Opinion pieces aside, readers hope to see a balanced view. Try including quotes or research from other experts to support your views.
When you answer one question it can lead to more. Consider adding external links to other sources that might help your reader broaden their knowledge.
Unless you’re blogging for pleasure, the words you write are for your reader. It’s about them, not you. Always.
Keep that in mind the whole time you’re writing and you’re already ahead of the competition.
Image credit: Anne