Want More Engagement? How To Write Better Blog Posts
Let’s start off with a story, shall we?
You come up with a great set of blog post ideas for the month ahead and you’re SO excited to get blogging. You write them all and feel super happy when you keep hitting that publish button.
But then...nothing. There’s nothing. No comments, no shares, no engagement.
What did you do wrong?
Hear me out - for someone to take action from your blog posts (in other words, for someone to engage with them), they need to feel something.
There’s got to be some sort of emotion coming through the words on their screen for them to share or connect with your content. They might feel entertained, inspired, uplifted - it could be anything.
If your blog posts aren’t getting your readers to evoke an emotion each time you hit publish, this could be the problem. It might be that your ideas need a little more clarity, or maybe your language just needs to be a bit more enthusiastic.
Worried about what to do next? Don’t be. Below are four great tips to help you get more engagement, write better blog posts and watch your online presence shine.
#1 | WRITE A LIST POST
Out of the top 20 most popular posts published on my blog this year, over half of them are lists posts.
Why is this? Because list posts work.
You see them everywhere. Buzzfeed is a great example - they use them all the time.
List posts provide ambiguity about a blog post itself, and also arouse your audience’s curiosity. I also love list posts because they give me a chance to skim through a piece of content, before I invest my time into reading the whole thing. Your readers will be looking for an option like that too.
List posts make it so much easier for readers (and search engines) to find out what your post is all about. But they also make it easier for you, because they’re very simple to write.
You pick how many items are going to appear in the list (in this post, it’s four). Think of these as the main points of your blog post. You then use these as subheadings within your post.
Using subheadings helps break up your post so it’s easier to read, and ensures that every point you cover encourages readers to take a specific action.
#2 | USE A PERSONAL ANECDOTE
This post, which talks about how I create a personal routine to stay productive, includes snippets of different stories and has been shared HUNDREDS of times.
So whether your story is to get people interested and inspired or even angers them, it adds your personality into your blog posts.
Remember, you’re not writing like a robot. You’re not writing a list of facts and figures. You’re writing from your experiences and opinions, and those are worth reading.
Share processes and things you’ve done that have worked really well. But also share the things that haven’t gone so well and what you learnt from them. Share the story that led to you making a certain decision, or a story that led you down a different path.
Starting with a personal anecdote can have a big impact. It allows readers to get to know you better and gives them something interesting to share with their own audience that they can all relate to.
There are other ways you can do this too, by featuring a story from a reader or a success story. Just make sure you ask their permission!
#3 | PROOFREAD YOUR POSTS AS A READER
Lots of people in the blogosphere describe other bloggers as “authentic”. But what does that even mean? The word itself sounds great, but in terms of how it can help us move forward, it’s pretty vague.
What it really means is that you want to sound like yourself. You want your voice to shine through your content.
A great way to see if you sound like yourself online is to proofread your post as if you were a reader. For me, I find it really useful to read my content aloud.
Because we read so much content, we can lose our voice and feel like we need to write in a certain way to get to where we want to be. This isn’t true.
Bloggers who are truly successful have achieved that status because they’ve broken away from the mold, carved their own path and worked to develop their own writing style.
What attracts me to a blog is when I get a sense of who the person is behind the computer screen.
You might not realise it, but the way you write is what is going to draw people in. The way you describe things, offer different tips and the examples you include are going to make people want to engage with your content.
#4 | BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC
When you write, try and write with one aim in mind. When someone finishes reading your post, what you do want them to leave with? I talked about the importance of a call to action in a blog post last week, and this is very similar.
Readers want to know what they’re going to get out of your blog post. Otherwise, they probably won’t read it.
Each post you write needs to have a specific purpose. Your headline needs to state the obvious, but be crafted in a way that arouses curiosity and doesn’t give everything away.
Think about when you write a tweet to promote your latest post - you want to be able to summarise what it’s all about in 140 characters or less.
When you’re planning a blog post, ask yourself two questions:
- Why do you want to share this information with your audience?
- What’s the one thing you want readers to take away from this post?
If you’re struggling to answer either of those questions, just take a step back. Take another look at your post topic and see if you can tweak it to make sure it’s really going to benefit your blog.
The best blog posts have a few key features. They are:
- Easy to read
- Share personal anecdotes
- Include examples that readers can relate to
- Have a specific action to take that is easy to identify
Do you feel like you’re not getting as much engagement on your blog as you’d like? Go back through your most recent posts from the month and see if they’re meeting all the points we just talked about in this post.
And don’t be disheartened. The things listed above are a work in progress. I never used to share stories when I started writing about online marketing and I definitely used to waffle on a lot.
Writing better blog posts happens one publish at a time. Keep going - you’ll get there!