Blogs can be a robust platform on which to magnify your voice to the world. They only really sizzle, though, when a few essential elements come together with finesse. Here’s what you should focus on to get readers hooked and gain a loyal following.
1. Write as you think.
For years, marketers stuffed the ideology of glossy perfectionism down people’s throats. Now, as people face the realities of debt, caring for family members, and a tighter job market, authenticity is king. All people want is to see you for who you are, flaws and all, to have someone who can be real and empathize with them. So don’t censor yourself.
Embrace your brand and have the courage to write a story as if there’s no risk of anybody judging you. Reject passive voice. Show them your unique thoughts and ideas, so they feel connected to you; once they do, and come to feel they know you, you’ll be much harder to forget and dismiss.
2. Keep it brief.
Do you think people are going to read a 2,000-word dissertation in between working two jobs, childcare, socializing, and laundry? Good luck with that. Treat each post like a trip to the bathroom. Get in, do your business, get out.
3. Provide some visual guidance.
While lots of different formats are useful for blogs, the internet has practically obliterated people’s ability to read everything word for word. So keep it simple and resist the urge to put too much on the page.
Make sure you have some visual posts like headers and bullet points that readers can scan through to judge the relevance of your content. High-quality photos, gifs or videos can break up material too, all while driving points home.
4. Make it interactive and shareable.
People don’t want merely to read content. They want to engage with it, feel included and have an experience. Offer a few well-placed, relevant links, social media buttons, surveys, slideshow format or podcasts.
Suggest a few other articles at the end of a post or ask them to leave comments. You can even highlight a pivotal one-liner or two from the post with a Click to Tweet link.
5. Be a source of expertise.
No, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist. But you do have to be a teacher, or if you want to be a little more ninja-esque, an informant. Each blog post should offer “bonus” facts or information in your brand’s engaging voice that the readers can’t get elsewhere. That is what gives the blog value. It is what will help establish you as an authority that readers can trust, to which they will return.
6. Divorce yourself from the idea of a posting schedule.
Yes, it’s great if you can post something every Monday morning without fail. Readers like some predictability. But publishing a post solely for the sake of publishing usually means that, when you write, you’re not fired up or defined in your purpose.
Subsequently, the content itself is either dry, rambling or both. Instead of publishing in a defined pattern, commit to writing only when you honestly feel like you have something worthwhile to say. Then do a killer job of promoting those posts on all the channels you can.
7. Stay on target in individual posts.
Each blog post should cover one topic. One. If related ideas come to you as you write, jot them down for potential future use. Then, when you publish those associated ideas, go back and link the related posts.
8. Embrace variety overall.
While your blog can have a central theme (e.g., baking, finance), your topics shouldn’t feel like your repeat button is stuck. Spice up your format approaches, too.
For example, one blog post might do well as a list-style piece, whereas another would do well as a podcast or personal experience story. Offering this variety will help prevent visitors from getting bored or fatigued.
9. Include at least one action point.
Remember how people want an experience from visiting a blog? Well, part of that experience is feeling empowered from incorporating the lesson in your blog into their real life.
Tell people what they can do with your information on the individual level and show them how to better themselves or personally address the problem you know they’re having.
10. Say what you’re going to say once.
Summarizing critical takeaways with short bullet points before your introduction can be a great way to let readers decide right away if your content is right for them. But otherwise, keep your writing tight and don’t repeat yourself.
Conclusions are for wrapping up loose ends or offering a key takeaway, not for rehashing, and not all posts (particularly listicles like this one) even need a conclusion at all.