Ever came across a blog post and realized it's garbage within the first five seconds of scanning?
Maybe the blog is too formal and isn't fun to read.
Maybe the text is too packed together and looks overwhelming.
Maybe by scanning you realize there's no real substance there.
These are just a few of the things that set off those internal alarms and make your brain scream, "Stop reading!"
Your blog posts shouldn't fall into that category. And really, the fix for that is simple. Are you going to get it right every time? Probably not. But with a few tweaks to your blog writing approach, you can certainly make a vast improvement that keeps readers interested (and hopefully coming back for more.)
Be more conversational.
Nobody wants to read a textbook. They'd much rather read an email from a friend. Therefore, you should approach your blog as if you were sitting at a coffee shop talking with one of your friends or peers.
It all starts with your opening. Once you've decided on your topic, speak to the reader in a way that resonates with their pain points, struggles, and obstacles but with a friendly, conversational tone.
Here's an example. Say you're writing a post about how people can increase the open rate for their email campaigns. You might start with something like this:
Ever noticed that there are a few emails you'll always open, but there are some you send straight to the trash? What is is about those emails you open that have earned your respect? There are certain habits of great emails that increase open rates time and time again. In this post, we'll talk about what they are and how you can start using them.
When everyone is running in the same direction, that's the time when you should do the exact opposite. In doing that, you stand out from the crowd.
Right now, there are tons and tons of blog posts out there with tons of "Top 10" lists and very generalized, "duh" subject matter. It's 500 words of...blah. Don't be afraid to step away from this format and try something different. That might look like:
- A deep dive into a process you use with a step-by-step how-to
- A case study that showcases interesting research you've conducted
- An opinion piece that goes against a commonly held belief
- A blog that taps into comedy and pop culture references
One of my favorite blogs that does this well is UnBounce. Not only are their titles fun and intriguing, but they give actionable tips to make readers better at what they do. Also, they incorporate gifs, which never fails to make me laugh.
Some of the best blog content comes when writers can share personal experiences--both good and bad.
If you've had an experience that you can turn into a relevant lesson for your readers, take the time to craft a story that explains your journey and arrives at the big conclusion. Maybe this is a time you failed. Maybe it's a time you took a big risk and saw success. These stories are old news to you, but completely fresh for your readers.
Brad Farris over at EnMast does this time and time again. He spotlights his mistakes and turns them into rich content for his blog that, in turn, creates a larger story (and builds trust with his personal brand.) It's not easy to say, "Hey, I messed up." But when you use it to help others learn from your error, it takes on new life.
Be Aggressive. B-E Aggressive.
Blogging shouldn't be a passive activity that you do whenever you feel like it. You need to have your mental wheels turning all the time about what your next post will be about, how you'll phrase it, what examples you'll use, etc.
Gary Vaynerchuk has said it before: "People have a strong BS meter. They know when you're not trying."
When you're irregularly blogging and it's clear for all to see that you have no real direction, they have no reason to 1) Trust your authority, 2) Come back on a regular basis and 3) Make a conversion and decide to work with you.
And for most people, those three things are the main reasons for having a blog at all. Be more aggressive and put hard work into your blogs. It'll pay off.
The #1 Obstacle
There are lots of people who would love to take these tips and put them into action, but they have a major hurdle to face: They don't have the time.
In these instances, it might be time to consider looking for freelance help. You don't have to take on a full time employee and you still get the content you're looking for. It's a win-win.
Is this a service we offer at Lumen? Absolutely. And we'd love to help you.