Every month, over 76 million* blog posts are produced. And that’s just on Wordpress. Staggering, isn’t it? All that knowledge, all that advice and analysis and entertainment. Except, of course, that most of it is only mildly helpful at best, and a good proportion is utter drivel.
The problem for every business owner is that, good or not, this overwhelming volume of content means you have to work an awful lot harder to be heard above the noise. So how do you create content that drives the kind of engagement you need to achieve your blog’s goals?
As I’ve mentioned numerous times, the very first thing you need to do is fully understand your audience and know what they’re interested in. Assuming you’ve spent some time unpacking that, here are some extra tricks you can try to give your blog posts an edge when it comes to engagement.
Write a strong headline for your blog post
The headline is the first thing people will see as they consider reading your blog post, and as much as 80% of them will never get any further. By nailing a killer headline you could impact your readership by up to 500%, according to data gathered by content aggregator Unworthy. There are lots of opinions about what makes a great headline - and I’ll be writing a post on the subject soon - but I believe the secret is to draw out the key takeaway for the reader so they can judge whether it’s worth investing their time.
Give your blog post a news hook
One of the questions a newspaper or magazine editor will ask when considering a pitch from a freelance journalist is, “Why now?” The idea might be a good one, but it’s always going to be stronger if it’s relevant to people right now. While there is great value in producing evergreen content, shaping a blog post around a particular event or trending topic is a great way to ride the wave of people’s already established interests. The trick is to avoid crowbarring in references that don’t have any genuine relevance, because that just looks a bit desperate.
Include hard facts in your blog post
You might not have consciously picked up on it, but there’s a good chance the opening line of this blog post gave you a sense that I knew what I was talking about. Including statistical data is a helpful way to add credibility and authority to a post. This is standard practice in editorial pieces, as is including quotes from recognised experts. The important thing is to check your sources and not just assume that something is true because Wikipedia said so.
Use your blog post to state an opinion
Just because they are subjective, doesn’t mean opinions are any less powerful than facts when it comes to engaging readers. Whether they wholeheartedly agree with you or vehemently disagree, stating an opinion will almost certainly generate a response. Don’t court controversy for the sake of it, but do weigh in with your ideas on current debates, inviting your readers to share their thoughts on the matter in question.
Ask a question within your blog post
Speaking of which, questions are another good way to drive engagement. An opening question can get people thinking about the core issue straight away, while a closing one can act as a call to action. Use questions when sharing your blog post on social media too. For example, ask people what they think about the topic you’ve written about, or whether they struggle with the particular problem you’ll be helping to solve in the post.
As you create more and more engaging content, you’ll find that you’re not having to work so hard to get the word out. You’ll gain subscribers, people will start sharing your content, and the readers will come to you. But it does take time. So set well defined goals for your blog, be sure to keep an eye on the stats, make adjustments where you need to, but don't give up before you have a chance to see the fruit of your labour.
Need help with your business blog? Get in touch to enquire about insourcing a professional blogger from Rin Hamburgh & Co today.
* Correct at the time of posting