Blogging: The Guide to Engagement
17 Keys for Creating Posts That Get and Keep Attention
You can put a lot of content up on your blog, but your blog isn’t going to be successful if no one is reading the content. That’s why one of the biggest keys to your success is to create engaging content that attracts readers and keeps them coming back to your blog again and again.
Here’s how to do it…
1: Give Your Audience What They Want
- Find out what sort of infoproducts they’re buying.
- Check bestsellers on marketplaces such as Amazon.com, Udemy.com. ClickBank.com and JVZoo.com.
- See what topics get a lot of traction on social media.
- Check question and answer sites to see what’s popular, including Quora.com, Yahoo! Answers, and JustAnswer.com.
- Browse niche groups (on Facebook) and forums to see what topics keep popping up again and again.
- Read your competitors’ blogs to see which topics get a lot of discussion and social media shares.
- Ask your audience what they’d like to learn more about.
- Check your own blog to see what topics you’ve posted about in the past that have generated a lot of interest.
2: Write for Your Audience
In order to write for your audience, you need to understand exactly who they are. You’ll need to do some research to uncover their demographics, and then spend some time reading niche discussions and talking to your audience to learn more about them.
Here’s what you want to know:
- Where they live.
- Marital status.
- Kids or not.
- Rent or own.
- Income level.
- Education level.
- Biggest niche challenges, obstacles, pain points.
- Solutions they’ve tried.
- Why those solutions haven’t worked.
- What they want.
- What motivates them.
- Where they get their niche information.
- Their niche level - beginner, intermediate, expert.
3: Catch Attention with Titles
Engagement starts with your blog titles, which is why you need to invest time creating benefit-driven titles with a little razzle dazzle to catch attention.
For example, “How to Lose Weight” shares a benefit. It’s descriptive, but it’s also a little boring.
In order to catch attention, you need to add a little razzle dazzle. For example, “The Weird Weight Loss Trick That Shook Hollywood, Psst, It Will Work for You Too!”
4: Open with a Bang
You need to capture attention right away, which is why your opener should work hard to get and keep your audience’s attention. You can do this by:
- Building anticipation by adding a “key points” section in your opener.
- Telling a story right away.
- Providing a startling fact or statistic.
- Busting a myth or sharing other unexpected information.
- Sharing a really good tip right away to build interest.
- Posting an interesting quote, from a famous person.
- Showing that you understand the reader and their problem, such as by empathizing with the reader
5: Create “You” Centered Content
Your content needs to be all about your readers, specifically with regards to their problems and how to solve them. Unfortunately, some bloggers tend to make their content more about themselves, such as how they discovered a particular tip or trick.
Yes, you do need to talk about yourself from time to time, such as when you share your credentials, or you tell an engaging story. However, you want to be sure to pivot immediately back to your readers to keep the focus on them.
Here’s a quick way to check if you’re focused on your readers: see how many times you use words like “you” and “your,” versus words centered on yourself, such as I, me, and mine. Rewrite author-oriented content to make it more about the reader.
For example, “I’ll share my favourite weight-loss trick” is author-oriented. You can rewrite it to change the focus like this: “You’ll discover a proven weight-loss trick.”
6: Avoid Passive Language
Passive language is where you craft sentences so that the subject receives an action, rather than the subject performing an action. Readers tend to find it tedious and boring to read this sort of content.
Here’s an example of a passive sentence: The dog must be walked five times per day.
You’d rewrite it to make it active, like this: You must walk the dog five times per day.
7. Engage Readers With Stories
One really good way to engage readers on an emotional level is to draw them in with a story.
For example, you can write a story about how you or someone else in the niche overcame the same problem as your readers.
Another example: You might share a heartwarming story, or even a story about an embarrassing moment. These stories build rapport.
Still one more example: if you’re trying to share a lesson, share it in the form of a story. It makes it both more engaging and memorable.
8. Ask Questions to Engage Readers
You can ask questions in the beginning, middle or end of your content to engage readers and encourage them to interact. For example:
- Have you ever _______?
- Do you ever feel ________?
- How would you feel?
- What is your favorite tip?
- What is the hardest part of _______?
- What do you think?
- What would you do?
9. Build Anticipation and Curiosity
Starting in the beginning and sprinkled throughout your content, you’ll want to build anticipation and curiosity for what’s coming.
For example: “In just a moment, you’ll discover the #1 way to get 1000 visitors in the next 24 hours. But first…”
Likewise, if you have a blog series, then be sure to build anticipation for the other articles in the series. E.G., “Tomorrow you’ll find out which food you should NEVER eat if you want to lose weight – and chances are, you’ve already eaten it this week!”
10. Make Your Audience Smile
If you can make your audience feel something (especially a positive emotion), you’re going to have their full attention. One way to do this is to inject some humor (sparingly) into your content to make your audience smile and chuckle.
Before you start cracking jokes in your content, be sure that you’ve researched your audience, and you understand them. What people find humorous is subjective, and it also differs across cultures. Indeed, what you find funny may be outright offensive to others, so keep your humor G-related and appropriate.
11. Serve Up Unique Content
One really good way to keep readers engaged is to give them content they’ve never seen before. Elsewhere in these guides, we’ve talked about how to create unique content, such as by sharing unique case studies, stories, and even creating formulas to teach step-by-step content.
Here’s another idea: use fresh comparisons to explain concepts and even step-by-step processes.
In some cases, the actual how-to information you’re sharing isn’t unique. However, the way you position and present the information can be unique – and that’s exactly what will keep readers engaged.
Let’s suppose you’re writing about customer retention. Most of your competitors are going to list and explain all the components of creating satisfied customers. You can make your content unique by comparingcustomer retention to the Hollywood red-carpet VIP treatment. It’s a simple thing, but it makes your content more interesting, and it stands out from other similar content.
12. Be Concise
If you want to keep readers engaged, then cut out all the fluff and filler. If a page, a paragraph, or even a sentence isn’t necessary to getting your point across, then delete it. You want to keep your content concise and “meaty,” which will keep readers engaged.
One good way to keep your content focused is to create an outline before you write. The key here is to make this outline as detailed as possible. Not only should you list the major steps and points you want to cover, but you can also list substeps, tips, examples and so on. Then once you start writing, stick to your outline, and delete anything that veers from this outline.
13. Use a Friendly Tone
If you remember reading a few textbooks during your school days, you might also remember some pretty yawn-inducing passages. The problem? These textbook writers shared information, but they didn’t seem all that interested in connecting with readers. While their writing may be technically correct, it’s boring.
Naturally, you’ll want to avoid this sort of stilted, textbook-style writing.
One way to connect with your readers is to write with a friendly, conversational tone. Think of how you’d write to a friend, and share your content in a similar manner. (This guide is an example of writing with a friendly tone – note how this content isn’t speaking above anyone, it’s not pretentious, and it doesn’t try to impress with big words and complex sentence structure.)
14. Offer Quick Wins
A quick win is a tip or other bit of information that someone can apply fairly quickly, and then get fairly quick results too. Your readers should be able to instantly recognize the value of the information and how quickly they’ll get good results if they apply it
For example, if you’re sharing information to beginning marketers about how to find a niche, you might teach them to use a keyword tool to find niches they never knew existed (e.g., enter partial searches such as “how to ____” and “get rid of” and “secrets of”). Your audience can literally apply that information instantly, and in minutes have a list of potential niches to explore.
Quick wins keep your readers engaged on the current blog post they’re reading, as they’ll be eagerly searching for other gold nuggets of information. However, making a habit of providing quick wins in your posts also keeps readers engaged with your blog as a whole and coming back for more.
15. Insert Awesome Visuals
Another way to engage readers is by inserting useful, polished graphics. This includes:
… And similar images.
For example, you might include an infographic to make data-heavy information easier to understand.
Another example: you might include a photo or illustration that shows someone how to do something (such as the proper way to stand when doing a weight-lifting exercise such as a squat).
Need a real-life example to view right now? Take a look at the articles on BuzzFeed.com. You’ll see that many of them include memes and GIFs to keep readers interested and hooked until the end.
Point is, a good visual can attract the eye and draw the reader back into the text, and it can also add a lot of value to the content. Either way, good visuals engage readers!
16. Share Tips and Examples
Another way to add value while engaging readers is to generously provide plenty of tips and examples in your content.
As an example, take a look at #15 above. The instruction was to provide visuals in your blog posts. You then got a list of seven examples of different types of visuals you can create, along with specific examples of some of those seven types.
17. Format For Easy Readability
If people come to your blog and see a wall of text, they’re going to hit the back button without even bothering to begin reading your content. That’s why you need to format your content for easy readability, which is a crucial key to engaging readers.
Check out these tips:
- Break up long list paragraphs by using bulleted lists instead (like this one).
- Use short sentences and short paragraphs.
- Insert graphics to help break up long passages of text.
- Utilize headings and subheadings to provide white space and highlight important information.
You should also ensure your blog uses a responsive theme with a column layout. This ensures that when people read your articles on a mobile device, the article text takes up the entire screen (that’s desirable on small screens).
On the other hand, if someone is reading your article on a large desktop monitor, you do NOT want the article to take up the entire screen, as it’s difficult to read content across a large screen. The content should cover part of the screen, and the sidebar should cover the remaining part. Again, use a responsive theme, which will resize your columns for easy readability, depending on the device.
Now a few parting thoughts…
The people with the biggest, most popular and most profitable blogs are also the folks who know how to craft engaging content. If you’re looking to find that sort of success with your blog, then I highly recommend you putting these 17 keys for crafting engaging content to work for you.