How do you feel when you raise your hand to give a high-five to someone only to get ignored?
Your hand stays in flight mid-air, alone like the middle child who doesn’t get any attention. To mask your embarrassment, you end up running that neglected hand through your hair.
That’s exactly how a blog post feels when it doesn’t get any readers to give it a high-five or better, cheer and clap for it. The poor guy is left clapping for himself with a bold but fake smile on his face.
Unfortunately, several blog posts go unnoticed.
You see, there are 4.39 billion internet users and about 5.8 million blog posts published every single day. Not all people on the web read blogs. And of the 77% of those who do, getting as many as possible to clap back at you is challenging because there’s a noisy crowd of competition.
So what can you do to make people give your blog posts 37 seconds of their valuable attention?
Simple – you write content that is engaging, persuasive, and delightful
And how do you do that? Let’s dive into exactly this.
1 – First things first – look good
First impressions leave a lasting effect – enough to keep your readers onboard till your post’s last word. So, you need to make sure your write-ups look good.
People will read after their eyes land on the post, isn’t it? They’ll run if they’re greeted with words slammed under words slammed under words.
This is where readability comes into the picture.
Readability is all about making your content easy-to-read. This is why you should always write content that grabs attention in no time.
For instance, the screen below gives a good idea of how spacing out content, using short sentences and paragraphs, and employing bullet points make the piece easy to read:
Here’s what you need to do to replicate this:
- Give a clear title, no clickbait – humans are humans; not fish
- Use headings and subheadings to divide content
- Write shorter paragraphs with varying sentence lengths
- Make sure your sentences are no longer than 21-25 words
- Use bullet points
- Use active voice
- Add visuals – pictures, gifs, graphs, and more
Talking about visuals, your blog header should be appealing.
In fact, it shouldn’t just be appealing. It should also be able to show what your post covers along with being creative.
Apart from the header image, it’s always a good idea to design as many of your images as possible.
Creative director, Rafal Tomal designs graphics himself for his blogs. He says that “it can help you get more traffic because other blogs might want to use your illustrations and link back to your site.”
2 – Encourage people to read
Once upon a time people had an average attention span of 12 seconds. In recent years though, it has dropped to just 8 seconds. Keeping this in mind, you have a very small window to get people onboard.
To do this, you can tap into storytelling and evoke emotions.
See how the example below takes you back in time by sharing a story dated in 300 BC and then linking it with the main topic of commercial fraud:
What’s interesting is that blogs which employ storytelling in their introduction have about 300% more folks read them till the end according to a survey conducted by GrooveHQ.
You see, humans are drawn to stories.
In fact, emotional marketing is a tactic that advertisers use as well; they create content that tickles emotions.
Of course, the emotion you tap into depends on your blog’s message and its target audience.
The main idea is to keep your story relatable, and memorable.
You can also use analogies that capture readers at the first line.
An analogy drives meaning from another concept to better explain the main concept. In your blogs, always use an analogy that your audience is sure to understand.
Plus, you can start by stating a fact or stat too.
For instance, in the case below:
Doing this allows you to quickly pique your readers’ interest.
Don’t believe me?
Here’s proof – a survey by SurveyMonkey found that 82% of adults preferred reading data-driven posts rather than those based on the writer’s opinions.
To add a cherry on top, over 70% also called content supported by data more “persuasive” and “trustworthy.”
This clearly shows that starting with data will work in your favor.
3 – Add value to keep people reading
Okay so you’ve got their attention.
Great! So what next?
Hold the attention you’ve just gained. In other words, keep your readers on the page. Start with sprinkling your post with a lot of value so much so that readers are compelled to stay.
According to HubSpot, 43% of readers only skim blog posts. You’ve got to make certain that your visitors actually read rather than just run their eyes through headings.
To go about this, be conversational.
Talk to people like you do so in person.
Here’s what I am talking about:
Some tips for being conversational include:
- Use the word ‘you’ to make your content about your audience
- Also use ‘because’ to get your point across
- Don’t overuse exclamation marks
- Use contractions to keep conversations friendly
- Use fragmented sentences but sparingly
- Use adjectives and commonly used slang, like dang, where appropriate
One technique that many copywriters use for creating persuasive articles are bucket brigades. These are sentences that connect; they bridge the gap between two paras.
Along with this, don’t forget to add credibility.
To add more authority to your article, weave in research, surveys, and stats.
It is also a good idea to add the quotes of influencers in your field.
Note how the author here weaves in quotes to make her piece credible and useful for her audience:
Source: UI Goodies
4 – Lastly, don’t bullshit people
Ask yourself, how would you react to a person who tells you some basic stuff like he’s telling you something new?
You’d be thoroughly unimpressed and would probably roll your eyes.
This is exactly what happens when you try to serve people with a blog post that shares nothing new or valuable.
So, how to not bullshit people?
By being direct, easy, authoritative, and beneficial
Your goal should be to fill in the gaps. Talk about what your audience is not likely to know.
Be empathetic and help out your readers by addressing their pain points. And while you’re at it, use simple language.
Blogging is not a vocabulary competition. Also, you’re not Chris Evans so people aren’t going to make heart-eyes at your blog when you use words like “sanctimonious.”
Moreover, always be original. Develop your voice, give your opinions, share your experiences, and don’t ever copy paste. In fact, you can even conduct your own survey.
What’s more, don’t skip proofreading and editing.
You can use an editor like Grammarly for this purpose.
Oh, and cut out that fluff.
Fluff only looks good on cats, not in blogs. So, unless your blog is secretly a cat be sure to slash out fluff.
Here are some tips to help you out:
- Don’t be monotonous
- Chop out jargon
- Get straight to the point
- Don’t be repetitive
- Avoid using cliché examples
Once done, read your text aloud and see if you like what you hear.
Wrapping up – be awesome.
To recap, make sure your blog is visually appealing, valuable, catches attention in the first line, and gets people to read till the last word.
In brief, write rich content.
Too much on your plate as it is? Need some help with creating persuasive articles? Or have more important stuff to do like attending a Marvel movie marathon?
I can help you out with your blog posts. You can have your popcorn.