You’ve got a blog, but where are the readers?
It’s gotten to the point where you’re wondering if you’ve got something worthwhile to say.
If you’ve had this thought, even though you don’t know how to put it in action yet, I have good news–you’re headed in the right direction.
It’s not just about reaching a lot of people. If you can reach millions and your content is useless, your Return On Investment (ROI) will be so low it doesn’t justify the time spent writing.
There are some crucial things you can start doing right now, in the fundamentals of your blog writing process itself, that will turn around and bring you more readers and more success. Get on the road to better blogging today with a few simple, but key, tips.
15 Keys to Start Using Immediately And Get on a Path of Better Blogging
You’ve got to have a good mix of value and reach, but finding that mix is daunting. Following is a list of fifteen ways that have proven successful in helping blogs reach a wider audience and becoming a better blogger, overall.
1. Outrage, Uplift, Mystery: Emotions in Headlines Matter!
Whatever you’re writing, it needs to catch the eye and be emotional. Upworthy established a formula proven successful in the increase of clicks. It is comprised of creating headlines that alert customers of an “outrage” they can resonate with, uplifting them with the possibility of a solution or some other fulfillment, and establishing mystery throughout. Here are examples of headlines that use this formula:
- You Won’t Believe The Discount Opportunities This Weekend, Or The Secret Coupons
- Don’t Be A Victim Of Internet Scamming Through Hidden False Flag Social Media Campaigns
- Is Our Government Losing Its Mind? Insider Tips On Corporate Savings
Note how each of these hits the reader in a relatable way at the beginning of the headline. Then, each title gives the reader a possible “uplift” (opportunities, don’t be a victim, tips). Finally, none of these titles give away enough information to let the reader move onward without clicking.
Now, one thing I’d bet we all hate is the “click-bait-that-doesn’t-deliver” title. You know, the ones that get you to do a thousand clicks through a ton of ads before you can get anywhere. Don’t be that person. You can be honestly outrageous without outing a cold lie about what your content delivers.
So, a couple do’s and don’t’s here:
- Do: Be authoritative, challenging, fun, and even shocking in your title–as long as your content delivers on what the title actually says. (Give them those coupons and the coupon code. Give them actual examples of those bad social media campaigns. Show them a list of 10 great insider tips–not something that’s common knowledge.)
- Don’t: Mislead. Click-bait title with no content that actually delivers on what you’re offering in the topic. (10 Ways You Can Actually Find Your Soulmate Today, for example, is pretty hard to fulfill on.)
CoSchedule has some pretty awesome headline resources. Check out their headline analyzer and read their tips on how to get more emotional with your headlines. Check out the Advanced Marketing Institute’s headline analyzer as well.
We also have a free guide with over 120 power words for better headlines: get it here.
Playing around with that tool and utilizing guides with power words can get you great results.
I worked on the headline of this very blog for about 20 minutes to get this score from the AMI tool:
2. Is Your Blog Mobile Friendly?
Simple, but key. Half of all consumers conducting a search locally on their smartphone followed their search with a visit to the store within 24 hours, while only 34% did the same on a computer tablet. As smartphones become regular features of society, blogs that are easy to navigate on them will naturally increase in readership. When writing a blog, don’t forget to keep the mobile angle in mind.
3. Utilize Good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques
3 out of 4 people (75%) who conduct a search on a search engine won’t scroll further than the first page of results. This means that if your blog doesn’t show up within that first page, it is 75% less likely to even be seen. You’ve got to have it optimized for a search engine, and SEO techniques like keyword inclusion are a great way to do that. You shouldn’t go overboard with keywords, but the right amount will very likely increase your readership. Writing a good meta description for every blog is also a key of SEO blogging. Also, beyond outrage, uplift, and mystery, have a title that is likewise optimized with your keyword.
4. Aim Your Blog At The Right Audience (Share-ability)
It’s all about opportunity cost. You want the greatest opportunity for the least cost. That means you want to aim your content at an audience who’s likely to share your blog. If you give your content value and properly engage this audience, you stand to see circulation in a way that’s wider than any solo efforts could produce (Moz).
5. Do You Have Share Buttons Visible on Every Blog Post?
Not only that, but share your blog on every social media platform yourself. Making sure your share buttons are visible is important to give every reader a chance to share with their network. Twitter has nearly the entire population of the United States in worldwide users monthly making posts, Facebook has about one billion users that are active, while Google+ and LinkedIn both have constituents that transcend 300 million. Between the four of them, that’s 1.871 billion potential readers—though certainly some crossover between the platforms is to be expected. The point is, you’ve got at least a billion possible readers out there through social media, just waiting to check out your blog. Increasing readership through social media is really worth your time. A lot of people in the above-listed networks share content they agree with. If you get yours trending, the potential for cost-free marketing is high. I’ll give you a secret here, too: I’ve found huge engagement through sharing my content within private social media groups (I’ll talk about that soon).
6. Use Google Analytics to Review Your Content
Using Google to analyze the effectiveness of your blog is a quantifiable way to identify trends and successful practices; plus it’s free, and can save you a lot of time.
7. Reach Out and Be a Guest Blogger
Getting an established blog to host your posts can put your blogs in front of a diverse, established readership that is more likely to offer a high ROI-quotient than solo marketing. Find blogs that are of high quality and resonate with products and services you’re purveying. Contact people who run the site and see if there’s a way you can do a guest post.
8. Never Refrain From Humor
Next to sex, you can’t beat humor. According to authors Noah J. Goldstein and Robert B. Cialdini, as well as Steven J. Martin (despite his humorous involvement, it’s a different one than the SNL alum), a cartoon strip that isn’t offensive sent during negotiations is integral to generating higher levels of trust. This is quantifiable to the tune of 15% higher profits.
9. Offer Truly Useful Content
Another simple key. Design your blog not just to sell your products or services, exposit them, or market. All these things are definitely useful to your audience and potential clients; but the blog that goes above and beyond in a relatable way will have more readers. Give the reader something they can sink their teeth into. Something that affects them directly, and is useful in their daily lives. If you’re selling a lawn service, maybe relate a memory about an extremely well-groomed garden that has affected you throughout your adult life. Then maybe offer some reasons why neglecting to groom a lawn can keep such memories from coming to others. The more useful your content is, the more likely it will be shared.
10. Long-Form Content
Dichotomously, despite the short form writing which attracts mobile phone readers, long form content actually gets more shares—ten percent more, in fact. (Read my recent post on how to create long-form content.) One of the reasons for this is that a reader is more likely to become invested in a long-form post and share its content. The key is to have both short and long form posts. Be sure your long-form posts are optimized for mobile viewing, and that you’ve got a short list or takeaway to summarize the long post inside at some point (10 key takeaways, etc.).
11. Visuals, Visuals, Visuals
More pictures doesn’t automatically equate to more readers, but having at least one image on your blog post more than doubles both Twitter and Facebook Shares. Branded images that have the topic + blogger’s identity are more and more becoming the norm, replacing crappy, standard old stock imagery.
12. Hit All The Emotional Chords
Humor was touched on earlier because it’s easier to facilitate than awe, but as the graphic from Buzzsumo demonstrates, by far awe is the most popular emotion, followed by laughter, amusement, other, and joy.
13. Establish a Regular Publication Schedule
Add content to your blog predictably, so readers can incorporate you into their routine. I can’t tell you how much a regular schedule is key to consistent rankings, too. Google knows to eat up new content from you, and will regularly (use long-term key phrases to win at blogging). I blog 3 times weekly, over 1000 words each post, and our rankings have been increasing since 2014 when I seriously committed to that many blogs. We have over 300 keywords in the top 10 spots of Google. (Read our blog post on how we gained 300 spots for more on our content schedule.)
14. Boost Old Blogposts That Are Relevant
An old post already has hit its peak of readers, but sometimes an old post becomes relevant again. Think of the economy. Certain stocks go up, and they come down; and different blogs over the years could prove useful in identifying trends. If you’ve written a past blog that suddenly becomes relevant again, blast it across social media with a new blurb citing your clairvoyance. It’ll help build trust and awe, and if you’ve got a colloquial amount of charming snark, you might even get a laugh.
15. Analyze and Try, Try, Try Again
Okay, you can’t try everything, but you can go after a number of different tactics and see which ones work the best for you. The old adage, “you don’t know unless you try” is as true here as it is anywhere else. Don’t be too risky, but don’t be afraid to take risks either; after all: “fortune favors the bold.” Don’t forget to analyze and track your results.
Successful Blogging Doesn’t Come Overnight (Or Does It?)
Now that you’ve got some useful tips to help you get started, try a few out and see if you don’t start getting more readers. You may not have success overnight, but then again, with the viral nature of the Internet, you just might.
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