How to Write a Blog Post Your Visitors Actually Want to Read
Does this sound familiar? You spend a few hours writing up a blog post you think is pretty great, publish it, and wait for the audience to roll in and engage with your content. But instead, no one really reads it and it all just falls flat.
Unfortunately, well-written content doesn’t necessarily get read. A look at over 2 billion visits across the web found that most people who click don’t actually read the posts. Time reports that 55% of visitors spend 15 seconds or less on any given post.
The stats may look grim, but this could actually be good news for small businesses and bloggers alike trying hard to gain traction with their blogs. It’s likely that other bloggers will simply give up on trying to master blogging as they get fewer and fewer reads. That gives you the incentive to hone your blogging skills and stand out from the competition. Blogging does take hard work, but there are proven ways to get your blog posts read. Here’s a guide on how to write a blog post your visitors actually want to read.
Know What Your Audience Wants
It’s easy to create a blog post on a topic you enjoy writing about, or one you think your audience wants to read about. But it’s harder to tap into what your audience actually wants to read. Start by considering your audience’s pain points to create powerful content. Once you’ve identified what their pain points are, it will be easier to identify how you can help solve their problems.
There are plenty of other ways to figure out what your readers want. Take a bold step and just ask them directly what they want you to write about. Email your list and ask what they’re struggling with, send out a survey with Surveymonkey asking for feedback, or look to see what your competition is writing about.
Image: Survey Monkey
The more you stay on the pulse of what your audience is looking for, the easier it will be to write compelling content they’re eagerly waiting to read.
Brainstorm a Killer Headline
Your headline determines if someone will even click through to begin with. According to Copyblogger, “On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.” Those sobering statistics mean you have almost no time at all to command attention with the headline you write.
Fortunately, you can absolutely learn the process for brainstorming and creating killer headlines. Work on mastering a headline formula proven to drive more clicks. Here’s a list to consider:
- “How to” posts
- “What [Group of People] Get Wrong About [Important Topic]”
- “[X] Mistakes [Group of People] Make”
- “[X] [Adjective] [Noun] You [Need to Know]”
- “How [Something Innocuous] is Putting You at Risk”
- “Get Rid of [Your Problem] Once and For All”
- “You Won’t Believe How [Thing, Person or Group of People] [Did Something Notable]”
- “The Secret Behind [Something Notable]”
- “Why [X] Does [Y]: What You Need to Know”
- “A [Subject Matter Expert] Answers Your Top [X] Questions on [Subject]”
Regardless of which headline formula you choose, just make sure it delivers and matches your content. Make sure there’s substance in your posts. Creating content that doesn’t really live up to its enticing title will frustrate your readers and lose you their trust.
Write a Captivating Opening
A killer headline alone isn’t enough to snag your readers’ attention. Get their attention by creating a juicy hook that keeps them reading. To get started, use a hook that immediately alerts readers to a pressing issue, statistic or study. For example, when I wrote this blog post, I incorporated a statistic about how 55% of visitors spend 15 seconds or less on any given post. That number is shocking to bloggers trying to increase their readership. I then quickly set the stage on how I could help guide you through the issue and offer more insights.
There are many ways to write a great opening paragraph, including stating something surprising or shocking, or letting readers know how ignoring your advice could make a problem worse. But at the end of the day, a hook should always be short and to the point to keep the reader wanting more.
Use an Eye-Catching Visual
A well-executed visual provides a powerful learning tool for your blog readers and helps engage your audience. Canva drives this point home by asking, “If you had to tell your audience how many tweets are sent each second, how would you do it? Simply state the number — 7,362 tweets per second? Or, would you create a visual context to engage your audience?” Canva then shows this captivating graphic to back that statement up.
What if you’re not that artistic? Not being able to create visuals is no longer an excuse, and it’s never been easier to find fun and eye-catching visuals for your blog. Pexels and Pixabay offer royalty free images and videos for use under the Creative Commons license, so you can freely use their materials without worrying about copyright issues. GIPHY also has a huge selection of clever Gifs, and Make a Meme gives users an easy way to create their own memes.
Write a Value-Packed Post
Now that you’ve set the stage to hook your readers and leave them eager to read your content, don’t stumble into the 5 fails of blogging. Some of the pitfalls include creating boring content and not providing value for the reader. A lengthy, value-packed post is an absolute necessity in the very competitive world of blogging.
However, it’s not enough to simply describe or tell someone about the value you’re creating – you need to show how your content will impact readers. Start by collecting helpful resources, showing real-world examples, weaving in advice from experts and influencers, and focusing on solving tangible problems. Using a case study is also a captivating way to show readers how you solved a problem, or how someone used a method or service similar to yours to overcome an issue.
Organize Your Content for Readability
The most value-packed content in the world will get overlooked without being organized for maximum readability and cohesiveness. A giant text block will fatigue a reader before they get started. But organizing and using subheadings allows readers to glance through the article and stop on the sections that most interest them. This also makes it easier for them to go back and see what they missed once they realize how valuable your content is.
Readability also means your content is cohesive and flows well. Keep your writing actionable, snappy and to the point. Make sure that similar ideas stay together and follow a natural progression.
For example, explaining a problem you had using Snapchat in your business and how you solved it, only to jump back to the problem again is confusing and will distract readers, making it more likely they won’t finish the article. To make sure everything reads cohesively, read your post out loud to a team member and ask for input. If it’s conversational and makes sense, you’re likely to have a post readers will love.
Offer Actionable Takeaways
Take a step back and think about what you want your readers to actually do with your content. Even if your content is super valuable, it will be difficult to entice readers to come back if they can’t relate to it. One way to resolve this is by prompting readers to take action and apply your valuable content to their own lives or business. Give them a checklist or the tools to move forward and succeed.
Aside from leaving your readers inspired and satisfied with an actionable takeaway, it can also improve your social proof. Imagine what happens when someone takes your advice, applies it to their problem and actually succeeds. They’ll be more likely to keep returning, share your posts on social media and say ‘yes’ to a request to use their comments or a testimonial on your website.
Include a Call to Action
A strategic call to action (CTA) triggers your readers to engage and quickly take action. Whether you want them to opt in to your email list for a spot in an upcoming webinar, or share a comment, you can tell them exactly what you want them to do next. But focus on continuing that value-driven content you’ve created. In the example below, the call to action “Claim My Spot Now!” urges readers to take the next step.
Make sure the opt-in content offers even more valuable content than your post. Respond thoroughly and thoughtfully to any comments, and work on building your readers’ trust. The more they trust your credibility and authority, the more likely they are to keep coming back.
What are some of your best tips for writing a blog post your visitors actually want to read? Let us know by leaving a comment below: