How To Write Actionable and Engaging Blog Posts
Blogging is becoming a critical part of building a successful Online Business Strategy, and the most successful posts need to be both engaging and actionable. As you begin to build your writing skills, these qualities will come naturally, but there are several things you can do to immediately improve your readers’ engagement.
Take a Topic and Make it Your Own
It can be really challenging to come up with a good blog post idea. However, you don’t need to be completely original to make a compelling post. You could look at other bloggers’ most popular posts and write about the same or a similar topic. For example, if a post discusses “10 Ways to Spice Up Your Love Life”, you could write about “10 Relationship Mistakes to Avoid” instead.
The key to making this work is to use your own flair. Use personal stories that illustrate the same topic, or take a slightly different angle to writing about the topic. Using this tactic, you’ll have some of the legwork done for you in finding an engaging idea to blog about.
Tell a Story Around Media
You can again leverage other people’s work by embedding media in your blog post. Videos an pictures can add another layer of intrigue besides just your writing. If you are able to integrate media into your topic and say something interesting about it, then you will likely impress your readers and give them a reason to stay engaged with your writing.
Choose Your Language Carefully
There’s a fine line to strike between using language that’s too plain and writing in a way that sounds too academic. Use a variety of sentence structures and vocabulary, without making your language too complicated. Most readers can easily and enjoyably follow along at this level, so they’ll be more likely to keep reading your post and take action at the end.
Mind the Visual Layout
An engaging blog post must give readers a clear sense of momentum. When readers are confronted with a wall of text or unclear headings, they could become bored and unsure that the reading will be worth their time. For this reason, it’s important to look at the whitespace on your page. The text should be broken up into small sections that give readers a break and let them know what to expect from the next section.
When your writing lists vague reasons why people should take action, you’ll have a much smaller chance at convincing someone of your ideas. Writing that is descriptive and gives lots of specific examples will convince your readers that you know what you’re talking about. Whenever possible, use statistics to back up your ideas. If you are writing based on pure experience or opinion, be sure to back up your opinions thoroughly and provide concrete examples.
Make Longer Posts
It can be tempting to write short articles to get your ideas out there quickly. However, your posts might get more attention if you take the time to make them more in-depth. For instance, posts that are over 1,500 words get more tweets and Facebook likes than shorter posts. (http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics) There is a lot of content on the internet, and readers appreciate it when you take the time to really dive into a topic.
Make it Count
As a caveat to the point above, this does not mean that you should simply add more fluff to your writing. This could have the opposite effect, causing readers to lose the point of your article. Whenever you’re writing, make sure that every single sentence adds something crucial to your writing. When you’re revising, cut out anything that could be left out without losing any punch.
Mind Your Tone
Besides using compelling content to your advantage, it’s important that you choose the right tone when interacting with your readers. For instance, if you place a lot of sales links or use a cheesy salesmen language, such as “our product is the finest on the market”, then people won’t believe that you are unbiased. If you are clearly trying to sell something, then it will be tough to get readers to trust you enough to take action. Instead, consider taking a more informative tone or pretend that you’re writing to a group of friends.
Give Readers a Way to Act
While the point of your writing may be very clear to you, readers can sometimes get lost in the reading and forget to act on your message. To keep this from happening, be sure to use clear directives for how you want your readers to act. For instance, instead of saying “drinking water can be good for your health”, tell readers to “drink 8 glasses of water a day for excellent health”. You can also include next steps at the end of your post to tie your ideas together and give readers a reason to stay engaged with your post. Make sure your call to action is visible and prominent. Giving seething away for free is a great way to motivate readers to engage, whether you’re providing a free e-book or an informational white paper, make sure it’s something of value that is intended specifically for your audience.
There are a variety of ways to make your posts more actionable, and you can use most of the tips above in just about any type of blog post you want to write. In order to start practicing these principles, you can create a checklist of items to check for. As you’re reviewing a post you’ve written, make sure that it hits most of the points above to ensure that it is both engaging and actionable.