Blogging Tips: How to Engage your Audience through Useful Content
When done properly, blogging is an effective way to market a business. Unfortunately, people often put little thought or effort into their blog posts because they assume that as long as they’re posting something, they’re doing enough. Nothing could be further from the truth. Content marketing continues to be among the best ways to reach your desired audience, but it needs to be unique, relevant and, most importantly of all, useful. Luckily, blogging doesn’t have to come naturally to you to make this happen. By keeping a handful of things in mind, you can create engaging, useful content that will boost your overall marketing efforts in a big way.
Make it Original
One of the most fundamental facts about achieving a high ranking on the major search engines is that your content must be completely unique and original. If Google detects duplicate content, your site could be penalized with a lower ranking. Further, no one will stick around to read what you have to say if they’ve seen it posted everywhere else.
Brainstorming original ideas for a blog is easier than you probably think. Great content is made up of three primary components: a topic, a point and a slant. First, think of a subject that interests you. Next, come up with a more specific point to discuss. Focus on one point per post for clarity and simplicity. Finally, come up with a slant, or an angle, for your piece. Here’s an example: A general subject could be cars. A specific point could be smart cars. A good angle in this case might be, “Smart cars will be ubiquitous within 10 years.”
Write About what You Know
This may seem obvious, but many people attempt to write blogs about subjects that may interest them but about which they know practically nothing. Faking it until you make just doesn’t fly under these circumstances. Readers are savvy, and they can tell when someone is fumbling their way through a piece. Content is much more engaging and useful when it comes from a place of expertise. By taking this approach, your content will come across as authoritative, and that will make it more useful too.
Internet users are a fickle lot. Most will go as far as to read the headline and first few sentences of a blog, but if it doesn’t grab them, they typically lose interest and click their way elsewhere. With these points in mind, take your time creating a catchy headline. Write it in a way that leaves the reader wanting more. Take the same approach with the first sentence or two to reel people in more effectively.
Make Your Post Easy to Digest
The best blogs are highly scannable. They’re split up into compact paragraphs that are typically separated by highly descriptive subheadings. The goal is to enable the reader to scan their way down the piece to more quickly and easily find useful information. Don’t assume that everyone will read every last word, and don’t be offended if they don’t. Instead, help them scan your content more easily to increase the odds that they’ll actually get something out of it.
Coming up with a great topic to discuss and a catchy headline is just the first step. The content itself should be written in a way that is engaging and thought-provoking. Throughout your writing, periodically direct questions at the reader. Also, whenever possible, make your content actionable. Give people a clear idea about how they can apply the information that you’re providing. Eschew the passive voice for the active voice to come out on top every time.
Give Answers–And Back Them Up
Never leave readers waiting for answers to the subjects that you broach in you blog posts. Assuming that they’ll come back to learn more isn’t a good strategy. Since your piece will have a single point to make, providing clear answers should be easy enough. Even if you are a bona fide authority on the subject, back up your answers with statistics and other facts whenever you can, and always cite your sources.
Keep it Simple
Keep your content direct, succinct and to the point. Avoid fluff or filler at all costs. Every single sentence and every last word matter. Likewise, keep paragraphs short–and sentences shorter. Use clear, simple language too. Now is not the time to try to impress your audience with a bunch of 50-cent words.
Strong, effective content speaks for itself. If you find yourself resorting to hyperbole to make the reader see your point, you’re not making an effective argument. The last thing you want is for readers to feel like they’re reading something that’s strictly designed to promote your business. If you rely too heavily on hype, readers will feel like they are being manipulated, and they won’t be able to trust you.
Use a Unique Voice
Keep your blog from blending in with the millions of others that are out there by writing your content using a unique voice. Ideally, the voice that you use should come naturally to you. However, if you still find that your writing is too stilted and formal, browse around on other blogs for inspiration. Just remember not to completely co-opt someone else’s tone. Subtly adjust it to make it your own. By using a distinctive voice, you are more likely to attract a loyal readership.
Include Complementary Images and Videos
When it makes sense to do so, include images and videos in your blogs. This helps to flesh out your posts, and it gives readers another way to digest the information that you are presenting. If you decide to use videos, embed the ones that you create yourself, and link to ones that come from outside sources. Just make sure that whatever images and videos you use are relevant to the topic at hand. They should also boost or enhance your content in some way. If they’re just there to look nice, they should be eliminated.
Write a Snappy Conclusion
Don’t forget to wrap up your blog posts with a succinct conclusion. Try to quickly sum up the information that you presented in the body of your piece. Remind readers of the problem that you presented and of the solutions that you suggested. Most importantly of all, conclude your blog with a snappy ending that entices them to come back again. Posing a question to readers is always a good way to go. Just make sure that the question relates to the post itself and that it is conducive to generating buzz and discussion.
Unlike in the early days of the Internet, you won’t get anywhere with content marketing by using bland, generic content that’s crammed with various keywords. Effective content marketing and blogging are all about presenting useful information to readers. Generating such content takes a little time and effort, but it will all pay off when your blog propels your site to the top of the search engine results pages.