The first thing to remember, when creating a blog post, is that people don’t read. You have to capture their attention and persuade them to read. Incidentally, this is also true for most documents that you may publish online. Bear that statement in mind and you’ll be part way to creating that killer blog.
Most people simply don’t have the time to read long articles. Instead what they do is skim. The process usually goes like this.
- They look at the article. If it looks as if it’s going to take too long or too much effort to read, abandon it.
- They glance through the document to look for key phrases that will give an overview of what the article contains.
- If that creates interest, they read in more depth. Otherwise they abandon the article.
So let’s look at each of these three points and see how we can address them.
Make the article look attractive to a first glance.
- Keep it relatively short. Long articles have their place but blogs are not that place. If you’re going to publish a blog on a regular basis, keep the posts short. Seth Godin is a good example. He publishes two to three posts per day. Most are short. Some are ridiculously short.
- Keep paragraphs short. Long slabs of text will turn people off before they even bother to read them
- Use images if possible but not too many as to be distracting.
Bold the first clause or two of each paragraph to make it easier for people to skim.
People can then get a quick overview of the content.
To get people to read in depth though you need to have quality content.
Here are a few tips to achieve that:
- Decide who your target readers are and what they will be interested in.
- Try to be different. A “me-too” blog will not interest people. Why would anyone read yours amongst the thousands, and more, that are just the same?
- Focus. Don’t try and cover too many topics. If you can, focus on a single topic and stick to it.
- Use stories. Stories add depth and colour, which equates to interest.
- Don’t be afraid to be provocative. Your goal is to get your readers to think, not agree with you all the time. This is one way to be different. I doesn’t matter if some people disagree with what you write. In fact it’s probably good.
- Educate people.” How-to” articles are usually popular.
- Avoid writing about your company. Focus on your target customers. People don’t want to read about you then want to read about things that will help them.
Bear these points in mind when you’re writing your blog posts and you will go a long way to having a blog that creates a loyal following.