Today I want to get straight to the point. Blogging is not simply words on your screen. It is the lifeblood of your entire online empire. There are methods that are proven to help increase how your readers perceive you, your brand, and the information that you share with them.
So, without further adieu, I’d like to share the strategies that will help take your blog and your business to the next level.
Tip #1: Create Bullet Points – The addition of bullet points can help allow readers to absorb information easier. Bullet points not only draw the eye, but provide bloggers with the ability to convey brief bits of important information without it getting lost amongst a massive wall of text.
Tip #2: Keep Content to the Point – I often get asked how long a blog post should be and my answer is almost always the same; a blog post only needs to be as long as it takes to disclose the required information in a manner that is interesting to the reader.
Whether it takes 800 words or 8,000 words depends on the material you’re covering, so the overall length may vary. I can tell you this however, if you tend to ramble on instead of keeping the blog post short, sweet and on point, the reader engagement will decrease.
Tip #3: Add Images – Everyone likes a bit of eye candy. Images and videos offer a visual stimulus that text alone simply cannot match. They evoke an emotional response within the reader which has been shown to not only how readers interact with your website, but can also increase earnings.
MDG Advertising found that blog posts that contained images received 94% more total views and twice as many comments than those without.
Below are numerous studies / case studies that reveal how images can affect your readers;
- High Rise Marketing increased sign-ups by 102.5% simply by adding an image of a woman.
- The addition of images improved the quality of care that doctors provided by increasing feelings of empathy for their patients. No, this is not about internet marketing, but it shows that people images stir feelings within people that text often can’t.
- Images of babies sell. Research suggests that humans are hardwired to react to a baby’s face because it instigates a high level of activity in our orbitofrontal cortex, or in laymen’s terms they make us react emotionally.
- Images of women sell to men (especially if they’re attractive). In one study that tracked the performance of a direct mailing campaign, researchers found that including the image of a woman had a noticeable increase in response rates from men.
- People respond differently to images of attractive people than they do unattractive people. This is known as the Halo Effect, which causes people to subconsciously judge people based on their looks. In fact, the looks of a person can affect judgment so much, that one study found that attractive people are recommended less severe punishment by jury members in a trial setting. Before anyone calls me out on this, yes, I am aware that I broke this “rule” and used an image of an elderly woman for this blog post. Why? Because the image makes me laugh.
- Photos of “objects” increases trust. A study that took place in both New Zealand and Canada found that the use of images drastically altered the perception of information when it was accompanied by an image.
In the online marketing world, we see this all the time. For instance, it is the reason that Kindle publishers still jump through hoops to create a realistic book mockup for their e-books, despite only selling the buyer a small file. The image helps legitimize the product in the eyes of the consumer.
Take a quick look at the right hand corner of this article and you’ll notice that my opt-in form promotes a free course with images of 2 books and numerous DVD’s. I’m not really giving hard covered books and DVD’s away (and you all know this), but people still sign up because the images help validate that what they’re receiving is of worth.
(oh crap, I used Tip #1 to organize the above studies)
Tip #4: Add Video – Content that contains video material gets shared more than content without. MOZ analyzed their websites most popular posts and found that contain that had videos embedded received 3 times more inbound links than blog posts with text only.
Tip #5: Entertainment Trumps ALL – Logic tells us that people share content so that they can help inform or “spread the word” about certain subjects. Well, it turns out, people are rather illogical creatures. The New York Times Customer Insight Group conducts regular studies of their readers.
In one particular study, the group polled viewers to see why they share the content that they do. The unrivaled, number one answer was that readers simply wanted to provide entertaining content for others to view, while “spreading the word” and informing others fell as the number five reason why readers share content.
Tip #6: Shorten Url’s – Massive url’s decrease the aesthetic value of your content. No, I don’t have a massive study to back my claim, but from personal experience, this just makes sense.
If you must add links to your posts then either use contextual links (like I am) or use a service that will shorten links for you. The two that come to mind are bitly.com and Pretty Link Lite. Pretty link Lite is probably your best bet because it is a free plug-in that can be installed directly onto your website and allows tracking, etc.
This comes in handy when posting your content to social media.
Tip #7: Use the Most Popular Content Types – The website Okdork.com undertook the massive task of analyzing 100 million different articles. Below are the article types that received the most attention;
- Lists posts (like this one) received 10,621 social shares on average. If I had to wager a guess, it’s because lists break information down into smaller, easily digested segments. Viewers can focus on the sub headings without even having to read the entire post and still gain an understanding of what was written.
- Posts that contain infographics received almost 14,500 social shares on average. Infographics break information down into even smaller bite sized morsels than list posts. They can pack a ton of info in a brief, yet visually appealing manner.
- Whitepapers such as the research studies I shared above, topical guides, trends, and downloadable guides are all highly sought after pieces of material that can increase reader engagement for your site.
- Live events such as Q&A sessions or meetings give your readers a sense of belonging. They will feel as if they are part of the group and continue to come back to your blog time and time again.
- Round-ups help to build yourself as an authority. It’s crazy to think that by compiling a massive resource of opinions from other authorities within your niche may actually lead your readers to view you as an expert as well. Plus, who doesn’t like seeing what all of the most informed people within a niche have to say about a certain topic?
- Opinion pieces can launch a brand into instant fame (or infamy). The stronger the opinion the better. No one likes reading likes reading the same regurgitated crap over and over again, so it’s ok to be a little different and stand out by injecting your own opinion into the mix.
About a year ago, there was a virtually unknown personal trainer that posted a photo of herself and her three children. She looked to be in amazing shape and the caption at the top read “What’s your excuse?”
She felt that if she could obtain the body that she had while giving birth to 3 children, then there is no excuse for others to not get in shape as well. Of course this rubbed people the wrong way and she received a ton of backlash. However, she also gained her fair share of supporters.
In fact, that woman, Maria Kang, went from a completely unknown person within the health and fitness niche to having headlines on every major new outlet throughout the country and now has over 315,000 Facebook followers……all because of that one opinion piece.
Blogging can be something that you do in your pastime, but SUCCESSFUL blogging is more than just a hobby, it is a skill that can be improved upon based on data. So, here’s my question to you; what blogging methods do you use to improve reader engagement?
Feel free to leave your response in the comment section below.