Monday, August 19, 2019Canada's Leading Online Business Magazine

How to Write Blog Posts That Get Read And Shared

By Melonie Dodaro

Does your audience feel inspired to share or engage with your blog post after reading it? Learning how to write blog posts that get read and shared is essential to an effective content marketing strategy.

I DON’T KNOW about you, but when I invest my time, energy and resources into creating a blog post for my business, I want to know that my audience is finding extreme value from it, and that they are engaging with my content.

After more than eight years of publishing hundreds of blog posts, I have discovered many key strategies to significantly increase the number of people finding and reading my blog posts but also, more importantly, engaging with and sharing it.

Im going to share these tips here with you in the hope that you too can increase the engagement with your blog, as engagement is an essential part of building relationships and generating new clients.

Know Your Audience

If you want great engagement and an increase of shares of your blog posts, you must create content with your audience – ideal clients – in mind.

If you try to create content that is for everyone, then your content is of value to no one.

The blog content that you make (write, record, design, etc.) must be 100% audiencefocused and provide immense value to your readers.

You do this by finding out what their problems and challenges are and then creating content that offers a solution. If you understand where they’re coming from, what their motivations are, and if you speak their language, you’ll be able to connect with them in a meaningful way and increase engagement.

To help you start to create an audience persona, ask yourself the following questions: Who is your ideal client specifically? What is the typical language of their business, industry, or organization? What kinds of problems/ challenges do they face?

Create your audience persona in detail using the example below as a starting point. If you have more than one, create a persona for each of your identified ideal clients.

Connect Emotionally

Be clear on your why message. Your why story is your differentiator.

In addition to determining who your audience is and what they need, you also need to be clear on who you are, what you stand for, and why you do what you do.

While there is probably no one who clarifies this concept as succinctly as Simon Sinek in his TED Talk, “How great leaders inspire action,” which has had over 41 million views, I will attempt to explain what it is and why it is so vital to your success.

Your audience has many options; they will choose you specifically when they can emotionally connect with your message and why you do what you do.

If you fail to do this, you won’t get their attention, and no one will read your blog posts, much less engage with them.

If you can speak and connect with a particular audience and build a relationship of trust with them, you will have a loyal group of people who WANT to engage and share your content.

Writing Your Why Story

What is your why story?

Watch Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, “How great leaders inspire action,” and get clear on your why message.

Don’t get stuck on what you do or how you do it, but focus instead on the underlying reason why you offer your products or services. Simplify this to a few sentences that reflect your motivations to your ideal clients.

I previously worked with a client who couldn’t identify his why. His name is Neal, a financial advisor whose ideal clients were mostly high net worth individuals. I asked him several times why he does what he does, but he couldn’t tell me his why. Not until he shared his story from his childhood.

When he was a child, his father lost his business and their family home. Their family of four became very poor and had to move into a one-bedroom apartment. Neal vowed never to let it happen again. And he didn’t want the same to happen to anyone else either. That had inspired him to help others grow their wealth, for the safety and security it provided.

In the financial services industry trust is paramount when deciding with whom you want to invest your money. After Neal galvanized his why he was able to differentiate himself from other financial advisors. He was able to gain substantial trust with new prospects much more quickly.

His business thrived. How about you? What is your why story?

Write your why story including the related emotional motivations. Keep this brief. Ideally, something that could be shared in a minute or less.

Customer’s Language

Leave creativity to artists.

One big mistake most marketers, businesses, and bloggers make is trying to be creative rather than effectively speaking the language of their audience.

While you might create helpful, interesting content that will be of value to your audience, if you do not use the words and phrases that they use, your content will not draw or keep their attention, and they will just ignore it, along with all of the rest of the white noise on the internet.

So, do your homework and write and speak the language of your ideal customers.

Doing so will attract their attention and allow your message to resonate with them as you gain their trust in solving their problem for them.

Use the Language of Your Ideal Customers

Being aware of the words and phrases commonly used by your ideal customers is very important because that is the exact language you want to include in your content.

The best way to know the words and phrases your audience uses is to:

– Listen to the language used by your identified audience personas on social media or other areas they communicate with you such as email
– Listen to the language used when you are asked question by your ideal customers
– Listen to the answers they provide you they discuss their problems/challenges

Notice all three require you to listen, to really listen.

Take notes each time you are speaking to your prospects and customers, and write down the precise language they use.

The key to how to write blog posts that get read is to let their desires be reflected in the content you create and share.

‘How to’ Content

Don’t tell people what to do, instead, show them how to do it.

If the goal of your blog posts is to grow an audience and develop a relationship of trust with them, then you will want to create content that helps your audience to solve their challenges or problems.

There is no better way to do this than with how-to content, whether it is an article, video, podcast or infographic.

Despite your hesitation at giving your audience a complete step-by-step guide to solving their challenge, being vague with your ‘how-to’ advice can leave the impression that your content is fluffy and not worth their time and attention.

If you want to increase your blog engagement, you must be willing to share your knowledge with your audience. Not just some of it—but all of it. Your very best tips and strategies, the knowledge that makes you an expert at what you do.

Now you might be thinking, “If I give it all away, then what do I have left to sell?”

The answer is you, and your product or service.

There will always be the do-it-yourself (DIY) types who either lack the funds to pay for your services or like the challenge of doing it themselves. They would never have paid for your services either way. But, they will share your content, and just how generous and knowledgeable you are, with their network.

Then there are those who either lack the time or the desire to do what you do and will gladly pay for the services of an expert. By giving away your best information in the form of in-depth ‘how to’ blog posts you position yourself as a trusted authority and will be top of mind when they are interested in what you offer.

Effective Content

Great ‘how to’ blog content is both simple to understand and follow. It should be clear and brief. Mostly, your audience should be able to read, watch or listen to your tips and then take action on the topic right away.

When creating your blog content make an outline of each step needed, from beginning to end, for the reader to successfully achieve the desired result. Take each of these steps and make them your headings.

Next, fill in the details of how a reader can complete each step. Again, this information needs to be simultaneously complete and concise. Only include the information that is required to make it easy for those that fit your audience personas to complete each step and solve their challenge successfully.

Share Your Voice

Don’t just mechanically share your knowledge. Increase your blog engagement and shares by always including your one-of-a-kind style and personality into your content.

The unique tone and flavor you add to your content will help your audience to recognize your content wherever they see it and, like your Why story, it will help your audience to be able to connect to you and your content emotionally.

While the information that you are sharing may not be unique on the internet, your perspective is. This is what will get the attention of your readers, help them to get to know you and ultimately create engagement or discussion about your content.

Writing with Personality

Add your unique voice to your content by writing your blog posts like a casual conversation between you and your readers.

Once you have written the informationdriven, core content that will solve your audience’s challenge, read the whole blog post out loud.

That’s right. Read it out loud word for word.

This is a quick and easy way to see where and how you can modify or add text within the article to better reflect your personal style and voice.

Another great way to add your personality to content is to include your perspective and insights on the topic you are writing on. Your audience wants to know what you think or feel about what you are writing about. It’s your perspective on the topic that will differentiate your content from your competitors and the millions of other articles across the Internet.

Visual Elements

Make great content better, and more engaging with visual elements.

Not only are images an easy way to create impact and share information, but they are also shared much more often than text alone. Articles with images get 94% more total views.

In fact, 32% of marketers say visual images are the most important form of content for their business, with blogging in second at 27%.

These are some excellent reasons to add more visuals to your content.

Images

Add a relevant image or two to your blog posts. Here are a few types of visuals that you can incorporate that can increase your shares and engagement:

– Large infographics
– Mini infographics
– Quote graphics
– Blog title graphics (like the one at the top of this article)
– Graphics that show interesting stats

You can use a variety of apps to help you create free or affordable visuals such as Adobe Spark, Canva or Pic Monkey. Always ensure that any visuals you add look professional and when applicable, branded with your personal or company branding.

Interactive Content

A fantastic way to increase engagement with your blog is by making it more interactive for your readers. There are many ways to easily do this such as:

– embedding a video that supports your point
– adding tweetable quotes
– embedding social media posts
– sharing social media polls

Video Support

A great way to add value to your content and create more engagement is to include videos in your blog posts.

People respond well to video content. Video humanizes you and allows people to get to know you more intimately. It is one of the best ways to establish authority on your topic and in your niche. People relate to video, and science shows that the brain is hard-wired to trust the human face.

79% of consumers agree video is the easiest way to get to know a brand online.

Whether you are sharing your own videos, or videos that are created by others, your goal (besides the increased engagement) is to become a resource for answers and knowledge for your audience by including videos that solve their problems and help them overcome their challenges.

If you are creating your own videos, some helpful video best practices include:

– Start with the most critical information at the beginning of your video
– Keep your videos short and succinct
– Do your research on what people are searching for
– Include a CTA (call-to-action)

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Sharing valuable content on your blog without a proper call-to-action (CTA) is a missed opportunity to increase your engagement and blog shares. Your CTA may be as simple as asking them to share their thoughts on the article or share your blog post on social media.

Remember, people are more likely to take action when you explicitly tell them the action you want them to take.

As much as possible, be direct with your CTA without being too blunt or sounding desperate. If you want people to comment, invite them to comment, but provide something substantial for them to comment on in the first place.

Choose the Right CTA

If a reader reaches the end of your blog post, they are engaged and more likely to take the action you are suggesting. The key is to choose a CTA that makes sense within the context of the post and then to tell them exactly what you want them to do.

While you want to add a CTA to every post, it is important that not only does the CTA make sense as part of that post, but you also want to mix up which type you use regularly. It is also usually a good idea to limit how often you include a sales related CTA, as this can annoy some members of your audience.

Share, Promote and Distribute

Social sharing helps give your content more exposure than what it would otherwise get.

The more people that you drive to your blog posts, the more people who will read them and the more people who read them, means the more people who can then engage and share them. This is why you want to share every blog you post, on each of your social media channels as well as through your email newsletter.

If you are serious about the success of your blog, then you need to build an email list and start sharing each new blog post with your email list.

Creating a weekly newsletter doesn’t have to be a daunting task. There are plenty of great newsletter tools out there that make the process simple, such as Mailchimp and Constant Contact.

Optimize for SEO

How much traffic are you missing out on to your blog posts by not optimizing them for SEO? The short answer: a lot.

Most people know me as a LinkedIn and social selling expert. They would assume that most of my traffic would come from LinkedIn. But what they don’t realize, for me to have ever been considered an expert at LinkedIn, I would have had to display that through the use of high-quality content.

Summary

If you are going to invest resources in building a blog for your business, you need to ensure that you are getting an ROI. There are two that are important to me: Return on Investment and Return on Impact.

Blog engagement and shares are a great way to not only help you track and measure this, but they are also the foundation of starting a natural conversation with your audience and begin to build a relationship with them. Keep in mind, people buy from people that they know, like and trust and blogging is a fantastic tool to help you accomplish just that.

I hope these tips on how to write blog posts that get read will help you to increase traffic, engagement, and provide additional value to your community. Long-form blog content has always been a foundational part of my content marketing strategy and has allowed me to generate inbound leads consistently without hiring an SEO company or spending money on advertising.

Melonie Dodaro is founder of Top Dog Social Media that helps brands and businesses, use social media marketing and social selling to boost visibility, attract new customers and increase revenue. Dodaro is also the author of ‘The LinkedIn Code’ and the recently-released ‘LinkedIn Unlocked’. To learn more visit www.TopDogSocialMedia.com

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