There may be nothing worse in a bloggers life than writing a post that gets little, if any, views. After all, this means no one cared enough to read the post…despite your best effort and great information. But you can increase the likelihood of your posts getting read. In this post, freelance writer and ghostwriter Dan Kenitz (@buildwithwords) provides a checklist that will help you do just that.
You spend a lot of time writing, but you aren’t getting people to spend a lot of time reading your posts.
Where’s the disconnect?
Chances are, your blog posts are somewhat engaging, but they might be missing an element or two that makes them truly compelling. The next time you sit down to write, keep the following seven elements in mind. Use them as your content checklist:
1. A great headline.
Check out how well the Huffington Post constructs headlines. They come out with the most interesting information yet know how to craft each headline frankly so you can’t help but want to click forward. The headline should not only attract attention but should entice that second step: the click.
2. A hook.
I never liked the phrase “hook.” In fishing, the hook is what you get when you’ve already caught the fish’s attention. But how do you get the fish to notice you in the first place?
“Bait” might not sound like such a great term either, but consider this: without a compelling reason to read your post, no one is going to go beyond your first paragraph. Hook, bait—whatever you call it, start the post off with a bang. Don’t save the biggest fireworks for the grand finale.
Face it: we all scan. You might even be doing it right now. We don’t have a lot of time online; thus, we want blog posts to get to the point. We want to read their most compelling information first. This blog post is scannable because you can read through each element (the numbered list) first, then dive in for more detail. If your blog post isn’t scannable, then the quality of your content will have to be stronger—which isn’t a bad thing. But it is an element of which you need to be aware.
Think of a blog post as an exchange of labor. You’re doing labor in exchange for viewership. Much of that labor comes in the form of research.
The more quality content you grab and put in one place, the more likely it is that your post will be seen as an essential source of information. More people will bookmark it. More people will share it. More people will revisit you in the future…but not without first satisfying their need for content. Effective content starts with quality research.
5. The Personal Touch.
Even if you deliver quality content, it won’t truly be compelling until it resonates with people on an emotional level. Check out Aaron Bleyaert’s famous post, “How to Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps.” It’s an emotional powerhouse. It’s less about weight loss than it is the author’s journey to overcoming heartbreak. There’s no denying the personal touch there, even if it does also include a few tips along the way.
6. Opening a Loop…
Uh-oh, see what I did there? I include ellipses at the end of the headline, which in turn introduces an element of tension. It’s the most simple, blatant example of introducing tension you can imagine…
7. …So You Can Close It Later
…but it also works. Your writing needs to end on a strong note, and few notes are as strong as concluding the tension you introduced earlier in the post. Consider Bleyaert’s post from above. It closes on a hilarious note by finally concluding with the fourth step, even after the novel-length whirlwind that was step three.
That’s all that’s required. If you follow these seven steps and use them to edit your future posts, you’ll likely find there are improvements to be made in each one. Using this type of checklist is a lot of work, but as you settle into these new habits, you’ll create more engaging content all the time. That means your time writing will be returned by more readers who spend time enjoying it, which was the goal all along.
How do you get people to read your posts? Tell me in a comment below.
About the Author
Dan Kenitz is a freelance writer and ghostwriter from Wisconsin who helps individuals and companies build their brands through valuable content. www.empirewriter.com/
Photo copyright:garagestock / 123RF Stock Photo