How To Make Your Blog Not Suck

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 5.23.23 PMMany people state that blogging is an art not a science but sometimes you can’t disagree with data. Everything that is specific to your company or organization requires a certain finesse to be unique but you cannot ignore the science behind your readers if you want it to be successful. Your blog posts are directed towards one audience so you must do your best to engage people of all different preferences and reading styles. Because blog posts are more commonly distributed through social media, it is just as important to understand social media tendencies as well as content curation.

Before I begin, I want to remind you how important your blog is to your company. As quoted by Hubspot, “46% of people read blogs more than once a day”. Although the type of blog will vary, it is important to remember that companies that blog have 97% more inbound links than those that do not blog. As a digital marketing nerd, that makes me feel sorry for companies that try to compete SEO wise without a blog or massive budget.

Visual engagement

According to Kiss Metrics, posting content with a photo or video results in a 84% higher click through rate than just word content alone. Post adjoining content that is memorable, surprising, informative, funny or in other words anything that derives emotion and you will see your click through rate vastly increase. Studies on Twitter show on average a tweet with a photo or video is 150% more likely to be retweeted than one without. Considering the way your brain works is identical in how it processes information across social media, it is wise to respect the data and improve your virality.

Know your Traffic

Knowing the traffic of your website and blog users helps you understand peak times to be submitting news articles, tweets and posts. Traffic levels will vary by the industry and site type but data wise for example, Facebook experiences 18% higher engagement levels on Thursdays and Fridays which falls in line with a high percentage of web based sites. Twitter also experiences similar effects with brands engagement raising 17% on weekends according to the research of Dan Zarrella of Hubspot. In other words, posting that extremely impressive news about your company can wait a day or two, it is in your best interest to be smart not too eager.

Know your Users

Simply posting content and hoping for high engagement and sharing is not going to work consistently if you are not taking an educated approach to it. Review the content you place on the web constantly. Any marketing specialist can tell you the styles, subjects or approach that lead to posts receiving the highest levels of attention. Learn what made those posts work well and plan for how to implement that going forward. Continually measure these results and reevaluate with new and existing hypothesis. (Can you guess yet which I believe is more true, science or art?)

Many companies make the mistake of constantly pushing their product via their blog hoping to attract buyers. Does anyone think this works? Always write blogs that provide value to your reader, otherwise they will click off easily and quickly. Always put yourself in the readers shoes as you create and distribute content to your user base.

Title Title Title

Anyone that ignores how much of an influence the title has in a post must learn from the best. Websites like UpWorthy, VancityBuzz, and Buzzfeed.com have it down to a strict process on creating titles that attract readers with ease. Buzzfeed has been quoted before stating for every story they write, a small team helps create at least 150 titles before they narrow it down to 2. They then submit their post with 2 different links to perform an A/B test to ensure which one performs better. While many consider this far too much work, you cannot argue with the results they experience.

At the minimum good titles use power verbs and intrigue people with terms like “Did you know..”, “Are you this person…”, “how do you know he is the one…” and multiple other forms of a question that could pertain to anyone and is just enough intrigue to make you click the link. Despite the links being about trendy subjects, there is far more to their success than jumping on trending topics. They know exactly how to word every title to create extremely high engagement levels across the board. You must also try to keep titles between 40 and 70 characters for SEO purposes in engaging multiple words in a post but not too many to create a negative keyword effect.

Be Concise

The average web user judges content in under 8 seconds. Being concise and to the point helps retain readership from people who have clicked on your link. A study done by Bufferapp states that Facebook posts with 80 characters or less have 66% higher read through rates. Make a blog post with the direct information you want to convey and no filler and the read through rates will increase. People are busy enough as it is, do not increase your chances of readers bouncing before you have established your point or purpose.

Lastly, I encourage you to read other peoples blogs! It is easy for a blog to feel stale or monotonous when you are not inspired. I make a rule to myself that I will not try to write anything if I feel dull energy wise as it will quickly be conveyed in your posts. Reading other blogs gives you insights to and new angles to approach issues and subjects of interest.

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