Blog Appeal: 5 Attributes You Need (Tips Too!)
That’s the key question. Regardless of your goals, if your blog isn’t appealing to your target audience, it’s not going to attract an audience or achieve your goals.
Schaffer grew and expanded his blog, originally named Windmill Networking, into a top rated community blog with over 20 global contributors. Based on his extensive experience, Schaffer knows how to develop a blog that lures readers in while standing out from the crowd.
In his opinion top blogs contain 5 attributes that create blog appeal. What I like about Schaffer’s short list is that it focuses on making your blog enticing to your key audience(s).
Here are Schaffer’s 5 points that all top blogs contain combined with my blogging tips.
1. Are visually attractive.
As humans, we take in visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Use this to your favor.
- Add a photo or image to each blog post to get your reader’s attention.
- Integrate a number of images and/or screenshots to entice your content and illustrate your points. Social Media Examiner does a great job of this example and include multiple images or screenshots, such as this article on using photos.
- Incorporate other visual content such as videos, inforgraphics and presentations.
Recognize that your readers are seeking to get through your content as quickly as possible. Therefore consider the following points.
- Use bolding and outlining to guide them through the information quickly. This is particularly important for on-the-go consumption. Also you want to avoid THDR (aka—Too Hard, Didn’t Read.) Dense content isn’t inviting.
- Employ good grammar. A copy editor can be helpful to provide a second set of eyes. Further, Disruptive Communications found that 40% of respondents believed poor spelling and grammar reduced favorable brand impressions.
- Incorporate responsive design. Your audience uses a diverse set of devices including PCs, smartphones and tablets to read your content, therefore your content must render on all of these options. Also, don’t forget to make your email blog posts and related announcements, mobile and tablet friendly since about 50% of email is opened on a mobile device.
3. Use eye-catching titles.
David Ogilvy taught us, “Only 1 out of 5 readers gets beyond your headline.”
- Start with a working title and keep polishing it. Buzzfeed and Upworthy invest a significant amount of time on their headlines.
- Use headline formulas that readers like. Conductor research found that: 36% of respondents preferred headlines with numbers, my personal favorite; 21% of respondents preferred headlines that speak to them by using the word “you”; and 17% of respondents preferred headlines that were how to’s.
- Don’t skip the list posts. Top 10 lists are tops!
- Need help? Not sure how to word your headline? Check out these 131 words that Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media recommends. If you’re still at a loss, here are 125 Free Titles.
4. Place content above-the-fold, not advertisements.
Regardless of your blog goals, building your brand, attracting prospects, generating leaders, and/or creating thought leadership, you need to entice your prospects into your content.
- Skip the promotion. Disruptive Communications research found that 25% of respondents thought social media updates were “too salesy”.
- Lead readers deeper into your content. Offer top 10 lists, related articles, Start here lists.
- Incorporate a call-to-action. Get visitors to sign up for email and to follow you on social media.
5. Include author bios for all of the authors.
Readers like to know who’s talking to them. This is especially important for company blogs, whether they’re B2C or B2B.
- Show your author’s face. This adds personality to the content and helps your readers to form a connection with the writer.
- Speak human and have a personality. It can’t be rehashed corporate-speak.
- Respond to your readers’ comments. Even major blogs have a difficult time getting reader comments. Therefore, make sure that your authors take the time to respond when there are comments.
By focusing on your audience and their needs, you will attract a following that’s loyal to you.
How do you feel about making your blog attractive to your audience? What else would you add to this list and why?
Join me at Social Media Marketing World this coming Spring in sunny San Diego, California, where I'll be presenting a session on Blogging.
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