Having a blog is easy, right?
All you have to do is come up with some content ideas, find the time to write informative and interesting articles and then promote the hell out of them.
How long can you keep that up?
A year? Six months? Three months?
It’s not as easy as you think, and before you know it, you’ve started to fill your blog with inane content about your business. Or you’ve stopped publishing stuff altogether.
Whichever of those paths you’ve taken, one thing is certain – your blog is on the verge of extinction. There’s either no content there to read, or it’s so inward-facing that your readers don’t want to read it.
Either way, you’re missing a trick. You need great, original content that will grab their attention and fire up their interest in what you do.
How to make your blog effective
Lesson 1: Read your blog posts
How does it sound – and be objective.
Does it teach the reader anything? Does it address the reader and draw them in? Are you asleep after the first sentence? Is it speaking to you?
You’ve completely missed the mark if it’s full of ‘we’ and ‘I’. Engagement comes from using the second person, which means lots of ‘you’ and ‘your.’ That way, you instantly involve the reader in your post. You’re building rapport, drawing them in, and gaining their trust.
Lesson 2: What does your article look like?
The way your article looks is essential. If it’s one solid block of text, it’s unlikely to be read. But, if it’s broken into small paragraphs and subheadings like this one, your reader is more likely to hang around and have a read.
No one wants to read something that looks like War and Peace. For a start, very few people like reading from a screen, so if faced with a solid screen of text, they won’t bother reading it.
Using features such as:
- Bulleted lists
They will add interest to your post and make it look more welcoming.
Lesson 3: What happens at the end of your article?
Do you ask your reader to do anything? Or do you just let them wander off?
Adding a call to action makes a huge difference. It doesn’t have to make a sale; it could ask them to sign up for your newsletter or leave a comment. Asking them to take action involves them in your blog – it shows that their opinion matters to you.
Lesson 4: What are you writing about?
As you’ve probably guessed, I’m a freelance copywriter. When I started this blog, I decided that all my posts would be related to copywriting, marketing and social media.
So, when someone comes back to my blog, they have a fair idea of the kind of information they’ll find. If they want to find out about website copy or SEO, they know they can search for that term or check out my archive list, and they’ll find the information they need.
My blog acts as a mini directory for all things copywriting and marketing.
But if you have posts covering all manner of subjects on your blog, how will people know what they’ll find? Find your niche and stick to it. Make yourself an authority in your field, and people will flock to you for your help and advice.
Lesson 5: How does your blog look?
I’ve already talked about how your article should look; this time, I want to concentrate on the blog itself.
If it’s multi-coloured and full of ads, you’ll scare people away. Make yours a memorable brand by sticking with a couple of complimentary colours. It’ll become instantly recognisable, so when your readers return, it will be like slipping on a pair of comfortable slippers.
Blogging is a great way to help your SEO and make a name for yourself on the internet. But make sure you’re known for the right reasons.
Sally Ormond, professional freelance copywriter