You never forget your first love or your first kiss. It was a magical moment when the world faded away. The only thing that mattered was that moment when your heart felt like it would burst and the butterflies in your stomach went haywire. It was perfect. More will come after your first but the memory stays with you for the rest of your life.
Every blog post is the first time for you and a reader. The first paragraph they read determines if they’ll stay or bounce. Your avid followers know and love you. Yet, you have to nurture that love just as you would do in any relationship. New readers don’t know you. The first blog post is your chance to take their breath away and make them fall in love with you. Write a blog post like it’s your last. Leave a lasting impression on your reader.
Want people to read your entire blog post? Here are nine tips to write an engaging blog post.
1. Identify Your Audience
Knowing your audience is pivotal to content creation. You are not writing for every internet user. You are writing to capture the heart of readers who love your content. What are their pain points? Understand them. Identify a problem and solve it. I dedicated the month of March to sharing blogging ideas because I create blog posts for my clients. I also received messages on social media from people asking for blogging tips.
How do you identify your audience?
Identify a niche for your blog. Next, classify your audience with the following criteria:
- Age and marital status
- Average educational level
- Religious value, lifestyle and hobby
- Geography and location
Create content that resonates with your audience. Align your blog posts with their needs. Identify an online space your audience will likely be on – Quora, Facebook groups and your social media platforms.
Talk to them in the comment section or through a survey. Pay attention to the words and sentences they use. Understand what makes them happy. What is their emotional reaction to a blog post? For example, your blog post states “7 Ways to Get a Boy to Love You”. If your readers are focusing on how to keep their boyfriend, intersect and align your blog post with their challenge.
Use tools such as Monkey and Polldaddy. They help you run an online survey of your audience and how they search for words.
2. Begin with a story
Stories are a refreshing way to grab your reader’s attention. A story has roughly 300% higher time full page reads. Regardless of age, intellect, background or preference, we all love a good story. It’s almost like you’re experiencing it in real life. Read through this introduction again. See how I used the experience of a first kiss and first love to get your attention?
3. Organise and Structure Your Blog Post
Nobody loves an unstructured blog post. A disorganized piece disturbs the flow and makes it impossible to read. If your content is difficult to read, they run to your competitor. Make your sentences and paragraphs flow logically.
Structure your post for easy comprehension. Start each piece with a page plan. It makes writing easy for you and allows your readers to understand your piece better.
Your blog post should be structured into:
Introduction: This is the hook that grabs the reader’s attention. Your introduction makes a reader stay or leave.
Meat: The body of your post. Break your texts into small chunks. Use bullets points and subheadings.
Conclusion: It is written mainly for skimmers. Write an apt summary of your blog post. The first half should include the key takeaways and the second half, the action you want the reader to take next.
4. The Perfect Introduction
The first word, sentence and paragraph determine whether the reader scrolls to the second line of text. It must be perfect.
Your hook is not the summary of your post. It’s not an academic paper. A blog post introduction is different from the regular intro you know.
How can you write a blog post introduction?
- Be concise. Clarity always wins
- Share common views – pleasure, pain or problems
- Be personal
- Tell them the benefits
- Answer questions they’re asking
- Use facts and statistics
- Avoid clichés
5. Stay on Subject
Deceiving your audience through click baits is a one-way route to Google’s badlands. Do you know who visits the badlands? Nobody.
If you are writing on ” A Guide to Conquering Your Enemies”, don’t put out a 200-word blog post on how to make a friend. Clickbait and deception breed mistrust. If the reader does not see a connection between your headline and the body of your post, your bounce rate increases.
To stay on topic, ensure you…
- Understand the topic you’re discussing
- Have a page plan for your content
- Know your audience
6. Language Use
Whatever language you employ, always write a blog post for your audience. Do not waste words. Use short sentences and simple words. Most readers believe writers are language masters. Don’t disappoint them. Avoid grammar errors that raise questions about your credibility. This article on 15 grammar mistakes that ruin your credibility is a good follow-up piece.
Your language use must be impeccable, without flaw or error. Use first person pronoun – I, we, us. This helps your audience connect with you on a personal level.
6. Embrace Your Style
People connect easily with personal opinions rather than vague unimpressionable views. Your style of writing differentiates you from other blogs. It’s okay to be personal, but don’t impose your belief on others.
Look for interesting ways to tell a story. Think like your readers. Do not be afraid to write in a friendly or informal style. If you can’t sit through a boring lecture why should anyone read your boring post?
7. Be Authoritative
There are over 152 million blogs on the internet. Show your audience you know your onion to keep them coming back for more.
How do you become a niche authority?
Be bold and assertive. Remove words like, ”think” and ”assume”, that make you seem uncertain about your opinion.
In-depth research: Don’t write off the top of your hat. Do your homework to identify the facts. Use statistics and comments from industry leaders to back up your argument.
Active voice makes your piece more authoritative. Instead of writing: ”The boy was slapped by Simon”. Write, “Simon slapped the boy”
Be honest. Let your audience know where you are in your journey. People relate to personal struggles. For example, if you are learning to bake. You could write a blog post that reads. “7 Lessons I Learnt as an Amateur Baker.”
8. Visual Content
Visual content is powerful. The human eyes process a complete picture 13 times faster than it blinks. Visual contents make a page interesting. Do not drown your audience in a pool of text. Break up texts with beautiful pictures or GIFs.
There are many sites such as Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash and Flickr with free stock images. Tools like Canva are great for adding text to images.
9. Polish to Shine
The first draft of any write up isn’t always perfect. Your copy is inundated with grammatical errors, disconnected sentences and fluff. Proofread your post diligently. Weed out errors and words that muddle up sentences. Hire a professional editor to clean up your content.
Check the readability of your article. I use Yoast SEO for this purpose. Trim long sentences and paragraphs. Add relevant internal and outbound links. Write your meta description and include attractive images.
Most people who see your content won’t get past the headline. Fewer will read the introduction or each line of text word for word. Engage your reader with a story. Use attractive images to break up the text. Ensure each piece of content addresses a problem your audience wants to solve. Remember, every blog post is an opportunity to win someone’s heart. Write a blog post like it’s your last.