Many online entrepreneurs typically blog about their niche. They write about the industry, trends affecting their audience, make new announcements and generally, provide informative content for their web site visitors. Having a blog elevates the user experience, showing your audience that you have something to offer them beyond what you’re selling. You have advice, opinions and all kinds of information that speaks to their needs.
However, sometimes the hard part is creating content that your audience will want to read in the first place. Your online business stands out, so too should your blogs, right?
From the right headline to providing them with engaging material, here are 10 ways to keep your visitors scrolling down your entire blog page and coming back for more.
Write Attention-Getting Headlines
1. Top 10 Headlines
People often gravitate towards top 10 lists. It makes sense, since so much of our lives have involved couching topics in terms of numbers. From bestsellers and music charts to doctors asking us to describe our pain on a “level of 1 to 10,” there are terms like “top 10,” “bottom three” and “giving 100 percent.”
Numbers tell readers up front what they’re in for: a succinct read that will give them key takeaways. Besides, succinct is what readers want. Tosin Adeoti, a young entrepreneur and founder of Home-Based Business Coach, says, “Studies show that internet readers scan, skim and skip around blog contents more than they read.” Keeping your audience in mind is essential and “top” lists help. Adeoti says it’s important to give them a “visual break” which can be done by proper use of white space, bulleting points or outlining comments with a top 10 (or 5 or 25) list.
2. The “What you’re Not Doing But Should Be” Headline
Let’s use the example of “Five Things You Probably Aren’t Doing on Your iPhone but Should.” This headline lets your audience know they are in for a short read (“five things”) while also enticing them to read more (suggested by the “what could I be doing differently, or more effective?” headline). In other words, it seems to suggest that is has something for those who don’t want to be left out. It’s a teaser that gets them wondering what they can learn something that’ll make their experience easier, better or faster.
3. The Unusual Headline
Headlines that make people do a mental double take like, “How Discovering Your Online Niche is a lot like Dating” or “The Barry Manilow/Metallica Concert: What Your IPod Says About your Music Style,” can engage your readers. While more serious cut and dry headlines about your web site blog can also make a point, it’s often not a bad idea to mix it up with some attention-getting levity.
4. The “Did You Know” Headline
The “did you know” headline evokes curiosity. “Did you Know that the Cashew is Not Really a Nut?” may be a blog idea for someone with a health-related online business. It imparts a sense of intrigue, telling others that there’s more to a story they likely thought they knew everything about. Similar to the “lesser known facts about . . .” or the “what you thought you knew but didn’t . . .” concept, this headline draws people in to hopefully satisfy their yearning for more knowledge about your business.
Write Attention-Getting Content
5. Check the Calendar
You’d be surprised at how many unique days exist dedicated to a hobby, cause or even certain foods, colors and pet peeves. Be creative.
For example, Jennifer Lilley, a blogger, columnist and copywriting professional who has worked with such clients as Johnson & Johnson and Frito-Lay, wrote a blog called, “How Pumpkins can help your Brand: Trying new Approaches to Generate Awareness.” In it, she says, “These days, there’s a date with a designation for just about anything. From International Cookie Dough Day to Lost Dryer Sock Day, there’s bound to be one that’s an ideal match, and therefore a prime opportunity, to tout your brand. Check out the United Nations’ list of world observances by day for ideas.”
For example, if it’s National Cookie Day (which was December 4, by the way) and you sell eBooks, why not consider a blog that discusses a particular eBook being a “sweet” read or as a way to boost sales of new recipe book? Even if you sell health products, use the day as an opportunity to blog about your own top 10 list of favorite gluten-free cookies. Then, find all things cookie or cookie day related on Twitter, and post your blog. Make it known to the masses!
Of course, make sure the day is aligned with your brand’s message. Lilley says that an event can also be an opportunity to offer a differing opinion, one that’s against the celebration of a designated day. In other words, building messaging around a topic can also be done by taking a stance against something, too. For example, writing all about why there should be more National Kale Days instead of cookie ones, is an idea for the health-minded blogger running a nutritional product web site.
6. Get a Leg up on Hollywood
While some people roll their eyes over the latest Hollywood gossip, there’s something to be said about the fact that it makes for popular conversation. Striking while the iron is hot is key, often allowing you to blog in a way that resonates with your audience in a timely manner.
With some creativity, it’s possible to make the most of the world of entertainment and weave it into your blog. Move outside the online business world, but not entirely. From amazing new movie roles and well-known phrases of celebrities gone wild (i.e. “winning”) to award show memories, it can be worked into your blog as an entire theme. “Think outside the box. Rather than relying on high-profile examples that everyone is writing about, such as Steve Jobs,” says Jane Porter, associate editor at Entrepreneur.com, “consider case studies of other successful people . . .”
7. Turn to Social Media
Social media gives you no excuse for writer’s block because it exposes us to blog ideas galore. Furthermore, if you hone in on the moment, your blog becomes timely, resonating moreso with your audience while establishing yourself as someone truly “in the know.”
Between all the trends, discussions, specialized pages and forums, there’s a writing opportunity in everything. Even if it initially seems like a stretch, keep thinking about a specific topic and consider ways you can turn it into a post. For example, on Twitter, #snowday was recently trending in the United States. What’s that have to do with you?
If you’re selling eBooks on your web site, why not write about how a #snowday is the perfect time to catch up on reading? Talk about books you remember during no school snow days. Reminisce about newsworthy blizzards of days gone by. Throughout all of this, discuss the books that have been part of your #snowday experiences through the years and suggest some favorites you’re now selling.
If you’re selling health products, why not blog about top foods that can naturally raise your temperature and keep you warm during this #snowday?
8. Know Your Current Events
If you sit for hours happily blogging about the joys of music and your online music store, touting it as ear candy for the ages and post it, that’s a good thing, right? Of course. But what if you neglected to take a few minutes beforehand to scan top headlines and breaking news related to your online business?
So . . . you post your blog about the joys of the music industry and then turn on your TV to see an unfortunate turn of events regarding that very topic? Suddenly, that happy-go-lucky post becomes an ill-timed piece of writing.
Porter urges online bloggers to ask themselves these questions: Is there anything relevant happening in your industry — policy changes, tech developments or recent reports — that could affect your customers? Can you distill some valuable lessons from companies or industry leaders who’ve made headlines? What could your customers learn from these victories or disasters?
9. Take off Your Geographic Blinders
Maybe it snows a lot where you live, making it seem logical to weave in references about how nice it would be for visitors to enjoy your products with a steaming cup of hot cocoa. But too many cozy casserole and roaring fire references can be a turn off to folks living in Puerto Rico. Some local “about me and my area” talk is good, even necessary, to get your audience to understand you more and showcase the personality behind you and your brand, but too much local talk can make others feel as if your blog is leaving them out, even if they live in the same county. Not everyone shops where you do or even likes the same coffee house as you (if they even like coffee at all), so go easy on constant mention about your favorite place for a cup of joe. Consider being more generic at times or offer a range of geographic-friendly topics like, “Whether you’re enjoying a fireplace or lying on the beach . . .”
10. Don’t be Afraid to Show Your Personality
Do your readers know who you are? Truly? Beyond the fact that you’re a marketing guru with a passion for providing must-have products via the internet?
Don’t be afraid to inject some personality in your blogs, allowing your audience to know some details that make you more engaging, more relatable, more . . . human. You never know when a chuckle or story that makes someone feel they aren’t alone over a funny thought, habit or pet peeve can translate to buying power.
Adeoti, the successful home-based coach, says, “When you write, envision yourself sitting with your best friend and having fun. How would you speak to him? That’s the way you should write.” He says that many people are overly business-like in their tone, which can leave your readers questioning the intent behind the blog or how well you really understand them. Porter adds, “Let your readers get to know you and they will turn to you repeatedly for expert insight.”