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8 Tips on How to Get People to Read Your Blog

Get People to Read Your Blog-01

Let me ask you a question: If 50 people Tweeted your latest blog post, but none of them actually read it, does it matter?

For years online marketers have stressed the importance of getting social shares for your content. Don’t get us wrong, social shares can be absolutely helpful. However, how often do we stop to think about if anyone is actually reading or engaging with the content we put out?

The assumption is that if someone Retweets, Likes or Pins your content then they read it and enjoyed it so much they wanted to share it. But the reality is that with content curation being such a huge trend in social media marketing, that’s not always the case. And there’s some proof to back it up.

A study from Moz and Buzzsumo looked at the correlation between the amount of social shares blog posts got and the number of sites linking to those articles. One of the standout findings of the research was:

“Across our total sample of 1 million posts, there was NO overall correlation of shares and links, implying people share and link for different reasons.”

Basically, people share links to content that they aren’t reading.

That’s a problem because if people don’t read the content, they aren’t really engaging with it. The solution? Start getting people to read your blog instead of just sharing it. That way your audience will be more likely to leave comments and link to your content from their own site, which is the most important search engine ranking factor.

Here’s eight tips on how to get people to read your blog:

1. Start With Why

In the insanely popular book Start With Why by Simon Sinek, the author stresses the importance of figuring out your “why.” Your why is your purpose, reason or inspiration for why you do what you do. That doesn’t just apply to your business as a whole. You need to define your why for each piece of content you publish to your blog.

If you have a chance, take a look at Simon’s TED Talk about how to inspire action and the importance of starting with why.

Taking this step is going to allow you to identify what the goal for your blog post is, so you can choose the right topics and craft content specifically for your target reader. The best content is written with purpose and with a particular reader in mind. Have you ever read an article or a book and felt like the writer was speaking directly to you? That’s the same emotion you want to give to your readers. And that starts with figuring out why you’re creating the post to begin with.

Here’s a spoiler alert: your why is not to generate leads and make money. Those things are end results. Let’s break down the why for the article you’re reading right now. It would look like something along the lines of:

Notice how we defined the problem that we noticed in the marketplace and why we felt it needed to be fixed. Then we connected that back to the focus of the article. Get in the habit of doing this for your own blog posts and you’ll set yourself up on the right path from the start.

2. Create an Amazing Introduction

We have to face the facts, most people aren’t going to read your entire blog post. Blame it on our short attention spans, busy lifestyles or general disinterest, but it’s the truth.

Slate and Chartbeat researched how people engage with their content and found most of their traffic only reads about 50% of the page.

Percent of article content viewed

And as you can see from this other study performed by Chartbeat on a bigger sample of websites, a large percentage of readers aren’t even scrolling down the page at all.

Percent of content viewed

Luckily you can combat these numbers by starting your blog posts off strong. Your introduction will make or break you. That’s why newspapers commonly use the Inverted Pyramid model when they write stories. With this model, you put the most important information at the beginning of the article. This way, even if someone doesn’t continue to read the entire story, the reader will still get the gist.

Inverted Pryamid Writing

Another option is to build your post like a story. With this approach, you’re going to lead with a compelling setup that intrigues people to keep reading. Readers will want to find out what’s going to happen next as each sentence leads into the next.

You don’t necessarily have to tell a story with each blog post you write. But using some of the different elements of storytelling like setting the stage and painting a picture makes your content a lot more compelling.

Go back and read the very first paragraph of this article. Notice how we set things up in a way to keep you wanting to read more. Asking a question, creating a situation and suspense are all things that entice people in successful storytelling.

Here’s an example from a blog post on Greatist where the writer details her experience eating organic foods. She could have easily done a blog post on the pros and cons of eating organic. But adding a storytelling theme to her article, the blog post becomes a lot more interesting and intriguing because you can’t wait to read what happens at the end.

Blog Storytelling Example

3. Cut The Fluff

Have you ever read an article that just seemed to drag on to the point where you skip to the bottom or exit the site? This tends to frequently occur when the article contains a lot of fluff and very little substance.

Fluff is basically filler content. The article might repeat the same ideas, have unnecessarily long sentences and contain minimal value.

Writing with more substance and less fluff takes a lot of practice and it’s difficult to do. But here’s a good exercise to start building the habit.

  • Write out your blog post as your normally would
  • Go back and re-read it aloud
  • Look for sentences that repeat and delete the excess
  • Search for sentences that don’t add any value and delete

Think of your blog posts as a movie. Each paragraph or section is like a different scene. You want every scene to serve a purpose. Whether it’s helping to make a transition from one scene to the next, explaining a crucial detail or helping to paint the overall picture, you want each scene of your movie (or blog post in this case) to be a piece of the puzzle.

4. Make it Easy to Skim

If this blog post wasn’t separated with headings, would you have taken the time to get this far? Probably not.

When you write in huge blocks of text with no breaks, you’re begging people not to read it. When readers arrive to your blog post and see a big wall of text, they make assumptions like:

  • This is a lot to read
  • I’ll read this when I have more time
  • This looks boring

Instead of being a helpful piece of content, now your blog post has become a task or chore in the reader’s eyes. You’re asking them to give up more of their most valuable asset, which is time.

In the 1980’s, Siegfried Vögele, dean of the Institute of Direct Mail in Munich, Germany, conducted research in eye motion. Vögele looked at how people’s eyes traveled during the first few seconds of seeing an unfamiliar piece of text.

His research found that people look at:

  • Photographs or images first
  • Big text like headlines
  • Short paragraphs
  • Stand-out text like captions and bullet lists

That research was specifically for printed text, but it’s even more relevant for the Web.

Readers should be able to easily find what they’re looking for within your blog post. With this post for example, you can scroll through and see what the 8 different tips are even if you don’t feel like reading the entire article. Once you find a tip that interests you the most, you can go more in depth.

Switching to this format makes your content a lot less intimidating to readers, so they’re likely to read more of it. Always go through and read your blog posts as if you were a random reader and ask yourself if the layout is easy for you to read.

5. Get Visual

Like you saw in the tip above, the first thing people look for when they see a new piece of text is images. Including pictures in your blog posts is an absolute necessity. Articles with images get 94% more views than articles without them.

blog posts with images

Using images also makes your content easier to understand in some cases. For example, remember the inverted pyramid method we talked about in the second tip? The written description may have made sense to you, but for other people the visual representation makes it a lot more clear. Any time you’re discussing a concept that can be explained visually, it’s a good idea to put in a graphic.

This post by Mike Parkinson shows a great example of how much easier it is to interpret visual information than text. Compare the written description of a circle to the visual.

Circle Text vs Image

There are plenty of ways to add visuals to your content.

  • Custom graphics (like the featured images you see in all of our posts)
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Screenshots
  • Product photos

Images make your blog more visually appealing, which entices people to stick around longer.

6. Make Your Content Responsive

Responsive websites are sites that adapt to different screen sizes. So whether you’re viewing it from your laptop, smartphone or tablet, the proportions change to fit your screen size.

responsive mobile content example

Have you ever tried reading a blog post on a non-responsive site from your phone? There’s a lot of zooming and scrolling from left to right involved and it doesn’t make for a very enjoyable user experience.

Despite the growing number of people that consume content from their phones, a study by Guy Podjarny showed only about 10% to 12% of websites are responsive!

Responsive Website Design Study

Having a responsive site helps ensure you’re not losing out on readers just because your site doesn’t show up correctly on their phone. The good thing is that a lot of popular content management systems like WordPress have plenty of website templates that are responsive. Or if you already have an existing website, you can talk to a Web developer about making your site responsive.

Having a responsive site goes beyond resizing text to fit the screen. If there are any functionalities like email subscribe boxes on your blog, those should be responsive too.

Not only is it bad for the user experience, but Google has flat out stated they now use mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor. So you could be harming your search engine optimization with a non-responsive site.

7. Post at The Right Time

We’ve talked about the importance of publishing social media posts at the right time. But timing is also important when it comes to your blog.

Kissmetrics published an infographic with detailed information about the best time to publish blog posts. Some of the key findings were:

  • Most people read blogs in the morning
  • The average blog gets the most traffic on Monday
  • The average blog gets the most traffic around 11 a.m.
  • The average blog gets the most blog comments on Saturday

best time to blog graphic

Obviously this is going to be different depending on your site, but it gives a good place to start. Monitor your blog’s analytics over time so that you can see which days are the most active. If you notice spikes early on in the week for instance, you can take advantage by putting new content out then. Find out when people are the most active on your blog and try to adjust your publishing schedule around that.

8. Create a Conversation on Social Media

Last year Copyblogger shook their readers up by making the decision to stop allowing blog comments on their site. It seemed like an insane move at the time because they were completely closing off a major line of communication between the site and readers. There were several reasons for closing the comments, but one that stuck out the most was they realized conversations were taking place more on social than in the comments section.

Here’s what Copyblogger puts at the end of each post now instead of a comments section.

Copyblogger closed comments

Pushing people to leave their thoughts and comments on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ helps eliminate the issue of your audience just sharing a link to without reading the article. This action makes it so comments aren’t only found on your blog, but posted on social media for other people to see who may not know about your site.

On top of that, it increases the social chatter for your brand. When people People @mention your company, you increase the overall interest in your brand.

You don’t have to go to the same lengths as Copyblogger and close the comment section of your blog. You can start with something as simple as ending posts by asking readers to continue the conversation on Twitter or Facebook. Once their followers and friends start to see their comments, they’ll be more likely to check out your blog post too and actually read it so they can join in on the discussion.

Did You Read it All?

Congratulations and a big thanks for making it to the end of this post. From the data we showed you in the beginning, you now realize how much of a big deal this is! So here’s one last bonus tip for you. Focus on making the best blog posts possible. If your content is weak, people wont read it.

Getting people to read your blog might seem difficult at first. But if you follow all of the tips we laid out, you’ll be much more likely to get your audience to stick around to the end and engage with the content you’re working so hard to create.

Do you have any tips on how to get people to read your blog? Let us know in the comments section or Tweet us!

This post 8 Tips on How to Get People to Read Your Blog originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

Check Also

10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild

Hey, friend, have you heard the good news about podcasts? 

Given the most recent stats, it’s highly likely you have. Over half of all Americans over 12 years of age have listened to at least one. Podcasts have well and truly hit the mainstream. In other words, the gold rush is on for brands looking to connect with a highly-engaged, long-attention-span audience.

However, getting a podcast up and running isn’t as simple as publishing a blog. We recently published an entire B2B podcasting webinar to walk you through the entire process, from conception to publication. This post will zero in on the choices you need to make and the steps you need to take to release your podcast into the wild.

B2B Podcasting Launch Checklist: 10 Steps

Sure, you could just upload your audio to your web server, add an RSS feed, and call it good. But if you want people to actually find and listen to your podcast, there are a few extra steps you should take. This checklist will help your podcast find an audience and start building a subscriber base.

via GIPHY

#1: Choose Your Hosting Platform

A podcast syndication platform makes it easy to publish your podcast and get listed in directories. Think of it like WordPress is for your blog — it hosts the files, makes them look pretty, and makes it so people can find them.

Most platforms will also give you embed codes for embedding episodes in blog posts or on a landing page. You’ll also get stats on how many people are downloading episodes, and on what program they’re listening.

We prefer Libsyn as our hosting platform. Podbean, buzzsprout, and Blubrry are also solid options. They all have a free tier of hosting, but you’ll want to pay a few bucks a month for bandwidth and analytics.

#2: Upload Your First Three Episodes

Podcasting is all about establishing a regular cadence (more on that later). But for launch, you’ll want to have at least three episodes ready to go. There are a few reasons for publishing multiple episodes for your debut:

  1. One episode may not be enough to convince people to subscribe. 
  2. Multiple episodes show you’re committed to keeping the content coming.
  3. Most importantly, Apple podcasts requires at least three episodes to qualify for their “New and Noteworthy” section. 

So before you publish, have at least three episodes completed, and be ready to follow up with more at your promised publishing cadence.

#3:  Register with Podcast Directories

Podcasts are peculiar in terms of content delivery. Your hosting platform makes the files available, but most people will listen to your podcast on their chosen podcast app. Each app maintains its own directory — think of it as a search engine for podcasts. 

Your podcast needs to be listed in their directory, or people won’t be able to find you. I recommend registering with at least these six:

  1. Apple Podcasts
  2. Google Podcasts
  3. Stitcher
  4. Podbean
  5. Spotify
  6. TuneIn

Each of these sites will ask for the RSS feed of your podcast, which your hosting platform will generate for you.

I created a podcast tracker to keep track of all these directories — sign up for the webinar and you can download it for free.

B2B Podcast Tracker

#4: Promote Internally

Gaining visibility on a podcast directory is tricky business. Apple and Google are where the majority of your listeners will be, and each employs an algorithm to promote podcasts in search results and feature pages.

How do you get an algorithm’s attention? Engagement! Start by promoting your podcast to all of your employees. Encourage them to subscribe on Apple or Google, give a rating, and write a brief (and honest) review. What’s more, draft some social messages and encourage everyone to promote the podcast to their networks, too.

That base level of initial engagement will help your podcast start finding its audience.

#5: Activate Your Influencers

Most podcasts are Q&A-style interviews with influential guests. If your podcast includes influencers in your industry, make sure they know as soon as their episode goes live. Give them the tools to promote the podcast easily:

  • Sample social messages
  • Social media images in the correct sizes
  • Embed codes

If your podcast doesn’t feature influencers, it’s worth re-evaluating your strategy for your next season. Influencer content not only is more valuable to your audience, it’s an indispensable channel for promotion.

#6: Publish Blog Posts

The one downside of audio content: It’s not super crawlable for SEO purposes. Granted, Google has started to auto-transcribe episodes and add them to search results, but the technology is still in the early stages.

To truly get some SEO juice from your podcast, we recommend embedding each podcast in a blog post. This example from the Tech Unknown Podcast by SAP* shows how simple it can be. All you need is an introduction, a few pull quotes, some key takeaways, and a transcript.

#7: Add Paid Promotion

As with any content, you want to use every tactic available to make sure it gets seen by your target audience. That’s especially true with podcasts, since podcast search engines are incredibly competitive.

Targeted, paid social promotion can help establish your subscriber base and get your new podcast some much-needed visibility.

It’s also worth considering cross-promotion on other podcasts. Consider both paid advertising and trading guest spots with a podcast that shares your target audience. 

#8: Solicit Listener Feedback

Ratings and reviews are essential to your podcast’s success. They’ll help provide social proof for new listeners and boost your search visibility in podcast directories. 

The best way to get ratings and reviews? Ask for them. Make it part of each episode’s sign-off. You can even encourage thoughtful reviews by reading the best ones on future episodes. You will engage your listeners and solicit more reviews at the same time.

#9: Keep Up Your Cadence

As with blog content, there’s no single “right” frequency to publish a podcast. Some of my favorite podcasts publish weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. The best cadence for your podcast is “However frequently you can reliably, regularly publish quality content.”

Choose your cadence with an eye to long-term sustainability, and tell your listeners explicitly how frequently you’ll publish. Whether it’s “See you next week,” or “PodcastTitle is a monthly podcast that…” listeners will find it easier to make your podcast a habit if you stick to a schedule.

#10: Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

In my last post on the content marketing benefits of B2B podcasting, I mentioned that podcasts are a content machine, and I’ll say it again. It’s easy to finish an episode, publish it, then forget it and move on to the next thing. But don’t do that! 

Pull snippets of audio content for social media. Turn them into short videos, too: Add a still image or a simple looping GIF for visual interest.

Use your transcriptions as fodder for future blog posts, quotes for influencer marketing, or even a stand-alone asset. 

Any way you can reuse that content can help bring more listeners to your podcast. What’s more, putting the content in a different medium can reach an audience who might not be into podcasts (yet). 

Check, Check, One Two

Launching a podcast is a little trickier than launching a new blog, especially if you’re new to the format. But if you follow this checklist, you can make sure your podcast is available on all the right channels and is ready to start attracting an audience.

Need more podcasting help? Check out our B2B Podcasting Webinar. In addition to learning the Four P’s of podcasting success, you’ll see me make this face:

B2B Podcasting Face

*Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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