When it comes to blogging, it’s not only about what you write but how you write.
People buy into the hype of ever-changing trends and products daily. Why? Because they understand them and, more importantly, believe in them. The same goes with content marketing and blog writing, you have to make it believable. Your stories are only effective when they connect to your audience at a deeper level. Here are five critical tips to make that happen.
The easier to read, the better
The simple fact is: if the reader can’t follow your train of thought, then you have lost them as an audience and a potential customer. Stephanie Leffler, CEO and Co-founder of CrowdSource, puts it best:
“Write as if they will be reading on their phones … Create content in bite-sized pieces that can be stitched together to form long-form articles, or kept separate to serve mobile users.”
Smartphones are the most convenient and popular methods for people to take in information, so tailor your post and work that to your advantage. Keep your writing tone conversational and address the reader directly. This will build a stronger connection and “buy-in” from the reader. Pratik Dholakiya’s article about content marketing points out that “nothing makes a reader feel more engaged than when they feel like you are talking directly to them”.
Compelling title and images
A headline is like a first impression at an office party – if you don’t stand out, you will be overlooked by everyone else. It doesn’t matter how smart or hardworking you are, you will more than likely end up standing alone by the fondue table feeding yourself overly-ripe grapes and strawberries by the end of the night. The same goes with your blog posts. No one is going to read your post if the title doesn’t intrigue the reader to click on it. Pratik nails it on the head perfectly:
“People don’t read blog posts because they know the blog post is going to be good. They read blog posts because the title catches their attention.”
Another thing to keep in mind is that pictures and videos are your friends. They will visually depict what you may not be able to describe with words. Check out Nike’s recent post about the launch of NBA superstar Kevin Durant’s latest KD VI PB&J shoes (and yes, that stands for peanut butter & jelly). Those tasty bad boys look so amazing in photos and the video that Nike only needed to add a quick description of the “jelly-like” Swoosh and the peanut-gold and maroon coloured theme. The rest of the post focuses on the concept and story behind the shoes. A relevant picture and/or video will do wonders for your post, not to mention keep your audience engaged.
Write with emotion
People do not connect with words; they connect with emotions. Posts that portray strong emotions of fear, anger and humour are more likely to be shared than the ones that are sad or disaffecting. Similarly, heart-warming content that makes the readers say “aww!” will have a higher chance of being shared with family and friends.
Make your readers take action
This key point here is often overlooked. Once you have informed the reader what they need to know, follow up with specific ideas or instructions on the next steps to be taken to accomplish the goal. Think of it as a “now what?” factor. Austin Fracchia reiterates in his social marketing strategy post that “some of the most successful campaigns center around a call to action or participation”. Nike’s “Just Do It” campaigns are prime examples of this. Nike Running inspires active fitness through encouragement and informational tips for beginners and experienced runners. This combined with promoting a “runner’s lifestyle” and, of course, its sleek, lighter-than-air sneakers are what its loyal customers connect to.
“Trust is earned, not given.”
You have probably heard that quote a thousand times. Well guess what? It’s true. No one is going to believe Joe Schmoe from the hot dog stand down the street when he says that his hot dogs cure cancer unless he has proven facts to support it. Same goes for your content. Relevant research findings and facts will add a ton of credibility if, let’s say, your post is trying to disprove a common myth. Supported numbers and insightful percentages will help your case too.
If all else fails, throw in a quote from an expert or a famous figure in the industry. Everyone loves a familiar voice.
With that, I leave you with one of my favourite quotes from the great Michael Jordan:
“I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
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