On average, companies with blogs produce 67% more leads per month than those without. However, with over a billion active websites on the Internet today, brands must find unique ways to break through the noise and lower consumers’ anti-marketing defences – encouraging conversations, conversions and ultimately, brand loyalty.
Blogging is a great tool that companies use to garner meaningful traffic from groups of like-minded readers. In a market full of experienced, highly-competitive bloggers, the ones that truly stand out are those who showcase their expertise, get consumers excited about their offerings, and build long-term SEO to help attract even more unique visitors.
In today’s content-saturated world, marketers have to overcome audiences’ shrinking attention spans to encourage steady growth in readership. Read on for Wordsmith’s top tips to get you started.
1. Never underestimate the importance of a great headline
In organic searches, headlines are the first sentences your potential consumers are going to read — so they need to be hard hitting, memorable and - above all - useful to your target audience. Long gone are the days of television’s “lean back and wash over me” content. Today’s consumers are actively searching for content, so you need to offer real value upfront.
According to Hubspot, 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts. However, this shouldn’t act as a deterrent, as marketers can still to tailor their content to meet consumers’ need for instant gratification and useful takeaways. Steve Rayson, Director of Buzzsumo, published an article based on research collected,from analyzing headlines across a myriad of social media channels. “We Analyzed 100 Million Headlines. Here’s What We Learned” shows content marketers interesting correlations between great performing posts and their headline value.
With the rising popularity of listicles, it’s no wonder that some of the top performing articles in Buzzumo’s research have numbers in their headlines. This is because our brains are inherently tuned to categorise information, which makes us more inclined to click on number-related articles that have already quantified the content before we even read the first line. Around 12 words seems to be the magic number when it comes to the length of the title, while making the information personally useful (“Why you should”, “X things you” and “How to)” also increases the likelihood of consumers clicking on your blog. Why? Because you’ve shown them your content can be scannable, it has X number of valuable takeaways, and most importantly: it’s all about them.
2. Show the process, not the end result
[Globe Trotter Benny Lewis explains how to learn some of the world’s toughest languages]
Hooking your consumers with a compelling headline is a great start, but if this leads to a blog with little useful information, then your consumers will walk away without learning anything new. Pepper your content with recent examples, “How-to” videos and step-by-steps that clearly demonstrate how readers themselves can tackle particular issues they’re experiencing. Showing the process not only highlights your knowledge and expertise on the subject, but also allows your readers to feel like they’re getting the inside scoop – which ultimately helps promote stronger connections and brand affiliations.
This is exactly what Benny Lewis, Irish polyglot and founder of Fluent in 3 months achieved, with tremendous results. Featured in Forbes, TedTalks, The New York Times, Business Insider and National Geographic, Lewis encourages his readers to overcome the idea that they may not have the “language gene” and to embrace a completely new way of attaining linguistic perfection.
By focusing on the process of language learning, Lewis encourages his readers to speak aloud from day one. His down to earth blog articles promote language hacks, success stories and honest reviews of language learning apps, which create a personalized user experience that gives readers valuable tips to help them on their language quest. With an average of 780 shares per blog post, Lewis delivers consistent and focused content that keeps his audiences returning for more.
3. Share Influencer expertise to rise in rankings
Both Google and consumers alike are now looking for content with authoritative undertones and helpful tips from thought leaders and social influencers. As social media has proliferated and become a primary channel that brands use to engage readers on a more personal level, the lines between advertising and advocacy have continued to blur — and for good reason. With 59% of marketers intending to increase their influencer marketing budget in the next year, bloggers should think about how they can utilise this lucrative content tool.
Today’s blog readers want to see more User Generated Content (UGC) and unbiased micro influencer reviews as part of the purchasing process. Adding this content into your blog posts will show that you value the opinions of your consumers, while also indicating your confidence in the quality of your product or service. Working with prominent influencers in your industry allows them to tell your narrative and preserve the brand’s authenticity.
Clothing company GAP approached blogging giants and social influencers like WhoWhatWhere and Refinery29 to promote their Styld.by Campaign, showing how influencers were incorporating GAP products into their personal wardrobes. Looks were categorized according to bloggers, and users who viewed the posts were given the option to purchase their entire looks from photo captions in GAP’s blog. With niche fashion bloggers becoming more appealing and easier to identify with than celebrity endorsements, GAP’s campaign saw enormous reach and delivered strong ROI. Boosting their following, social shares and clicks to the company website, the campaign encouraged lower bounce rates and stronger overall engagement with the brand’s new clothing line.
4. Provide shareable snippets and hard facts
In a world that seems increasingly overloaded with fake news and alternative facts, consumers want statistics they can trust. A poorly researched blog sticks out like a sore thumb, so be careful to cite only current studies, marketing reports and research from credible sources. Believe it or not, it may be these snippets that persuade readers to share your article. Use Bold or Italic fonts, or even include a sharing button next to the snippet so people scanning the text can share it immediately as one of the important takeaways from the article.
Interestingly, psychology shows us that when our brains process information in the form of statistics, belief comes quickly and naturally. Most people have a low tolerance for ambiguity. When our brains believe a statement comes from a credible source, we receive a hit of dopamine in the reward areas of our brain that makes us feel good. Therefore, it’s essential to back up your information with credible research. If you do this correctly and build a following from the great content you’re pushing out, then you’ll be able to establish your blog as a must-read resource. The Huffington Post created their blog in 2005, when Facebook was only one year old and Twitter hadn’t even been created yet. It now enjoys an active community with readers generating over one million comments every month. Their dedication to publishing relevant and emotive content has kept readers around the world hooked.
So, there you have it. With thousands of new blogs being launched every day, attracting strong readership can be an uphill battle — but it doesn’t have to be that way. Arm your copy with compelling headlines, actionable takeaways, social influencer expertise and hard-hitting facts to encourage a diverse and loyal following.