For years, online comments have remained stagnant and fairly boring. Today, this is not the case and there are new technologies shaking up what was once a traditional and text-based industry. Comments were introduced to us back in the 90s in blogs, and in the mid-2000s in major news sites. In recent years, many news outlets have chosen to change the way they manage their comments sections and developed new strategies for user engagement, and much of this is down to the way they manage and interact with spam.
Drowning in spam
On the one hand, comment sections are great for user-engagement, but on the other, they are prone to high quantities of spam and abusive messages. Managing this reality through basic comments platforms is often like a game of whack-a-mole with trolls. You bash one down and another immediately resurfaces. In light of this, many sites dedicated a great deal of manpower to monitoring and removing irrelevant or abusive comments. Some even went so far as to remove their comments sections altogether. At a certain point, some outlets tried to switch to Facebook comments so that users were forced to use their real names. The idea was that this would help limit spam, but the reality was that fake profiles and online anonymity ultimately meant this wasn’t a very effective tool.
However great your content is, it won’t count for much if users don’t click to read it. You may have spent hours writing the greatest article ever and teamed it up with amazing visuals and the perfect user interface, but your first step is still getting your users to click on your article. If you are posting on social media, forums or elsewhere, potential readers will be drawn in (or not) by your blog’s headline. So it is incredibly important to pick a headline that is powerful and catchy so that people want to hear more. How can you do this? Here are a few simple tips.
Work on it
The perfect title might not hit you right away. Sometimes it’s better to write the content first (around a particular theme or issue) and then start putting your headline together. It might also be a good idea to brainstorm potential headlines. Don’t worry if your first title isn’t a showstopper, keep thinking and you will get there. In general, aim to keep your headline an accurate reflection of your content, make it sound interesting and try and keep it short (under 70 characters is a good rule of thumb in terms of length).
Blogs are great but they go so much further than just creating and consuming content. The words on the digital page are definitely important, but even more important is being able to leverage those words and readers into something bigger: a community. Building a community means higher reader retention, more engaged readers and ultimately more leads. So what exactly does a blog based community look like and more importantly, what’s the magic formula for creating a community around your blog without breaking the bank?
Community means interaction
Maybe you are getting good web traffic and a few shares – that’s great, but not necessarily the mark of a successful blog that can form a cohesive community of users. So what’s a good metric for measuring community? Well, interactions are key here. So, actions are great, but ongoing interactions are even better. This is the difference between web traffic that comes to your site once before disappearing forever and readers who frequently comment on your blog and talk to each other about your site content. At the end of the day, community goes far beyond what you create or produce and becomes something larger and much more powerful.
If comments and interactions are the gold standards for creating and measuring an online community what can be done to encourage and foster them? If you have any type of blog you probably realize there is an inbuilt comments section. This might not be your best bet. Yes, it’s free and yes, it’s right there but we encourage you to leave the comfort of your blog platform and look at a world of amazing available plugins. Why should you do that? Well, for starters, most automatic comment sections are fairly standard text-based affairs while downloading other plugins (and many are completely free!) can help you to go far beyond this and let your community communicate through rich media – that means video, audio, emojis and photos. Allowing users different ways to communicate is a great way to grow the conversation on your blog.
Are you all set when it comes to social media campaigns, adverts and driving traffic to your site? Well, what happens once they get there? Are your readers sticking around and engaging or clicking away in a few seconds? Whatever you do, your main aim is probably to get conversions. This can mean purchases from your online store, newsletter sign ups or lead submissions. The longer visitors stay on your site, the more likely they are to convert. So, getting loads of traffic, which disappears after a few seconds, isn’t so great. And in fact, statistics show that 70% of people who abandon your site will never return. So, here are some tips to make your readers stay longer.
Make sure your content is easy to read
It may sound obvious, but if you’ve written the best article in the world, and it looks terrible visually, most people won’t stay to read it. In fact, the majority of readers won’t read your content at all – they will scan it. Make sure your website looks good visually and that content is broken up in ways that are easier on the eyes. For example, instead of one huge run on an article, try breaking articles up into short paragraphs with headings. That way, even if people don’t deep dive into your content, they’ll be able to get an overview of what you’ve written. You can also help vary the flow of an article by inserting visuals within the text. Playing a short clip is a great way to ensure people stick around a little longer.
If you have a blog, commenting is important for a wide range of reasons from better search engine rankings, and increased traffic, to creating and leveraging your content so that users join a conversation and stay on your web page for longer. And, for those of you who run an online store, reviews are crucial to the business. They’ve even been shown to help boost sales by up to 70%, and they can serve as an information source for customers on who want to know more about your products or services or are on the fence about a purchase.
But, despite the importance of comments and reviews, the majority of both are text based and limited. Let’s face it; it’s hard to say things with text alone. According to well-known research from Professor Albert Mehrabian, only 7% of communication is verbal. So what’s the rest of it? Well, 38% is the tone of voice and the remaining 55% is body language. And not only that: that 7% of text can get very ambiguous when posted online. It’s often hard to tell if a reviewer is happy, sarcastic, or angry. Without tone of voice and body language, a lot gets lost in translation. For this reason, Heyoya is proud to launch its new rich media feature that allows you to use all media types for an even better and bigger conversion. With Heyoya you aren’t limited to text. You can express yourself using 100% of the communication spectrum.
Start using Heyoya today and you can post comments on your favorite sites and review products using voice, video and images. You can even post emojis. You can express yourself far beyond the medium of text. If you have a blog or online store then this is great news! Product reviews are so much more powerful when customers can see images and videos of the products. Sharing visuals of products is a powerful way to generate social proof and literally show customers how great your products are.
When leaving a comment or review, the common phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” is often very true. Sometimes images can convey so much more than one or two lines of text. But, the truth is, sometimes it’s tough to choose just one mode of media. The best conversations often come from a combination of text, voice and visuals. So, if you are looking to engage your web visitors and make them stay on your site for longer, giving them different ways to interact with your content can help take your blog or online store to the next level.
If you have a blog then writing is at the center of what you do. However good your web platform, graphic design, and advertising, if your content doesn’t stand out from the crowd, people won’t stop to read it. With an increasingly crowded digital world of blogs and bloggers, it’s tough to differentiate. Every potential topic already has multiple blogs and articles. But don’t despair; here are some tried and tested methods to dramatically improve your writing and help take your content to the next level.
Break things down into bite-sized chunks
It might seem overwhelming to suddenly get better at everything writing related, but you can break things down into easy to achieve tasks with clear goals. For example, if your writing is very formal, practice a more conversational style. If you want to spice up an article full of facts and figures then try adding a personal anecdote to it. These are small steps that can significantly improve the quality of your blogs. And keep practicing – there is no better way to improve your writing than to keep on doing it and experimenting with new directions and ideas.
Don’t do it alone
The vast quantity of blogs that are already out there can actually be an advantage. You aren’t writing in a vacuum and it can really help to read a lot. Looking for styles you like (and don’t like) is a great way to hone your own writing skills. And as the saying goes, “the best form of flattery is imitation” so don’t be scared to mimic other people’s styles until you find your own unique voice. Another great way to improve your writing is to connect with the people around you. Ask a writer you respect to review your blog and give you honest advice. A great way to do this is to join a group or workshop and exchange and read work. When it comes to feedback, don’t just focus on how great a blog is – yes, this can help boost egos – but ultimately it won’t be very helpful. On the opposite side of the spectrum, negative criticism can totally shut down a conversation. So, the best form of advice is constructive criticism with positive reinforcement – drawing attention to what is great, and explaining what could be better and what steps could be put in place to take things to the next level.
It’s hard enough building up a blog from scratch, maintaining it and constantly creating content. But, however effective your blogging formula is, it’s sometimes a good idea to shake things up and try something new. Finding ways to be a more creative blogger can help generate new traffic and make your current readers stay on your site for longer. So where can you start with something like this? Well, we’ve thought long and hard about it and have collected a few easy to implement tips that you can try out today.
Work on it
Contrary to popular belief, creativity isn’t just something innate which you are either have or don’t have. It’s actually more like a muscle and that means you need to use it and exercise it to strengthen it. So, how does that work? Well, you can try a few simple exercises and do them in a daily and disciplined way to help boost your creativity. One great place to start is to have daily relaxation/distraction time. If you are struggling to think about how to write your next awesome blog, take some time away from it. Rather than thinking about non-stop and stressing out, try doing something else and let your mind get distracted – go to the gym, take a short walk, read something unrelated. Sometimes these periods of disengagement are our most creative ones – they let new ideas rise up in our mind.
Want to get more users to your blog? Are you looking for a few easy-to-implement tips? With more blogs online than ever before, it is even more important to differentiate yours and find the right ways to build a dynamic online community around your content. According to statistics from 2016, a total of 6.7 million people blogged on blogging sites while 12 million people posted blogs on social media networks. When they are part of a website, blogs help increase conversions, improve overall user engagement and help your website perform better in search engine rankings. But the simple fact of having a blog is not enough to gain all these benefits. So, how can you start blogging better?
Create a strong call to action
One way to radically improve a blog is to get your readers more involved. However good your content is, ultimately you want people to do more than just read and leave. Give your readers a clear idea of what’s next and use language that encourages action. For example, add a pop-up to your blog with the text “Like what you read? Sign up to get more articles like this one”. Another great call to action is to ask readers for their opinion at the end of a blog. You can also create action items through interactive web elements like quizzes or surveys. There are lots of tools out there that can help you do this.
Content is no longer just about the great marketing copy you produce; it’s about getting your users to interact. According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, interactive content is on the rise. In fact, 53% of marketers surveyed said they use interactive content. Reasons for using it include (unsurprisingly) increasing user engagement but they also include educating audiences, lead generation and creating brand awareness. And 81% of users surveyed agreed that interactive content grabs attention much more effectively than static content. Here are a few tips to make your content more interactive.
Embed surveys, quizzes and polls into your content
Writing a blog about psychology or key personality traits needed to succeed in the workplace? Why not pair that with a quick interactive personality test or survey? There are tones of tools out there that can help you do this. One of the best is Apester. They allow you to easily embed a very wide variety of interactive content into your blogs, website or articles, and they are the world’s largest engagement platform so are definitely doing something right. Another good option is EngageForm – they have a wide range of easily customizable quizzes with great visuals.
If you own an online store then you’ve probably spent a good deal of time marketing it. There are so many options to choose from in terms of content. From social media campaigns to below-the-fold ads to sponsored articles, the real difficulty is building up the right content strategy and sticking to it. And there are huge benefits to be gained. Statistics show that content marketing can increase your conversions by a factor of 6! Each business is unique and so is each strategy, but below are a few tips that can help you get started.
Focus on results
Building a content strategy might sound as simple as putting together some great content and sticking it on social media or other platforms. But too often, we can’t see the wood for the trees. It’s easy to focus on the quality of content (and yes – it’s important) but it’s even more important to keep the “big picture” in mind and focus on results. In order to do that, think about your goals. Why do you want to publish content? What are you trying to achieve? Is your main goal to increase your overall conversion rate? Are you trying to boost sales on a particular product that is underperforming? Building your content around your goals is key to the success of your business.
Take time to think about segmentation
Writing great content without thinking about segmentation is like throwing spaghetti up against a wall and hoping that some of it will stick. Some of it might, but it certainly isn’t the best use of your resources. Before you get started, work to understand your customers. Who are they? What do they love? What do they hate? The more information, the better. A great way to harvest this type of info is to ask. You can add a short survey to your website, for example. A reviews platform is another great way to hear what your customers have to say.