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 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 are trying to grow your business it’s likely that you’ve spent a good deal of your time on marketing. It’s also pretty likely that a large proportion of that time has been designated to content marketing. Creating the right content – content that is unique, creative, on brand and targeted in just the right way – can give your business a huge boost and help keep your users stay engaged. But how can you take content that is “ok” or “good” and transform it into content that is truly “great”. We’ve prepared a few key tips below.
Build up creativity through consistency and planning
It might not sound super inspiring but being consistent is absolutely essential. Your content reflects your brand and keeping things on brand means keeping them consistent across platforms and in terms of timing. It’s no good having super creative frequent content one week and then badly written sparse content the next. So start by putting together a plan. Creativity doesn’t need to be a Eureka moment or an off-the-cuff brainstorm, it can actually be something you build up and structure. For some great advice about how to do that take a look at this video from Craig Wynett, Chief Innovation Officer at P&G.
Don’t do it alone
You don’t need to do everything on your own. One great way to widen your pool of content is to introduce “guest” or “expert” writers. Staying true to your brand while showing different perspectives can really help to enrich your content. And don’t forget – content is not just what comes from your brand directly. It includes articles about your business (which can be easily shared and promoted across platforms) and perhaps even more importantly, it includes everything your users say about you.
How is tech going to change and grow in near future and what will the future of tech look like in ten or twenty years? According to Jeff Pulver, VOIP expert, the future will look a lot more like Star Trek then we might expect. In a recent talk he described typing and interacting with apps the way we do in 2017 as something that will soon become obsolete. So what will our digital interactions look like? Well, as VR and AR gain technological prowess and voice analytics improve; the future looks set to look like a lot like science fiction. If you’ve watched Star Trek then you are familiar with the concept of a ship that works primarily through voice commands and a “holodeck” where crewmembers have immersive VR experiences. We might not be ready for intergalactic space flight quite yet, but the digital interactions are already moving in this direction.
Interactive and intuitive tech landscapes
Many of the gadgets seen on episodes of Star Trek already exist. We already have tablet computers, universal translator apps and more. But the future looks set to combine many of today’s emerging technologies for a more intuitive and interactive digital experience. Gesture technology and voice technology point the way towards control decks and control hubs that can be commanded much as the Captains of the Enterprise commanded theirs. And if it sounds like nothing but science fiction to you, just check out RoomE’s hi-tech voice and motion controls. Today this kind of control panel is a one off, lab-based experiment, but soon enough we can expect to see these kinds of digital interfaces in our homes and workplaces.
User-generated content (also known as UGC) is a great way to market a brand and create authentic and persuasive content. While beautiful ads, a strong spokesperson and convincing pitches from a company are important; UGC is often the most trusted tool for customers. According to studies, UGC is the most powerful type of media in terms of influencing shopping experiences and decisions. And it’s even more powerful for Millenials. On average, Millenials spend up to 18 hours per day looking at media and a third of this time devoted to UGC. According to Millenials, UGC is 35% more memorable than other media and 50% more trusted. So why is UGC so powerful and what can businesses do to better harness it?
UGC is personal
There are so many ways to advertise a business digitally. From sponsored content to banner ads, native advertising and social media campaigns, businesses’ biggest challenge is figuring out which channels are best and how to target users through them in the most effective way. In a world that is crowded with digital advertising and content options, UGC stands out as something far more organic and authentic. Rather than “hearing” the voice of a brand explain why a service or product is best, UGC is much closer to receiving a personal recommendation from a friend or a relative, and this feeling of UGC being both personal and authentic makes it a very powerful tool to increase sales.