This article was first published on Jul 5, 2016, and last updated in January 2020.
Writing a blog post is just half the battle, getting the person to actually read the whole thing is another. With smartphone and tablet computers fighting for our attention, science says that humans now have shorter attention spans than goldfish.
To me it makes perfect sense, there’s pop-up alerts from apps, SMS messages, social media alerts and calls which fight for our attention, no wonder businesses are finding it hard for people to read their content.
In this article I’m going to show you how to create a blog that actually get read (tip 5 is super important!).
1. Format everything incorrectly
Yes, you read that right.
Correct English tells us to use proper paragraphs and correct punctuation, but in 2020 this only scares the reader and slows down their consumption rate.
For example, how many times have you landed on a blog, scrolled down the entire page only to see large, scary paragraphs and instantly leave?
Keep your paragraphs short and snappy to keep your readers’ attention. (It’s what I’m doing in this article.)
That being said, don’t forget that your readers are seeking out your blog for a reason, give them important information, just give them small bites at a time.
2. Create image-heavy content
Time is a valuable commodity and if you can expand your points with images do it! Not only do they add more value to the message you’re getting across but it’s more visually appealing to read.
Having a few well crafted images placed between a few sentences can be the difference between someone reading your blog in its entirety or leaving after doing a 2 second scroll to find nothing but text.
Some readers want to pick out the key points of your article as quickly as possible. Images can help signal to readers what the most important aspects of your writing are. Lists or or quotes can also be used to break up the content and make it more digestible for your audience.
3. Add personality (or cold hard facts)
Depending on your brand image, your blog content should be written in one of two ways: personal or informative.
This article is written in a laid-back, personal tone or at least I hope it comes across like that.
If you’re operating in a consumer-oriented market like food delivery or children’s toys, make your content, light, fun and like it’s coming from a human being – not a corporate entity with no soul.
If you offer a professional service (dentist, lawyer, B2B) then adding too much personality may compromise your service, in which case you should provide facts hard and fast to keep the reader engaged.
Check out any Wikipedia entry and you can’t go a paragraph without learning something new. Visit the most famous blogs in the travel, sports or health industry and they talk to you with a personal tone.
Find your business’s voice and emphasize that in your content.
4. Create Value
Above all else your blog posts have to provide the reader with value.
Businesses in the services industry dislike giving away free advice in the form of content because they think if they give too much away, prospects won’t use their service.
You may lose a low-ticket sale here or there but the advice you do give will generate several high-ticket sales in return.
You can’t hold back, give, give and then give some more.
The best blog posts are the ones where you provide your audience with the most value while asking for nothing in return. If you can do this, then customers will read your blog and keep coming back for more.
5. Quantify the learning outcome
The consumers of today (me included) are instant gratification monkeys.
Before I click on a Facebook link I want to be told where I’m going, what I’ll be seeing and what value I will receive. If that’s not addressed there’s a good chance I’m not clicking (unless they use an image of a cat pulling a funny face).
Just like I did at the start of the article (remember: tip 5 is super important), state in each of your blog posts the learning outcome the reader will gain if they read all the way through.
It’s no longer enough to write a blog post and upload it to your blog thinking people will read (spoiler; they don’t). If you’ve ever blogged before you’ll know that very few people actually read everything you write.
The next time you sit down to write a blog post follow the tips I’ve listed in this article and measure the time spent reading compared to previous blog posts using Google Analytics.
I’m sure you’ll see a huge difference.
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