As of this month, there are a staggering 277 million blogs hosted on Tumblr alone, and as many as four million blog posts published per day. Yet with so much competition, many blog posts go virtually unread. Writing a blog is an excellent way to hone your writing skills, drive leads through content marketing, and express oneself. But nobody wants their writing to go unread. And no matter how successful you are, surely your blog could do better.
Just five days before the 2012 election, US presidential candidate Mitt Romney posted a blog entitled "We Need Real Change, Big Change." To date, even with over 200 thousand followers, Romney's post netted just over 2,000 views.
Fellow writers in the blogosphere have had varying degrees of success. I think we can all agree that Likeable Local is (unfortunately) far less well known than a presidential candidate, such as Mitt Romney. Yet, we regularly average viewership far outpacing those numbers.
So what gives? Why was Romneys post so unsuccessful, while posts by a much lesser known entity have receieved far more views and comments? Obviously, great content for a well-defined audience is key. But if you want even more success with your blog posts, follow these five simple rules:
1. Write an amazing headline.
The value of a powerful headline simply cannot be overlooked. Its the only thing a potential reader sees, it is the catalyst for social media sharing and it has power beyond any other part of your post to attract readers. Your headline should give readers an intriguing clue into what you will be saying. Lists, action verbs and questions are great ways to draw readers in. Two of the best resources for headlines that we look to are Brian Clark, better known as Copyblogger, and Chuck Bankoff. Remember, when readers tweet your article, or share it on Facebook, LinkedIn or another social platform, the only thing people may see is the headline.
2. Pictures can help bring a post to life.
Theres no escaping it: humans are visual creatures. We're drawn to images and photographs. Graphs, infographics, sentimental imagery and stunning beauty are all excellent ways to draw an audience in, keep them there through the end of your post, and help drive more views through Pinterest and Facebook, where images reign supreme. If you can include a pic of a cute animal or child, even better.(Or both - say hi to my girls Charlotte & Kate and our cat Chiquita!)
3. Bullet points are extremely useful. Heres why:
-----> They attract the readers attention. You were likely drawn straight to these bullet points when you read this article.
-----> They make data simple and easy to understand. When you see these bullets, with their key insights in bold, you know just what you need to read right away.
-----> They make it easier to reference key points. When heading back to an article at a later date, it is easy to find the most important information if its in bullet form.
4. Make sure your post is relevant and shareable.
By virtue of the fact that you are writing a post, you should already have an idea about what your audience wants to learn. However, writers often think don't focus on their audience enough when crafting a post.
Ultimately, you want to make your audience look good when they share your post. Of course, great content with clear takeaway value in your blog post is most important. But remember, people are ego-driven. Ask yourself, before you hit the publish button, When people share this post, how will they look smarter, or funnier, or more helpful, or more interesting to their networks?
5. Call for engagement in your conclusion.
When you conclude your blog post, make sure you ask readers to share the post. Ask them thought-provoking questions, and invite them to share their answers and thoughts as comments on your post. The more engaged your readers are, the more theyll want to share and keep coming back.
Above all else, writing simple, interesting content is the best way to drive readers to your blog. But the five tips above will make your posts even more successful- returning more value on your hard work. Maybe if Mitt Romney had followed these tips, results would have been alittle different on his blog—and elsewhere.
This post is an adapted version of an article originally published by Dave Kerpen on LinkedIn. If you liked this, please follow Dave on LinkedIn for more inspirational stories on marketing, leadership, and more.