There are a staggering 200 million blogs worldwide today, and as many as four million blog posts published per day. Yet with so much competition, most blog posts go virtually unread. Writing a blog is an excellent way for a professional to become a better writer, drive leads for a business, 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 has a paltry 2,037 views.
But fellow writers on this new blogging platform have had varying degrees of success. Ive been blogging for the LinkedIn Influencers program for four months now, and Im excited to report that my first 30 posts have received over 5 million page views and over 55 thousand comments to date. Seven of my posts each have over 200 thousand page views.
So what gives? Why was Romneys post so unsuccessful, while all of the posts by a much lesser known guy (me) have received one hundred times 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. The best resource for headlines that Ive ever read is Brian Clark, better known as Copyblogger. 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 are worth a thousand words.
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 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.