“If you build it, they will come.”
Such advice might have worked for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, but unfortunately the blog builder – or blogger, just to clarify – needs to do a little more than just blog if he/she wants to see engagement.
The whole idea behind creating a blog in the first place is to try and increase traffic to your website. This means that what you’re after is plenty of shares, comments, and social links – i.e. engagement – attached to every post that you publish.
Just writing the blogs doesn’t achieve this, despite how well-researched, written and executed you may deem them to be. No, the content marketer needs a more holistic promotional strategy to uphold interest in their output.
User engagement matters. It matters for SEO purposes, it matters for discoverability purposes, and it also matters for the purposes of generating meaningful feedback from the very users that you create it for. If your blog isn’t receiving engagement, then there might be something fundamentally wrong with it – but you’re not going to know what it is unless you can start generating some interest in the thing.
As such, increased engagement doesn’t just happen overnight. You need to work out your strategy and implement it, and, over time, the figures should start building towards something more favourable.
And so we’ve put together five top tips to help you do just that. Let’s get into them.
5 Tips to Increase Blog Engagement
1. Write Better Headlines
Perhaps it’s a shame to concede the fact that the headlines of your blog posts are sometimes more important than the actual content itself – but there it is.
Your first step towards increasing user engagement is to try and get more people to click on your post in the first place. And the way to do that is to improve your headline writing.
It’s the headline that sells the blog post to users of social media. Think about your own browsing habits – it’s always the headline (by necessity as much as anything else) that catches your eye when scrolling down your news feeds.
A good tool to help you create better headlines is the Headline Analyser from CoSchedule. Check it out.
HubSpot have also produced a cool infographic giving you the lowdown on the science behind good headline writing.
2. Solve Your Audience’s Problems
If your blog is performing poorly, it may be because you’re not hitting the nail on the head with what your audience wants/needs from you.
It’s not a good idea, for instance, to simply bombard your audience with self-promotional posts all the time. No one likes endless sales pitches from brands blowing their own trumpet. But what they do like is to be listened to.
Turn to Twitter and your other social networks. What sorts of things are being discussed in your industry? Are there any problems that a specific user or group of users want solved? Undoubtedly there will be, so do the research on their behalf and write a blog answering these questions. You’ll soon find that this direct approach increases your engagement no end.
3. Write in a Style Appropriate to Your Audience
Blogs, generally, are not too formal. However, that being said, each industry and indeed each business is different.
Think about your target demographic – are they young, old, male, female? Do a little research on social media and see what other blogs your audience is already engaged with, and take note of the style.
Is it formal, informative and professional, or is it more down-to-earth and conversational? As I say, the majority of blogs will take the conversational approach, which means that you need to be keeping your sentences short and use personal pronouns and that sort of thing. Get it right for your audience and they’ll be more engaged.
4. Promote Related Content
Blog posts are short by nature. They’re usually between about 500 and 1,500 words, which means that it’s simply impossible to cover everything in a single post. Indeed, if I had the space, I could have perhaps written 1,001 tips on increasing blog engagement rather than just these five.
As such, as a blogger, you will be exploring subjects over multiple blogs, and you don’t want your users to miss them. So, make sure you’re linking internally to other posts on your site, and you could even create a bulleted list of links at the end of every post that you write directing users to related content.
5. Engage With Your Audience
If you want to increase engagement, then you have to start engaging with your audience yourself. Each time someone leaves a comment on your blog, thank them, but open up the conversation for further input. Perhaps ask them a question.
In addition, you should be taking the time to visit other people’s social accounts and liking and sharing what they’re posting as well. Remember, social media is social – so be friendly and engage your audience who will then be more inclined to engage with you in return.
Got any more tips for increasing blog engagement? Let us know in the comments below.
John Waldron is a writer with markITwrite who regularly writes on lifestyle and technology. He is also a fiction writer who has penned a number of short stories, play scripts, and stories for children. He is the author of the foraging blog, First Time Foragers: Recipes and Stories for Beginners. He has a First-Class Honours Degree in English with Creative Writing and an MA in Professional Writing from University College Falmouth, Cornwall.