A good blog actively engages its readers. It’s not something the reader consumes and forgets about. An engaging blog leads its users to interact with it, commenting and sharing it on social media and elsewhere. It’s a more experiential relationship than reading a newspaper.
How do you create an engaging blog? Your blogs should be at least 2,500 words, have focused content, a mix of multimedia, and site traffic that proves the user’s ROI for time invested on your blog.
The blog landscape has changed a great deal in the last few years. While it used to be a weblog where the writer shared their random thoughts and feelings, today’s blogs are focused around specific topics and are written for highly targeted audiences.
To get the most out of your blogging efforts, you need to maximize engagement with your own readers.
Here are five tips for creating a memorable experience for your audience that will keep them coming back.
Tip #1: Blog Longer
Today, engaging blog posts are longer than they were in the past. Years ago, bloggers kept blog posts short and published more often. This brought SEO benefits. However, today, readers prefer longer and more in-depth blog posts.
According to Hub Spot, their 50 posts “…that generated the most leads in 2019 were an average of 2,569 words long and had a median length of 2,529 words, which is approximately 250 and 400 words longer than the average and median lengths of the most-read blog posts. The longest post in this cohort was 8,197 words, or approximately 2,500 words longer than the longest most-read post”
Writing longer blog posts isn’t actually a hard thing to do. It just requires you to think differently about your topics.
In the past, you might have written three separate blog posts covering various aspects of using social media for your blog:
- Which Social Media Sites Should You Be Using?
- Creating a Profile on Social Media
- Best Practices for Growing Your Social Media Connections
You would have created three short 500-word post. That won’t fly today!
Instead, take all three and make them sections of a long pillar post rather than individual posts. You might write an article called, “Getting Started and Growing Your Presence on Social Media”.
Since we’re aiming for engagement today and not merely traffic, longer posts work better because they’re more likely to be shared and commented upon due to their length and depth.
Tip #2: An Engaging Blog Has Focused Content
The word “blog” comes from “weblog,” or an online journal that you keep. Bloggers used to write about themselves, their experiences, and their ideas. Some blogs were just random thoughts. The idea was to express yourself.
There are still some blogs like that today. But for bloggers who want to expand their reach and potentially monetize, the content has to be highly targeted to their audience.
People get on the internet looking for high-value information that helps them. If your blog provides that, you’ll get engagement.
A good blog today focuses on the reader, not the writer. Blogs offer advice, tips, “how-to” content, and other helpful content.
Much of it is involved with identifying and solving the reader’s problems. If you want to run a successful blog, you need to focus on the reader and answer the questions they have.
For example, if you write about finances, you might share tips on family financial planning or saving money grocery shopping with your readers.
A writer on internet security might tell their readers how to create good, strong passwords. A blog for musicians might offer tips on how to get gigs and network for future opportunities. These are all difficulties the audience faces.
How do you know what your readers needs help with? Research. If you already write or you already have a social media presence, study your current readers or ask them questions.
If you already run a business, look at your customer base.
If you don’t do either, you can research online by looking at forums, social media, your competitors, and so on. From this data, you then create a profile and write to this person.
Tip #3: Engage on Social Media, not Your Blog
In the past, bloggers focused on getting comments on their blog. Engagement meant having your readers comment. This is the same today, but the focus has shifted off the blogging platform itself and instead to social media.
The only people who see your blogging platform’s comments are people who visit the blog; but with social media, absolutely anyone can see your readers engage with your content. This can bring you new readers.
Hootsuite, a social media platform puts it like this, “Anyway your people interact with you on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook is social media engagement. And these metrics are crucial for measuring the effectiveness of your social media campaign and accomplishing goals such as generating leads and sales.”
So, instead of encouraging comments on your blog itself, today’s strategy is to promote your content on social media. Whenever a fresh piece is published, you can spread the word through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or whichever sites you use.
There are some tricks that will help your efforts on social media:
- Grow your connections and then comment and interact with their contacts.
- Connect with influencers on social media who can help you extend your reach.
- Give a taste of the value your followers will receive by clicking on your link and reading your post.
- Ask a question to get your readers interacting.
There are also tools that can help you save time with social media. Social media dashboards are programs that bring all the different platforms you use into one control center. From the dashboard, you can post one time and your content will broadcast to all your linked profiles.
Tip #4: Mix It up with Multimedia
When blogs first started, most were text-based and many were text only. They were meant to be read.
Today’s engaging blogs often include other types of multimedia content to go along with the text content. On many, the centerpiece is actually the multimedia and the text only compliments it.
One reason for this is that it’s easier than ever to embed multimedia content onto a blog. The other reason is that people love multimedia, and it’s especially popular on social media.
Types of content include:
- Videos. Videos are popular on blogs and social media. Many bloggers share videos with a brief description or transcript.
- Visual Content. Visual content can include more than just an image. It can be an infographic, a quote, a chart, a diagram, or a template. Blogs also use images to be more visually appealing and break up text.
- Audio Content. Podcasts and other audio content can also appear on blogs. Again, the text might offer a transcript of the audio.
As a result, for today’s bloggers creating or finding multimedia content to share has become part of their blogging routine, along with writing, publishing, and interacting with their readers.
Tip #5: Use New Metrics
One of the major challenges bloggers face today is that there are new metrics they have to pay attention to.
Previously, blog owners were concerned with quantitative data. They kept a close eye on their traffic numbers, page views, where visitors clicked, conversions, and so on.
This data is easy to understand using a simple metrics program, and it’s easy to take corrective action based upon it.
Today’s metrics are harder to measure. You’re looking at how your audience interacts with you and feels about you.
It’s no longer a matter of numbers, but there are quantifiable ways to measure it.
According to TrackMaven’s recent post on “How to Measure Brand Awareness and Prove ROI“, these new factors are:
- Direct traffic to your website.
- Earned media.
- External links.
- Blog shares.
- Social media engagement.
- Community reach.
- Search volume.
Bonus: How to Make the Most out of Blogging Today
The blogging world is constantly evolving.
It’s much more focused on the audience today. Even if you’re writing about your products or your industry, you should be focused on the problems, questions, or concerns of your audience.
The goal of creating engaging blogs today is to create two-way communication with your audience. You’re not simply publishing to be read.
You’re talking to your readers and they’re responding by talking back to you or talking to each other.
To build this kind of relationship with your readers takes time. You will need to write and publish regularly and consistently. It also takes time to interact with your readers and learn more about them.
However, the work that you put in at the beginning will pay off over the course of a few years.
What this means is that it’s time to write and post now!