In the blogging world, it takes more than solid writing to hook a reader.
To ensure that site visitors won't just skim through your posts and walk away, your content must be intrinsically engaging.
To prevent readers from losing interest, follow these steps:
1. Focus on the reader.
Your reader should be the target of your post. Although it’s enticing to report events, share facts and tell a newsworthy story, I've always missed the human element that falls flat with most traditional journalism.
When I write, I focus on the reader. Although many writers address a wide audience, I prefer the intimacy of writing to just one person.
Although it's not the only method to adopt, writing to one person is highly interactive and demonstrates a genuine desire to connect to your audience members.
2. Use your voice.
Have you ever received an email from a company representative who addressed you by name and demonstrated their personality? If you have, you probably wanted to know who that person was.
This is the same with bloggers. Many readers don't follow someone's blog for their expertise alone; they also consider their personality. Don’t be afraid to show you who you are; it’s your blog, after all.
3. Make it a conversation.
Readers often praise me for my conversational writing style. When I write, I imagine I am talking to a friend, and I urge you to do the same.
Write as you would speak to someone you admire and respect. Don't worry about using perfect language; just be human. This is what engaging writing really is, and it’s something Seth Godin talks about in his piece, “ The simple way to get better at business writing. ”
4. Try not to sound like a robot.
Here’s what not to do:
· Use a dry, detached tone
· Give information without revealing emotion
· Repeat words over and over
· Over-automate on social media
Although automation is necessary in business, it doesn't mean you should sound as though you are automated, too.
5. Tell a story.
Many bloggers begin their posts by sharing a personal story.
Consider content like that of The Middle Finger Project, which focuses on personal stories and anecdotes. Sharing an experience does a better job at hooking the reader—we want to know what happens—and helps to humanize you as a writer.
RELATED: Free guide: 10 ways to improve your writing today. Download now.
If there’s a story, a human connection will form and deepen.
6. Interact with readers after they visit your site.
What do readers do after finishing your article? Will they apply what you taught them? To leave a lasting effect on your readers, include actionable elements at strategic places in your article.
Here are examples of actionable elements:
· Ask questions
· Solicit calls to action
· Give assignments
· Prompt exercises
· Use metaphors
I often tell my clients that every blog they write, every page they post and every chapter they draft all have a purpose.
When blogging, think about your purpose, and craft your posts with that in mind. My goal for this article was to help you write in a more engaging way. This is why I included examples, exercises and questions. It’s helpful to provide ways that your reader can apply what they've learned.
7. Focus on quality and not quantity.
Are you saying something new with your posts or are you recycling old thoughts or someone else's? The more you publish, the greater the risk of repeating yourself.
Instead of publishing 10 short pieces a week, work on three or four more focused stories. Having too much content makes the reader think you care more about reach and traffic than you do about them.
Include an archive of old blog posts on your site to help the reader to sort through past content.
8. Make it easy to share.
Writing that evokes emotion is more likely to be shared.
Topics that make you feel hopeful or angry will see more reach. Most of my articles—aside from this one—demonstrate hopefulness and fight, because that's how I feel about life.
I often include tweetable quotes such as, “Don't just regurgitate information, charge it with emotion,” and prompt the reader by saying, “Tweet this.”
Publishing platforms such as Medium can make certain content easier to share. As for tools, I recommend SumoMe, which offers a variety of tools to help expand your blog/business.
9. Keep your content current.
Part of your job is to notice trends and recycle them through the lens of your blog. If you're active on social media and follow what people in your industry talk about, it’s important to acknowledge popular topics and write about them.
Consider the styles of Jen Carrington and her post about building a successful business without relying on traffic , and Erin Flynn’s story of losing herself because she was too focused on her audience. To keep your blog relevant, take a popular subject and put your original spin on it.
Violeta Nedkova is a writer, coach and entrepreneur. Connect with her on Twitter . A version of this article originally appeared on her blog.