Blogging is a powerful way to engage and stay regularly connected with clients, prospects, employees and other stakeholders. But 55% of readers will only read a blog post for 15 seconds or less. So how do you make sure readers carry on after the first few seconds, or click through to your piece in the first place?
Start by putting yourself in your reader’s shoes and asking yourself these seven questions:
- What’s in it for your reader?
As you write, ask yourself why readers will be interested in your article. What information are they looking for, and how can you provide this? To help your reader engage with the topic, stick to one clear idea or concept. This will make your blog easy to follow and understand.
- How strong is your headline?
Your headline is your chance to catch the reader’s attention: only 20% of those who read it will end up reading the article itself. So, it should be unique, eye-catching, thought-provoking, or possibly even slightly controversial – something that will make your reader sit up and take notice.
Puns, humour and wordplay are great ways to attract readers, as long as they’re appropriate for the context and audience. To help your target audience find what they’re looking for, align the headline clearly with the post’s content.
- Are you getting to the point?
Your readers are busy: hitting them with clear, direct points up front avoids wasting their time. Make your key arguments and statements in your opening paragraph; you can then follow up with supporting points, quotations and background.
- Can you scan the post at a glance?
Blogs are designed to be a digestible format. Your reader might be reading them during a quick break, or on the move via a phone or laptop. These simple structural devices make it easier for busy professionals to read your post:
- Headings and subheadings
- Numbered or bulleted lists
- Pull-out quotes
- Shorter paragraphs (of 2-3 lines)
- Is your writing readable?
Writing is most convincing when it’s clear and simple. To encourage your readers to keep reading, use simple sentence structures and avoid wordy clauses and constructions. Active verbs are particularly effective at conveying ideas concisely, so favour this over the passive voice where possible.
Keep the words themselves minimal too, avoiding unnecessary modifiers such as descriptive adjectives and adverbs. Use understandable ‘plain English’ in place of flowery language or corporate jargon.
- Are you talking to a real person?
Your reader is a person – so aim for a conversational, ‘human’ tone of voice. Think of how you would converse in a meeting – in a professional, but approachable way. Remember: your blog is a chance to express more personality than you would in a press release or annual report, for example.
- Do you finish with a bang?
Now that you’ve got your reader to reach the last paragraph, ensure your ending leaves a long-lasting impression. This could mean:
- Ending on a bold statement
- Returning to your original concept
- Adding a call to action, or next steps for your reader
Above all, keep asking yourself whether you’d actually want to read what you’re writing. If you would, then it’s much more likely that your readers will also want to continue reading beyond those 15 seconds.
If you’re looking to write a strong blog, you’ve come to the right place! At Baxter Lawley Communications, our team of native-English copywriters can help your business create the powerful posts that your stakeholders will want to read from start to finish. Want to find out more? Get in touch today!