This is a guest post by Jasper Oldersom.
Let's be completely honest here...
It's tough enough to get a reader interested. Let alone keeping them interested!
I know the struggle. I remember when the only person who read my blog was, well...nobody. And if someone did happen to visit, they wouldn't be engaged. But I learned from my mistakes and picked up new tools to improve my writing skills.
In this post, I'm sharing 13 of these "tools" with you. Why do I call them that way? Because you use them to get the job done. These proven blogging tips should help you on your way to make your blog a treat to read -- and keep your readers coming back for more.
Are you ready?
1. Keep it real
Think about the bloggers you look up to, the blogs you love to read. What attracts you to their blogs?
If their writing feels honest and real, you can feel it. They write in a way that resonates with you. Perhaps they shared personal stories in their posts and got to know them, even their biggest fears.
You don't want to just be seen as "a blogger". You are a real person. And believe it or not, people are going to love you for it.
Don't be afraid to let the world know that you're not perfect (because nobody is).
People love honesty and vulnerability. For example, Rand Fishkin once wrote about his year long depression. From reading his content and seeing his Whiteboard Friday video's, I never would have known.
But he chose to share this big challenge he was battling with — and people respect that. At the same time, is an acknowledgement to how much Rand values his community by letting his readers get that close to him.
2. Master the art of writing headlines
It's painful to realize that your outstanding blog post has been wrapped into a horrible headline.
After all, a strong headline is the primary reason why someone decides to check out your post. This is why you should constantly aim to improve your headline writing skills.
It doesn't hurt to have some help to get those creative juices flowing, though. That's where a swipe file comes in handy. So here's what I recommend you to do:
- Open the 10 most popular blogs in your niche.
- Open a fresh excel file.
- Write "blog" in cell A, "URL" in cell B and "Headline" in cell C. Fill them in.
- Now see if you can deconstruct the "formula" in cell D.
Why should you do this? Well, once you can look at a headline and see a formula, writing headlines will be much easier. You'll start seeing them everywhere.
I'll use my own title as an example:
-  Tested and Proven [SEO] Tips to [Make Your Blog Load Faster.]
-  Tested and Proven [AdWords] Tips to [Make The Most out of Your Budget.]
Do you see how easy this is?
3. Put effort in formatting your posts
When you create a website navigation, you try to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find the information they need.
You don't want your visitors to think about it.In the same way, formatting your posts makes it easier for your readers to find the information that is most likely to serve them within your posts.
But what does formatting your posts mean in short? Well, the basics are simple. Try these:
- Use a subheading for every topic
- Write short paragraphs to hold attention
- Bullet lists for easy scanning and summarizing
- Emphasize words to make a point
- Use images that are relevant to your post
4. Ask your audience what they're struggling with
You didn't start a blog just for yourself, did you? If that was your goal, you could have put a lock on it...
No, as a blogger, you are serving people. A community. You are doing your readers a tremendous favour by helping them out through your expertise.
But why guess what they want to read from you? Many bloggers do this, and guess what? They're getting nowhere fast.
By asking your audience what they struggling with, you can help them out even better. You do not have to assume a thing.
Do you think this makes them love your posts even more? You bet!
Pro tip: if you have an autoresponder, make this one of the first e-mails you send to your subscribers. Valuable information is almost guaranteed!
5. Make your blog posts conversational
Your blog posts should be a conversation between you and your readers. This means that you shouldn't try to sound like a business professional, but more like a compassionate friend.
It's actually quite easy. For example, start asking questions to your readers.
Earlier in this post, I said: "Do you see how easy this is?".
Even though you can't actually answer these questions, they can engage you. You even tend to answer them in your mind.
Be honest with me here...You did, didn't you? ?
I just did it again...
Here are some more tips for writing in a conversational tone:
- Vary long and short sentences
- Break some language rules! (start a sentences with "and" or "but")
- Read your posts out loud and pay attention to the flow.
- Write like you're writing to one person only.
Trust me, your readers will thank you for it.
6. White space is your friend
If you want people to enjoy reading your posts, you can't underestimate the true power of white space.
Think about the most engaging e-mails you receive. Aren't they written in a short and snappy way?
That way, they pull you in and keep you reading.
Check this e-mail Copy Hackers sent out as an example:
You just can't help but read on...and on...and on...
But white space doesn't just work to keep readers engaged in e-mails. The power of white space works just as well in blog posts.
But don't just take my word for it, try it out yourself!
7. Study other successful bloggers
If you're anything like me, you love to be a student of "the game" and are eager to improve your craft.
I gathered an incredible amount of knowledge from experts that consistently share their what they know. And so can you.
Some awesome bloggers to study are:
Feed your brain with good and relevant information each day and combine this with taking action towards your blogging goals.
8. Go for a walk and get some fresh air
Sometimes the words just don't flow. It happens. You're human.
However, when this happens, you don't have to sit around or watch YouTube until inspiration knocks on your door. Instead, go for a nice 20 minute walk. Studies have shown that the brain is a lot more active after taking a walk.
Just look at this brainscan and notice the difference:
After you come back, you should at least be able to knock out a few hundred words of engaging content, dontcha think?
9. Tell a story
Humans are wired for story.
So tell your blog readers stories regularly to captivate, engage, motivate and even persuade them.
As a matter of fact, Joseph Sugarman, a world-class copywriter, sold millions of products through storytelling.
When people read ads, they get bored quickly. But when an ad is actually an interesting story?
Well, that's a different story... ?
Gary Halbert was a genius at this, and he is considered the best copywriter to have ever lived.
So, do you think storytelling could make you more effective as a blogger as well?
You bet it can!
Unfortunately, I can't teach you how to write powerful stories in a couple of sentences. However, these 4 amazing posts can teach you how to do so:
10. Use quotes in your content
Don't you just hate those cheesy quotes you see shared everywhere on the web? You've seen them so often, that the impact they have on you has almost diminished.
But I'm not talking about those quotes here. I'm talking about using quotes that are highly relevant to the subject you are talking about. These quotes add authority to your posts and boost engagement.
Here are two solid examples:
A quote to make a powerful point and add authority:source: https://smartblogger.com/how-to-get-inspired-to-write/
A quote to share an interesting statistic:source: https://www.quicksprout.com/2017/03/06/5-ways-to-amplify-the-reach-of-your-content-without-spending-a-dime/
11. Apply Strategic Bullet Points
Bullet points are a powerful way to keep people reading. But if you write bad bullets, they have the opposite effect.
Thankfully there are a couple of proven ways to write bullets that keep readers fascinated. Brian Clark explains five ways to write strategic and powerful bullets.
One of them is called Internal Fascinations, which is specifically designed to keep the reader interested to read further.
In the post linked below, you'll also learn about Bullet Chunking and Cliff Hanger Bullets. Give it a read and make some notes for when you need the inspiration.
Trust, me. You won't regret it: http://www.copyblogger.com/bullet-points-for-bloggers/
12. Read books on writing regularly
One does not simply become a fabulous writer overnight. It takes a lotta hard work, practice, time and patience.
But if you are eager to improve, you can build your writing skills quite rapidly. Do this every day, and you'll look back in a couple of months thinking "did I write this?!"...
Besides writing often, you should also read a lot. Think about it. If what you read is like junkfood for the brain, it's nearly impossible to output something spectacular.
Reading a well-written book on any topic will increase your writing skills, but there's a couple of books specifically designed to improve your writing skills that I want to recommend:
13. Sprinkle your blog posts with power words
Through the right combination of words whole populations can be moved into action.
The right use of words is also important. Some words are more powerful than others. Power words are the kind of words that jump out in a page and grab your attention.
Here's a list of power words that you can use in your blog posts and headlines:
You can find massive lists of power words all around the web. Google "power word list" and have some fun! If I may recommend some, these two are fantastic:
I am confident that you have the tools available to add some flavor to your blog posts and keep readers engaged. Are you ready to get creative and put these blogging tips to work?
Did you enjoy this post? Are there any other tips you want to add to this list?
I would love to hear from you in the comments!
Guest Author: Jasper is a freelance blogger and copywriter. He helps entrepreneurs save precious time and energy by writing engaging content that reader’s love.