11 simple ways to make your blog rock n roll.

rock n roll danceThe difference between a great blog and an ordinary one is simple. It’s all about giving the reader – your perfect, ideal client – what they want.

If you are constantly writing and getting little response it may be time to try a new approach.  It could be the technical execution, in which case you can learn some simple skills to sharpen that pencil.  Or it could be that you’re not truly understanding what it is that your readers need and want.

Blogging used to be the domain of techy nerds and news journalists. But that has all changed. It’s now become commonplace due to the low barriers to entry and amazing reach. Every man and their dog (or woman and their cat) seems to have a blog. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy….to get it right….

On the crowded platform that is the blogging world, there has never been more need for credibility and quality writing. You have to dig deep and understand the fundamental desires and pain points of your audience and then use your writing to speak to them in a way that resonates and offers value….otherwise you are one of the mere masses and your blog will be doomed.

Here are some tools to help you get over that hump where it’s just your mum who reads your blog…. It’s time for the big time baby!

1. Tell your story

Your story is your differentiator. It’s the thing that people relate to.  They’ll either love it or not. Either way, that’s ok. You add to your tribe or you rule people out of your world (which is equally cool, because you don’t need distracters or time wasters in your midst).

Even when you’re blogging about business, you should inject some of yourself and your story into it. It’s the stuff that makes you human, lowers the barriers and has people lean forward in their seats, saying “yeah, me too.”

Tapping into the emotions of your readers is where you will truly connect with them.  Remove the logic, remove the stats and reasons, just speak from the heart.

2. Be direct

People often confuse being personal and being casual or unprofessional. Even though  you are conveying thought through your own experiences and story, you should still be writing properly.  Don’t ramble and don’t run on sentences. Be precise in your message.

Every year the amount of content we are expected to consume increases. Every year out attention span shortens. Online, this paradigm is magnified enormously. We pretty much have no greater capacity to concentrate on any one thing than a goldfish….which means that as a communicator you have a tiny bubble in which to capture the attention of your people.  Be blunt. But not rude.

3. Get to the point

The first couple of sentences are the most important in blogging. Just as in old-skool journalism, where you state the case and give your view on it in the first sentence of a column, so too should a blog get to the point very early on in the game. If you don’t get your reader’s attention first up, they won’t continue to read on.

Try opening with your conclusion. Share the point of your post right up front, then the tell the story of how you got there. Surprise, intrigue and controversy are all things which keep people reading.

4. Show, don’t tell

Humans are very visual creatures. Use an image to illustrate your point wherever possible. Like here.don't tell show

Use words to make the point and hammer it home, but where possible, back up those words with an image which proves the point.

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, even Twitter (more retweets occur when an image is included) all rely in imagery for impact.

5. Set the scene

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine this:


It’s midnight and the house is quiet. You can only hear the light snoring of your cat on the comfy chair, wallowing in the warmth of the dying embers of the fire. Your children’s heads are full of purple unicorns and demon-fighting Lego men. Your husband tosses restlessly from side to side, knowing intuitively that you’re not lying next to him. You stare at the blank page on your screen, as you have done for the third hour in a row, wondering when the words will flow out of your wine-addled brain through your fingers and into some creative format called a story….

Help your reader explore their imagination and lose themselves in your prose. Put them in the story you’re telling, in the lead role.

6. Assemble your words properly

Formatting plays a huge role in how – or if – your blog is read. Skim reading is completely normal online. People have little tolerance or patience for large blocks of text that they can’t run their eye over and quickly be satisfied that they’ve understood the gist of the article.

Complaining about how people don’t read like they used to, will not only position you as a crotchety old nana, it won’t get you anywhere in this day and age of online writing. So, if you can’t beat ’em, join em! You should try to see this new style of reader as a challenge to be conquered.  Think about how you can communicate the most important parts of your post to someone reading it via a phone in the space of of just 1-2 minutes.

The best way to do so is to break up the big blocks of text into manageable chunks.

USE HEADINGS for guidance and bullet points to separate sentences. Highlighting the most important content is key.

7. Use references for proof

“Why should I believe you?” is the subliminal text running through most readers’ minds. Support your content and opinions with facts. Reliable information is a little hard to come by in our digital age….help make yourself more credible by using data or science or research to back up your claims.

8. Social proof

This is increasingly relevant and weighty. Hang around with clever cookies and you might be considered clever by association. Curating content or citing experts from within your field shows that you know who’s who. Bolstering your blog with credibility helps you gain exposure to new audiences, and position yourself as a reputable expert in your niche.

9. Compare and Contrast

Using an existing reference site/point/idea is a great way to point out how you (or your idea) are different and similar. Take a concept which is easy to relate to and throw the spotlight on it.

Entrepreneurs often to this in their BBQ pitch:

  • “It’s like Twitter, but for photos”
  • “It’s like Paypal, but more stable”

Building on a known reference point can often cause the “aha” moment you seek.

10. Recap

Of those who actually do read your post, many will skim read and others will just read the first and last paragraphs. Try then to summarise your main points at the top and tail of your blog.

11. Call to action (CTA)

Blogs are information, yes, but they are also a great source of leads for a business. Always be thinking of ways to offer value to your audience and then an easy way to opt in to working with you or learning from you further.

Do you want them to read another post? Opt in to your newsletter? Buy a product? Leave a review? Click on a link? Write a comment? Pick up the phone?

Your CTA should be clear and easily actionable. Your post is effectively the build up to the CTA – the thing that the reader should do next.

12. Practise

The final tip is practise. There’s nothing surer than that writing helps your writing. There’s no shortcuts. No magic bullet or wand.

Brian Clark from Copyblogger makes this point beautifully.

The top 10 steps to becoming a better writer:

  1. Write.
  2. Write more.
  3. Write even more.
  4. Write even more than that.
  5. Write when you don’t want to.
  6. Write when you do.
  7. Write when you have something to say.
  8. Write when you don’t.
  9. Write every day.
  10. Keep writing.

So what’s next?

My advice would be to go back over your existing blogs to see how they fare, knowing what you now know.

Are any of these tools in action? Can you easily revise some paragraphs to make them more readable? Are your readers able to understand the point quickly and succinctly?

You’ll probably find some are naturally better than others because you were using a handful of these methods without realising it. If you keep all these points in mind next time you write, your blogs will be rockin’ and rollin’ in no time.


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