Writing content that your readers will actually read and enjoy can be a challenge, especially when you’re just starting out with your blog. Your readers are typically in it for one of two reasons – they’re looking to solve a problem or they’re looking to be entertained. Finding the right format for your content means ensuring that the format keeps your readers interested, provides them with information or entertainment, and drives them back to your site again and again. If you want to learn more about blogging formats, read on for 10 insider tips on how to pick the best blogging format for hooking your readers.
1) Be an expert on one topic
What you write about can make or break your site’s success. To gain expert-level knowledge, try taking free online courses (Coursera and Udemy are great resources) or read all you can on your topic of choice, whether it’s growing tomatoes or writing a business plan. Read books, read articles. But whatever you do, don’t just parrot what others have said—instead, practice writing from your own point of view and expertise.
2) Use cases – show your readers what they can do with your content
Let your readers know how your content can help them. If you have lists, bullets or numbered lists let them know what they’re going to get out of each post. Let them know exactly how they can take advantage of your content. Show how effective and useful it is! This lets readers feel better about their decision to stick around, because you’ve just shown them a specific reason why they want to be there.
3) Avoid rambling – get to the point quickly
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, there’s a 7-8 second window where people either read your content or scroll down. Most readers aren’t interested in sifting through huge blocks of text to find out what you have to say. Instead, capture their attention quickly and efficiently by presenting your ideas in a more engaging manner. Break up your posts into brief sections (1-2 paragraphs) with subheadings and bullet points.
4) Choose a format that fits your content
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to What is the best blogging format? but there are some formats that might be better suited to specific kinds of content. Just keep in mind that as you venture into video, interactive games, apps and other innovative mediums—your readers may not come along with you. If a creative format fits your content, then go for it! If not, stick with something simpler.
5) Make sure you have in-depth posts on topics of interest
An informative post can be a powerful way to get readers hooked on your content. Choose topics you’re well-versed in, and look at them from a unique angle that your readers might not have considered. If you do it right, then they will want to learn more about a topic, even if it’s not exactly what they expected to read when they clicked through to your site.
6) Break up long posts into digestible chunks, with subheadings and images as appropriate
Don’t be afraid to break up long posts into smaller ones. Do your best to make each post less than 2,000 words. Too much longer and it may take readers a while to read through. When they get down that far, they may decide not to finish reading. Remember: It’s better to have several small posts than one very long one that is never read all the way through.
7) Link to relevant resources (videos, infographics, etc.) where appropriate.
I recommend you read through George Orwell’s 1984 as an analysis of how language influences our thinking, or perhaps watch an episode of Community on NBC. I also recommend John Perry Barlow’s manifesto A Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace. These texts provide a solid foundation to determine how words are used to influence our thinking and reactions.
8) Update regularly with fresh and valuable content
If you want people to read what you write, then make sure you put out quality content on a regular basis. A small update every few days is better than one big update once a month. Show your readers that you’re working hard on your craft and producing top-notch material they won’t find anywhere else. Just be sure to have enough fresh and valuable content ready to go!
9) Engage your community in conversation about your blog posts.
When you are blogging, it is a good idea to engage your readers in conversation. This helps create a community and keeps them coming back. Whenever I have comments on my posts, I always respond quickly and often make updates to those post or write a new post based off of what someone has said in their comment. The last thing you want is a sense of distance between you and your reader. Keep them involved at all times!