Every business values their company blog for different reasons, but in order to accomplish any worthy goal, you need to ensure your blog has a high level of engagement with readers. Having said that, are you doing everything possible to increase blog engagement with your readership?
Increase blog engagement in 5 easy steps
Blog engagement is important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it allows you to reach your target audience and have considerable influence over them. Secondly, it enhances your SEO standing and enables you to prove to the search engines that your content is valuable and worthy of prime real estate in the search results.
“Google notices whenever blog visitors leave comments and posts as well as when they post a response,” SEO Service Agents explains. “For the search engines, they will see that your blog is active and very much alive. Not to mention the fact that your rankings in the SERP’s will benefit from mentions of your content on social media platforms. The end result is that all of this will generate more visitor traffic. And that is exactly what you are looking for.”
But what exactly is the goal? In other words, what does it look like for a blog to have high levels of engagement? From a big-picture perspective, you want blog visitors to read and engage with your posts, comment and share on social media, and return to your blog regularly to check for new content.
The big question is, how? How do you get readers to do these things on a steady and ongoing basis? While there are numerous strategies you can use to get the desired results, here are a few keys that leading brands have discovered over the years.
1. Understand your audience
Begin by familiarizing yourself with your audience. It’s impossible to engage readers if you aren’t aware of who they are, what they want, and what they need.
There are lots of different ways to research your audience and gain an understanding of who they are, but one of your best options is to study your existing audience.
“Use polls, surveys and interviews to find out who is reading as well as who might be reading — their ages, genders, occupations, interests, walks of life, etc.,” marketer Luana Spinetti advises. “Invite them to contact you and introduce themselves and talk about what they like about your blog. Why did they choose to follow you? What kind of posts are their favorites? What is it about you and your content that lends you credibility in their eyes?”
If you have a primary competitor, you might also learn something about your target market by researching their audience. You don’t necessarily want to copy everything you learn from them, but it’s helpful to take a peek.
2. Use visuals to draw attention
It’s impossible to truly engage any blog audience these days without using visual techniques. It’s up to you which ones you use – and there are hundreds of different options – but here are two real-world examples:
- Rowdy G. Williams Blog. Notice how this blog uses the color red for its headlines. That’s a strategic choice that’s designed to draw attention to the headlines and promote a sense of urgency.
- Mind Body Green Blog. While there’s definitely some valuable textual content on this blog, the appeal of Mind Body Green is largely visual. Notice the tiled image effect it uses to promote a sense of health and cleanliness.
3. Break up large blocks of text
Nobody wants to read a blog that’s wordy and academic-like in its composition. Next time you find yourself writing an extremely long and dense blog post, force yourself to simplify and break up large blocks of text.
A single paragraph should never be more than three to five sentences long. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with a one-sentence paragraph in many instances. Spread things out and people are much more likely to engage with your content, as opposed to being intimidated.
4. Publish content people want to read
It sounds simple, but if you want your blog to have high levels of engagement, you have to publish content that people actually want to read. In order to make this happen, you have to (a) understand your audience and (b) find out what their biggest desires and pain points are (on an ongoing basis).
5. Encourage comments and sharing
“One of the best ways to gauge the health of your blog readership is to check out how many comments you have for your posts,” blogger Michael Poh writes. “More comments mean that your readers are actively engaged in what you have to say. Such positive engagement between the readers and yourself creates a lively community that sustains readership and attracts more visitors to your blog.”
The more you encourage blog commenting (and social sharing), the more success you’ll have. If you’re having trouble getting people to comment organically, ask for some contributions from your most loyal readers to get things started.
Other readers will be more comfortable posting comments when there’s other activity.
Make engagement your number one priority
Entrepreneurs and business owners use a lot of different metrics to measure the success of their blogs. These include things like clicks, click-through rates, and average time on site. While each of these elements is important, they don’t do an adequate job of explaining what’s really happening. Anyone can click on one of your blog posts and read it for an extended period of time, but what does it matter if they aren’t actively engaging with your brand?
Engagement has to be the number one priority for your blog. The more you can drive engagement, the more valuable your blog will become for brand building and lead generation.
The good news is that blog engagement can be improved fairly simply. You don’t need a massive budget or a total facelift of your current web design strategy. By implementing some of the tips outlined in this article, you can begin to initiate change and connect with your audience in a much more meaningful manner.
And if you’d like to know how you can start blogging consistently in 30 minutes a day or less, read our eBook!