Search online for best business blogging practices, and you’ll inevitably find a plethora of articles that lead you down one of two pathways. Either you will get advice on how to pick and write about a relevant topic for your audience, or pointers on how to blog in a way to increase traffic to your website and posts.
Both of these pathways are undoubtedly important for developing a great business blog. In fact, we’ve written extensively about how to pick your topics and get your posts seen by your target audience. Still, they are just two pieces of the puzzle that make up a successful business blog. Most blogs include some type of call to action at the end, but increased attention or great topics are worth little if your audience doesn’t actually read far enough into the blog to even consider taking that action.
That’s why you need to pay special attention to just how you craft your blog post, both in terms of layout and your writing. So without further ado, here are 4 crucial tips for business blogging that ensure your audience will read the entire post.
1) Open Strong
Ask any journalist, and they’ll tell you about the importance of a strong lead. Your introductory sentences or paragraph has to capture your reader’s attention to the point where they’ll be excited to learn more. At the same time, it can’t give too much away – you wouldn’t want you audience to close that browser window because they feel that they’ve learned everything they need to know after reading your opening paragraph.
Finding that balance is difficult, but crucial. There are many ways to write your opening salvo, and just as many online articles describing how you can achieve success here. The problem is that most of them don’t focus specifically on blog openings, so here are some of your options:
- Start with a relevant question. Doing so will entice your audience to want to know the answer, which you’ll provide – further down in the blog post.
- Start with a funny or unusual anecdote. Nothing works better than an unexpected story to make your audience stop and get curious where this post may go.
- Describe a problem. Similar to the first example, this will appeal to readers who have experienced the same problem in the past. Now, you can spend the rest of your blog post telling your readers about the solution.
- Share an unexpected fact. It will imply to your readers that more of these facts are to come.
Of course, these are just some examples of strong blog openings. Regardless of which you pick, it will be an invaluable start in getting your readers to keep reading.
2) Break it Up
Nobody likes a wall of text. Our average attention span is now 8 seconds, which is shorter than that of a goldfish (wouldn’t that have been a good opening). A strong lede may be a good start, but it can’t be your only effort to keep readers reading.
Instead, break up your paragraphs. Don’t write your blog post like a newspaper article, school essay or even a white paper. Instead, keep it short, succinct, with plenty of numbered and bulleted lists to ease its readability and allow the more impatient readers among us to skim the text while understanding the most important takeaways.
Of course, you can also break up your text with visuals – if you do them right.
3) Use Visuals to Support, Not Replace
No matter where you look, expert will emphasize the importance of visuals in digital marketing. And they’re certainly not wrong; it’s common knowledge by now that in addition to competing with goldfish in terms of our attention span, we’re also becoming an increasingly visual culture. That means to be read, your blog post should absolutely include visuals. Except:
Never let your visuals become redundant to your text.
The beauty of visuals is that they can enhance your blog post by adding a new element to it that keeps readers on their toes and entertained. A visual that merely says exactly what the text does, on the other hand, will either be ignored, or – worse – preferred to the text. So instead of trying to find images that merely represent your blog post in a different style, find some that add something truly unique to the blog post and gently push your audience to keep reading.
4) Reward the Reader
“What’s in it for me?” We can almost guarantee that the majority of your audience will ask themselves this exact question (consciously or subconsciously) when they begin reading your blog post. Even though we’d all love it, they don’t visit your site and read your content out of the goodness of your heart; instead, they are looking for something of value, usually information that is relevant to their personal and professional lives.
To write a successful blog post that keeps the readers engaged, you have to understand exactly what that “something of value” is to your core readership. Then, you should focus your entire post on fulfilling the value proposition that your headline suggested.
Take this blog post as an example. You began to read because you want to know how to improve your own posts, and every single sentence has been written specifically to help you do just that. Ultimately, providing the reward your leaders are looking for throughout your entire blog post will make the difference between an audience that bounces after reading the opening paragraph and one that stays interested all the way to the end.
So there you have it – by following these four guidelines, you make sure that your audience doesn’t leave your post before having read the whole thing and at least considering your call to action. Now, all you have to do is implement the other best practices on business blogging, and your blog becomes a powerful marketing tool.