How to Get People to Actually Read Your Blog Posts

How to Get People to Actually Read Your Blog Posts

Just because you’re creating content and putting it in front of your ideal client doesn’t mean they’ll consume it. You can have the most valuable content in the world and put it in front of everyone but still have very few actually read it, listen to it, or watch it. Simply creating content and putting it in front of the right people isn’t enough. You need to grab their attention and keep it. When people land on your blog post, they’ll decide in just a few seconds if this is something they want to stop and read. Here’s how you can help them make the decision to stick around and read everything you have to say.

Make your post skimmable

When I say “skimmable”, I mean they should be able to skim the post and be able to get some idea of what the post is about.

Use subheadings frequently

If you don’t use subheadings, the post would look like an essay. Plus, the reader wouldn’t be able to quickly get the gist of what the post is about. There are two ways you can use subheadings:
  1. One is to separate different sections of the post.
  2. The other way to use subheadings is to emphasize interesting sentences.
Envivo’s blog is educational, so I use subheadings to separate different sections of the post. Take this post for example. There are two main points I’m covering. Making your post skimmable and making it readable. I have a few tactics for each, so I use even more subheadings to describe those tactics. Dawn Gluskin, of Blissed Communications, is one of our content management clients. We use subheadings differently for her blog. Her blog posts are more emotional and heartfelt and less “educational” like ours is. The subheadings emphasize important points in her post. They also spark curiosity. Take this blog post of hers, for example. One of her subheadings is “In the process, I’ve experienced every emotion known to man. Very deeply.” Another one is “In this same 30 day time frame, in the midst of grieving and heartache, I’ve also felt total ecstasy and bliss.” These subheadings don’t necessarily describe the content immediately below them, like the ones in this blog post do. Hers are highlighting interesting and curiosity-inducing sentences. When the reader is quickly skimming, they may see the second heading and think, “Grieving, heartache, ecstasy, and bliss all at the same time?? How??” Now they want to know what happened that made Dawn feel that way. So they’ll scroll to the top and start reading.

Use images

You’ve likely heard the quote “a picture is worth a thousand words”. When a person is skimming your post, not only do the subheadings give them an overview of the post, but the images will provide additional information. They’re also just visually pleasing and they make the blog more readable because images break up monotony of the text. Speaking of readability…

Your blog post should be readable

Once they’ve decided the post is worth reading, you need to keep their attention.

A blog is not an academic paper

For many of us, most of the writing we’ve ever done was for school. We had to do tons of research, use fancy words, and be somewhat formal in our writing. A blog is not the place to be “brainy”. I don’t mean to say that you need to water down the quality of your content. Don’t water it down. But write it in a way so that it doesn’t take too much brain power to understand it. Keep your sentences simple, keep your sentences short, and use words that are used conversationally (unless it’s a technical term). Generally speaking, when people are casually surfing the web, they’re not there to use the same amount of brain power they use to read academic content. So if something requires a little more brain power than they care to use, they’ll leave. Plus, people of the internet have short attention spans and there’s a LOT of shiny objects online. It’s really easy to click away. They know they can get what they need elsewhere.

Short paragraphs

Your paragraphs should be short. I usually say use one to four sentences per paragraph. Whenever a paragraph ends, it feels like you’re taking a breath. It keeps the pace of your writing light. Design-wise, when you have short paragraphs, there will be more white space. White space is just empty space. This makes it feel more expansive and less cramped.

Large enough font and line height

Speaking of design, your text should be easy to read. Don’t use super tiny font so they have to strain to read it. And also be mindful of the spacing between lines as well (this is called “line-height”). Let your words breeeeeathe. Again, people won’t automatically consume your content just because they’re in front of it. You need to capture their attention and keep it. Take the time to go through a few of your most recent blog posts (or all of them, if you have the time) and make them skimmable and readable! I’d love to see your blog! Post a link to it in the comments below.

How to Choose the Best Content Format

How to Choose the Best Content Format

You and me both know that there are SO many opportunities in the world of online marketing. But how do you know what is the right marketing tactic for you?

I believe that all business owners should be doing some sort of content marketing. What type of content marketing you should do depends on the business.

If you were to look at content marketing at a very basic level, there are two types of content marketing: content you create once and you are done (like lead magnets, a course, etc.) and content that you create on a recurring basis (like social media posts, blog posts, etc.)

This article will address the latter: content you create on a recurring basis.

The three most popular forms of content is written content, audio, and video. If you’re a super rockstar, you can do all three! But if you don’t want to create all three types of content, you are probably wondering which you should put your focus on. To determine which type of content you should make on a weekly basis, you need to consider four things: what your ideal client enjoys consuming, what is commonly done in your industry, what you enjoy making, and what you are good at making.

What type of content does your ideal client enjoy consuming?

The point of content creation is to provide value for the person consuming it. In this case, that would be your ideal client. You want as many people in your target audience as possible to consume your content so if it’s in a format that they like, they’re more likely to read, listen to, or watch it.

So the question is: what type of content do they enjoy consuming?

When we’re doing target market research for our clients at Envivo, we do a few things. First, we consider our client’s target market and their lifestyle.

For example, consider an audience of busy parents. They have school-aged kids who may have extracurricular activities they engage in so they are constantly driving from place to place. They also work and need to keep up the house. Some of them may be single parents. Needless to say, they are very busy.

Do they have the time or desire to sit and read an entire blog post? It may be easier for them to consume content on-the-go. Audio would be the format to consider. Video might work, too, because they can listen to it or watch it while multitasking.

The next thing we do is some industry research.

We look for credible brands with large, engaged followings in our client’s industry with a similar target market. We study what type of content they are producing that their audience is engaging with. Are there a lot of blogs on the subject matter? Podcasts? Videos on YouTube?

If successful and credible brands with engaged followings are mostly creating content in a specific format, then that’s likely a format that would work for your audience.

What type of content do you enjoy making?

Here’s the truth: if we don’t like doing something, it’s harder to do it and it’s unlikely that we’ll be consistent with it. And I’m sure you know that consistency is key to basically everything in business. So if you decide you’ll publish a new video once a week but you loathe being on camera, then it’ll be really hard for you to be consistent.

On the other hand, if you have excellent discipline and are consistent with it but are not enjoying it, then that’s not a good feeling. Either switch gears and create content you enjoy making or outsource the content creation.

Here’s what we do for our clients who have blogging as part of their marketing strategy but don’t like to write: we have them basically word-vomit what they want to get across in the post. Sometimes it’ll be a list of bullet points. Then they send it to us and we massage it, write it out, and publish it. Boom!

What type of content are you good at making?

We aren’t making content for the sake of creating content. We’re creating content for it to be consumed and to make a difference with the person consuming it. Quality matters. So it’s important to consider your own talents.

It’s possible that you may really enjoy create a certain type of content but not be that great at it. In that case, I say this is a great time for you to become a student and commit to becoming better at creating whatever type of content that is.

If you don’t have the time or desire to get better at it, then either try a different type of content or outsource it. It’s as simple as that.

I hope this article helps you make the big decision of what type of recurring content to create. Remember: you don’t need to have all the answers. Just start and refine your strategy along the way. The most important thing is to take action.

If you have published content already (blogs, social media, lead magnets, etc.), I’d love to see what you have created! Share a link to your content in the comments.

Brainstorm Content Topics with These 3 Powerful (And Simple!) Methods

Brainstorm Content Topics with These 3 Powerful (And Simple!) Methods

Whenever I speak to a client who struggles to stay consistent with their online marketing or even resists being visible even though they want to be, a large part of the reason why is because they have no idea what to talk about.

The truth is that there is content GOLD just sitting there inside their head and in every interaction they have with their target market.

If you are struggling to create content consistently because you don’t know what to write about, try one of these three methods.

Have an imaginary conversation

Picture one REAL person you’ve served, whether they are a past client, a future client, or someone you worked with for free. This person should fit into your target market.

Then, put yourself into an imaginary conversation with them. The topic of the conversation is around what their problem is, where they need to be, and how you can take them there.

What are the problems they bring up? What questions do they ask? What desires are they expressing? What wisdom did you share with them? What did you do with them to resolve their issue or get them closer to what they desire?

Write all of this down.

After you’re done with that imaginary conversation and your notes, think about another REAL person in your target market. Do the same exercise.

Do this exercise for several of your contacts and clients who are the type of people you want to work with. I say it this way because you may have worked with people in the past who you wouldn’t want to work with again. We want to attract the people you DO want to work with.

What are some topics that show up multiple times? Those are topics you should create content around.

Consider what they need to know in order to solve their problem

To get them from where they are right now to where they want to be, there are some things they need to know, right?

So the question is: what do they need to know in order to get to where they want to be?

Example: One of my clients is a career counselor. One of the things she does is help recent college graduates find employment in their desired field.

What are some things that recent grads need to know in order to find a job they enjoy?

  • They need to discover what their workstyle is
  • They need to discover what their strengths are
  • They need to fully understand the job search process
  • They need to know how to approach the unique challenges that come with transitioning from “student” to “working adult”.

There you go. There are 4 blog posts.

Consider the first idea: discovering what their workstyle is.

This career counselor can write a blog post that describes 4 common workstyles. There is a LOT to know about different workstyles that it would be nearly impossible to go fully in depth about them in a single blog post. But she can give an overview to give them a good idea of where they fit. In order for them to identify what their style is and how to proceed, they need to have a conversation with her and potentially work with her.

That’s how she can give value and also generate leads.

What does your ideal client need to know in order to solve their problem?

Whenever someone asks you a question, write it down!

The third strategy is my favorite and arguably the easiest.

People are ALWAYS giving you content ideas in the form of questions! What you need to do is always go into conversations with ideal clients with your ears open. Note what questions they are asking you.

Create a document where you can dump all of these questions. You can do this in Google Drive, Evernote, Trello, or a good ol’ fashioned notebook.

If they ask a question (that’s related to your work, of course), make a mental note of what it is. Later, record it in your document.

Then next time you need to sit down and write a blog post or create a video, you literally have a list of things you can talk about!

To help you with brainstorming content ideas, I have created a PDF with 100+ blog title templates that will help get your creative juices flowing. Creating content isn’t enough. You need to get them to actually click and read. So as an added bonus, these blog titles are designed to pique your ideal client’s interest and get them to consume your content.

Do this little exercise with me right now: what is the one question you’re asked all the time? Tell me in the comments below!