The ultimate goal of every blog is to create content that people feel compelled to share. This applies to both personal and business blogs. In order for content to be “share-worthy”, it needs to be one thing: intentional.
Publishing content for the sake of content isn’t going to cut it. Weak content is not going to develop a relationship with your audience.
Here are ten actionable ways you can create content with intent and use your blog to its full potential.
1. Know your demographic
If you have no idea who you want to read your content, then it will inevitably be vague, irrelevant, and unhelpful. Identify what you can offer people, as well as the kind of people you can help.
Ask yourself these questions:
Why do people come to me for help?
Who do I want to serve? Why should they care?
What does my target reader-client-customer like to read?
What types of content do they share online?
What unique value do I offer that nobody else does?
2. Include narrative elements
“Jakob Nielsen, the venerable godfather of Internet research, told us way back in 2008 that most users read about 20% of the words on a page.” And “when people land on a story, they very rarely make it all the way down the page. A lot of people don’t even make it halfway. Even more dispiriting is the relationship between scrolling and sharing. Schwartz’s data suggest that lots of people are tweeting out links to articles they haven’t fully read.”
Adding relevant narratives will compel readers to finish reading. People are naturally intrigued by results, so try sharing personal stories at the end. This will encourage readers to keep reading to learn how you achieved a particular result. For example, “Within six months of quitting my full-time job, I was having five-figure months in my business!”
3. Be relatable
A common myth amongst the self-employed is that you have to be strictly a business personality online. However, your desire to be taken seriously should not deter you from being true to your persona.
Think of the people you follow online. Chances are, you remember them because they’ve demonstrated their personality and style through their personal brand. You don’t need to write tell-alls or emotional posts, but there are tons of ways to show people your true colors.
If you’re not sure how you can relate to your readers, ask questions! Promote a discussion that allows people to connect with you on a personal level. These kinds of personal connections are the key to potential clients understanding that you are a human being as well as a business. It will also make it more likely that they will think of you when they need your services.
4. Add headings and lists to post content
Headings will help break up content, making it more readable. They will also help your audience compartmentalize their thoughts about what you are writing. Numbered or bulleted lists will structure your thoughts and make your content easier to read.
5. Be specific and valuable
Pack value into everything you post. Think of the solutions you’re offering, as well as the common problems your readers experience. The end goal is for your reader to engage with your content and to believe they have gained unique and valuable knowledge from what you’ve created.
6. Include images and graphics
Your content imagery can make or break your clickability! The main image for any content should be high quality and attractive to your ideal client-customer. Larger images and graphics are naturally appealing to the eye. “Researchers found that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.” Meanwhile, “Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.”
7. Encourage action
Make it easy for your reader to follow through with an action. Want them to inquire about your services? Include a “Book Your Free Consult” call-to-action (CTA). Want them to sign up for your email list? Include a link to a freebie or content upgrade that they’ll be able to get when they sign up. Want them to continue reading more posts? Make sure you have a “read similar posts” section at the bottom of every post.
The options for CTA’s are endless, but make sure you give readers somewhere to go so they don’t close that tab.
8. Publish with intention
Consider when it might be the perfect time/day/month/season to provide specific content. For example, think of the time of day you are publishing your content and when your readers are most likely to engage. If your target market is a late night crowd, you might want to schedule and automate your content publishing at midnight. If your target market is primarily work at home moms, you might want to publish early in the morning.
9. Use smart editing tools
There are plenty of free tools that will help you create the most readable, well-formatted content. Hemingway App makes your writing bold and clear. The app highlights long, complex sentences and common errors; and will tell you if your sentences are easy to read or if they are too dense. CoSchedule provides a free Headline Analyzer to help you develop the most enticing headline possible. Grammarly is a free Chrome plugin or in-browser app that will point out improper grammar in your post.
10. Promote productively
Putting your content out there into the world isn’t enough to get noticed. Once you hit that publish button, you need a targeted strategy to get it onto the screens of the people you want to read it. Make sure you don’t miss these important steps to make sure your content is seen:
Design images for each platform
Schedule your posts on multiple social platforms (now + in the future)
Craft your captions carefully for each audience
Send your post out to your email list
Share it with Facebook Groups when prompted
Think of each post as an opportunity to connect with valuable potential clients or customers. Even if you aren’t monetizing your company now, you have to treat it like a legitimate business with a targeted strategy.
Truly effective content must be strategic, targeted, enticing, valuable, and engaging. Remember: a blog post is no good for an audience of one.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Caileigh Langford Kyle is the founder of Odds + Ends Creative, a design and business strategy hub for creative entrepreneurs with gumption. She offers free resources on blogging, SEO, branding and small business systems on her blog. Caileigh teaches people how to create a profitable business without losing their mind, soul, and integrity. Connect with @cailkyle on Twitter.