A few weeks ago, I did a presentation on the use of inbound marketing in the health and fitness industry. I appreciate all of the feedback from the class and from Professor Kane. It is always interesting both in my business and otherwise to see how people react differently to the same content.
As a follow-up to this presentation, I wanted to share how I write the best posts that I can in order to maximize engagement with my content. A few people in the class requested specific examples of this, so I thought I would share some things I have discovered throughout my blogging experience.
The top 3 elements of a successful blog post:
An eye-catching title
A title is crucial. This is the first thing that the audience will see, so I have to grab their attention with some good “click-bait” if I want them to come to my blog.
Unique and interesting content
Let’s be real…If the first few sentences of an article or blog post aren’t captivating, the reader is going to leave. That first paragraph is vital to drawing in readers. Once they’re hooked, I have to keep their attention with easy-to-read formatting (short sentences and paragraphs), images, and charts because even if the content is good, a reader will rarely stick around to read a long, essay-like post.
Multiple Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
Using lots of CTAs is the best way for a blogger to encourage visitors to stick around. A CTA can be in the form of an email sign-up, an e-book download, a webinar sign-up, etc. As I mentioned in my presentation, CTAs are important for my business in that they help generate leads in the form of email subscription, and those leads will (hopefully) become buyers of my products.
Now that we have identified the 3 components of a good blog post, let me delve into HOW to incorporate them…
Below is a list of my best-performing (in terms of title-clicks) title formats with an example of each:
- Talk about controversial topics: Why I don’t use protein powders…
- Use How tos and Lists: 3 Reasons Your Weight Loss Program Isn’t Working
- Make it personal: Gratitude: What I Learned From Carly
- Ask Questions– Whole eggs or egg whites?
These posts received some of the highest hit rates out of all of my blogs (the personal post was #1).
Now…what about engagement with the actual content?
The title is a start, but to get people to stick around and actually read my posts, I focus on hitting these 4 criteria:
1. Be consistent
I post on my blog twice a week, I email my subscribers once a week, and I am on other social media platforms daily so that I can drive traffic to my blog. I am also consistent in my themes and topics so people know what they’re going to get when they come to my page.
2. Know your audience
What do they struggle with? What do they want to learn about?
3. Make in interesting
The eye-catching titles that I listed above also give insight into the type of content that leads to more engagement.
- Controversy is KEY. I spoke about the importance of being polarizing in my presentation. Yes it will create trolls, but it will also lead to loyal followers. People have to know what you stand for in order to truly engage and trust you.
- How tos and lists create easy-to-read content that gets a lot of engagement, which makes sense if you think about it. Most people come to the internet to learn how to do something or to find information quickly, which means they’re searching “how to…” or “list of…”.
- A blog HAS to be personal. Information is so easy to get nowadays and there are a zillion health and fitness bloggers out there saying the same thing as me, so the way I stand out is not WHAT I say but HOW I say it. I can come up with systems or hashtags (a couple of my proprietary systems are #WOA and #SOS), and it is with this unique content that I can generate leads.
- Questions are super simple and very effective. I like to take questions word-for-word that my followers send to me and make them into blog posts. If I answer the exact question my people are asking, they’re probably going to read my post.
This one is obvious. Grammar isn’t the end-all-be-all, but I personally get turned off if a I read a blog with a lot of spelling mistakes or blatant grammatical errors.
5. Make it visually appealing
I try to make my blog clean and visually appealing. If a page is messy or hard to read, I’ll lose my reader. Adding images and videos also helps keep the reader from getting overwhelmed with pages of straight text.
A call-to-action prompts the readers to actively engage with the content in some way. You can ask them to answer a question in the comments, subscribe to your blog or email list, download a free PDF, etc. The CTA is important to keep people engaged, especially if you’re eventually trying to sell them products. If I put in all the work to create a good post for my readers, I don’t want to waste it by neglecting to invite them back for more. Here’s an sample CTA that I included in one of my recent blogs:
So these are some of the things I’ve learned that help me increase engagement. Every industry will be a little different in terms of what draws in a reader, but I bet a lot of these elements span across industries.