Sometimes you will come up with an idea, write it to the best of your ability and publish it on your blog – hoping it gets a record number of eyeballs on your blog stats. What if this never happens? You end up getting disappointed; but this shouldn’t always be the case.
I’ve always loved what I do: helping people understand why they find it hard to move in the direction they’ve always desired with their blogs. I get excited when doing this because I can usually pick up rather quickly on the exact problem that’s hindering people’s efforts online.
One of those problems is why no one bothers to read their blog posts, no matter how valuable and breathtaking their content is.
Just recently I was talking to Kimberly, a client who approached me and wanted to know why nobody ever read her blog posts, even though she struggled to consistently publish valuable content on her blog. I took a look at her blog, and I could definitely tell that she was one intelligent woman. At first I felt a little intimidated…
Kimberly is a believer of success and she has demonstrated that through her offline career. But what has been causing her much pain is her business website, which she’s been operating for the last 2 years. She’s always wanted to build her business online, and just like me or anyone out there who has had success in blogging, we understand that a blog is the main medium through which people get to learn more about us and how we can help them.
So, Kimberly wanted me to help her understand why no one was actually interested in reading her posts.
And since I had taken time to read her blog posts, I knew where the problem was. You know what, I’m very open and honest – and that’s how I’ve always been. But I really hate to hurt people’s feelings so I do my best to say something that won’t make me look like a mean guy, though at times there’s so little you can do to get the point across.
I had to give Kimberly an answer, and I knew this wasn’t going to make her feel ALRIGHT about the whole situation. Knowing that I was out to help her, I had to put away my guilt and give an honest answer. My answer to Kimberly was that her content was boring and lacked any sense of engagement. She made her blog posts sound way too businesslike and not only could I not relate to it but it almost made me go to sleep!
Importance of Content Marketing
“Content marketing” is a word that’s common on the internet and we get to hear about it now and then. But do you really know what it means?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
You GOT it right! Or, did you? I believe so.
Basically, what it means is that you need to communicate with your prospects and customers in such a way that they think you aren’t trying to be sales-y.
Using Kimberly’s case as an example, if your blog posts put your readers to sleep because they’re boring, then not only will you make them go away without them reading the entire posts but you can’t expect them to return to your blog or ever buy from you.
And if they’re reading your posts then you must understand they are there for a specific reason.
A large percentage of people searching for content online are doing it because they desperately need to solve a problem. After all, who wouldn’t want to read content that not only solves a problem but also helps them relate to the author, and is also enjoyable!
So if you’re online and struggling to get started then that should be your main goal.
But are you accomplishing this?
Just so that you know, 87 percent of buyers acknowledged that digital content played a significant role in their purchasing decisions in 2014.
And if that’s not enough for stats, here is more.
A large number of people rely on the internet today because they are able to search for content that helps them with their buying decisions. Do you believe in what I’m saying? Take a look at this:
- 86 percent of people aren’t interested in TV ads and so they skip them
- 44 percent ignore direct mail
- 60 percent of people are moved to try out a service or product after reading content about it
That’s valuable research on content marketing so you know how important it is.
- 81 percent of U.S. consumers trust the information and advice from blogs
- 61 percent of U.S. consumers have made a purchase based on a post they’ve read on a blog
- 57 percent of companies that own blogs have acquired customers from it
That’s more valuable research to inform you how your blog can boost your business.
Always think about “Conversation”
Kimberly’s case is nothing unique because I see it many times on some of the blogs I visit. She wanted to maintain a professional image in her writing but what’s funny is that I started out doing the same thing with one of my blogs.
I never had the prestige of studying in any of the prestigious institutions in the U.S, though if I had an opportunity – Embry-Riddle University would have been my choice since I grew up hoping to be a pilot…that’s a story for another day though!
I know that most people coming from a professional career in corporate America would prefer writing in a professional manner, similarly to what Kimberly was doing. But it’s not anyone’s fault because most people were taught to write that way, and it’s uncommon to see most American writing in a casual manner.
The good thing though is that most businesses have realized that they have to write clear, concise, direct copy, and above all make it personable.
Surprisingly, prospective and existing customers of these companies haven’t been able to relate to what the companies have been sharing. Instead they’ve always felt like the companies only bothered them about selling.
Now do this simple exercise for me.
Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and assume you came across this post because you wanted to find out more on how you can make your blog content more interesting and engaging and answer the following questions:
- How is my post making me feel?
- Am I learning anything valuable?
- Am I able to relate to my content and Kimberly’s story?
- Have I been alert to this point?
- Would I continue reading to hear what I’m about to say next?
- Would I be moved to comment?
Great! So you see it’s more about having a conversation with your prospects and customers. You have to make them feel like they are part of the conversation.
In turn, they will respond to whatever you share with them because you’re talking to them as you would to a friend.
But that’s not all.
Connect with your readers – Build relationships
You have the conversation going, and your readers feel like they’re part of your business. This alone will make them always want to come back for more and without a doubt you definitely want to see them back.
Back in 2014, a study conducted by Forester Research found that most businesses still follow a content production strategy that focuses on “closing the deal” instead of nurturing relationships with prospects and customers.
It was also discovered that about 5 percent of marketers focused on creating long-term relationships with their audience, which shows how people aren’t focused on building relationships.
What your readers are looking for you is a connection and there’s no better way to do it than with sharing examples as I did with Kimberly’s story, which could probably relate to you right now.
The truth is no one wants to relate to content they don’t personally feel connected to.
You want to have an emotional connection with your readers, and you want them to relate to you, engage you with questions they may have, comment and share your content, and from the relationships you’ve built, you want them to make the all important decisions and purchase a product or service from you – simply because they TRUST you!
Stop comparing yourself to everyone else out there (Do this instead)
My subtitle is self-explanatory! You need to do things differently from the rest of the people out there.
Think about what your readers want to know and give them just that.
While addressing your readers’ problems, do it in a fun or entertaining way.
Do it in a conversational way. Maybe you could tell a story; an example is a conversation you had with a friend – like I did with Kimberly’s case. And, tap into their curiosity by making them want to get more of what you have to say while focusing on helping them.
Help them know what they want to know while focusing on building relationships, and more importantly answer their questions, respond to their comments and be there for them always.
That’s how you avoid getting stuck like my client Kimberly who was used to writing boring stuff on her blog. Be fun, be friendly and lighten up when writing for your readers – repeat this process every day – someday you will get it right, trust me.
Enock Machodi is a professional freelance writer, blog consultant and a blogger at A Brighter Everyday. He helps businesses and individuals unleash their potential for excellence by giving actionable tips and strategies to help grow blogs and online businesses like a PRO! Follow him on Twitter to keep the conversation going.