3 simple tactics that encourage readers to come back for more
Every blog writer wants their reader to stay around so they get to know, like and trust you. Because when they do they engage more with you. Or they subscribe to your blog or newsletter. So in this post I want to show you three different ways that encourage readers to come back for more.
Let's assume you already know your reader and offer them information and tips that make an aspect of their life easier. You are also promoting your posts in the right places but your stats remain disappointingly low.
There could be a multitude of reasons why readers don't feel attracted to your blog. Some could be visual. Perhaps you don't use strong images, an enticing headline or an appealing layout.
But other reasons may not be so obvious. Then it's time to experiment a little.
That's exactly what I do ... and not just in my blog!
For example, I love baking for my little grandson. But I can't just use an ordinary cake recipe - he has a problem with milk protein and sugar. And I avoid both gluten and dairy! I searched everywhere for a treat that I could bake for both of us, e.g. a muffin recipe with a nice consistency that would look and taste ‘normal’.
As I'm not an expert baker, I knew that creating a suitable recipe would take some patience. So each time I baked I changed either the type or the weight of one of the ingredients.
And now, after a few attempts I think I'm almost there with the desired taste and consistency.
Over the weeks I learnt how making small changes can greatly affect the outcome.
Attracting more readers to your blog is a bit like that.
It is rare to get your blog right from the start when it is new. Also, as no two blogs their aims and audiences are the same, what works for one blog may not always work for another.
Figuring it all out is a bit like tweaking a new recipe in which you adjust the ingredients - until you get it right.
So in blogging terms this may mean varying the type of content you cover, how long your posts are or how often you publish.
1. Change your topics or how you present them
Do you stick to specific topics, a format or writing style because you think it's what your readers expect?
Or, what if you have no plan and no set topics? There's no structure to your blogging and you usually only write when an idea strikes?
If your content looks too similar, then maybe it's time for a change?
- Introduce a new blog category which you know your readers will find interesting - it could encourage them to come back for more. Don't simply assume what information they are looking for. (If you aren't sure, could you ask them or carry out a mini survey?)
- How about offering a more personal topic or angle. It will make your blog more inviting and help your readers to relate to you more. For example, have you ever had a personal experience that influenced a business decision? Write about it.
- When it comes to the types of posts you write, make sure you offer some variation. List posts are popular as are case studies, interviews or curated posts. A balanced mix could encourage readers to come back for more.
What if there's no structure because you write about 'life, the universe and everything'?
- Check that your blog topics aren't too random as your readers could be confused by your message. What's your blog all about? Try to narrow down your blogging aims.
- If you also have too many blog categories, reducing them could be a useful strategy.
- Offer some more structure too. For example, you could start with a series of posts on one topic. A series works well especially if you interlink the different parts. That way, if readers like one post, they are more likely to also read the others in the series.
Either way, by doing something different, it'll be easier to keep your reader's interest.
You may also want to try something I’ve done more of recently – create audio posts instead of written ones. Or you could publish a picture post with your own photos. (An event might lend itself to such a format.)
Whether you use a more personal, creative or structured approach, making a few small changes should encourage readers to come back for more!
2. Vary the length of your posts
Do you usually write short posts or longer pieces? If you are a new blogger who usually writes short articles you may find it a little harder to get picked up by the search engines.
Short posts are great for the time-starved reader but search engines seem to like some ‘meat’ these days. By that I mean good quality, well thought out content and a reasonable length. (My longer articles can vary between 900 and 1400 words depending on the advice I'm giving.)
So if you usually write short posts, why not increase the length for a change? You may enjoy writing longer posts. To offer readers more value or more in-depth advice you could include more stories, stats, case studies, examples or an infographic.
But if you always write longer posts then adding some shorter ones will add variety. (They can also be quite thought provoking... think Seth Godin!)
Wondering how short is acceptable? From a search engine perspective the minimum seems to be about 300 words. (That's at least what our favourite Yoast SEO plugin recommends!)
3. Change how often you publish
If you’re used to posting just once a month or even less, increase the frequency to twice a month or, if you can, once a week. Even if it’s just for a few months - long enough so you can track and compare your stats to what you were doing before.
You might be a busy person but you should find the extra writing and publishing time well worth it. For a start, search engines like fresh content. And readers will appreciate seeing more of your helpful content.
If you already post more than once or twice a week but your posts aren’t getting read, experiment with publishing less.
Unless you write consistently to a very high standard, readers may switch off. And some can even feel overwhelmed by too much content. If that's your reader, less will definitely be more.
If you decide that blogging less for a few weeks might be a good idea, then you’ll have some unexpected free time on your hands.
Time, that you could spend on other blogging related tasks like blog promotion. Or on researching your industry. Especially if you previously assumed that your content is exactly what your readers want.
The better you know your audience the more you can make sure that you get the posting frequency (and your content) right.
Always remember that what you see working for everyone else may not necessarily work for you. It’s good to experiment until you find the strategies that encourage your readers to come back for more.
How to check that you do encourage readers to come back
Regardless of which tactic you're going to experiment with, keep a record of what you do and track your progress.
You want to keep an eye on your blog stats and your blog comments. Also take note of invitations to guest blog for other sites or any new engagement on social media. Even verbal feedback matters!
So to find out what works for your readers you want to compare the new results to previous actions carried out over a similar time span.
That way you can develop your blogging whilst resisting to do what you’ve always done. Because if you don’t ‘you’ll always get what you always got’. (Such a great saying by Henry Ford!)
Have you already experimented with some of the above mentioned suggestions? Please comment below. We would love to know.