For the new age blogger, it's a jungle out there…
Unfortunately it's never been harder to get the attention of your audience than right now.
Distractions are everywhere. The pressure to write compelling content can be overwhelming… not to mention maintaining a consistent frequent schedule of fresh epic content.
You could say the bar has been raised considerably over the last few years.
No wonder so many people give up and decide it's just TOO HARD…
Let's take a look at this in detail then.
I would estimate about 97% of blogs (which are usually started with high hopes) end up becoming pretty much dead within 12 months. The main reason for this being the blog posts are dry, dull and boring. The writing usually lacks personality and sounds robotic. Or the topics have already been covered a thousand times before on the other “me too blogs.”
All these factors contribute to the visitors quickly hitting the back button.
And never coming back.
Let me explain…
There is a certain art to writing, that extends further than just trying to teach people stuff on your website. It's more important than ever to utilise a combination of both information and entertainment in your writing. In a nutshell, you've gotta make it interesting…
A single word describes this style of writing perfectly.
And it's the secret weapon of any content writer.
It's what your blog readers are quietly craving for.
It's like adding vodka to a glass of Red Bull.
Or gasoline to fire…
And it's actually rare to find in the blogosphere …
But this strategy applies to all types of content writing, not just articles or blog posts. Press releases, emails, sales letters and direct mail pieces come to life as well. So with that being said, it should now be clear how important it is to get your head around the principles of infotainment.
Anyway enough build up…
1. Write like you talk
When writing it's a good idea to imagine yourself sitting at the kitchen table (or a bar), having a conversation with someone you know well. In other words you're feeling relaxed and at ease.
Otherwise you usually sound stiff and robotic. And this style of writing is too dry for most of us to read.
A lot of people struggle with this, but there's a simple solution to fix it…
Anybody can do it with ease.
Want to know what it is?
OK listen up…
Verbally speak your content out aloud and record it with your phone or a dictaphone. Just speak your mind without worrying if you get stuck or struggle to speak fluent sentences. It might be a better idea to do this with privacy, as most of us feel self conscious doing it in front of other people.
Once you've finished you can either transcribe the recording yourself, or pay someone on Fiverr to do it cheaply for you.
Obviously you will need to edit the transcription thoroughly so it makes sense and gets your point across effectively.
But at least this way, you will have it written in a conversational tone.
Your readers will appreciate it…
2. Use personality in your writing
This is an extension of writing in a conversational tone.
A lot of writers use the text book approach when writing content online.
Personally, I never enjoyed high school. Found it a real drag…
I have memories of being stuck in text books for hours trying to learn the material. More often than not the books would quickly put me to sleep. I can remember the text books in the 80's being written in a really dull and boring tone. And it's most probably still the case today.
But I have no doubt if those text books were written with some personality, I would've become a much better student. And learnt a lot more in the process.
The text books I read at school were written by people wearing suits who took life very seriously.
In other words, they really needed to loosen up a bit.
And chill out…
So what's the point?
It's much more refreshing to read information which has personality. And provides some form of entertainment as well.
You could call it Spice.
You with me now…
I'll give you another example.
Just to make sure you're crystal clear on this.
Let's compare two guys at a party.
The first guy is wearing brown corduroy pants, sandals with socks, and a beige shirt with a bright green tie. He is a bit of a social misfit and his favourite hobby is collecting stamps. Feeling out of place at the party, he sits in the corner quietly sipping his lemonade.
The second guy is wearing black boots, black jeans, and a fashionable shirt. He is an extrovert who is very popular. His favourite hobby is playing guitar, and he's really good at it. He's standing up at the party telling a group of people about his recent trip to Asia.
Who would you rather meet at the party?
It's a bit of a no brainer really.
The first guy is a loser.
But the second guy is fascinating.
And, you can use this sort of comparison when reading content as well.
Unfortunately, there's loads of content online which could've easily been written by the first guy described above.
You get the picture…
3. Use short punchy sentences
A good writer uses sentences that get straight to the point. They are concise and crystal clear to understand.
The easiest way to do this is to keep your sentences as short as possible. Most longer sentences can easily be split up to two or three short sentences. Long, drawn out sentences are hard work to read. And the brain can process short sentences much easier as well.
Great writing paints pictures in the mind of the reader.
It draws emotion from them. And short sentences make it much easier to achieve both of these objectives.
One simple way to help you achieve this, is to remove redundant words from your sentences. In certain cases you can completely remove words without affecting the logical flow of the sentence at all. These words are not serving any purpose and are just taking up space.
Some examples of words which can sometimes be removed are:
- that (can also be substituted with “which” sometimes)
Keep an eye out for these words (and others). Try to cut them out if possible. But make sure your sentence still makes sense if you do. Otherwise keep 'em in there.
Other ideas you can also use, include the following:
- using periods (a.k.a. full stops – depending on what part of the world you live in) instead of commas
- short paragraphs
- narrow margins
Bottom line… you want to be trying to make it as easy as possible on the eyes of your readers.
Quite often I receive emails that are clumped into one massive block of text. It's scary to even look at it, let alone try to read it.
Doing this is a sure sign of being a rookie or an amateur…
4. Deliberately using misspellings or bad grammar
This is another way of adding personality to your writing.
True, it doesn't fit with every situation. It really depends on who your target audience is. But, in most cases you shouldn't have a problem with doing this. Before you shake your head and disagree with me, think of if this way.
Are you writing to impress your English teacher?
Or your readers?
Think about it for a moment…
If you're not writing an essay for your high school teacher, then who says you have to strictly stick with spelling your words perfectly. Who says you have to write with perfect grammar?
It's a free country.
When used the right way, DELIBERATE misspellings add spice and personality to your writing.
Here are some examples of what I'm talking about:
- it's kinda kool
- not gonna like it
- have the ballz to do it
- the skool yard
- mad skillz
You get the idea…
You can basically make up your own personal language in this sort of way. Your regular readers will get used to it. And more than likely they will appreciate it also.
5. Making it controversial
Being controversial obviously gets you attention…
Controversy attracts readers.
And it attracts comments.
It's a good idea to write with a strong personal opinion of a particular subject. Rather than just sitting on the fence. You can then openly debate your point of view. But, support it with as much evidence as possible. Ideally you should justify why your opinion is right. Doing this will attract certain people, and repel others.
And this is exactly what you want as well…
You want your readers to be either hot or cold for you. But never lukewarm. Readers who are lukewarm are bored more often than not. And the worst thing a writer can do is to be boring.
The reader should ideally be feeling something when reading your content. Even if they think you're talking complete rubbish. A good piece of writing should get some sort of reaction. Good or bad. Positive or Negative. Whether it ends up with laughter or disgust.
But, it's important to always keep your integrity though…
Not being seen to agree with something in one place, but disagree with it somewhere else.
Otherwise you just appear like a charlatan or a hypocrite…
But (and it's a big but…) you must proceed with caution if you decide to go down this avenue.
Sometimes you can take it too far. Certain people may be offended. And things can get out of hand quickly.
We live in such a politically correct world these days. Some people can be really sensitive about certain things. Touchy issues such as race, religion, and politics can potentially get you into a lot of trouble.
Personally, I steer well clear of even mentioning any topics like this.
But despite this, the most important thing is to intimately know the characteristics and opinions of your audience. If you know something is going to upset your loyal tribe, it's best to not use it.
Stick to the principle of attracting your ideal readers, and repelling everyone else – and you should be OK.
6. Focus the writing on the reader, not yourself
Sometimes it can be tempting to write about what interests you, or what you like. It's true it's easier to write from this perspective. But, unless your audience is exactly like you, not many people are going to bother to read it.
Don't underestimate this…
If you do it right your post will be just like a slippery slide with oil on it…
Once the reader starts reading they can't help but keep reading to the end. Simply because it's written about something they're interested in. It's all about them. It's written specifically for THEM. They can identify with it immediately. No confusion. No second thoughts. They WANT to read it. It's not hard work.
But to be able to do this, it's necessary to do a bit of market research first. Find out what your readers want to hear about.
Then write about that…
Don't just pick any old topic just for the sake of it.
Give your readers exactly what they want.
It's really not that difficult is it?
Find out what they want.
And give it to them.
But whatever you do.
Make sure it's YOU focused…
7. Always include some sort of call to action
I've lost count how many times I've read a blog post and got to the end, only to find the writer hasn't included a call to action.
I'll be honest and say I was guilty of this back when I started writing blog posts, many years ago.
But I soon learnt that writing posts solely to be helpful is largely a waste of time. You might get a few pats on the back. A few high fives… and so on. But you won't make many sales without a compelling call to action.
Sure you have to provide value and write great content. That's a given. But you also need to persuade your readers to do something in return.
However large or small it might be…Here's a good example:
Many writers include a short bio with a link to their website. But they give you no clear reason why you should click the link. There is nothing to justify it's worth your time to visit their website.
This is especially the case with people writing guest posts primarily for back links and SEO juice.
But don't get me wrong…
Your call to action doesn't necessarily have to be directly selling something. It doesn't have to asking for a huge favour in return. It's not only about getting people to whip out their wallet.
So what is it about then, you may ask?
It should ALWAYS ask the reader to complete some sort of action.
Anything… such as
- sending them to landing page to opt in
- sending them to a survey to do market research
- asking them to contact you for a free Skype consultation
- sending them to a sales letter to buy something
Bottom line… it needs to compelling enough to motivate the reader to do whatever you're asking.
Obviously the more the reader enjoys reading your post, the more inclined they're going to be to complete the action you're asking.
So, to sum up…
The perfect combination is a relevant well written blog post, which is finished off with a persuasive climax that seduces the reader into a desired action.