This is a guest post by Kimberly Nelson.
Reader-oriented blog content writing is simple once you are familiar with the basic building blocks required to draw the reader in and keep them reading. Here are 10 basic steps that will lead any blogger down the desired path to creating compelling content.
1) Know Your Reader
You can get to know your readers by creating surveys and polls designed to gather data. Structure your questions as unobtrusively as possible. Instead of interrogating the reader, ask for their opinion. Be creative. A subtle approach is less likely to offend readers and elicits responsiveness.
2) Know Your Niche
If your blog is about the latest business trends in fine dining, talk to local restaurant owners. Get their perspectives. One brief interview may give you enough ideas to last a month. Additionally, read print journals and online publications relevant to your niche. Set up RSS feeds for Google Search Results for terms that are relevant. You can also set up Google News RSS feeds in the same way.
3) Writing According to the Reader’s Needs
Bing, Google and Yahoo provide analytical tools that can help you track metrics and demographics. Google’s Adwords page provides a critical Keyword Tool that shows you the keywords Google users are searching. For example, the keyword “restaurant” returned 1,220,000 monthly searches for “Italian restaurants.” The 1,220,000 searches demonstrate a need. These potential visitors are searching the web for information about Italian restaurants. Targeting content that includes the keywords will land a portion of them on your site.
4) Use Good Search Engine Optimization Practices
Keywords should occupy only about 2-4% of the post’s total word count. Be sure to include the keyword phrase in your title and in at least one heading. Keywords are most effective when placed as close as possible to the beginning and the end of the post. Good SEO practices result in higher authority for your content and that translates into more traffic.
5) Use the Inverted Pyramid Model Post
Begin with your conclusion; place your supporting statements in the middle, and end with a summary. Readers instantly know if the post interests them. Putting your supporting statements on the front end increases the chance of losing readers who may not feel the post is of value to them.
6) Convert Scanners into Readers
Most people scan websites looking for something that captures their interest. You can be reader-oriented by including headlines, breakouts, sidebars, bullet point segments and images. These elements grab attention; they draw the scanner into your post and keep them reading. While these elements are search engine and reader-friendly, don’t overuse them in your writing.
7) Use Reader-Friendly Graphic Design
Use a good balance between text and white space (background). This keeps the page looking neat and uncluttered. Also, avoid unsightly text gimmicks that detract from readability. Stay away from fonts that are difficult to read. Use bold, italics and underlined text sparingly. Use a text/background color scheme that is easy on the reader’s eyes. Research graphic design and steer clear of anything that negatively impacts readability as it will only drive traffic away.
8) Mix Up The Types of Content Created
You can best serve the needs of your readership base with a wide selection of content. Sprinkle your blog with a variety of posts that include illustrative stories, how-to articles, product reviews, interviews, personal anecdotes and tips. Further increase the mix by inviting guest writers and readers to contribute their own perspectives. Use of relevant videos, images, surveys, polls, games, and other content types also helps boost your site’s overall authority and value.
9) Do the Right Thing
Plagiarism is wrong. In fact, the very definition of the word is “wrongful appropriation” Search engines run algorithms to determine if content is unique. Once they detect that you are scraping (copying and posting content that is not your own) you will lose authority, ranking and traffic. This penalty is imposed to discourage plagiarism. Moreover, if your readers and other bloggers identify you as a plagiarist, all your efforts will be for naught. You will lose all standing and be relegated to writing for an audience of one.
10) Always Be Thinking Content – Tips You Can Use
- Be diligent with your research and create up-to-date, factual posts.
- Provide relevant substance, not obvious generalities.
- Be informative, authoritative, educational and entertaining.
- Be honest, consistent, credible, compelling and unique.
- Be the reader’s friend: give them what they want, delivered with passion and courage.
- Ask them what they like and what they dislike about your blog, and then act on the answers.
- Provide helpful, relevant links when appropriate. Spell check, grammar check, and proofread your posts.
Readers are the sole reason you write. Without them, nothing else matters. Reader’s drive content. Give them the reader-oriented writing they expect and deserve.