Have you ever gone to a blog and left all of 2 seconds later? Maybe you were turned off by a cluttered blog design, content that was too self-promotional, boring headlines, or too many ads. The reality is that most people will decide whether or not to stay on your blog in less than 3 seconds. You really need to draw them in early on.
In this post, we will take a deep dive into how Noble Knits uses their blog to share knitting tips and establish thought leadership in a crowded niche.
Write descriptive, compelling headlines
Before even opening your post, the vast majority of people will decide whether or not they want to read it based on the headline alone. To get them in and reading, you need to write a headline that your customers can’t help but click–but it’s not easy. In fact, writing headlines is an art form in itself.
One of the best at writing awesome headlines that pique interest is Upworthy. They use catchy, sometimes shocking headlines to get readers to click and share their articles. When brainstorming what to say, all of their content writers are required to write 25 headlines for each post they submit. The reasoning is that the first few headlines aren’t going to be that good. The best headlines are usually going to be the 24th or 25th ones.
And when writing, don’t forget the 5Cs of great copy-writing:
Use a compelling photo at the top of your post
Having a dominant, compelling image for each post not only draws more readers to your content, it also increases the likelihood of it being shared on social media sites, especially image-heavy sites like Pinterest and Facebook. And because we process visual things faster, a strong-featured image may also be more important than the headline.
When choosing an image, one option is use photos related to the post. Nancy Queen, who owns Noble Knits, does this with images of the items her readers will be making in the Knit Along. And you don’t have to be a graphic designer or have expensive software. In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to create compelling images. Low cost or free using amazing tools like Canva (image creator), Pixlr (photo-editor). You can even edit through your handy-dandy smartphone.
Of course, there’s always a plan b. If making your own graphics feels to challenging, you can also use stock photo sites to find an image that compliments the idea or the theme of the piece
Add subheads to break up the page
When creating long, informative posts, it’s best to separate the layout into easy-to-read chunks. This helps your reader digest the information. It’s also less intimidating than one long page of words.
An easy way to do this is to by adding subheads. On her blog, Nancy uses subheads to break projects into smaller pieces. You can also look at subheads as short headlines for each section. They don’t have to be catchy, but they do need to concisely summarize the section.
Use bullet points to help with digestion
Another common practice to encourage scannable, easy-to-read content is to use bullet points and/or numbered lists whenever possible. This helps highlight important information that could get buried if it were tucked away in a long paragraph. It’s also particularly useful if, like Nancy, you’re sharing steps in a project.
Create a series on your blog
Nancy runs a series on her blog called Knit Alongs. Spread out over the course of a few post, Knit Alongs are an informative series where Nancy demonstrates knitting techniques to her readers. This not only helps her engage her customers in projects around her brand, it also helps build community around a shared interest.
Starting a series is a great way you can create content that not only engages with your readers, but also keeps them coming back regularly. To get started, find a topic that your target customer will find interesting. This could be How-Tos, like Nancy, industry trends, or even customer spotlights. And once you get started, be sure to follow through and complete the series.
There’s a good chance that you know more about your niche than the average customer. In Nancy’s case, she shares this knowledge through clever knitting doctor tips, like the one above, sprinkled into many of her posts. This positions you as an informed vendor who knows the space, and more importantly, understands your audience.
You can even take this a step further by making these tips 140 characters or less and making them easily Tweetable via free, embeddable tools like ClickToTweet. This helps boost your content by making it shareable. And once it’s out on social media, it’s exposed to more eyes, which likewise increase traffic and word of mouth.
Add relevant calls to action
When you create informative posts packed full of great tips and tricks, you always want to include a call to action (CTA) at the end. This helps you funnel reader attention into action by encouraging them to do something next. In Nancy’s case, she uses the last sentence of a blog post to ask readers to join her on Ravelry, a knitting social network. Other common CTAs include downloading a white paper, subscribing to an email newsletter, or even checking out a new product in your store. Just remember, the best CTAs are ones that are directly related to the content of the post that you are sharing.
To help your blog big, check out this checklist for success:
- Use the 5Cs to create awesome, catchy headlines
- Include at least one photo for each post.
- Add Subheads for longer posts
- Use bullet points and/or numbered lists whenever possible
- Share interesting tweetable tidbits
- Sprinkle in relevant CTAs, wherever possible.