In the age of Pinterest and Facebook, gorgeous photography and attention-grabbing graphics pull more new visitors to your blog than ever before. Unfortunately, too many of those opportunities become one and done visits, instead of translating into long-term readership. While visuals are an invaluable way to get your foot in the door, well-crafted writing can get you invited inside for a drink. There are few simple ways to woo those new readers and turn them into fans, followers, or customers. So, settle in, turn on some Barry White, and learn how simple post structure can make sure that your new readers just can’t get enough of your blog, baaaayyy-beh.
The introduction of your post becomes like a blind date with your new reader. You don’t know them, they don’t know you, but matchmaker Pinterest thought you guys would really hit it off, so here you both are. As with any blind date, you want to make a great first impression. In your introduction, you will want to create interest and put your best foot forward.
- Create Interest – Grab your reader’s attention with a strong first paragraph. Identify the main idea to be discussed in the post and provide a reason why the reader should be interested in reading it. This is especially important if you truncate your posts, because this first paragraph will be all that shows up on your blog’s main page.
- Put your Best Foot Forward – Just like you wouldn’t meet your blind date in pajama pants and with unbrushed teeth, you don’t want your reader’s first experience with your writing to be full of grammatical errors. Be sure to give special attention to your first few paragraphs when proofreading.
Now that your blind date has gone well, it’s time to get more serious with your reader. If you’ve got them reading past the first few paragraphs of the post, you might as well be sharing a phosphate through two straws and wearing each other’s class rings. You’re going steady. In the body of the post, you and your reader are more comfortable with each other, so it’s time to connect and let your true self shine.
- Make the Reader Feel a Connection – Even though you can’t have a back and forth conversation with your reader with a blog post, you can still make your reader feel like the prettiest girl at the dance. Pepper your post with relatable experiences: stories about the challenges of motherhood, go on a short tangent about your love for chocolate, make a reference to popular culture, etc. If you can get your reader to smile, and think, “Oh, I feel that way too,” you’ve just made a huge stride towards making that reader a blog follower.
- Be Yourself – Just like your mother told you when you were young, people are going to love you for you, and if they don’t, it wasn’t meant to be. Don’t try to be SO accommodating and relatable that you lose all sense of self. Be authentic and your readers will respond to that.
It’s finally time. The reader has made it all the way through your blog post. They’ve laughed, they’ve cried. They’re starting to think that you might be The One. It’s time to pop the question. Every blog post should end with a call to action. It probably shouldn’t be as blatant as getting down on one knee and telling your reader that they will make you the happiest blogger in the world by subscribing to your RSS feed, but you should still give them a way to connect further. Invite them to:
- Share the Post – Whether you include a sentence encouraging your readers to share the post via social media or just provide social sharing buttons on each post, there should be a clear way for readers to show others your awesome content.
- Check Out Similar Posts – Again, you can include interior links or thumbnails to relevant content or install a related content widget.
- Become a Follower – It’s a bold move, but if you’re brave you can suggest that your readers follow your blog feed or social media accounts at the end of a post. Once again, this can be written into the post itself or accomplished through a blog widget.
IMPROVE TODAY: Analyze your last five blog posts. Do they contain an interesting introduction, an authentically written body, and a clear call to action? Where can you improve?
If you are looking to improve your blog writing skills even further, check out my e-book Mad Writing Skills: A Non-threatening Guide to Grammar and Writing for the Creative Blogger.