Bloggers: How to hook your readers and keep them engaged

You have one sentence, two at most, to draw them into reading your blog post.

Journalists call this the lede.

And just like meeting someone for the first time, your blog post intro acts as a first impression. Your reader will choose to get to know you (and your brand) based on those first couple of sentences.

Speaking of first impressions, here are a few do’s and don’ts for crafting an interesting introduction:

Do:

• Use colorful language

• Open with a startling statistic

• Start with a quote

• Use drama or humor

• Leverage eye-catching formatting (like bold and italics)

Don’t:

• Use a cliche that’ll leave readers rolling their eyes

• Bury the lede (failing to tease the most interesting point in your article)

• State the obvious

The easiest strategy for crafting a compelling lede is to answer the who, what, where, when and why as soon as possible.

And this may sound counterintuitive when just learning how to write a blog post, but another useful strategy is to start with your conclusion first.

In the age of short attention spans, people have grown tired of wasting time on clickbait blog posts that go nowhere.

Instead of trying to bait readers into consuming a full article before reaching the answer they’re seeking—choose to structure your blog post in a way that gives them answers right away. Then, use the rest of your content to show them why (and go deeper for those who are particularly engaged).

The quicker you can establish relevance to your reader, give them a strong reason to believe they’ll find what they’re looking for in your blog post, the more likely they’ll dig into your piece and share it with others.

And to keep them reading, think like an author.

Storytelling is a powerful way to keep readers interested in what you’re saying. Stories help us empathize, stir emotions and can actually help us remember information better.

If you don’t know where to start, here are a few suggestions on story ideas that can help your content stay interesting:

  • Share your own experiences: My most popular post almost always reveals something about my personal story.
  • Reveal the experiences of your readers: As you get to know your audience, you’ll learn their stories. And people love reading about themselves or about everyday people dealing with exactly what they are dealing with.
  • Use the things you’ve read: Let your readers see the research you’ve done and let the stories that influenced you also influence your readers.
  • Talk about something you’ve created on your own: Keep it relevant to your niche and let your readers see your process.
  • Write a story in collaboration with your readers: Allowing them to participate ramps up their investment.

These tips I’ve shared this week all work together in very powerful ways to bring more traffic to your site and keep those readers coming back for more.

A quick recap:

  • Learn everything you can about your audience to speak directly to them
  • Craft headlines that instill curiosity in the mind of your potential reader
  • Keep them engaged by grabbing their interest and sustaining it through storytelling

This is curated content, it was re-blogged using the creative commons licensing. The original poster, Ryan Robinson with that strategy outlined above has been able to grow his site, ryrob.com, into a blog that attracts 4.4 million readers (and that’s just last year’s number alone.) Isn’t that incredible? Susbcribe to his email mailing list here.

 

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