Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CAREER ADVANCEMENT / JUL. 31, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Write Great Blog Posts and Engage Readers

Being a blogger can be tough if you’re unexperienced or not the most imaginative person on the net. But you’re eager and ready to start a blog—so how do people come up with great ideas that go viral every single time?

As a blogger, I can attest to that feeling of sitting in front of your computer, wondering what the hell to write. You know that to build a following, you have to post worthy content that both attracts new readers while catering to your current audience. You also know that in order to blog successfully, you have to be fairly regular with your content in order to keep new and loyal readers engaged. You’ve seen hundreds of bloggers do it, and inevitably, their blogs are drawing in amazing amounts of traffic. But how are they doing it?

Keep a Journal or Takes Notes

When a thought comes to you on the bus, on your commute, at your cube, in a coffee shop, whatever—write it down or get it on file as quickly as possible.

Not only is it great for remembering things that happened during your day, but more often than not, other people are having the same experience. Readers love having something they can relate to. Have you ever seen two friends rant or rave to each other about the same rude person at a store? That concept is a great way to boost traffic.

Borrow Ideas

Chances are, if you’re a prolific blogger or reader, you follow other blogs. You may even have them listed on services such as Feedly or any other RSS reader. While plagiarism is highly frowned upon (and could come with heavy legal consequences), stealing ideas that are obviously working for others is another great way to boost your numbers and create shareable content.

Some great ways to acknowledge or include ideas from other bloggers are to write response posts, their use of wording or imagery, or even topics are a great way to engage your audience.

 Likewise, posts from other blogs can serve to inspire your own topics or conversations—even if you don’t want to write a post directly related to theirs, note it down as a bookmark or saved file for later so you can draw from it when inspiration hits.

Listen and Learn

If you have a semi-active blog with a fairly decent following and a good number of comments, listening to what your community is discussing can lead to an entirely new series of posts.

Remember, your community is reading your posts because you offer information or experiences they relate to. If they bring up a question or topic that really speaks to you, writing a post about it and including the original comment can be an awesome way to interact with readers, and it also shows that you’re paying attention to the discussion—rather than just writing out the post and letting it fall where it may. Showing you care keeps your community talking and engaged.

Follow Trends

Follow trends can be really difficult for those who aren’t savvy into the works of how SEO and popularity on the Internet really work, but in Simple English, there’s an ebb and a flow to the way content is driven on the Internet.

Tools such as Google Trends, Twitter, and Reddit are excellent for showing people exactly what other are looking for on the Internet, and it could be a big help if you’re trying to create a post that really draws in readers.

The key to creating a topic based on current trends is timeliness. If you notice a trend on Monday, but don’t actually sit down to write the post until Friday night, you’ve missed an opportunity. The trick to writing on trends is almost journalistic in nature—in order to reap the benefits, you need to get in when the getting’s good.

Write a Guide or Tell a Story

Guides are very popular on the Internet, and more often than not, they have a ton of staying power that lasts long after the post has been published. If your blog focuses on gaming or on mobile culture, writing how-to’s that explain popular questions or resources is an excellent base-line to creating an engaging blog.

Timeliness is still a factor, though. Writing about older items can be hard, so it’s best to invest time in newer things to place well on Google against the competition.

Telling a story is another great way to draw in readers, and the great thing about personal experiences (or even fictional short stories, whatever), is that those are pretty marketable on places such as Reddit.

Creating blog posts, especially on a regular basis, can be really time consuming and frustration if you’re not seeing results. But by following some of these tips, you can help get your stuff off the ground and in front of the Internet. Good luck!

Creative Commons licensed (BY-NC) flickr photo by the tartanpodcast.

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