Last week we talked about to getting the word out about your blog so people will visit. This week I want to talk about the next stage of warming them up and turning them into raving fans: getting them interested when they do visit.
You only to have to look at your bounce rates in Google Analytics to see how often people visit your blog and then leave. And that’s a shame, because chances are you a lot of time and energy into creating your content. So you need to quickly give them a reason to stick around.
The tips I’ll be sharing are focused mainly on those first-time readers who don’t know about your brand and have visited your blog before. I’ll be showing you how to grab their attention, get them interested in what you’re doing, and show them that what you’re doing is relevant to them.
Tip 1: Make a big promise
If someone lands on your blog and you make a big promise that’s relevant to them, I guarantee they’ll stick around for a while.
But what should you promise them?
Think about your ideal reader. What are their pain points? What problems are they facing? What challenges do they have? Now make a big promise that you will help relieve one of those pain points, solve one of their problems, or overcome one of those challenges.
And put that promise everywhere—on your home page, on your about page, in your tagline, and anywhere else they’re likely to find it.
You could also think about what they want to achieve, what they dream about, how they want to succeed, and make a big promise that you will help them fulfil those desires.
A big promise we make at ProBlogger is that we’ll help our readers create income streams through their blogging. And we know it’s something our readers look for on our blog.
If someone comes to your blog with a particular pain point or goal they want to achieve, and you make a big promise about it, they will definitely look twice
Tip 2: Differentiate yourself in some way
Another way to make people look twice at your blog is to differentiate yourself by doing things a little bit differently.
The most obvious way to demonstrate your difference is in the content you write. You may decide to be more contrarian than everyone else. Or maybe you’ll reveal more secrets and be more transparent than anyone else. You might choose to be more generous, more useful, more informed, of more humorous. Any of these can help differentiate you from everyone else.
But you can also weave this point of difference into a branding. You could differentiate yourself with your tagline, your design, or perhaps the greeting video people see when they first land on your site.
How can you show readers you do things differently on your blog?
Tip 3: Give your readers a quick win
Ever read a blog post, or listened to a podcast, and immediately thought, “That’s just what I needed to hear”. You’ve been searching for this information for ages, and now you’ve finally found it. It makes you so happy you do a little fist pump.
We all love getting quick wins like this. And giving your readers a quick win is a sure way to get them coming back for another visit.
As much as you’d like people to begin their journey at your home page, chances are they’ll be coming to your blog through a post they found in Google, on social media, or via a link sent by a friend. And so you want as much of your content to be ‘fist pump’ content as possible. Because even if they do find it on your home page, it will quickly disappear as you add more content.
I one wrote a piece of content on ProBlogger called How To Start A Blog. To me, it was fist pump content. It gave people a five-step process for starting their own blog. And it wasn’t long before I was getting emails saying, “Thank you so much for this blog post. It helped me start my first blog”.
But two weeks later it had disappeared from the front page. And my archives are like a black hole. People often find what they’re looking for in there, but sometimes they don’t. So as well as creating fist pump content, you need to find a way to make it easily accessible. And that means you need to…
Tip 4: Get your readers to the right place
To avoid the ‘black hole’ archive problem you need to direct people to the content that will help them fulfil their need and help you fulfil your big promise).
A relatively easy way to this is to tweak your site’s navigation. Ask yourself, How can I direct people to the content that best serves their needs?
Don’t rely on your blog’s search box, because there are no guarantees your readers will find what they’re looking for. Fortunately, there are other ways to funnel the right people to the right content at the right time (for them).
One way is to create ‘start pages’. Create a page that focuses on a particular topic, and then populate it with links to all the posts related to that topic. (I talked about start pages on episode 111 of the ProBlogger podcast).
Another thing you can do is create ‘portals’, which we’ve done on ProBlogger’s home page. Following the words “I need help to…” are eight icons leading to pages that correspond to the top eight reasons our readers come to ProBlogger. And how did we find out what those top eight reasons were? By asking our readers to tell us about the challenges they faced, what they needed the most, and what their biggest pain points were.
We don’t have portals on Digital Photography School. But we’ve woven some drop-down menus into the navigation that offer people some of our fist pump content.
Whichever method you choose (or perhaps you can think of a better one), use it to get the right content to the right people as much as you possibly can.
Tip 5: Get personal
Something else that will have people giving your blog more than a cursory glance is to make you content more personal.
And while you can do that by changing the way you write your content to make it more story-like, you should also think about adding video to your site.
Video nearly always makes people look twice, especially live video. Live streaming has become very popular, particularly with brands and influencers, because it gets people engaged.
I remember scrolling through my news feed one time to the point where my eyes were glazing over. But then I saw a friend doing a live video, and I clicked the link immediately. (It was Mike O’Neil doing a live stream of him racing around a track in his motor car.)
If you’re comfortable in front of the camera, I really recommend giving live streaming a try. Even if you prefer recording offline and then upload the result to Facebook or YouTube, it’s still worth incorporating video into your content.
Even including photos can make your content more attractive. When my wife started blogging, she wasn’t comfortable putting her face or even using her name on her blog. But one day she summoned up the courage up upload a selfie to her blog, and used her name for the first time. She also started getting more personal with her content.
And as Google Analytics proved, people started coming back. A lot.
Tip 6: Provide social proof
My final tip for getting people interested in your blog is to use social proof.
It may be an expert, celebrity, or someone of influence in your particular industry saying something nice about you. The front page of Leadpages features a quote from Amy Porterfield about and why she likes Leadpages. And whoever lands on that page will see the quote (and her photo) and think, Oh, there’s Amy Porterfield. I know her. She’s that online marketing expert. Oh, she uses Leadpages.
That’s social proof.
You can do the same thing with contacts in your industry that have credibility or influence. If they’ve said something nice about you in an article they’ve written, ask them if you can use that quote on your blog.
It may also come from one of your readers. This can be a really powerful way to build social proof on your site, as it shows your readers that other people just like them read your blog. If someone regularly comments on your blog, you could send them an email along the lines of, “Hey, would you mind writing a sentence about why you like what we do? And could we use it and a photo of you on our blog?”
Your social proof can also be numbers rather than people. If you have a thousand readers, why not highlight that fact? This may not be relevant is you’re just starting out. But if you have a lot of readers or subscribers, then make sure people know about it. Tell them on your home and about pages, on your blog posts, and even in your tagline.
And don’t forget your social media stats. Showing how many Facebook and Twitter followers you have can be really effective.
So there you have it: six tips for getting readers to give your blog a second look and get them interested.
Next week I’ll talk about how to get these people to subscribe and connect. But in the meantime, let us know what you’re doing (or planning on doing) to get people interested in what you’re saying.
Image credit: Christian Chen