This guest post is by Gabrielle Conde of Mission Engage.
“Create a memorable experience.”
That’s great advice for businesses and large retail chains, but you’re wondering how it applies to your blog. You probably started blogging because you know something about an industry like technology or writing. You want to share your information with the world and they certainly need it. In today’s blogosphere, there are hundreds of blogs for readers to visit and read about those subjects.
What makes your blog so special?
What if visitors land on your blog and read one post? They not only read it, they gobble it up. They read another and another and soon, they’re hooked. You, your blog is feeding them the information they want. They wantto connect with you on the major social media networks to get more from you. And when they go and find you, you’re telling them about your cat or complaining about the weather … again.How do you create a memorable reader experience they’ll enjoy and keep them coming back?
Much of what we read about creating the memorable experience ties into technology. A few years ago, Flash videos were the attention-grabbers for visitors to websites. As a result, companies spent fortunes producing new videos each week—and still do.
Readers have gotten smarter. They demand good content, inspiration, tips, advice, and more. If your blog doesn’t have that overall experience they’re looking for, you’ll lose readers.
I’d like to change that. After working with clients’ websites and paying attention to other sites I enjoy reading, I’ve made a list of nine ways to create an experience for readers on your blog. There are plenty more, but this list should give you enough impetus to make the changes that will see readers stick to your blog.
1. Have them at hello
Give readers a headline that promises to deliver information about what they want. If you read Reader’s Digest online or just visit their website, you’ll find some of the most eye-catching headlines geared toward health and family.
Headlines are everywhere. Pay attention to the ones that catch your attention and try them on your blog to entice readers to click through to read the story.
2. Listen to them
The customer is always right. People complain about problems in person, on a blog, in a forum—anywhere they can speak freely. They’re putting their problems out to the world, and want someone to help solve them. Be the person who helps them through your blog, on social media, and in person. Say what you do for them in your blog’s header, so they know what to expect as soon as they land on your site.
3. Walk them through it
We, as bloggers, are sales people, writers, webmasters, and marketers rolled into one. We have to remember what our readers want and walk them through the steps to achieve it. If you’re showing someone how to do something in a blog post, walk them through it step by step, and make the action clear during each step.
4. Be a part of their daily lives
Lisa Barone of Outspoken Media, Inc made this point in a recent article, and she’s right. Do you check your daily horoscope on your favorite magazine website or the news in the New York Times? If so, then you’d know each of these companies have found a way to be part of your daily life. How can you make your blog a part of your readers’s daily lives?
5. Speak to their highest desires
Everyone wants something. Understand the one reason why people come to your blog. If you blog about marketing, your readers want you to help them get more clients and customers. If your blog is about blogging, your readers might want to know how they can monetize theirs. Everyone wants to pursue their dreams and know they’re needed.
Be indispensable. Remind readers of their desire. Then help them achieve those goals.
6. Be you
You don’t have to be anyone else—you’ll just waste everyone’s time and look like a fake. With billions of people in the world, and over 25 million of them online, you’re bound to run into at least 10% of readers who get you. They’ll love your humor, products, and inspiration. Mix authenticity with a little writing practice, and they’ll love you for the experience.
7. Make top-of-page navigation easy to understand
Here are some tips to keep top-of-page navigation simple for your readers.
- Keep navigation tab wording as simple and to the point as possible.
- Line up navigation tabs in order of importance to help readers find what they need quickly.
- Direct users to a few pages, not twenty.
8. Let them contact you
If you’re for hire, give users the easiest ways to contact you—including phone number (even if it’s a cell), a contact form (that works—test it), plus social media buttons and links to accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and YouTube. Have accounts created across each relevant channel to make it easy for your readers to find and communicate with you.
9. Write good content
Think of your readers when you write. What do they need to hear? If your readers aren’t sticking around, then try practicing with a few techniques to help you write better and keep eyes glued to the page.
Most of all, you want your readers’ experiences to reflect you. Some people will disagree with your points of view and that’s fine. Everyone has a right to be heard, and you’ll have to make a stand on some issues. However, if you’re having a bad day, your car is leaking oil, your computer keeps crashing, or the neighbor’s dog won’t let you off the front porch, then the last thing you want to do is go postal on your readers.
Creating that experience
You want to win readers.
You want readers to stick with you.
You want to help people.
So give them an overall experience of you. It’s the right thing to do. Because there are so many people out there that need your help. And they’re looking for you.
Are you creating that experience for your readers right now? Tell us how you’re doing it in the comments.
Gabrielle Conde is an online marketing strategist in social media, copywriting and search engine optimization at Mission Engage. If you’d like to learn more about what it really takes to get found online, check out this free video and report on internet marketing strategies and social media marketing.