Being from a print news journalism background, I was taught to report objectively and to put yourself an arm’s length away from your story always. Putting any of yourself or your opinions into a story was a big no-no.
This was, of course, way back in 1995. I distinctly remember a local radio host from WBAP, Dan Potter, coming out to a reporting class to give us a presentation. He was a seasoned news reporter, and he explained to us that the whole world of communication was about to change with something new that was coming. He then began telling us about the coming “information superhighway.”
We had no idea what he was talking about.
Today it’s almost impossible to believe that we ever lived without instant news at our fingertips. We are connected globally to millions of news sources. We can wake up in the morning and login to our computer and have instant news from the other side of the world in front of us. The upside is that we are well-informed and more globally conscious. There’s a downside though for us online marketers. The sheer overload of endless objective content in this digital world can sometimes make content feel less personal and inauthentic. In other words, it can be a little dry.
If you are a business owner and are looking for ways to connect with your customers, there is no better opportunity than blogging. Think about how many times you’ve smiled or laughed or frowned when reading something online. I do it regularly and I’m willing to bet you do too. That’s personal, and that’s the reaction we want.
However, not everyone is a natural writer, and infusing personality into your writing isn’t always easy. If things are a little too quiet around your blog site, here’s what you can do to shake it up:
Do your readers know who you are? Not just your company but you, the person on the other end of the pen? Your blog is the one place where it’s entirely okay to give your opinion. You don’t have to be popular and you can say what you really think.
Use conversational words like “you” and “I” when you are writing. These are exactly the words you would use if you were having a conversation with a friend or colleague. Blogging is supposed to be a one on one conversation between you and your reader. Make it feel that way. As a business to consumer blogger, I also like to tell stories that illustrate my points. Real life stories draw your reader in and help them engage with your content. It helps them to walk a mile in your shoes.
Think about your existing clients and the things you have helped them with in the past. Problems you’ve solved together or dilemmas that have been faced. Use these examples to give your readers solid real-life examples that illustrate the sub-topics of your post.
Answer Questions Within Your Content
Questions are a normal part of any conversation. A great way to reach your readers is by answering questions that they are likely to have.
If you are targeting certain keywords for your blog post, type them into Google. You’ll notice that Google will list out several questions in a section near the top labeled “People also ask.” If your business is a little larger and you have a sales team, you can also ask them to give you the top five questions your clients are asking regularly.
Work these questions into your blog post as long-tail keywords as you go. Sometimes you’ll find a question that’s a real winner around which you can build a whole post. I did this in a recent blog post titled “Do I Need Part B?”
The question is the title of the post, and it’s a common one among my readers, who are people new to Medicare. Since there are several answers to this question, I used the content of my blog post to answer that question differently for 3 separate groups of people.
See if you can do something similar with your topic.
Create Custom Images
Custom images are another great way to get real with your readers.
While stock photos are available and it’s okay to use some of them, they are also easily recognizable as stock photos. If you want to reach your readers on a personal level, then at least some of your images need to resonate with your post.
Use an online tool like PicMonkey, Canva or Stencil to create your own images or infographics. The more detailed the better. Try tying your data in with your images, or if possible, using a little humor in your images to spice up your post.
You can see an example of this in my post “Why Part D Will Drive You Nuts.” It’s a tongue-in-cheek kind of post to begin with, but toward the bottom, I used my own headshot in a custom image to provoke a laugh from my reader. Poking a little fun at yourself in your posts from time to time can be endearing, but do it sparingly.
Prompt a Response
Lastly, it would be great if everyone took the time to leave you a comment telling you what they thought of your post. The reality is, though, that many people simply don’t think of it, so you’ve got to get them commenting. So, what can you do to get them to respond?
It’s simple. Ask a question to your readers at the end of each post. Let them know you want to hear from them. It can be intimidating to post a question on the world wide web for everyone to see, so give them a reason to.
If your post was conversational in tone and used some of the tips I’ve given you above, you’ll be surprised at how many responses you’ll get on some of your best content.
What are some of your favorite ways to engage with your readers?