How to Turn a Boring Blog Around
Did you know that 9% of companies employ a full time blogger? Many others though hire professional writers or entire agencies to develop content for them.
And yet only a handful of corporate blogs are genuinely interesting.
What about the rest then?
Well, the rest just fails to capture their readers’ attention, engage them and build any connection.
If you’ve been tasked with having to write for such a blog, turn it around and grow not only its traffic but also engagement, here are some tips to get you started.
Simplify the Language
Complexity of the copy often gets in the way of creating a compelling content. Readers who have a hard time understanding your message might give up after couple of seconds.
And there is a reason for that. As Sadie Baxter points out, these days very few people read websites word by word. Instead they scan pages for words and phrases that correspond with what they are looking for.
And that’s not all. When we scan the page, according to Baxter, “we expand our eye span to incorporate clusters of words so that there are fewer eye movements.”
Writing copy on a readability level of your visitors will make it easier for them to skim and absorb the copy much quicker to find the information they are looking for.
In his 1999 report “The Magic of Reading” (download link), Bill Hill explained that reading is based on a complex neurological process called “serial pattern recognition”.
According to Hill, we rarely read entire words. Instead, our eyes scan clusters of few words together and translate their shapes into meaning. And once they’re done with one cluster, they move onto another.
This process might seem insignificant if not for the fact that how your text is presented on a page affects whether the reader is able to process it or not.
Therefore, improving readability of your content might greatly affect the way your readers perceive it and how easy it is for them to absorb and ultimately, enjoy it.
There some basic things you could do to achieve it:
- Improve font size
- Use web hierarchy of headings. Start with H1 and move to the next the deeper into the copy structure you go.
- Increase the line height
- Use contrast
- Avoid long paragraphs
And more. Michael Martin wrote a good list of 30 ways to improve readability on his blog.
Broaden Blog Topics
Another common problem with many corporate blogs is what they talk about.
And it’s often only about themselves.
It is a good idea to keep readers updated about what’s going on in the company. I agree. Making it the sole focus on the blog however is unlikely to build an interesting blog.
As Robert Bly points out in “The Copywriter’s Handbook” (I am paraphrasing here) – customers don’t care who you are, what you do, what you like, need or want. They care about what they need or want.
To grab their interest then you may have to convince your client to broaden the list of topics they let you cover on the blog. Ultimately, what you want to build is a resource for your readers (and other bloggers alike) not an archive about the business.
Expand Content Types
Posting useful advice is the core of a successful content strategy. Sometimes however your readers might have enough. It doesn’t matter how helpful your content is, consider mixing it up a little to add a bit of fun to the blog.
Similarly, if you only post long form articles, your site might become too monotonous for your audience.
If, in spite of your hard work you notice:
- A drop in comments,
- Increase in bounce rate,
- decrease of RSS subscribers or,
- the majority of traffic coming from search only
it might be a sign that your audience has become bored with your content.
To overcome this, break it up with different content types:
- Memes / Comic Strips
- Surveys and Other Research Findings
Also check out our previous post on what to do when your audience gets bored.
Optimise for People Not Search
When a client engages with SEO agency to write content, often the underlying agenda is to simply get more traffic. This often happens without any regard to the quality of those visitors.
In many clients eyes there is no difference in traffic, visitors are visitors after all. But when it comes to the blog, we both know this isn’t true. Oftentimes blog visitors aren’t interested in anything else bar free information and will not even remember the site they got it from.
You need to overcome the “SEO is everything” strategy and organise the blog to start bringing people back to the site.
One strategy to achieve that is by developing a long-term content calendar.
Convince&Convert offers a great insight into building a content calendar for a brand.
Creative commons image by Daniel Zimmel / Flickr