Last night my wife and I took a walk around the neighborhood. On a street we hadn’t walked on lately, we found a new addition: A Little Library. We stopped to look through the offerings and found one that caught our eye. We left with a book.
Later that evening my wife, looking through her find, found a note from the author (hand-signed) inviting contact from readers. “Look, we can write to the author, and he might write back! I’d love to do that!”
The find of a book was unexpected, the offer of a “connection” even with someone unknown but having something in common (in this case, a book read or written), was very exciting. I think successful blogs, written by my clients – that offer a connection and not just information – are exciting too. Often exciting enough for readers to share with others, reaching an entirely new audience.
Blogging has become more popular with the growth of social networking (and associated segmented advertising systems like Facebook). Targeted ads are helpful. Writing is hard work and using advertising to get fresh eyes on copy seems like a fair trade. But when a post gets passed along by “first open” readers – often to many – it reflects a particular interest or impression of the reader. I believe that an element that makes a post “worthy of being shared” is the offer to connect.
Bloggers can make connections with readers by sharing relevant personal detail or sharing how they personally have used the information or been impacted by the idea. My friend Nathan writes a blog called Plan and Prepare, about issues around preparing for the “end of life.” He recently ran an article about Monuments, and their importance in anchoring us to our memories of friends and family. He included a photo of his dad’s old truck and the struggles he had as a teenager learning how to drive it. The post was the same length as his other posts and had about the same number of references to authoritative sources, but fully twice as many people opened this post compared to any of his others.
We all strive to make connections, and blog posts, coupled with social media, allow even the most travel-averse of us to do this. If you’re going to write a blog post, increase your chances of making a connection with your readers by:
· Making the headline engaging
· Being authentic
· Speaking to your intended reader’s needs
· Including a picture
· Sharing a bit of yourself when it’s relevant to
the point you're making
Your blogging skills (copywriting, topic selection, etc.) will get better as you add to your collection of posts, but if you keep these five tips in mind when you start, you’ll increase your chance of making an impact and creating an audience for your future posts.