Monday, July 26, 2010
No, most of us write our posts hoping others will read them and engage with us. We want validation that our written words are impacting others in some way.
The longer I blog, the more I similarities I find between writing for publication and blogging. Some of the same techniques we use for drawing readers to our books are the same principles we can use to draw readers to our blogs:
1. Remember the Reader.
Yes, blogging is for personal expression for most of us. We like the creative aspect of being able to write about whatever we want. And the same is true of our books. A huge part of the joy of writing is that we can let our imaginations run wild. And yet, anyone serious about publication, knows we also have to keep the reader’s needs and desires in mind.
The same is true in our blogging. We should ask ourselves who do we want to read our blog? Family? Friends? People who share our hobby? Other writers? Future reading fans? The answer to that question can help give us direction with what we share and who we’re attracting because of it.
2. Capture the Reader’s Attention.
Think about how much care we put into crafting our titles for our books, the opening paragraphs, or the tag lines on the back. We think, “How can I hook the reader into buying my book.” We want to draw attention to it, help it stand out, so that it gets the chance it deserves.
When I plan my blog posts, I try to come up with titles that will draw interest. And I don’t want my first few sentences to be boring, because that might be all someone will read before deciding the post isn’t worth their time. Likewise, I want to keep them engaged throughout the post by making it easy to read with short paragraphs, headings (when possible), or bullet points. I always consider breaking up a blog post into 2 days if it exceeds 700 words.
3. Engage the Reader.
How do we draw readers into our books so they feel like they’re engaging with our characters or with us as the author? There are lots of ways we do that—through real stories, genuine sharing, humor, vulnerability, passion, depth, clarity, compelling topics.
When I write my blog posts, I never claim to know everything. I just share my opinions in hopefully a clear, concise, compelling way. I pour my passion, my experience, and my suggestions into the posts, stir them together into a conversational-style, and then give readers the opportunity to interact.
4. Offer the Reader Something.
When a reader closes our book, they take something away. It could be something as small as getting a break from the reality of their problems for a couple hours. Maybe the message of the book helps them through a struggle. Whether pure entertainment or life-changing, our books give our readers something of value.
I definitely want my books to be worth the money someone spends on them. And I also want my blog posts to be worth the time people invest in coming over and reading them. Maybe we can’t offer anything earth-shattering, but we can give inspiration, encouragement, insight, entertainment, knowledge, help, etc.
Summary: If we want to attract more readers we’ll have to use some strategy. We can do other things besides what I’ve listed—comment on other blogs, tweet links to our posts, continually make new cyber friends, broaden our web presence, etc.
But. . . to attract readers AND keep them coming back takes a little time and a whole lot of savvy. We’ll have a head start if we use some of the same techniques with blogging that we do with our books. Remember. Capture. Engage. Offer.
Are you struggling to attract readers to your blog? What are some of the techniques you’ve used to draw more readers?
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