Any marketer worth their salt will tell you the most important question, from a customer’s perspective, in any form of marketing has always been:
“What’s in it for me?”.
So why are you ignoring proven marketing techniques and advice when it comes to your blog? Do you like burning money?
If your blog posts don’t answer the “what’s in it for me” question in ten seconds or less, then you are you’re going to lose your reader.
- They won’t feel compelled to get to know you
- They’ll never leave you a comment or send you an email
- They won’t become a subscriber
- And they won’t come back to one day become a customer.
Think of all that money you have lost, and it’s lost within the first ten seconds of reading your post.
If you really drive the answer home in the first ten seconds, then the chances are they’ll read the entire blog post.
However, before you write a single word…
Before you write a single word of your blog post, take a look at the design of your website. In particular, look at your header. Yep, that bit at the top.
Does your overall website convey a benefit to the reader? For example, our header on Birds on the Blog states, “The award winning online magazine for women who mean business” chances are readers will be going to get a sense of what they are going to get from the site before the see anything else.
On FBBB it’s helping you make your blog the best it can be. Take a look at your header and if it says, “Jo Blogg’s website” you and your readers are missing out.
If your header said, “Delivery Tips from a 10 Year Transport Veteran,” readers are much more likely to perk up and pay attention – it’s strong, reassuring and talking directly to them.
Actually, that’s quite a good one right off the cuff, I’ll be using that. The tagline that’s coupled with good design that builds your credibility, then you have a better chance of getting your ideal reader to read your words.
Writing your headline
In direct response marketing, the headline is often considered the most important component of any marketing piece. I say the same for blogging, tweeting and all other kinds of social media marketing.
Headlines matter because it’s what catches the reader’s eye.
It’s your first and sometimes only chance to capture your reader’s attention on a fast-moving channel like Twitter ( insert name of any other social media network here).
It’s what catches your eye on the magazine rack as you walk past. It’s what stands out in your Facebook news stream, it’s the captions on a news program.
People who read your headline should instantly be able to tell exactly what your content is about and who it is for. It should hammer home the benefit and get them excited enough to read more.
What about clever and witty headlines? Clever headlines don’t work as well as targeted headlines. Remember that the next time you write a witty one liner.
I had lost many a great post to a headline that talks to no one except me, you see not everyone gets the joke and whilst it’s good to talk in the language of your ideal reader you should remember that no one likes to feel stupid.
Headlines that divide and talk to a specific sector work better. In my headline for this post, I am speaking to bloggers. If you haven’t a blog, you won’t be interested in reading this post (unless of course, you are thinking about getting a blog). I am speaking directly to a niche audience.
If your audience is women swap out bloggers and replace it with women at the front of your headline. If it’s insurance salesman use that instead. Attract the people you want to your post by mentioning them in your headline. If you do this, leave us a link in the comments and tell us how this works for you.
Opening paragraph – use the words wisely
Spend a lot of time on your opening paragraph. Whatever time it usually takes you to write it, double it. Schedule in some rewriting time.
If your opening paragraph doesn’t quickly convey the benefits of reading your content, you’re going to lose your reader.
My opening paragraph on this post was hard hitting; I spoke benefits, and I made you feel the pain of losing a reader. My audience is bloggers, if they are concerned about why their posts are not getting traction, then this opening paragraph speaks to them.
If I really wanted to grab your attention I could have thrown in a few statistics like 95% leave your blog never to return.
Alternatively, you are leaving 50% of your income on the table. I made those stats up, by the way.
Did you know 96% of statistics are lies? Even if you’re writing a five-page 5,000 word essay, your time will be better spent if you spent 20% of it on your first paragraph.
Start out with a strong “hook” sentence that grabs your reader by the throat. The next 3-4 sentences should explain precisely what they’ll get from reading the rest of your blog post.
Use images in your post
Most people’s eyes will gravitate to any graphics on the page before they even read any text.
Using images to convey a benefit is an incredibly powerful tactic.
For example, if you’re writing about how to earn money by being a consultant, holding up a picture of your first big consulting cheque can convey the “what’s in it for me” answer more effectively than 100 words ever could.
Over at How to Write Better, Suzan St Maur has an article about features smell, benefits sell. It’s accompanied by an image of a pinched nose. The headline and the image tell us what to expect within 10 seconds.
Research has shown that captions underneath images are some of the most read parts of any blog post. People pick out the headers, the captions and the pull quotes when they read – use them to your advantage.
Don’t waste the space beneath an image – if you are looking to monetise your blog posts fast, under the image is an ideal place for an advert / strong call to action.
If you combine all these marketing techniques, you’ll be able to convey to your readers exactly what they’ll get from reading your blog posts within ten seconds or less.
This will increase your readership, bring back more returning visitors and ultimately bring you more customers.
And that’s not a bad end result, all things told – agree?