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Attention Grabbing Blogging – Persuasive Blogging Part I

EyeballGetting eyeballs on your post is the first crucial step in it being persuasive.

Read the Introduction to this mini-series on persuasive blogging.

In order to persuade your reader to take a certain action you need to find a way to get their attention – otherwise they’ll never read your content and find out what you’re attempting to convince them of.

One of the sad facts of blogging is that there are many great writers producing quality posts that just don’t get on the radar. I personally think that this sucks and have been trying to unearth some of it lately – but in doing so have found myself wondering if some bloggers could help their case a little by making a few tweaks to their posts that help to get noticed more.

The reality is that with 50 million blogs in existence and hundreds of thousands of posts being written every day that you need to be intentional about getting your post noticed.

When it comes to writing a blog post there are a number of things you can do to get attention of potential readers:

  • Use Titles - the most powerful element of a blog post for getting attention is it’s title. Post titles gain attention for a number of reasons. I won’t go into great detail on why or how to use titles because I’ve covered it extensively on several other occasions but would strongly recommend putting considerable thought into this element of every blog post you publish as it can be the difference between a wildly popular post and a largely unread one.
  • Be Controversial – a commonly used technique in blogging for getting on the radar is the controversial post (or the continued use of them). Pick the right fight with the right person or issue and you can find yourself getting noticed by many readers. Of course being controversial is successfully is a real art form and it has a habit of backfiring – being controversial for the sake of it and not being able to back it up can leave you in a worse position than you were in when you started – so be careful with who and/or what you target.
  • Make a Bold Claim – there’s nothing like a bold claim to get people’s attention. Of course, like with being controversial, it’s an art form. Big claims that can be backed up are good to make – but big claims that are empty promises could do more harm than good.
  • Use Humor – make someone smile and you’re on the way to making an impression. Get them giggling and they’re almost sure to read a little further into your post.
  • Ask a Question – I’ve found that one of the most successful ways to get readers to take a second look at your post is to invite them to journey with you by starting out with a question – especially if it’s a question that they’re likely to have themselves. Starting with a question that puts a finger on the need of a reader is bound to make them read on.
  • Use a Picture – the web is a very visual medium – as a result when you use an image you’ll often get a second look. Use a visually pleasing image and you’ll be likely to get a third look and use one that is visually pleasing that relates to the topic you’re writing about and you might just get them to read what you have to say (well the first paragraph anyway).

Most (if not all) attention grabbing work needs to happen within the first part of your blog post (in the title or first paragraph). This is key real estate in your post as it is the only part of your post that many people will read and is where the decision is generally made whether someone will read on or not.

Keep in mind that your attention getting efforts need to be consistent with your overall blogging approach. For example using a title that gets attention but has nothing to do with the body of your post will be more annoying to readers than it does good.

Lastly, getting attention is not just about the way in which you write your posts. This mini-series is focussing much more upon the art of writing persuasive blog posts so I won’t talk about other non writing techniques but would suggest a couple of other posts that might help with that here and here.

Read the next post in this series at Creating Interest in Your Posts.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. brem says:

    Excellent article Darren.

  2. brem says:

    Could I add: Knowing your audience?
    Talking to your audience depends on their level of competency on the topic. Beginners need vulgarisation. Experts need to have it more concise and to the point.

  3. Brian Clark says:

    Nice!

  4. 50 million blogs?!

    I suddenly feel so insignificant…

  5. Rhea says:

    Good tips. Here’s another one. Write something SO controversial that you get Dooced!

  6. Darren,

    Thanks for the tips. I’ve been reading that the title is the most important part of your posts.

    - Bryan
    http://www.BryanCFleming.com

  7. Rex says:

    7. Interact with other bloggers by creating an open letter or a critique of their site/blog.

  8. Infinite says:

    I’ve read this thing bout titles being important repeated by many. Gotta get down to work on this soon !

  9. Rico says:

    Well, I’d recommend Brian Clark the Copyblogger for titles; he really seems to get them right.

    Darren, why include being controversial? I totally agree with being bold, as a man with no opinion is nothing, but I have some issues with your apparent willingness to employ controversy to your advantage. Isn’t that what trolls do to get attention?

  10. Brian Clark says:

    Hey Rico, thanks for the plug. :)

    In Darren’s defense, controversial topics can be extremely compelling without amounting to trolling. It doesn’t have to be an attack, although that’s what most people first think of in the blogging world.

  11. Darren Rowse says:

    Rico – I think I was trying to say what Brian said in the last comment.

    I don’t advise being controversial just for the sake of it but it is a way to get people to notice you if you genuinely have something to say on a topic.

    Also – I think you can be controversial without being attacking or hurtful to others. I know some people like to linkbait by attacking others – this is not my style at all and I would advise people to be very careful if they want to do that as it not only hurts the person’s reputation that you might be attacking but can quite easily hurt your own (sometimes more so than the other person).

    For example – I know that if I do a post on the topic of whether people should use full feeds or partial feeds on their blogs that it’ll get people talking and expressing their opinions very passionately. It’s a controversial topic. It doesn’t hurt anyone to bring it up – but it definately stirs people up a little (not sure if that’s the best example I can think of but it’s early here and I need a coffee).

  12. Controversy definately works. In fact years ago I beleive this is where I met you. On my blog that used to be at http://jakerinard.com now at http://blog.jakerinard.com.

    I wrote a controversial in Harry Potter and it got a huge response. That led me to you since you posed there. Probably back in 2000 or 2001.

    So controversy works.

  13. Rebekah says:

    I find it amusing that the very statement “Be Controversial” has caught the attention of some of the commenters and it has now actually become a topic of conversation. I believe this to mean that the “Be Controversial.” suggestion is correct.

  14. jay says:

    Awesome tips. I have been trying to make my post titles more intriguing. Believe it or not, I have been getting a great lesson from those trashy Cosmo type magazines you see at the supermarket checkout section. And also trying to incorporate Ad sales copy method of “benefits” vs. “features” kind of titles.

  15. I agree that you need to grab the reader in your first few lines or a large portion of them will flitter off to skim the next waiting blog! I am often finishing a blog entry and realising I got some steam up near the end and need to retheme the title and start or move good bit to the beginning.

    I find it is amusing that Darren has a controversial entry on his hands without trying to be controversial! I don’t think you need to Be Controversial but rather Speak Your Mind and Have An Opinion, this will do just as well and regularly create discussions and controversies.

  16. The picture use is great. I have been out of the loop lately working on sites and not blogging. The pictures do add something.

  17. Well written and very infomative, especially for newbies to the world of blogging (includes me)

  18. Rico says:

    Thanks Darren and Brian for the clarification. I’m still freaked out by the “Blue Eye of Death” though. :(

    And Brian, no prob. :)

  19. Glen says:

    This is a problem that I am facing I sure hope to turn things around and soon

  20. William says:

    It will be of no suprise to anybody that the opening of a news or magazine article is often called a “Hook.” It hooks the reader and reels them through the piece.

    A technique employed to round off pieces nicely is to return to the hook at the end of the post. So, for example, ask a question at the opening but don’t answer it until the very end. Not only does this keep the reader interested, it completes the circle and makes for a satisfying experience.

  21. Derek says:

    Darren,

    Thanks for the tips. In my effort to increase traffic on my new blog and appeal to readers (when they do start coming :), I have been trying to follow your tips.

    Am I being effective? Well, the initial results are less than inspiring but I have faith that by using tips like this I will begin to build a reader base and gain a little bit of a following. Thanks again for this series as it is very helpful!

  22. Very interesting and informative read. I enjoyed your content and am glad to be able to share your site with my own readers. Thanks again!!

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