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.