This week has turned up some really interesting ideas for blog reader engagement using technology as well as creative content techniques…
Mini reader surveys … and more
On Eugen Oprea’s blog, we saw this handy little query form:
It’s made with LeadConverter, which you can use on a free subscription if you want to give it a try on your blog.
Eugen’s using it to survey readers about their interests, but the tool can actually be used for a range of purposes, including boosting conversions.
Taking a sponsored post one step further
The old-timey vibe on The Art of Manliness stretches even to their images. This post about equipping yourself for a whisky tasting is topped by a specially developed graphic that presents each contemporary item in an old visual style.
That’s a pretty great value-add for the sponsor—and really eye-catching for readers too. The Art of Manliness have a commissioned illustrator on the blog. What a great way to help build your brand.
Did you see Greg McFarlane’s recent post here on naming blog products? This is one example of a continuing trend I’m noticing around blog content, and that’s realism.
I’ve noticed realism taking over on quite a few blogs a media sites. It may be because we’re all well-trained to be skeptical of over-promising headlines these days. It may also be because brutal realism cuts through the chatter.
Here are a few examples of the kind of thing I’m talking about:
- Why You Shouldn’t Read Blogs, by the Blog Tyrant
- Does the “Fake It Till You Make It” Attitude Actually Work?, by Ann Smarty on Srinivas Rao’s blog
- Useless Answers to Hard Questions, by Tyler Tevooren. Tyler really follows through on this one, turning off comments on the post to encourage readers to get out and act on the post, rather than stay in their chairs and write responses.
Are you using realism on your blog? If not, perhaps it’s time!
Showing off your best content
I spotted this great idea from Heather Solos this week: an attention-grabbing way to get readers to click through to your pillar content.
Here’s a screenshot from Heather’s home page:
I took this screencapture on a Thursday, and I have the feeling the chores list changes to reflect the day of the week. But in any case, who can resist clicking on that sticky note? It looks so real—like it’s been stuck to my fridge as a friendly reminder!
I thought the sticky would take me to a download, but it doesn’t—the content is a blog post, and it’s free, and you don’t need to sign up to get all the content. This is a great way to encourage users who hit your homepage to get right into your content, based on their needs. As a creative approach, it’s also perfectly in line with the purpose of Heather’s blog, and the needs of her readers. What a great idea.
We’ve talked a bit about developing an app as a product for your blog. There’s an alternative, though: buy one.
Apptopia is a fairly new marketplace where developers sell their apps. While some of the prices are mind-boggling, some aren’t. Could this be a good way for you to add to your blog’s offering and help your readers? Maybe. As the Web Marketing Ninja hinted in this article, you’ll need to consider the maintenance and future development needs of the app before you buy (or develop) one.
What’s caught your eye in the blogosphere this week? Share any innovative ideas you’ve spotted with us in the comments.