How to Fix an Ineffective Blog (Plus 5 Steps to Becoming a Strategic Blogger)

How to Fix an Ineffective Blog (Plus 5 Steps to Becoming a Strategic Blogger)

How to Fix an Ineffective Blog (Plus 5 Steps to Becoming a Strategic Blogger)

If you are anything like me, I bet you hate wasting your time.

Time is a precious commodity these days, and to-do lists are getting increasing longer.

You have to make the time you have count. This means not only accomplishing required tasks in a timely manner but also making the time you spend on them as efficient and as effective as possible.

Yet, I see many people wasting time writing blog posts that are either not being read or not producing any business results. And often both!

If you are going to spend the time writing blog posts, you may as well do it right; otherwise, you completely waste your time and resources.

Blogging strategically can produce fantastic results, such as:

  • building your brand
  • increasing your authority on your topic
  • getting more organic traffic
  • growing your engagement
  • generating more leads and sales

The difference between those who experience success and those who don’t is in the way they approach blogging and the results of those efforts.

The businesses successfully using blogging to accomplish the above results have goals, are writing with a purpose and are strategic in their approach. This helps them to not only be efficient with their limited time but also produce effective results that make the time investment worth it.

In this article, I share five tips that will help you fix an ineffective blog, helping you ensure the time you invest produces the results you want from your blogging efforts.

5 Tips to Fix an Ineffective Blog

1. Become a strategic blogger

A blog can be one of the best and most cost-effective ways to drive traffic to your website.

Every month, tens of thousands of people find me. Some months, up to 100,000 people discover I exist through my blog.

A good portion of these people sign up for my newsletter or other free offerings, which gets them onto my email list. And that email list gives me the ability to market to them. A percentage of these subscribers will eventually make a purchase (such as my book LinkedIn Unlocked, my online courses or my LinkedIn Domination (done-for-you) program), all generating revenue. 

I don’t pay an SEO company to help me get ranked in the search results each month. This all happens from the free traffic that comes because I blog.

But more importantly, I blog consistently and strategically. I am a strategic blogger.

Blogging without a purpose and a strategy is a complete waste of time and will result in a highly ineffective blog. But blogging strategically will achieve the key benefits I mentioned above.

When setting out to write a blog post, I focus on the following key points:

  • the topics my target audience is interested in
  • keyword phrases they use to search on Google
  • format of the blog post to make it scannable

Learn more about the benefits of having a blogging strategy and how to implement it here.

To learn how to optimize your blog post for SEO strategically, read this.

2. Appeal to different learning styles

We all experience the world in different ways, and we also learn differently.

If your blog is just lengthy, text-heavy article after article, your content may be appealing only to a very small percentage of your readers.

One important way to help fix an ineffective blog is to ensure it appeals to many styles of learning.

The acronym VARK is one of the most commonly used models of the different learning styles in use today. Suggested by Fleming and Mills in 1992, this model has four modalities reflecting the majority of experiences of students and teachers. It stands for the four sensory modalities used for learning information: Visual, Aural, Read/Write and Kinesthetic.

Visual Learners

Visual learners prefer the use of symbolism and different formats, fonts and colors to emphasize important points (this doesn’t include videos or pictures that focus on the sounds, words or content).

Target these learners by adding content that includes:

  • headers or subtitles of different fonts, sizes or colors
  • more whitespace
  • the use of symbols
  • bolding, highlighting or underlining text to show emphasis
  • diagrams, maps, charts or graphs
  • images, videos or slides where the emphasis is on the design

Aural learners

Aural learners prefer to hear information.

Target these learners by adding content that includes:

  • making statements or asking questions
  • podcasts or videos
  • the ability to comment
  • groups, webinars or classes where discussions happen

Read/Write learners

Read/Write learners prefer the printed word to convey and receive information.

Target these learners by adding content that includes:

  • lists, bullet points or numbered paragraphs
  • descriptive titles and headings
  • glossaries
  • handouts, questionnaires or exercises

Kinesthetic learners

Kinesthetic learners prefer experiences or real events shown as images or videos.

Target these learners by adding content that includes:

  • the use or reference to use all their senses (sight, touch, taste, smell, hearing)
  • real-life examples and personal stories
  • step-by-step strategies or how-to videos
  • case studies, surveys or interviews
  • hands-on approaches and practical exercises

Multimodal learners

Multimodal learners make up somewhere between 50% to 70% of the population. They may require that two or more forms of learning styles be available for consumption in your content, while others have no preference between their multiple learning styles.

Target these learners by ensuring you have content that appeals to each of the four learning styles.

3. Include storytelling

Storytelling is an effective means of communicating important information.

It has been this way for as long as we have been communicating and is true regardless of your language or culture.

It is also an essential ingredient for any successful blog.

Why is it so important?

Storytelling makes information relatable and memorable

Stories help us make sense of the world by framing it so we can understand it and relate to it.

Your readers want more than just facts. They want something they can relate to and connect with. They don’t want to waste their time with boring data points. Readers want to consume content that is interesting and evokes an emotional response.

The benefit of this is that when you pair emotion with information, it vastly improves the likelihood of the information being encoded into your readers’ long-term memories. The more vivid you can make the information, the more ingrained it will become.

Let me share an example to illustrate what I mean.

I could tell you a simple statement of fact:

You will get more business on LinkedIn if you are found on page one of LinkedIn’s search results.

Or I could share a short, simple story:

At some point, people will go looking for someone who offers a solution such as yours on LinkedIn. And when that happens, you want to be found on page one of LinkedIn’s search results.

Just as those who show up on page one in Google’s search results stand the best chance of getting contacted for new business opportunities, the same is true for LinkedIn.

In fact, just this past week, two companies contacted me seeking my services: one was a Fortune 100 company who asked me to deliver a social selling training for the senior leaders in Europe, and the second was a company who invited me to train their sales team in its Middle East division.

Do you know how they found me? LinkedIn!

Even though they share the same information, which of these two examples do you find more compelling or interesting?

I bet you said the second one.

Sharing content in the form of a story creates connection and trust

Storytelling helps us understand ideas and information by turning abstract ideas or facts into something we can understand and connect with.

This ability to understand information on a deeper level creates intimacy and connection, which brings readers closer to you. Once you create this level of connection, you can begin having conversations and further build your relationships, establishing trust.

Storytelling inspires action

Storytelling, as I mentioned above, is a powerful way to evoke an emotional response in your readers. You can elicit such emotions as happiness, anger, sadness or hope.

When people feel something, they often feel inspired to take action.

Study after study tells us that when we buy, it’s for emotional reasons. Logic comes into play later when we try to justify the purchase .

This is so powerful that the term emotional marketing is now commonly being used by the marketing world.

HubSpot defines emotional marketing the following way:

Emotional marketing refers to marketing and advertising efforts that primarily use emotion to make your audience notice, remember, share, and buy. Emotional marketing typically taps into a singular emotion, like happiness, sadness, anger, or fear, to elicit a consumer response.”

Different emotions inspire different actions (or reactions in some cases), and you can use this combined with your knowledge of your readers to help you inspire and motivate your readers to take a desired action.

Celinne Da Costa further explains the impact of emotional marketing:

“The most successful brands do this by balancing emotion with just the right amount of information: a great story is easy to understand and simplifies big ideas in a way that sticks in people’s minds. Even more, it surprises, delights, makes audiences think and feel, and motivates them to act in ways that data cannot.”

She also mentions an interesting story of a literary and anthropological experiment devised by Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn. In this experiment, the researchers demonstrated how the power of storytelling can influence an object’s subjective value in ways that could be measured objectively.

In the experiment, Walker and Glenn listed insignificant objects on eBay with a heartfelt, well-written and purposeful short story about the item in the description section. The items, which were originally purchased at a garage sale for no more than $1.50 apiece, resold for a total of nearly $8,000.

Would the purchasers have been inspired to bid so high without the rousing emotional stories attached to each object?

I seriously doubt it.

Now ask yourself, “Did that story inspire me to add more storytelling to my content?”

I hope you answered yes!

Learn how to add more storytelling to your content.

4. Make your blog professional and eye-catching

If your blog doesn’t appear both eye-catching and professional, readers will not be inclined to stay on it long enough to consume your content. It doesn’t matter how good or helpful your content is. Perception matters.

A poor perception of your blog by readers can severely hinder its effectiveness.

You can make a number of quick and easy changes to make your ineffective blog both visually appealing and professional looking.

Have attention-grabbing headlines. Generating interest with your headline is the difference between a reader clicking on a post to read it and clicking away from your site. Keep these helpful tips in mind when writing your blog post titles:

  • choose a topic that addresses a need or challenge of your readers
  • use numbers in your title such as 3, 5, 7 or 10
  • create a why or how to title to grab your readers’ attention
  • include nouns in your title such as secrets, tips, reasons, facts, lessons, ideas and tricks to evoke interest.

Start your post with a quotation or stat. Use a quote from a well-known person to create interest and help your readers begin relating to the topic. Stats are another great way to grab your readers’ attention. The readers will want to learn more about the statistic and how it relates to or directly affects them.

Write your posts in a conversational tone. Imagine you are having a conversation with your readers. This can make your post easier to read and more interesting than having boring blocks of text that just convey facts.

Be concise and succinct with what you are writing. People value their time, so get right to the point.

Make your blog post easily readable. Keep sentences short when possible and paragraphs no more than two or three sentences long. Where it makes sense, use subtitles and bullet points. Include lots of white space.

Include attention-grabbing graphics and images. Graphics have a number of benefits. They are eye-catching, and people are more likely to remember the information they learn from them. Even if you have no design skills, a number of great tools will make it easy for you to create graphics, such as  Adobe Spark, Canva or PicMonkey.

Add a call to action. At the end of every post, you need to tell your readers what you want them to do next. This call to action could be as simple as sharing your post or leaving a comment.

Use an editor. No matter how eye-catching your blog is, it will be hard for your readers to take you seriously or see you as professional if your content is full of errors. Even if you can’t afford a professional editor, make sure you have at least one or two other people read through your content before posting it.

5. Convert your blog readers into subscribers

A truly effective blog is one that not only inspires, informs and educates your readers but that also helps you build trust and establish longer-term relationships with those readers.

The most effective way to turn an occasional reader to a more loyal follower is to get them to subscribe to your blog or email list. 

But this will not happen passively.

It requires some technical setup and a newsletter tool, such as Mailchimp or Infusionsoft, as well as the potential use of other opt-in widgets, apps or tools on your blog platform.

When selecting the tools, ensure your opt-ins are mobile-friendly. Mobile traffic is still on the rise, with no end in sight. Make sure this large group of blog readers can easily join your email list.

But even with the right tools in place, you may still not be effectively converting your reader to subscribers. This happens mainly for two reasons:

  1. you haven’t made it easy for them to join your list
  2. you haven’t yet convinced them of the benefit of giving you their email addresses.

Here are some great tips on converting readers with opt-ins in your blog.

A great way to demonstrate to your readers the benefits of giving you their email addresses is to offer a free lead magnet.

A lead magnet is a digital product you give in exchange for details such as a name and email address that can be used to stay in touch with potential customers. This exchange will start building trust between your readers and you.

When starting out, most businesses use PDFs like eBooks, cheat sheets and checklists because these formats are relatively easy to create. They work well, but they have become very common of late.

If you want to stand out from your competition and get more subscribers, create something fresh that will wow your audience.

Mini video courses work extremely well but take a bit more work than PDFs, so fewer businesses are creating them. Also, many businesses sell their courses, so if you give yours away, a huge percentage of visitors will sign up.

When creating your lead magnet, whether it is a video course or a checklist, make sure you choose topics that resolve pain points for your readers. These are effective because readers seeking a solution to a problem are likely already in a “buying” state of mind.

By having a high-quality lead magnet combined with the right opt-ins, you can convert your eager readers into loyal subscribers.

An effective blog increases trust and generates new clients

As you fix your ineffective blog and become a strategic blogger, you will begin to get more readers and convert them into subscribers. Over time, you can nurture these relationships so that when they need what you have to offer, you will be the first person they come to.

Quite simply, the results from having an effective blog is the consistent conversion of reader to subscriber to client, which generates revenue and ensures the effective investment of your time into your blog.

Keep in mind that consistency is vital to your success, so keep the ball rolling by regularly producing new and high-quality content your readers will find of value. It is also helpful to make an effort to stay up-to-date on the latest blogging tips and trends to further improve your effectiveness.

If you are going to blog, you may as well become a strategic blogger and produce results from it!

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