How to Get People to Read Your Blog

People don’t read every blog. They land on our site by searching, by referral or because they’re checking it out regularly or through a link from the Advisor newsletter.

They’re going to click on only those blogs that jump out on them. Here’s how to catch the attention of busy readers.

  1. Write catchy titles that say something.

    Blog titles that seem to garner the most page views are those with active verbs, brand names, specificity and strong opinions. An active verb often forces you to say something in your title. Be intriguing and provocative—but not too provocative. Is It Worth It? doesn’t work as well as other titles because the reader doesn’t know what the “it” is. The whole point of the title is to help readers decide whether to click. It’s usually easier to write an effective title after you’ve written the blog post.

    Examples of blog titles that work:

    • Six Ding Dongs and a Golden Nugget: My Troubles With Verizon
      It’s got a funny beginning, and people always want to read about other people’s bad experiences with companies, particularly cellular companies.
    • “Microsoft, Say It Loud: “I’m Hosted and I’m Proud!”
      Again, it’s funny; it talks about the largest software company in the world and it talks about hosted systems.
    • Bank of America—a Break From Milking Customers?
      Although you don’t want to go too far toward defamation; the combination here of the charged verb, “milking,” with the brand-name bank is great.
    • Firing Customers: Is It Ever a Good Idea?
      This would be good even without the question mark.
    • Pat Sullivan Is Back to Shake Up Small Business CRM
      Tells a story in the title.
    • Surviving IKEA’s Check-Out Catastrophe
      Every single word has a meaning, and we’ve got a brand name.

    Examples of heads that can stand some improvement:

    • The Value of Customer Service
      It’s a label.
    • More on Virgin America
      It’s got a brand name, but it doesn’t say much about it. If I didn’t read the first blog, I’m not going to read this one.
    • The Psychology of Customer Service
      This label, like the first one, is way too generic. Get specific.
    • Pharma and Life Science Companies Learn To Cure Compliance Ailments With MDM Prospecting Tips
      This is way too long and sounds like a press release.
    • Ed Tech and Ed Schlesinger
      What about them?
    • Looking at Business … From All Sides
      The ellipsis should provide a kick, but doesn’t everyone think s/he is viewing business from all sides? And “business” is a really big term.
    • A Refreshing Approach
      A refreshing approach to what?
  2. Direct your post to a single person.
    Write in the “first person” as though talking to someone. Consider how this, “Those of you who manage people,” differs from this, “When you manage people.” “Of you” tells every reader that he or she is not the only reader. It makes the blog less personal and, so, less engaging.
  3. Don’t do long tutorials.
    Instead, break it up and use a real example to make your points. Many people are grabbing time to read blogs amid the rest of their hectic lives. It’s great to have all this knowledge to share, but break it up into manageable chunks. Give people a chance to process a single notion, and let them comment on it. If you’re planning a book, this is a great way to sound out each idea.
  4. Don’t play link-a-rama.
    If you link out to another blog or article, keep in mind that clicking on links takes time. Depending on a person’s connection and the number of advertisements and graphics at the site you’re linking to, it can be several seconds or even minutes waiting for the site to appear in your browser. So give time-pressed readers a synopsis of what you’re linking to. Use links to give credit for originating thoughts and as a way to give people more to read when they have more time.
  5. Pace yourself.
    Each day, we try to give as many bloggers as possible their “day in the sun.” If you blog more often than once a day, readers may miss some of your messages. Remember, too, that people don’t stay at CustomerThink all day. If you spread out your blogs, there’s a better chance that they’ll notice a new blog from you each time they visit.
  6. Make people want to respond.
    Some bloggers end their posts with a plea for a response, something along the lines of “what do you think?” But begging for responses doesn’t seem to help. Most discussions seem to start when a blogger puts out a strong opinion or hits on a universal truth in customer interactions. That compels readers to agree or disagree, and can generate great discussion threads.
  7. Get featured.
    “Featuring” is a weekly editorial process where I pick the top 10 blog posts of the week. These posts are promoted in our Advisor email newsletter. Featured posts, on average, get double the page views of average blog posts, so it’s definitely a Good Thing if you’re interested in the maximum exposure. Generally Editor’s Picks are more in-depth, comment on current news, or tackle important topics for our community.

For more advice, read Andy Rudin’s post How to Write an (In)Credible Blog.

Need help? Write to me at [email protected]. Happy blogging!

Bob Thompson
CustomerThink Founder/CEO