Note: This is a guest article by Jude Ellery. More details about him after the post.
A pig’s orgasm lasts for 30 minutes.
I thought that might get your attention – and that, after all, is what an awesome blog post is all about.
The internet is awash with bloggers, all crying out for attention like little piglets at feeding time (or indeed, mating time…) Unfortunately, while your little swine is still glowing all over, it’s more than likely your potential reader will be long gone. In the days of Facebook and Twitter, readers’ attention span has never been so low, and it’s definitely nowhere near 30 minutes. It’s essential that you have a hook to attract your audience in the first place.
As David Brent once said: Get their attention.
If you have trouble watching this video clip, check it out on YouTube.
This Little Piggy Wrote Some Content
Yet on its own, and as Brent probably realized after the cameras stop rolling and his shock tactics hadn’t really got him anywhere, a catchy headline or opening line is not enough. You want proper readers, not a big bounce rate of disappointed one-time visitors. No article, however startling or interesting it seems at first, will keep a reader glued if it does not go on to contain something that genuinely enriches their life in some way. There are multiple ways you can achieve this:
- Humor – an innovative joke or funny anecdote
- Entertainment – a short story or video
- Interesting information – something the reader doesn’t already know!
- “How to” tutorials – lots of internet searches are people looking how to do stuff. Tell them! (That’s where I’d file this blog post.)
This Little Piggy Drew a Picture
It’s commonly agreed that the more visually appealing you can make your post, the better. This doesn’t mean throwing in a picture of a pig just because you’re writing about pigs, though. Sure, if the image adds something to the story then go ahead (after making sure you’ve got permission or took the photo yourself!) – but sometimes other graphics work even better. Check out the image below:
OK, admittedly you won’t be seeing my work in any art galleries, but isn’t that more eye-catching than simply writing out those facts in a block of text? If you want, even graphs and tables displaying information are decent ways of varying your blog’s layout – or failing them, bullet points are fine. As you’ll see, I’ve used them a couple of times here.
This Little Piggy Got Personal
People read boring text everywhere, every day, from lists of ingredients on food to maths textbooks. As well as a nice, varied layout, injecting your writing with a little bit of personality is essential to engage with the reader. Now, you don’t have to come over all “look at me, aren’t I interesting?!!!” – in fact more often than not that’s just plain annoying. But do:
- Address the reader directly – “Hey guys, hope you enjoyed the snapshots of my farm holiday last week. Aren’t the piglets cute?! Here are a couple of diary entries to go with them. Love to hear your holiday stories too!”
- Use “I” – you’ll have been taught to write impersonally at school for essays and the like. Well, this ain’t no essay!
- Respond to comments. Blogging is all about interactivity, and readers will come back again and again if they’re involved in some kind of discourse. After all, that’s what a blog’s for, right?
- Be nice! Failing that, be interesting.
This Little Piggy Went Wee Wee Wee All The Way to the Top
Key point time. If you only take away one thing from this post (other than the pig orgasm fact, of course) it’s this. Every time you write a blog post, ask yourself:
Would I read to the end of this post?
It’s hard, but here you have to forget your obvious bias and put yourself in the reader’s chair for a second. If you can’t do this (and sometimes even if you can) have a friend or colleague read over it. Sure, they’re more than likely to say “yeah it’s fine, nice job,” but when they skip large chunks, their eyes begin to glaze over, and they fall into a deep sleep that only a kiss from a prince will break… then you know you’ve written a boring blog post. Rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite. One good blog is much better than two average ones! Finally, you’ll nail it and it will have been worth those extra hours when you get some real engagement: comments, likes, retweets, emails, telegrams from the Queen…
Now, for those of you who have made it to the end without falling into a coma, here’s another fascinating piggy treat:
They might look like little fatties, but pigs can run a 7-minute mile. Considering the human record is around 4 minutes, this isn’t bad going!
Happy blogging! Now, who can come up with the best animal trivia in the comments section? And… what are your secret ingredients (tips) to write a catchy blog post that can captivate your readers?
Name: Jude Ellery
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