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Every marketer will tell you the most important question in any form of marketing has always been: “What’s in it for me?”
If you’re marketing and your blog posts don’t answer this question in ten seconds or less, then you are you’re going to lose your reader. They won’t become a subscriber, and they won’t come back to one day become a customer. Think of all that money you have lost, and it’s lost within the first ten seconds.
If you really drive the answer home in the first ten seconds, then the chances are they’ll read the entire blog post.
Before you write a single word of your blog post, take a look at the design of your website. In particular, look at your header. Yep, that bit at the top.
Does your overall website convey a benefit to the reader? For example, our header here says, “Business women with something to say,” chances are readers will be going to get a sense of what they are going to get from the site before the read anything else. Look at your header, if it says, “Jo Blogg’s website” you and your readers are missing out.
If your header said, “Delivery Tips from a 10 Year Transport Veteran,” readers are much more likely to perk up and pay attention. Actually, that’s a good one right off the cuff, I’ll be using that. The tagline that’s coupled with good design that builds your credibility, then you have a strong chance of getting the reader to read your words.
In direct response marketing, the headline is often considered the most important component of any marketing piece. I say the same for blogging, tweeting and all other kinds of social media marketing.
Headlines matter because it’s what grabs a reader’s eye. It’s your first and sometimes only chance to capture your reader’s attention on a fast-moving channel like Twitter ( insert name of any other social media network here).
People who read your headline should instantly be able to tell exactly what your content is about and who it is for. It should hammer home the benefit and get them excited enough to read more. Clever headlines don’t work as well as targeted headlines. Remember that the next time you write a witty one liner. I had lost many a great post to a headline that talks to no one except me .
Headlines that divide and talk to a specific sector work better. In my headline for this post, I am speaking to bloggers. If you haven’t a blog, you won’t be interested in reading this post (unless of course, you are thinking about getting a blog). I am speaking directly to a niche audience. Try it. If your audience is women put that at the front of your headline. Attract them to your post.
Spend a lot of time on your opening paragraph. Whatever time it takes you to write it, double it.
If your opening paragraph doesn’t quickly convey the benefits of reading your content, you’re going to lose your reader. My opening paragraph on this post was hard hitting; I spoke benefits, and I made you feel the pain of losing a reader. My audience is bloggers, if they are concerned about why their posts are not getting traction, then this opening paragraph speaks to them.
If I really wanted to grab your attention I could have thrown in a few statistics like 95% leave your blog never to return. Alternatively, you are leaving 50% of your income on the table. I made those stats up, by the way. Did you know 96% of statistics are lies? Even if you’re writing a five-page 5,000 word essay, your time will be better spent if you spent 20% of it on your first paragraph.
Start out with a strong “hook” sentence that grabs your reader by the throat. The next 3-4 sentences should explain precisely what they’ll get from reading the rest of your blog post.
Most people’s eyes will gravitate to any graphics on the page before they even read any text.
Using images to convey a benefit is an incredibly powerful tactic. For example, if you’re writing about how to earn money by being a consultant, holding up a picture of your first big consulting cheque can convey the “what’s in it for me” answer more effectively than 100 words ever could. Over on How to Write Better, Suze has an article about features smell, benefits sell. It’s accompanied by an image of a pinched nose. The headline and the image tell us what to expect within 10 seconds.
Research has shown that captions underneath images are some of the most read parts of any blog post. People pick out the headers, the captions and the pull quotes – use them to your advantage. Don’t waste the space beneath an image – if you are looking to monetise your blog posts fast, under the image is an ideal place for an advert.
If you combine all these marketing techniques, you’ll be able to convey to your readers exactly what they’ll get from reading your blog posts within ten seconds or less. This will increase your readership, bring back more returning visitors and ultimately bring you more customers.