September 1, 2014

5 Elements That Can Increase Your Blog Opens and Response

What makes YOU stop, read and respond to blog articles?   Do you notice a pattern with articles that get re-posted and commented on the most? I do. I started this conversation here in,  The Emergence and Power of Blogs, Blogging and Bloggers and wanted to continue it.

blog collage

Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2011 report came out at the end of last year highlighting the who, what and how of blogs, blogging and bloggers.  The growth of blogging the past year is significant.  As the content space becomes more and more crowded, getting noticed, read and responded to will also become more challenging.

So who is blogging? Take a look:

  • 60% are Hobbyist who write about their specific passions and interests
  • 18% are Professional Part Time/Full Time who monetize their blogs
  • 13% are Entrepreneurs who share their professional expertise
  • 8% are Corporate who gives us a glimpse and a platform to interact with them

Effective blog and article writing  is indeed a craft and it does take practice. You don’t necessarily need to be a professional writer to write effective, articles that garner attention and action, but you do need to include and follow some key elements. Articles that get my attention aren’t lengthy, get to the point and are relevant to what I might need, be interested in, or simply want more information about at that very moment.

Here are 5 elements that can increase your blog opens and response:

It starts with a strong headline or title:   Any professional speaker will tell you it’s not always what you say but how you say it or frame it. The rule of thumb  for blog titles is a 9 word title that is descriptive, specific and useful.

It continues with providing a clear focused topic and a few specific solutions:   The most opened, emailed and commented on articles offer up a number of specific how to’s, tips, lists, ways, reasons, secrets, benefits that people can digest easily, follow and use. For personal and small business blogs, a 300-500 word blog post is good, unless you determine it needs to be longer.

Follow the content story line through, then wrap it with an open ended question to invite reader interactivity:   Try to have a clear path for what you want to say and how you develop and roll out the article ideas and information. You can begin with a question or statistic and support that with examples and references along with your take on the topic. You can see examples of this here on Small Business Trends and on American Express Open, The Wall Street Journal and other key news and business blogs.

Your branding and credibility definitely play into engagement:  The professionals that are consistent with branding their brands in person, on social media, video, email marketing, authoring books do get more engagement, but anyone can build and grow their credibility. It takes a consistent plan of delivering relevant, solid content that helps people, offers solutions and different ways of looking at things. Be the solution and you will be seen as the solution.

Acknowledge your responders and commit to reciprocal commenting:  When people take the time to read and respond to your articles, make the time to respond to them in a very simple but personal way. A thoughtful, simple reply to their comment goes a long way and shows that you actually read it. Make sure you are set up with a responder platform that is built into most key blog formats.

“Give people reasons to want to stop, read and respond to you and your articles and they will. Get to the point, be authentic, and bring value to their day.”

Really want to be brave? Include a short video so they can see you in person.

One more really important element: make sure you edit your articles for spelling and grammar before they go live, or hire a professional writer or editor to do it for you.

What are some of the things that make you stop, read and respond to a blog article?

Blog Photo via Shutterstock

16 Comments ▼
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Deborah Shane


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane is a staff writer for Small Business Trends covering marketing, branding and social media topics. She is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly. Her book #trusthewhy Fundamentals, Values and Humor Get You Through Anything and award winning "Career Transition: Make the Shift" (2011) are available through all major book sellers.

16 Reactions

  1. Great advice, I always try to end my posts with an open ended question to engage my readers

  2. As a frequent blog commenter, I appreciate getting replies from authors and it highly increases my likelihood of returning and sharing the content.

  3. There are so many blogs on the Internet that I find it tough to even get to the “non big guys”. When I do make it to a post on a smaller blog I really do try to leave a meaningful comment.

    • Hi Kent, Commenting now and then is important. I, for instance, do review every comment on this site, even if it takes me a week to get to them. I can’t even begin to tell you the relationships I’ve created through blog commenting and making connections with other bloggers.

      And thanks for leaving your real name, too. :)

      - Anita

      • Thank you Anita! Hopw you get through all these is truly dedicated and amazing! So true, that it’s another way to meet people you have commonality with. Commenting is just another conversation we have online! We certainly met that way!

    • Kent,it really means a lot to me that you took the time to comment! Please come back!

  4. Deborah,

    One thing that could make me stop read and respond to a blog article is an including eye-catching image in the blog post.

    I have recently started to participate in a blog carnival called Photo Sunday (“Fotosondag” in Swedish). It has a new theme every week. This week is the word, green (“gron” in Swedish). Could you guess my photo entry…?! ;)

  5. Lack of brevity is my biggest pet peeve. It’s also something that I need to work on for posts that I write!

    Great post, thanks for offering these helpful tips.

  6. Martin, indeed an image is a visual engagement tool, as long as it enhances and doesn’t overpower!

  7. John, I think we all want to be long winded, but I see the tangible metrics when posts are shorter and get to the point. Time…time…we just don’t have enough! Thanks, come back!

  8. Thanks SBT for referencing the article! Great resources for blogging on SBT! More to come!

  9. I always respond to comments on every blog I write on. I find it’s a part of the point of writing. It allows us to get feedback and learn more about other ways we can help our readers. If people choose to never respond to their community, it shows that they don’t really care.

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