Every startup owner today is aware that having an active business blog is crucial to building online thought leadership and visibility. Producing useful blog posts and articles on a consistent basis is an integral part of any holistic marketing strategy, in order to garner more traffic and rank higher on search engines.
That said, merely “manufacturing” blog post after blog post of so-so quality that nobody bothers to read or share won’t really do you any good in terms of ROI.
In other words, whether you’re just starting out with business blogging for your startup or already have a substantial content repository published, you must focus on generating more engagement so that every piece is more memorable and shareworthy.
Because if the majority of readers aren’t engaging with your blog (commenting, sharing, subscribing, etc.), then you are not realizing the true potential of business blogging in terms of building thought leadership, visibility, and even rankings on Google.
So, to improve your startup blog’s engagement levels, here are three best practices you need to keep in mind for every post you publish henceforth:
#1. Tell Original Stories That Invite a Discussion
To begin with, always have original content on your blog that your audience can’t find elsewhere on the internet. Sure, it would require more time and effort investments to create fresh content, but it would also be far more rewarding.
That’s because nobody finds rehashed or derivative content appealing enough to engage with. But if your blog is full of unique posts with your brand’s unique voice, people will be much more inclined to comment and share.
From your brand’s backstory to original case studies and success stories, there’s plenty of engaging content ideas you can work on to build your blog. Moreover, don’t hesitate to put out content that’s bold and even a bit controversial or opinionated. Instead of giving bland advice, add some personality to your content. Converse with the readers like you’re talking to them face to face.
Confidence and controversy invite a two-way discussion, compelling readers to comment and start a dialogue. For example, as shown below, you can make a rather audacious assertion in the blog post’s title itself, but then make sure to present your opinion or a strong solution in the body of the post.
Image Credit: DreamGrow
People are much more likely to voice their opinion if they don’t agree with what you have to say. So, if you want to spark a discussion, being a bit controversial in your content can do the trick. However, don’t get carried away by creating too much controversy or it may backfire and become counterproductive for your brand.
Now, original content doesn’t mean you can’t refer to credible sources for data, research, or other information that’s valuable for the audience. Citing reliable sources of knowledge and presenting resources for further reading builds your blog’s credibility.
So, have at least a few outbound hyperlinks to high-quality websites in order to support your claims. Also, link to other content on your own blog as internal linking not only helps to keep readers on your website but also helps your SEO. When linking, consider using a custom link shortener to create short links that ensure consistent branding and an increased link trust.
#2. Add Exciting Visuals
As you’ve probably heard, human beings are visual creatures, with 90% of information transmitted to the brain being visual. It is even said that the modern audience has the attention span that’s worse than that of a goldfish.
And so, writing blog posts that look like dull slabs of text, with little-to-no visuals to aid understanding, is a bad idea. People don’t wish to read long, purely text-based articles but favor skimmable content that’s more visual.
To make your blog more appealing, structure every post by separating paragraphs with exciting graphics or images. From vivid stock images to custom-designed illustrations, visuals make your content more consumable, cut down the tedium of text, and improve the readability and shareability of your content.
For instance, you can enable an option for readers to “Pin it” when they hover over an image that you’ve included in the post, so they can easily save the post on their Pinterest account and revisit your blog later.
Furthermore, embedding videos within your blog posts will not only remarkably increase audience engagement in terms of more social shares, but will also help increase the average time on page (as the reader remains hooked to the page), which in turn, helps your SEO efforts.
More social shares and higher rankings on Google ultimately translate to more levels of thought leadership and online visibility for your startup. Thus, make sure all your blog posts have several visuals (images and videos) judiciously sprinkled between text.
#3. Create Interactive Content
As the name suggests, interactive content is content specifically designed for getting the audience to engage. Content in the form of a fun quiz or poll, an interactive infographic, a simple calculator, or even a 360-degree video are examples of interactive content.
“Adding interactive content to your startup blog encourages people to engage with your content by clicking on answers or entering information, which can significantly increase the average time on page and thus help your SEO,” explains Devesh Sharma of Design Bombs.
That is, interactive content helps in creating a two-way engagement with your audience which makes your brand more memorable. Not to mention you can use interactive content to collect email addresses from your visitors, turning them into leads. For example, if it is a fun quiz, visitors will answer all the questions and at the end of the quiz, you can ask them for their email address where the results will be sent.
Long story short, interactive content can be much more exciting than ordinary blog posts, which consequently can compel users to share your content with their network, resulting in more brand visibility and thought leadership for you.
If you wish to leverage the true power of content marketing to build your startup’s thought leadership and online brand awareness, just having a blog that churns out uninteresting content isn’t going to cut it. You must focus your efforts on creating more engagement on your startup’s blog, which will ultimately translate into higher rankings on search engines and more social shares.
Follow the best practices discussed above and you’ll be well on your way to build an engaged audience base that actually cares about your blog and will happily share your content with their own followers.
About The Author:
Gaurav Belani is a senior SEO and content marketing analyst at Growfusely, a content marketing agency that specializes in data-driven SEO. He has more than seven years of experience in digital marketing and loves to read and write about education technology, AI, machine learning, data science, and other emerging technologies. In his spare time, he enjoys watching movies and listening to music. Connect with him on Twitter at @belanigaurav.