There are millions of interesting blogs out there, but many of them share one critical flaw: Engagement is practically non-existent.
You could have the most content-rich website available in your chosen niche, but if its overall engagement is lacking, this can subsequently lead to some very poor results.
Blogging is both an art and a science. And while engagement is only one piece of the content puzzle, it is a crucial aspect that simply cannot be ignored.
Simply put, this engagement can drive higher trust in your objective, better brand awareness, more quality leads, and (potentially) more income as a result. How useful is website traffic if visitors hardly engage with anything you throw their way, after all?
So, in no particular order, let’s look at several important (and highly effective) ways to drastically improve your blog’s engagement.
Use a Rating System
There’s something oddly inviting about a blog that encourages you to leave an opinion in a non-traditional manner.
While receiving written feedback is always welcome, sometimes readers simply want to express their opinion in a cleaner, more efficient way.
A rating system allows visitors to leave their anonymous opinion while helping every other reader from the moment they land on your blog.
Let’s say, for example, that your blog just reviewed the latest AMD video card and it currently has a five-star rating from multiple readers. This would surely intrigue new visitors in search of such product, thus tempting them to check out the review and hopefully make a purchase.
Likewise, a low rating (generally speaking) can help you weed out unwanted content due to their consistently negative reaction. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Gamify Your Content
Much like rating systems, gamification also has the power to keep us participating on a website…
Have you been to sources like Reddit and other properties that reward you merely for interacting? This is essentially gamification at its core: A website that rewards you in fun ways for engaging.
For example, your blog could grant points to anyone who registers, leaves a comment, shares an article on social media, and much more. It may also grant users with a label or badge such as, “Master blogger” or “Superpower user.”
As you can see, this could be a dramatically positive experience for your blog in the long-run. And while participants aren’t necessarily winning anything tangible, that doesn’t stop them from trying to achieve a high status nevertheless. It’s all about recognition and validation.
Speaking of which….
Acknowledge Visitors and Contributors
There are many, many ways to thank visitors and regular contributors. This naturally leads to repeat visits, word of mouth, higher engagement, and high-quality leads.
Simple ways of acknowledgment may include:
- Show off your blog’s top contributors or their posts. Users appreciate knowing their contributions have not gone unnoticed. Even TechSling is sporting a great widget as of this writing, and it makes the website that much more engaging. An ideal example includes WordPress’ Top 10 – Popular Posts plugin.
- Mention an active commenter on your next blog post. Is there someone who consistently delivers great thoughts on your blog’s comment section? Make him feel welcome by quoting something of his in your next article.
- Acknowledge everyone involved. Publish a weekly or monthly roundup post containing the most thoughtful and interesting comments on your blog. News giant TechDirt is partly known for doing this, and the site’s visitors love it.
Use Quotes, Stats, and Interesting Facts
Articles that contain hard facts are not only intriguing, but they’re perceived as being more authoritative in general. The content implies that you put a great deal of effort into it, as opposed to simply covering the basics and calling it a day.
Such facts may consist of a quote from highly trusted sources, such as famous people or organizations. By extension, this makes people relate to the content a bit more due to their familiarity with said source.
Imagine you’re reading an entertainment blog and suddenly spot a memorable quote from your favorite singer. Wouldn’t this deliver a warm, fuzzy feeling inside? It certainly happens, even on a subconscious level.
Otherwise, use interesting statistics to convey a point and raise some eyebrows, which may trigger higher engagement and social media shares. StatisticBrain is a great place to find highly intriguing numbers.
Be Humorous and Relatable
Even the most conservative blogs can benefit from a little humor if they know how (and when) to implement it.
Humor is perhaps the oldest marketing trick in the book, and it’s still used to this day for one obvious reason: Because it works. Pay attention to the average television or radio commercial and you’ll soon have an “Aha!” moment of clarity.
Let’s say you’re running a tech site dedicated to the latest products on the market. This would open the door to some nostalgic humor such as, “Kids these days don’t know that the ‘Save’ icon in many programs is actually a floppy disk. Let that sink in for a moment…”
The above would immediately resonate with new and returning visitors of a certain age, which may trigger a higher response rate in the form of blog comments and/or social shares.
Find the best ways to implement safe, harmless humor for some much-needed comic relief among traditionally serious content. You won’t regret it.
Implement a News Section
The great thing about news-based content is that there’s always a great topic to cover. So if you ever wanted to publish exciting content more regularly, this is a good route to take.
Moreover, implementing a news section can make your website known for it over time. This could trigger many to visit more often for the sake of reading the latest information. Certain topics are relatively obscure and not widely covered by mainstream media, which would make your blog that much more irresistible among your increasing cult following.
Suggestion: Visit Google News and search for content that is loosely related to your audience. Subscribe to said search by clicking the “RSS” link at the bottom of the page, thus allowing you to receive notifications as new stories emerge.
Diversify Your Content
Speaking of publishing news content, you should also embrace just about any type of content that neatly fits your core audience. Let’s look at some ideal examples:
- Video content: This could be embedded straight from YouTube or you could create your very own footage. You should ideally add some written text – perhaps describing the video itself – to add more insight within the blog post.
- Infographics: There are tons of them out there, most which you can embed right into your blog while giving credit or a backlink to its creator (with permission).
- General images: This works great for entertainment sites, but it’s also ideal for many other markets. Maybe a set of images showcasing the evolution of the personal computer would be great for your tech-minded audience, for example.
- A quick survey: Perhaps you can ask a thoughtful question once a month and let the ensuing answers become the meat of your post.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to help your blog stand out like a sore thumb. Whether you’re just starting a blog or already possess a thriving community, these are sure to bring your overall engagement to a whole new level.
That being said, I would love to hear more about your own ideas and blog engagement tips. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.