Are you reading my blog? Is anyone?
That is a question that many of us are asking inside our head.
Most of us write for other people to read. We have different reasons that we write, but ultimately, writing is a form of communication. However, it fails to be communication when nobody is reading what we are trying to communicate.
Who's fault is that?
In most cases, it's our own.
Overall, I'm not lazy, but I AM a lazy reader. I am not looking for excuses to read; I'm looking for excuses NOT to read. I love justifying my reading laziness on YOUR blog.
I can't speak for other people, but here are five (5) reasons that I am not reading your blog.
Reason #1. Your blog post title does not get my attention.
It might get my attention enough to read the title, but your title is not GRABBING me to want to take time to read the words underneath that title.
I am lazy, and reading is not easy for me.
I realize that I "speak" for myself when I write this, because most people have much better reading skills than I do. (Ironically, I still read more than a lot of other people--despite my low reading skill level.)
Because I am not a good reader, I am not looking for excuses to read. I only want to learn something.
So I check titles, and if a title seems intriguing enough for me to want to read more--even more intriguing than the other 6,000 or so posted blog posts on Twitter or LinkedIn--THEN I will begin to SCAN your blog post.
I'm not even reading it, yet, but if your title does not capture me, I'm not ever going to see how clever a writer you are. I'm just too lazy, and I'm not looking for excuses to read--only to learn or be entertained.
Have a title that FRUSTRATES your surfer into becoming a reader.
Quick Idea Tips:
- Tie your post into a current event (Personally, I'm rotten at this!)
- Be controversial--You moron! (Things that seem like scandals are great, too!)
- Have a clever line...a TEASER...You know you want more of this...
- Address a need that is under-served (Are your readers frustrated about something?)
- Make a List (See MY Title :)
- Review something I am thinking of buying or spending time doing (i.e. like watching a movie or video)
Again, I'm a LAZY reader. I know that there are many readers who will read anything, but most of us are pretty lazy.
Frankly, my eyes get tired really easily. Here are some things you can do to make it easy for my lazy eyes (and many other people's lazy eyes).
- Take advantage of white space. I see a lot of people write LONG things of text. I wonder whether they've ever been introduced to something called a paragraph, because they will write these HUGE BLOCKS of text without ever stopping for air--even if they use periods and commas, they still have these huge chunks of intimidating text.
- Use Bold, Italics, Underlines, Different Colors, and occasionally ALL CAPS. Sometimes, you can COMBINE some of them. Different Font Sizes can help, too.
- Use several pictures to break up things. Truthfully, I'm really bad about doing this, but you can even make a "picture" that is a list of your main points or a quote. At least, that breaks up some of the text.
- Use sections with Headers. This is probably a good idea to help you organize your thoughts, anyway.
- Create Lists with Numbers or Bullet Points. Many people like lists. They're easy to read, and they help you identify things that support the point you're trying to make.
- Use Summaries. People like getting key information effectively and efficiently. Great summaries are great for doing this, and people will greatly appreciate it.
Ooooh, I'm guilty here!
There is just too many things to read on the Internet. You better be really interesting for me to read what you wrote in the first place. You better be REALLY interesting for me to KEEP READING.
Most people aren't that interesting. (I'm probably included in this bucket.)
Keep it a quick tip.
Side Note: If you can't keep your posts short, at least break down things into sections or have good, easy-to-find summaries. This way, people can decide whether they want to read your entire post. For those that don't, you still have quick ideas to deliver to them. They might return later to catch your next sections, bullet points, summaries, etc.
Reason #4. Your blog posts just plainly aren't engaging.
You might have done a great job with your title, and it might be obvious that you put a lot of work into communicating this topic. You might have even done a great job of organizing this so that I can read this quickly.
However, your writing STILL doesn't excite me.
Now, I'm not trying to be mean. I'm just lazy.
Example #1: The Reference
For example, I see many blog posts do a great job--technically--of explaining HOW to do something. They might even have a step-by-step breakdown with key screen shot pictures walking us through each step.
The problem with this is that I could probably get the same information from the "Help" page of that website you are explaining, and I've been too lazy to read that in the past. I'm probably going to be too lazy to read your attempt to reword that Help page today...or tomorrow.
Example #2: Self-Indulgence
Other people will spend all of this time explaining how they feel about things.
Frankly, if you're going to spend all of this time talking (writing) about yourself and your feelings without having any regard to my thoughts or feelings, you better be REALLY GOOD at storytelling.
Being "good at storytelling" means that you either
- are just really funny and other people find you to be funny, too (Note: You are not necessarily funny if people who are drunk or work FOR you laugh at your "jokes.")
- are really good at describing key situations or people in your story so that I feel like I know them too. (There needs to be some reason that I'd find your situation or people interesting or amusing--without having known them myself.)
Example #3: More Words Than Point
Maybe your title got me here, but what you wrote seems to have little or nothing to do with what that effective title. This is called bait and switch, and your switch better be awfully good if you try this with me.
Quick Tips for Writing Engaging Posts
If you aren't good at storytelling, then you're probably still okay if you
- make interesting predictions
- analyze effectively
- help me learn something useful or interesting from YOUR experience--not the boring "Help" guide version--What did YOU learn? How do YOU use it? How do YOU benefit?
- make me look at something from a unique viewpoint--a new perspective
Reason #5: You don't update your blog often enough.
Your information is stale, and it probably got that way really quickly!
If a book is good and helps me learn something I find really useful, I will reread it.
Even then, the book will become stale to me, eventually, and that's a LOT of material!
Your blog post might be extremely clever, but if you want me to return to it, you need to keep feeding me. There is just too much new information being processed on the Internet all of the time.
If you keep adding new posts to your blog, I might return to see your newest insight.
If you do NOT add new posts, I guarantee that I'm not looking for an excuse to keep reading the same thing.
How often do you update your blog?
I'm probably guilty here. Most weeks, I only update my blog twice (2X) per week: Sundays and Wednesdays. The "experts" say that it should be 4 to 7 days each week.
Time will tell whether my 2 day/week approach will bite me on the hind end. Feel free to check with me on this. I'll be honest--with you and myself.
Reason #6: I'm not interested in your topic.
You might be doing EVERYTHING right, but I'm just not interested in your blog's topic.
That's probably okay, unless NOBODY finds your topic interesting.
The best part of the Internet is that the worldwide reach allows us to focus on tiny niches. There may not be enough people within ten (10) miles of us that are interested in our puny piece of a subject, but the Internet allows us to collect these tiny groups of people from all of these little areas...voila, we have our own carved niche.
I just might not in THAT particular niche. That's okay!
Final Question: What are you doing to make that lazy person WANT to read your blog?
Like this post? Other posts you might like are
- Over 7 Ways to be a Leader in Social Media
- Branding Yourself through Helping Others
- Lessons Learned: SMM Won't Work - Unless You're Social and Marketing
- Over 7 Things on Your LinkedIn Profile That I'm Checking
To see more Marketing Ideas, visit Chris' Marketing Ideas.