Your readers are telling you which type of content they want…
By looking back at your biggest successes, you can identify the commonalities among your most popular content and craft future content to match these qualities. Here are some important takeaways to consider when trying to attract and engage an audience with your blog, based on our own lessons learned…
Lessons Learned from Our 5 Most Popular Posts
I took an in-depth look at our most popular blog posts over the last 6 months in order to pinpoint what resonated the most with our audience. Was it the headline? The topic of the content? A high number of social shares? A single influencer sharing the post? Is it always a combination of all these factors? Below are my findings…
- Comments: 51
- Tweets: 542
- Facebook Likes: 126
- LinkedIn Shares: 199
Lesson #1: Give Away Insider Info
Any time you are offering “secrets,” people are going to notice and be curious about what you know that they don’t — especially when it involves a topic that your company is known for being at the forefront of. Build credibility by offering secrets and lessons you have learned.
Lesson #2: Deliver on Your Title
It’s no wonder this post received the most tweets out of our 5 most popular posts: not only did the title make it hard to resist clicking, but more importantly, it delivered on the title. Don’t trick your blog visitors: always back up what you promise in your title.
- Comments: 57
- Tweets: 392
- Facebook Likes: 96
- LinkedIn Shares: 140
Lesson #3: Offer Multiple, Simple Solutions to Your Readers’ Challenges
No matter what industry you are in, everyone wants to have the biggest and best new idea. This post not only appeals to a wide audience, but also offers a finite number of ways, illustrating that idea generation is not a mystery but can be achieved with some easy habits. Additionally, this post saw a surge in comments since many readers were compelled to offer their own tips for idea generation.
- Comments: 36
- Tweets: 335
- Facebook Likes: 44
- LinkedIn Shares: 33
Lesson #4: Give Your Perspective on Current Trends and News
When you can respond quickly to an industry issue, your post is bound to gain comments and shares. In response to an individual interview on the value of infographics, this post addressed the issue and offered a more in-depth analysis. Would it have done better if the post was more controversial? Maybe. But when you’re a thought leader in an industry, it is your duty to be at the forefront and respond to better the industry, not to stir up controversy just to attract attention.
- Comments: 37
- Tweets: 449
- Facebook Likes: 129
- LinkedIn Shares: 133
Lesson #5: Appeal to a Wide Audience
Although aimed at individuals looking to create fresh new content, anyone who is stuck in any sort of creative rut could be drawn to a post like this. Your industry’s challenges and frustrations most likely overlap with those of a wider group of people, consider how you can cover topics that appeal to an audience beyond your niche.
Lesson #6: Get Readers Involved with a Call-to-Action
In addition, it offers an interesting story behind the post (obviously not just thrown together in a day) and a call-to-action. Including a call-to-action is a great way to further engage your audience and make them more invested in your content.
And the most successful post…
- Comments: 92
- Tweets: 427
- Facebook Likes: 204
- LinkedIn Shares: 49
Lesson #7: Bait & Switch
This post’s title about quitting blogging sparked a lot of intrigue and interest. Then, you take a closer look and see it’s actually about why you should probably not stop blogging. Grab your audience’s attention with something controversial or against conventional wisdom, then surprise them! Tip: use this method sparingly. Your readers will come to expect it if overused and it will be less effective.
What Successful Titles Have in Common
Without a great headline, you’ll struggle to get people interested enough to click through and actually read your post. Here’s a sampling of some of our most popular posts during the last year.
- A Stalker’s Guide to Competitive Research
- The Content Marketer’s Guide to Web Content
- 16 Simple Blog Changes That Will Improve Your Content Marketing Results
- Everything You Need to Know About Pinterest
- How To Connect with These 6 Influential Bloggers
- How To Make Facebook’s New Timeline for Pages Work for Your Brand
- The Bro’s Guide To Pinterest
- Could Reddit Be the World’s Most Influential Website?
- A Practical Guide to SERP Profiling- Part 1
Do you notice any common elements in these titles?
Tried and True Formulas for Crafting Irresistible Titles
Here’s a list of what makes the above titles so intriguing (and no doubt contributed to the posts’ popularity), and how you can use these same elements to write your own compelling titles…
1. Pose a question
Posing a question gets people thinking — it’s most likely a question they have thought about at some point but have not quite done the necessary footwork to get it properly answered. Once someone reads the question, they are almost always going to want to open your post to see the answer.
2. How To…
Most people are looking for quick fixes and can follow easy directions, so why not give them some? Show your readers “how to” solve their problems, master a certain skill, or uncover a new way of doing something. The simpler you can illustrate something, the more your readers will appreciate it.
Don’t just create a vague list, give your audience specific examples by using numbers. Offering a finite number of a list or directions also makes the goal more attainable for your audience. Whether it is “16 Simple Changes…” or “6 Influential Bloggers,” it gives your audience something concrete to aim for and accomplish.
4. Offer a guide, tools, secrets or lessons
One of the best ways to grab their attention and engage your audience is to share your experiences and offer insights to what you learned. When you personally have a story and want to share ways others can benefit from it, you can also gain credibility and trust from your audience. Your audience wants to read something they haven’t read before, and nothing is more authentic than the personal secrets, tools or lessons you have learned along the way.
5. Hot topics
Another (not so secretive) takeaway from these popular titles is that they involve Google, Facebook, Pinterest and Reddit (all topics our audience cares about!). Look into the latest SEO and social media trends to offer your own perspective for your audience to consider. When it comes to popular and current topics, your readers are eager to hear your point of view and insights.
6. Mention a specific group of people
Notice that many of our popular posts have titles that are very specific about who should read them: one is a “Content Marketer’s Guide…”, another is for men using Pinterest, and another is for people with Facebook pages for their business. Make it clear in your title who your content is targeted at, and watch those people show up in droves.
Auditing your past content wins and failures every few months can help guide your blog strategy. If you can pinpoint why certain certain content resonated with your audience, you’ll be able to generate better ideas and also anticipate which blog posts will perform best in the future.
What has your successful content taught you about your audience? How do you incorporate these lessons into your blog strategy? Let us know in the comments below.