But wait, there’s more! As you create blog content there are easy extras you can add to give your posts more value to the reader. Your headline encourages visitors to click to your blog, but these 13 components can keep people there.
1. Custom Visuals
Blog managers who lean heavily into shutterstock or istockphoto accounts tend to see the same graphics all around the Internet. Many are guilty (myself included) of using similar picture types.
Using custom images – whether you create them in photoshop, take an iPhone picture, or even draw stick figures – gives more life and personalization to your content. It shows that the you went the extra mile to use the perfect image instead of taking an average image and applying it to the content.
2. Data Visualization
You can add infographics to your content even if you don’t have a team of graphic designers chomping at the bit to visualize every article. Visual.ly and Easel.ly are two sources for DIY infographics, or you can allocate a budget each month to have infographics for your content. Some people will respond well to your articles, but many people are visual learners – especially if you’re discussing a lot of data or hard numbers. Even creating a chart or graph in Adobe Illustrator can help to drive your points home.
3. Don’t Hold Back When Explaining Ideas
Neil Patel has proven that content doesn’t need to be short to be effective. In fact, he discovered that longer articles are better if there’s high quality content that provides solutions or unique information to readers. Thus, don’t be afraid to extend your normal word count to completely flesh out your points. If your articles are usually around 500 words and you write a 1,000 word article about a relevant topic to your audience, chances are they will keep reading as long as you’re making good points. Think of your word count as a ballpark figure instead of a concrete box of limitations.
4. Key Takeaways at the Top
If your article is on the longer side, consider adding a few bullet points or sentences at the top to summarize the content’s takeaways. By reviewing the main points of an article, your audience can immediately decide whether it’s something they’re interested in and if it’s worth their time to read on. Readers who stay already know that the article has content that they want and will be more likely to convert.
While this helps readers learn about long articles without skimming them first, some news organizations do this for their stories as well. Their readers are looking for the facts and don’t have time to stick around for the whole story, so they place the three or four main points in a box near the top.
5. Resource Links
I’m not talking about a works cited, or leaving sources at the bottom of the page, I’m talking about genuinely sharing resources with your community that tie into your article. Direct your readers to your favorite tools, apps or posts that make your job easier. Your visitors value your opinion and want to learn more about the subject at hand. For example:
If you’re looking to learn more about analytics, these articles may be helpful to you.
In the same way that some people are visual learners and love infographics, other people prefer to watch a video instead of reading an article. Your videos don’t have to be Spielberg masterpieces,they can simply feature you talking about the key takeaways and explaining what’s covered in the article. Even a quick anecdote explaining the thought process behind the article can be an effective way to draw visitors into the copy.
This addition to your content also helps gives insight into what your audience reacts well to. Look at your analytics: did they watch the video or skip it and read the article? Use videos to test what content they prefer.
7. In-Depth Comments
These are out of your control, but as your blog community starts to grow, so will the value of your content. A writer might make good points, but it’s often the comments section that makes an article great. People ask questions, raise concerns or add onto the ideas presented above. By making the comment process easier and responding to comments as people voice their thoughts, you’re giving readers more information and ideas than you had originally covered.
8. Social Streams
Go where the conversation is. Adding widgets to your blog that show how your audience is mentioning you on Twitter or other social networks will add value to your blog if you find that most of the conversation continues on those platforms. This is particularly helpful if you’re highly engaged on twitter and having conversations with followers about industry-related topics. If what you discuss on twitter adds to the conversation, install the widget.
A word of caution though: if you find your twitter is still in the development stage or most of your mentions are by spammers, consider waiting until it’s more involved to launch the plug-in. The last thing you want is to infect one of your readers with malware because a spammer with a bad link accidentally showed up in your stream.
9. Opportunities to See Similar Content
Yes, this benefits you as it keeps readers on your blog longer, but it also benefits them if they’re enjoying or learning from your content. You can showcase similar content in a variety of ways. You can add links to other pages within your content – this also gives you SEO help – and you can add different widgets and plug-ins that showcase recommended pages that are similar or popular.
First time visitors will click around your site to see if it’s something that interests them. Give them exactly what they want with internal links and relevant suggestions.
10. Varied Content Forms
Between video summaries and data visualization, we’ve covered the “and” of adding different forms of content to your blog, now lets cover the “or” with varied content. Changing up the format will draw in different eyes and different types of visitors. Adding videos, pictures, comics or infographics will appeal to new readers (and spread differently on social networks) than your bread-and-butter articles. Even your loyal readers will appreciate your changing it up by using different ways to communicate the message.
11. Tweetable Snippets
WordPress has widgets that make social sharing easier, and breaking the key points into tweetable blurbs can increase shares. A few marketing blogs have really taken advantage of this. Instead of the article headline it tweets a statistic or main point. This tool is ideal for sharing infographics, users that react to a particular point might not share it if they have to type out the tweet, but conversions are increased if you write it out for them.
This may sound cliche, but it’s worth pointing out. Starting an article with a story adds value to your content because it gives context and meaning to why you chose to write about it. Food bloggers often tell stories before posting a recipe to explain its uses or the obstacles they faced when cooking.
For example, instead of posting another chicken salad recipe, let readers know that it makes enough for five lunches and tell them how you ate it for a week without getting bored. Now instead of just giving them a recipe you gave them a lunch solution.
If you are trying to incorporate video into your content, consider using it to introduce the article with a story. You simultaneously explain what the readers will find in the article and connect with them on a personal level.
13. Remember the Call-to-Action
You may write a fantastic article that clearly elaborates on all of your points — so what? What do you want the reader to do? Your CTA should be one of your most well thought out sentences on the page, as it explains exactly what the purpose of the article is.
Did you just write 1,000 words about the importance of keeping beaches clean? Direct visitors to sign-up to volunteer on the weekends or write to local government officials. Your strategic CTA adds value because it makes the article do more than educate your readers, it gives them a next step to take or a direction to go in with their new-found information.
If you have found that your content is falling flat or your daily traffic is plateauing, try adding one or a few of these ideas to your content. Your added value could result in added readership!