Summer is a time for BBQ’s, triathlons and gardening. Think about the planning that goes into each of these fun summer activities.
Take the summer backyard BBQ for example; think of all the planning that goes into that party. Menu planning, grocery shopping and grass mowing are only the start. Doing these tasks in the right order keeps the budget in line and ensures you won’t have fresh cut grass in your glass.
Imagine not having a training plan for your triathlon. I had a friend whose plan was carrying bus fare to get to the finish line if he ran out of steam.
Gardening! Picture what your garden would look like without some type of plan. You may end up with the tall daisies in the front blocking out the view of the shorter petunias in the back of the garden. #FAIL
Blog writing takes a plan of attack as well!
Let’s start by assuming that you have a great topic and you’ve written it all down. Now the fun part really starts. Here’s a step-by-step plan to capture, captivate and capitalize!
- Capture the attention of potential readers with a snappy, punchy title. People are wired to be drawn to numbered lists; 10 Reasons to Visit __________, 9 Must-See ____________. Not sure how effective your title is? You can test it here. Other headline formulas include addressing Problems & Fears, Secrets, Tricks of the Trade and….more ideas here.
- Your Feature Image (that large photo at the top of your blog post) will capture the attention of visual fans. Picture this; a fan is scrolling thru their newsfeed and your blog feature image wakes them up and causes them to tap and read. Bonus tip: add the title of your blog post to your feature image so that readers better understand why they need to click and read.
- Keep a reader on your site longer by adding a section at the bottom of your blog labeled “Related Articles”. Once your reader’s attention is captured and they’ve read your article, they’ll be dying to read more from you. Provide 2-3 related blog posts under the “Related Articles” heading and watch your analytics skyrocket.
- As you’re formatting your blog post, ensure there’s plenty of white space within the article. White space in the form of short sentences, enumerated paragraphs and font size captures and keeps fans happily engaged and reading more.
- Capture attention and contact info from your readers with a well-designed pop-up box. We’ve all seen these ever popular (sometimes annoying) pop-up boxes. What keeps them from being annoying is their timing. Ensure yours pops up after a reader has had a chance to see some content and realize how spectacular it is. Here are some examples.
- How can your email signature line help? How about changing your email signature line as soon as your latest blog post goes live. This will alert every person you email about the topic of your newest post. Remember to create a hyperlink within your email signature directing readers to the blog URL.
- Speaking of white space, using captivating subheadings and bold text within your blog will keep readers dialed-in.
- Photos with captions are a sure way to captivate your readers. Research shows that people will scan an article title, look at the photos and next will read the photo captions. Write captions that are creatively captivating.
- Photos are worth 1000 words and video is worth 1.8 million. Don’t miss the opportunity to embed video into your blog post to support your topic.
- Once your readers devour your post, they’ll be wanting to know more about you. Make sure to add the links to your social sites at the bottom of each post. Your readers will love to connect with you socially and learn more from you and about you.
- Do you have a lead magnet or a free resource that you give away in exchange for contact info? Place an image of it at the end of your blog and hyperlink to the email capture form. What a great way to provide more value for your reader and yourself.
- Speaking of social marketing, remember to capitalize on your growing relationship with the reader by providing social sharing buttons at the bottom of each blog post. Your reader will be able to share your blog to their own social sites, or email it to friends and family. Here’s an example.
- Within your blog platform you’ll see the opportunity to create tags and categories for each blog post. Capitalize on the SEO function that these key words provide.
- The power of Pinterest in the world of travel can propel your blog to another key group of travelers and decision makers: women. Capitalize on this power by creating a long pin (1032 x 735 pixels). It’s been shown that long pins gain more attention and engagement. You can easily re-jig your feature image and create this long pin with the same font, photo and text.
- Capitalize on the SEO value of your blog by creating a Google+ Since Google+ is owned by the largest search engine you’ll find that when you post your blog on Google+ you’ll rank more highly in an organic search.
- Maximize your organic search capacity by creating a series of social posts and tweets for each new blog post you launch. Test the wording and timing of your posts and check your results with your Google Analytics.
- Spend a bit of money and create a social ad around each blog post you write. You’ll increase the eyeballs and engagement for just a few dollars with a well-targeted ad.
- Make the most of your hard work and get more mileage from your writing by re-purposing your blog into an e-book, magazine article, e-blast or newsletter.
- Capitalize on the contact info you’ve collected (see #5 and #10 above) by enhancing your new relationships with continued communication.
With this plan of action in place you’ll find that your blog success will leave you more time to BBQ, train for your next event and garden this summer!
Here’s a quick visual overview:
Catherine Heeg, international speaker and trainer, focuses on social media marketing & communication for the travel and tourism industry. Join the conversation and connect with her at www.cmsspeaking.com and socially.
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