Written by Guest Blogger Margaret Andrews
Congratulations to contest winner Murr Brewester.
I would like to welcome Margaret Andrews, author of the award-winning humor blog Nanny Goats in Panties which has to be the funniest blog I’ve ever read. Margaret is going to share some great blogging tips today.
I would like to thank the lovely and talented Cindy for giving me this opportunity to flap my gums with you all about how to write an engaging blog post.
The single most important thing you must do to attract brand new readers to your blog is to make them read the second sentence. They’ll read the first one. But will they read the third and then the fourth and then the fifth? Your regular readers will tell you your blog is great, but if it’s the first time visitor you want to impress, you’ll need a good hook.
Here are three tips to hook your readers from the beginning:
1. Start With a Question
Questions beget answers, also known as comments. Start with a question that provokes your reader to answer. It will draw them right in to your subject. Try to be specific. If you say “Don’t you hate stupid people?” that doesn’t really put a picture into a reader’s head and therefore doesn’t really grab him or her.
On the other hand, “Have you ever been bitten by an Australian vampire?” will have a better chance of arousing one’s interest, especially if one has indeed been bitten by a vampire from the southern hemisphere.
2. Be Concise
Don’t be too wordy, especially at the beginning. Extra words slow down the piece and ask for extra patience from your reader. If you omit extraneous and unnecessary and additional and superfluous words, the piece will clip along at a quick pace. Your reader will hang on for dear life and stick around because now it’s a fun ride and a fast read.
3. Appeal to the Senses
Appealing to the any or all of the five senses (see, hear, touch, smell, taste) firmly entrenches your idea into the reader’s mind. Authors already know that this is crucial to an engaging story and the same goes for a blog post.
Look at the very first sentence or two of your blog post. Does it contain sensory appeal by being very specific? Or does it contain summarizing group-like terms? Try to get to one specific detail as soon as you can. The sooner you can tell us about a specific woman’s long tan legs while waiting in line to get her book signed, or about that hot dog you had for lunch that was so spicy it bit your tongue and screamed all the way down, or how you crunched through the gravel of the parking lot as your biggest fan accosted you, the sooner you capture your reader’s undivided attention. Let your blog post leap off the page. Er, screen.
Keep It Going!
And that’s just the beginning of your blog post. You want to keep your readers engaged throughout it by providing details that stick with them well after they’ve gone. Make it stick past the click! Hey, that sounds like my next mantra. I’d better write that down before I forget it!
Now I’d like to know the best blog tip you’ve ever received. Leave a comment by midnight February 28 and you can win a $10 Amazon gift card.
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Margaret Andrews is the author of the award-winning humor blog Nanny Goats in Panties and of the book Sticky Readers: How to Attract a Loyal Blog Audience by Writing More Better, available in paperback and ebook.
Margaret’s Blog: Nanny Goats in Panties
Margaret’s Book: Sticky Readers