Some things are meant to bounce. Basketballs. Kids on a trampoline. Baby boys (or so the phrase goes). Others shouldn’t. Video footage. Checks. And business blog visitors.
There is lots of information out there about writing business blogs that attract visitors and boost SEO. (I’ve touched on it myself a time or three: here, here and here.) But getting visitors to your business blog is just the beginning. Then you need to keep them there.
Here are five rules for creating blog posts that defeat the bounce.
1. Offer useful, entertaining or inspiring content.
When visitors come to your business blog, they come there for a reason. Whether they were intrigued by a social media post linking to your blog, found a post through organic search that they hope will address a problem they need to solve, or have subscribed for regular updates by email. They have expectations that what they find in your blog will do one of three things:
If your business blog posts don’t do one of those things — and show quickly that they will — visitors will bounce right back off and find someone whose blog content does achieve those objectives.
Not every blog post needs to fulfill all three characteristics. Very few will. It’s OK, even for a B2B business blog to mix it up and inject some humor or a feel-good story into your blog. Do it judiciously and strategically to provide a balance with the potentially drier “how to” posts and research results that are the meat-and-potatoes of your blog calendar.
Here are couple of ways I’ve lightened things up, while still working to provide useful information for my readers:
But you’ll find the bulk of my posts are centered around help my readers tackle their inbound marketing challenges, from finding the right people to digging into the data to make improvements in the future.
2. Make it attractive and easy to read.
Digital readers are skimmers. Very few people are willing to dig into a 5,000-word block of large paragraphs and uninterrupted text. They want to be able to see at a glance what the content has to offer and find the most relevant sections.
That means you need to use formatting tools that aid in skimming and reading comprehension, such as subheads to break up sections of the copy, bullet points for listed items, bold and italic text where appropriate to add emphasis, and white space to provide a resting point for the eyes.
Find more on formatting for readability (which means more visitors will stick around and read, rather than bouncing): Optimize Your Business Blog For Greater Reader Usability.
3. Think visual.
More than 90 percent of content marketers say visual content is either “very important” or “absolutely necessary.” (See more of about these results from Venngage here.)
That importance applies to your business blog just as much as it does to the rest of your website, your social media content, and your overall marketing approach. Spice up your blog and break up the monotony of text, text and more text with illustrations, infographics, and videos that complement and support the topics in your posts. (Here’s why: How Images Improve Your Business Blog.)
I’ve written before about the need to provide a variety of content to reach prospects with different content preferences. While some of your prospects may prefer easily-skimmed text (see Point #2 above), others would rather watch than read. Here are my 10 ways to spice up your business blog, which includes plenty of visual options.
4. Get it right: Grammar, spelling and accuracy matter.
Part of enticing readers to stick around when they discover your blog, and to return time after time, is ensuring your blog is a place for them to find credible information. One piece of the credibility puzzle is focusing on education and information over sales. The other piece is plain, simple accuracy.
When your target audience is full of savvy B2B buyers and professionals, your blog posts can’t look like they were thrown together by seventh graders using their social media and text shortcuts. Sloppy writing, including spelling and grammar errors, will cause readers to not only stop reading, but form an opinion of your entire company’s professionalism based on what they see on your blog.
Watch out for crimes against the English language that could be putting your brand’s credibility in jeopardy: The Grammar Police Are After Your Website.
(Here’s another, just for the self-professed “grammar nerds” out there with a compulsion for correcting grocery store signs for “Green Bean’s” and other misplaced apostrophes, commas and quotation marks: You Might Be a Grammar Nerd If ….)
5. Keep offering more.
While your first goal for the business blog is to attract visitors to your website, and then to get them to stick around for a while (i.e., not bounce), the ultimate goal is to use the blog as a springboard for converting those visitors into leads.
To achieve all of those goals, each individual blog post should be just a starting point, with links to easily take readers to additional information and landing pages for online offers. When your blog readers visit additional pages on your website, it sends a signal to the search engines that your site has high value, which is one part of improving SEO and gaining a higher search engine results page ranking.
You can offer readers opportunities to go deeper or find more information in several different ways, all of which you’ll find in this blog post itself as examples. There are the simple in-text hyperlinks to a related offer or blog post, such as the one in the previous sentence from the words “signal to the search engines” to another Inbound Accelerator post that goes into greater detail about how reader signals impact SEO.
You can also make contextual links more obvious, as I have in the italicized suggestions throughout this post for related blog posts. And you should use graphic calls-to-action on blog pages and throughout your website for lead generating offers and downloadable materials that relate to the blog topic. These could be sidebar ads, banners at the top of a page, pop-up or slide-ins, or something like the horizontal CTA at the end of this post letting you know about our whitepaper addressing the challenge of creating quality inbound marketing content.
How you craft your business blog posts, day after day, can have a huge impact on whether visitors bounce back off or stick around to get to know you better. It requires quality content, written with your readers’ needs in mind, that inspires confidence and exudes credibility. Unfortunately, too many companies take the approach of thinking just anyone can write the blog posts — throw in the essential keywords, and it’s good to go, right? Wrong.
One of the greatest challenges in inbound writing is creating the high-quality content that actually converts visitors to leads and nurtures leads toward a sale. High quality content comes from finding and enabling great writers. If you are making the mistakes of assigning blog writing to your least experienced staff, or of not giving your writers time to do what they do best, check out the solutions here: Content Creation Mistake: Failing to Find & Enable Good Writers.