As a smart, savvy writer, you recognize the importance of having an author platform, a place where readers can sample your work before committing to buy.
You want to remain alive and fresh in your readers’ minds.
Good for you.
After all, you have more books inside of you.
Or, maybe you don’t consider yourself a writer. You only write when necessary.
You might be a business owner or entrepreneur, constructing a digital space where clients can get to know you, your products, your services, your mission.
In any case, you know your blog is a vital step in connecting with your audience.
And you’ve committed yourself, haven’t you?
You’ve accepted the challenges of writing fresh, engaging content. You’ve even built a social media presence, hoping to find your tribe, believing your perfect audience is out there somewhere, waiting to hear from you.
But you’re more than a little disappointed.
No matter what you share, you’re underwhelmed with the response.
A few clicks won’t take you anywhere. And if others don’t start sharing your work (immediately), you’ll have to reevaluate this blogging thing.
But you’re not at that point yet (fingers crossed).
You’re not ready to give up. You’re willing to ask the difficult questions before altering your course, before giving up on a healthy online presence. Still, you wonder:
- What’s wrong with my content?
- Why isn’t anyone sharing my content?
- What’s wrong with my writing?
- What’s wrong with me?
In the past twelve months, I’ve shared over 5000 articles with my social media followers, and I’m not talking about my content.
This figure represents other people’s content.
Next year, I’ll easily double that number. Over the years, I’ve developed a system for selecting sharable content. I’ve also developed a system for knowing which articles to avoid sharing, articles unlikely to generate interest or clicks.
Sadly, the same bloggers and websites repeat the same mistakes.
Over time, I decide whether to keep these authors in my daily content feed. If I delete them, I probably won’t pick them up again.
Like it or not, everyone in cyberspace develops a system for evaluating and sharing content. Today, thanks to free apps and tools, it’s easy to connect the dots, to understand the ingredients behind a sharable post.
So what makes someone choose to share an article, a news update, or a blog post?
More importantly, what makes people click the x tab, to move on or pass on your content?
Your Title Needs an Overhaul
If nobody’s clicking, there’s a reason.
Perhaps your title’s long, tedious, or forgettable.
Maybe no one cares about the premise.
Or, you’re giving away too much in the title, forcing readers to prioritize between safe and sexy.
Face it; if no one’s clicking, you need to provide the itch.
Get back to the basics, to the fundamentals of copywriting:
Your title’s too long
Anxious to provide as much information as possible, you could be taxing your reader’s patience. Internet readers scan. If they need to read and process too much, they’re going to move on.
Solution: Trim your title. Make sure your readers can grasp it immediately.
You’re giving away the punchline
Why click on your headline when you tell your reader all they need to know up front?
Solution: Entice your reader. Omit a key piece of information. Create curiosity.
You don’t know your market
Don’t waste time guessing what your readers will like. Research your audience’s top three problems and offer better, faster, cheaper remedies.
Solution: Consult Buzzsumo for the top-performing articles in your genre. Scour Alltop for the most popular blogs in your niche. Acquaint yourself with a few free keyword tools to better understand your audience’s needs.
Think about it. When you find a fresh article offering quality solutions, you don’t hesitate to bookmark it, to share it with your friends. If you’re uncertain, however, you’ll avoid sharing it because it might reflect poorly on you.
Homework: Check out these three killer apps for tweaking your titles…
Want to take headlines to the next level?
If you’re tired of playing around with digital bots or apps, download our free tutorial and develop life-long skills for crafting compelling headlines (*upgrade link).
You Published Your Headline in Lower Case
This one drives me nuts.
On social media, knowing your title will look like a snippet of conversation rather than a headline, someone will need to edit your title before sharing it. They’ll have to capitalize the right words.
This requires careful thinking, a moment or two to recall title capitalization rules.
This is your job, not the job of your fans. People don’t have the time or the desire to edit your work.
I encounter these problems daily. I keep an active file of notes concerning “things to avoid if you want to increase engagement.”
Still, I find myself scratching my head, wondering why you skipped this important detail. Three things come to mind:
- You’re lazy.
- You don’t know how to capitalize a title.
- You just don’t care.
I wonder why a person would spend hours researching and writing a wonderful blog post and skip this key step. Depending on my mood, the time I have available, and whether I think the content is worth the trouble, I may rewrite the title.
Most times, I’ll pass on your article because you haven’t completed your work. And if you’re offering a product or service, I’ll likely associate this lack of follow through with your service as well.
Think about it.
If you’re publishing a blog, you’re asking readers to take you and your writing seriously. Writers follow grammar, punctuation, and style conventions.
Writers understand the power of words.Writers understand the power of words. Click To Tweet Writers understand the value of copywriting strategies.
A lowercase headline doesn’t cut it. Period.
Brush up on title capitalization rules. Choose a style guide, and run with it.
The Associated Press recommends capitalizing the first letter of each word in the title except for articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) and prepositions with fewer than four letters. You should also capitalize the first and last words in the title.
If you don’t want to memorize capitalization rules, try this app:
It allows you to choose between APA, MLA, AP, and Chicago styles.
Homework: Go through your blog titles, and check for capitalization.
Remember: No one expects perfection, but make the effort. When you don’t, it shows.
Your Post Contains Grammatical Errors
What do you do when you encounter an amazing article with egregious grammar and punctuation errors?
What do you do?
I know what I do…
After consciously ignoring the first few errors, I click away when it continues. I don’t want to endorse this type of writing. It looks unprofessional, and it makes me doubt the rest of the content.
If you have a budget to work with, hire an editor or proofreader. A second set of eyes is crucial. If you want to keep your costs down, hire someone on Fiverr. You can hire an editor with an MFA for five bucks!
If you’re looking for free options, check out Grammarly’s MS Word edition or their browser add-ons. Barter proofreading tasks with a trusted friend or blogger. Join a writer’s community, and find someone to critique your work.
Your Post Is Too Short
Considering our shrinking attention spans (recent studies place the figure at 8 seconds), you’d naturally wonder whether long-form content has become obsolete. The data suggests otherwise:
Long-form content (1000 words or more) receives more social media attention. Beyond 1000 words performs even better.
I know what you’re thinking.
What about Seth Godin? He’s famous for his short, dynamic blog posts…
Mr. Godin’s a world-renowned author with 18 bestselling books.
After establishing a loyal readership, you can experiment with shorter post lengths. Your fans will forgive your brevity.
According to KissMetrics, blog posts with 2000 to 2500 words received the most shares on Facebook. Shares decreased on articles above 2500. The sweet spot seems to be 1000-2500 words.
On Linkedin, articles between 3500 and 4000 words received the highest number of social shares.
If you want to increase the likelihood of social shares, shoot for 1000+ words.
Want to know how to boost your word count and engagement without relying on filler?
Your Website Pages Don’t Load Fast Enough
I noticed your impressive headline in my feed this morning, and I read your interesting excerpt. After clicking the “more” link, however, the page wouldn’t load. As I’m writing this, the loading icon is still spinning…
We’re all pressed for time.
We enjoy multitasking, looking and feeling busy. In fact, we wear it like a badge of honor.
We like to believe we lead big, important lives, eating lunch while conducting research, tackling email messages while scrolling through email. We text our spouse between conversations with colleagues.
What we won’t do, because we’re juggling a long list of priorities, is wait for your web page to load. Unless you’re essential to the next detail on our to-do list, we’re gonna’ bail on your article.
Assess your load time to find out how your site speed compares to authority sites. You have a couple seconds to load and grab your visitor’s attention. On mobile devices, your load-time window shrinks even further.
Check out “How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website.”
To assess the loading speed of a single page, check out Google’s Page Speed Insights.
You Haven’t Included an Image With Your Blog Post
A picture paints a thousand words…
I know. It’s trite, but true.
Posts with images outperform text.
In fact, recent studies suggest you can double engagement with an exciting visual.
Why wouldn’t you double (or triple) your engagement, especially when a blog post takes 50 to 100 times the effort it takes to find and post an image?
There’s no faster way to connect with your readers. We have entire social media platforms built around images. It only takes a few minutes to find an appropriate, enticing, royalty-free image for your posts.
So why cheat yourself and your readers when your competitors routinely provide quality images?
Here’s a list of amazing, free image sources:
You’re Not Solving Anyone’s Problems
The web is full of self-serving blogs with single-digit visitors. Most writers abandon these sites after failing to find an audience.
These once-inspired bloggers discover it’s too much effort to maintain a blog, especially considering the pitifully-low return on investment.
The sites that gain traction offer value.
They solve problems. They instruct and inspire their readers.
Before sharing your post on social media, ask yourself why anyone would care. Better yet, spend a few hours this weekend on a Q&A site like Quora. Find a community serving your niche.
Find out how to help your readers.
- What questions keep coming up?
- What problems keep them stuck?
- What fears keep them awake at night?
Offer solutions or how-to tutorials. Share resources. Commiserate.
Your Posts Are All About You
Think about your friendships.
Everyone has that friend who can talk about him/herself for hours. You can’t get a word in, can you?
They talk about their fabulous vacations, their jobs, their spouses, their feelings about everything.
They rarely ask about you. And when they do, they quickly turn the conversation back to themselves.
There’s nothing wrong with talking about ourselves; however, it’s easy to overdo.
Ask yourself whether your content truly serves your reader. What’s in it for them?
Try to balance the equation. Offer a you for every instance of I.
Comb through your blog post titles. Next, tackle the body text. Search for instances of I, me, my, and mine.
Changing the focus from “I” to “you” can make a world of difference, especially in a title.
Practice using you and your in your blog post titles. Over time, it’ll become a habit.
You Don’t Offer Social Share Buttons
Your readers are busy locating and consuming free content. They have their own agendas.
In a perfect world, they’d share your insightful article all over the internet, rewarding you for your time, effort, and expertise. In the real world, however, you need to adjust your expectations.
Sometimes, you need to ask for what you want.
Ask your readers to share, and place the share buttons above or below your posts.
Make it easy for them. Include their favorite social networks. If you don’t know where they’re hanging out on social media, ask them.
Many of your readers won’t take the time to install browser buttons for sharing. It might not even occur to them.
Don’t worry about their browsers or their habits; install the buttons on your site.
Ask them to share in your call to action. Thank them (ahead of time) for sharing. Set up a reward system for sharing. Consider a content upgrade for a tweet.
Now, on to you.
Share your success story in the comments below, the reason/s why no one was sharing your content and how you fixed the problem.
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