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August 31, 2010

Blogging and How to Inspire Interaction

As you sit down to write a blog you need to ask yourself – who is going to be reading this and how can I help them? As I have mentioned in several of my blog posts the trick is not to create something with the intent to “make” it go viral. The trick is to create a blog that contains valuable information and is well written and then it will go viral. This same principle applies when looking to increase your readers’ interaction. Interaction increases continued readership.

Target Your Audience

I have a good friend who owns a helicopter flight school and when he sits down to blog he is communicating to an entirely different audience than you or I may be intending to communicate with. With this in mind make sure that you are targeting the correct audience. If your blog is geared toward an audience looking for information on kite building, you won’t want to write a post that directs most of its attention to model airplane building. You may want to write a blog comparing the similarities and differences between the two, but the main goal of the blog post should be appealing to your readers’ main interests.

You may want to write a list of questions that you would be interested to know the answers to if you were new to the niche which you are blogging in and answer those in a blog post or two. Make sure that your blog posts do not wander from the main subject. The more on target your posts are, the more likely your readers are to return to your blog and share it with others they know. Blogs are meant to be dedicated to one subject such as professional networking, vintage car restoration or triathlon training.

I would like to leave you with one last thought when targeting your audience in your blog posts. It is a good idea to re-read your blog posts from the perspective of a reader while in the editing process. Make sure that it captures your attention. You want to be sure to give complete thoughts in your writing. Give your readers some food for thought to spark their own ideas and comments on your blog.

Give Them Your Best Information

Your reader needs to be motivated to be engaged with your blog post. After reading your blog post the visitor should have the desire to comment and share your blog. Why? Because it had valuable information. It was not a sales pitch and it was well written. I am an advocate of giving some of your best content away free. If you have captured your readers’ attention and have given them some quality information, they are much more likely to share your content.

Have you discovered something incredible in your niche lately? Your reader will probably want to know about this information as well. Consider what you would want to get out of reading a blog and make sure that those goals are met in your own writing. If you are giving great information in your blogs, your readers will literally beg for more. Getting your readers to ask you for more is the goal of writing in the first place and a validation that you are writing something that they want to read and are actively seeking.

I recently read a blog from Brian Solis called 21 Rules of Engagement. It was a summary of part of his new book, Engage. Not only did I feel like I was getting quality information and a great preview of his book, but it also made me want to go out and buy his book immediately. I thought that this information he was giving away for free was already valuable so I should go and find what else he has to offer. This is an excellent strategy and very effective to create continued readership whether the future readings are free or not.

Do Something About It

At the end of each blog post use a call to action. Ask your readers to comment on what they think about the specific topic. You can even reward them for doing so. For example another friend of mine posted on Facebook that whoever commented on a blog post he had just posted on his MyMark profile page would get a free copy of his e-book. I am sure he had people read his blog that normally may not have, but
with this kind of reward they took the time. The blog needs to be good enough that they are happy they spent the time reading it; if this happens they will come back again and again. Even without a specific reward being offered, the reward has now become the quality information you are giving them.

One of the most valuable parts of a blog is the comment section. Usually if one person has a question so do many others. This is a great place for readers to ask questions, answer questions and provide their own tips and tricks that you may not have had time to cover in your blog. You should be asking or telling your readers to leave their comments and make sure that the call to action invites more than just, “great blog.” It’s nice to be validated, but it’s more important to provide readers with further information.

Finally, when leaving a call to action make sure that you act on it as well. If you told your readers to go find something new to learn and write about it in the comments make sure that you are doing this as well. Make sure that you are responding to comments and not just reading them. Continue the interaction in your comment section so that your readers will feel like you are offering two-way communication rather than just talking at them. Any webinar presenter will tell you that one of the most valuable parts of every webinar is the questions and comments part at the end of the webinar. Don’t skip this step. It will likely ensure your success as a blogger and a brand builder.

For this and other articles by Brad Hess, please go to MyMark, LLC is a media rich professional social networking website that gives you the tools to use social media optimization to enhance your search engine optimization and generate revenue. Visit today to set up your free account!