HOW TO INCREASE ENGAGEMENT WITH YOUR BLOG CONTENT
I talk a lot about growing your blog, my experiences on what works, what doesn’t, but the focus has largely been on traffic, views or general reach. These are all super important and definitely factors that affect and can boost the success of your blog but there’s more to it than that. In this day n age it’s easy for people to click on a piece of content, give it a glance and barely even get to the bottom of a feature. I personally am an avid blog reader and I always use my commute to catch up and evenings to read my favourite bloggers content. But there’s so much to consume, so much choice out there, that dedicating time to one or two pieces is something that’s become a little more rare. So gaining and achieving engagement with your content has never been more important.
It’s engagement with content in my view which really shows your value, especially to brands who are seeking a platform to share their own messages. What’s more valuable – 100k hits a day but 10 seconds spent ‘engaging’ with the entire feature, or 40k but an average time of 4.5 minutes engaging with the content (and probably a stronger CTR to boot).
What I’m saying is it’s not all about the traffic, a loyal and extremely engaged reader base in itself is one of the most valuable things. You don’t have to be getting more hits than buzz feed to have success, commercial success at that too.
But how to drive and build engagement? That’s what today’s post is all about. Quite undeliberately this year I’ve doubled my average time spent on my blog (and that was from an already strong and above average base), in some instances on some days it’s 4 X as long, I’ve reduced my bounce rate, boosted my page per sessions and rather heart warmingly (it really makes my day) I’ve seen a huge increase in people sharing my content and the likes it receives on the likes of bloglovin too.
These things don’t and haven’t necessarily affected the ‘volume’ of traffic I get in the same way (I’ve definitely seen small and stead increases, I can only dream of 4 X the traffic – one day), but what they show is that I’ve really boosted the engagement of my blog. And that in itself is a huge success and genuinely makes blogging feel all the more worthwhile.
Whilst I’ve done this without actually setting out to achieve such results, looking back it’s clear how what I have been doing has increased engagement. So I thought I’d share those things with you today.
HOW TO INCREASE ENGAGEMENT WITH YOUR BLOG CONTENT
I’ve always blogged daily and I’ve always tried my best to make each feature interesting and enjoyable to read, but having said that, there were times when I blogged and didn’t necessarily deliver the quality I would have hoped for, and there were times when the quality of my imagery wasn’t quite as I would have hoped, normally because I simply didn’t have time and I was stretching myself too thin. But towards the end of 2015 and in 2016 so far I’ve been making a huge effort to create a much better work life balance for myself, and with that comes more time to focus on my blog, my content and my brand itself. And most importantly ensuring that the quality is consistently delivered in every single feature I produce, with everything from the creativity, the imagery and the editorial really being pushed to the best it can be – even a simple point of merging a style feature with a tips editorial has really upped the quality of the features I produce.
TIP: Focus on quality over quantity, produce content that you want to read, and you would feel inspired by. Constantly feed your creativity, and carve your own niche.
Content that adds value
I feel like I’ve really defined my niche in the last 6 months, everything I write about is something I’m incredibly passionate about which I hope will either inform, inspire or motivate you and your own life, but beyond that I’m working on creating imagery and style shots that hopefully inspire you too.
Mediamarmalade is a destination for the stylish, the ambitious and the passionate. It’s a hub of daily inspiration, motivational content and advice and tips for those of us on a journey to sartorial, life and career success.
I’ve shifted from daily outfits to a hub of daily content that aims to inspire, inform and motivate, covering everything from careers & blogging advice, to personal style and travel. Everything I post ladders back to my mission statement, and I’ve been working to make every post as quality as the last. It’s what I’m passionate about, it reflects my real life which ultimately is a case of juggling a full time career and a full time blog, and hopefully it’s topics and subjects that resonate with your lives too. Really it’s about content that adds value, to you, and to me too.
TIP: Produce content your passionate about, but always try and add value to your readers too. Make there visit to your site worthwhile? Make them want to come in he first place.
Make it easy
If you want people to take the time to read your content, it needs to be available, it needs to be easy, and it needs to be pain free (no 5 minute load times). It’s important that your content is easily accessible, easily readable and easily findable for your readers – simple things like a mobile enabled site, sharing your features on Facebook and twitter, joining bloglovin so people can read your content within that platform, and even simple things like making sure the fonts are eligible. All of these functional points make an impact on the time people will spend engaging with you.
TIP: Make sure your site is mobile enabled & be sure to share your content across all your social channels – adapting it based on the platform & how people prefer to use it.
Responding to comments
Engagement doesn’t just come from your readers, it needs to come from you too. Last year I really struggled to maintain my social channels, deliver daily content on my blog AND engage with the blogging community and the readers of my blog. It wasn’t a deliberate thing, I just simply didn’t have time to do more than produce content. But as we all know, that’s not what the blogging industry is about, I started to lose those connections I had with my readers, I missed blog chats & general twitter conversations with my blogging friends, I lost out on instagram because I didn’t spend time engaging with people who were taking the time to like or comment. I have to say, I noticed the affect, not just on my own morale, but on my blog too.
This year, in line with my new resolutions I’m spending far more time doing the things that make me happy, and as a result spending far more time engaging with you guys. I try and reply to comments as often as possible, I always thank and share comments and messages (because I’m genuinely grateful) and generally have tried to be far more active in the community.It’s certainly made a difference to my morale.
TIP: Be sure to respond to comments, tweets, and conversations on your blog and social channels. Building strong relationships is at the heart of engagement … so don’t forget the value of your network.
Personality & honesty
Last year was clearly a turning point for me, by the end of last year I felt totally disheartened by my blog. I’d not been able to spend the time or energy I had wanted on it, I relaunched my site and felt like it went totally missed, and I just felt like I was falling backwards rather than moving forward with other bloggers who were becoming huge successes. I found myself feeling down on myself, comparing myself negatively to others & generally just so disheartened that all my efforts seemed to be wasted.
I took three weeks off work at Christmas to recover from a crazy year and it was exactly what I needed, it helped me focus, get my mojo back & generally boost my positivity and confidence. And you know what, I was honest about it, I shared my highs and lows with you, I started talking about my feelings more, I really ramped up my tips posts features which I had started in 2014, but now were something I really wanted to write about, to help and guide myself as much as to help and guide you. I think this personality and honesty was something that helped people feel more engaged with me, but equally you guys responded, and I felt far more engaged with you too.
TIP: Personality, integrity and honesty is what makes a blog successful and original, don’t be afraid to let it all out sometimes. More people will relate than you realise.
Links and further information
Historically the life of my blog content was pretty much one day. I always felt sad posting daily and almost wiping away the day before’s content … silly really, but I felt like they never got the air time they might have deserved. These days I’m far more savvy, and within all my features I always try and share other relevant articles, blog features or videos that might add value to you beyond what I’ve written in that one post. For example, at the end of this feature today, I’ve added some links to other features I have written about blog success & how to grow and measure your success which I think you’ll find helpful an further context to today’s post. Being helpful is something I believe drives engagement.
TIP: Be helpful, provide links to shop looks, provide links to further information, share other content that might be interesting. Link wisely.
Asking meaningful questions
I’ve always asked questions in my features, but to be fair they’ve always been a bit boring and not really the most exciting question for you guys to respond to (do you like midi skirts? – who cares), these days, and very much in line with my content shift, the questions I ask are far more meaningful, they are interesting and they’re genuine … I want to know if you’ve experienced the same situaiton, I want to know what you would do, I want to know your advice. I love seeing all your comments telling me your own stories or how my posts have helped.
TIP: Engage with your readers, if you want them to engage with you.
Sharing & likes
AND FINALLY. Engagement can mean anything from comments, to likes, to shares, and so being fully set up for ‘engagement’ is pretty key, ensure you have a comments space that’s easy to use, provide share buttons (mine are the blue ones below), work with people like bloglovin so people can like your posts. And more than anything … be grateful & acknowledged people who take the time to engage. I’ve seen a real increase in people retweeting my content (thank you SO much) and i’m always sure to thank and share their tweet because it’s people like that, those people willing to engage and share your features, that ultimately help your blog grow.
TIP: Ensure your blog is set up for engagement, with share buttons, comment functions … and don’t forget to say thank you to those who do engage!
And there you have it, I rather honest account of my last 18 months of blogging but hopefully some tips and learnings that might help you and your own blogging journey. I think it’s important we remember it’s not all about subscribers and page views, it’s engagement that really defines how valuable your content is to your readers. So whether you get 1k, 10k, 100k, 1,000k views a month, it doesn’t matter, focus on adding value and truly engaging with your readers, it’s rewarding.
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Did you find today’s post helpful? I’d love to hear your tips or experience on the matter – how do you drive engagement with your readers and your own blog?