Blogging: Engaging Your Target Audience

goldfish

The Digital age has seen a rise in challenge for businesses looking to engage their target audience through blogging. With the rise of smartphones, we have seen the human attention span dive to just 8 seconds. That’s less than that of a goldfish! Having said this, our ability to multitask has improved. We flick from post to post, tweet to tweet, app to app. The human brain has become more like a bouncy ball. All this means is that the human brain is a little more difficult to pin down than it used to be. We have become better at identifying what is interesting and what is not. Once we find content that we want to engage with, it does hold our attention. Herein lies the problems for business owners and marketers.

What does this mean for business blogging? Well, you have just an 8 second window of opportunity within which to make an impact. If you do not hook your audience with your blog within that first 8 seconds, you will lose them. So, how exactly does a business hook its target audience? Here are a few blogging tips that every business can use:

Imagery

Neuroscientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found that the human brain can process entire images in just 13 milliseconds. Using the right images that best represent your brand, the content of your web page, blog or social media stream and appeal to your target audience is very important. Something I have seen time and time again is images that are the wrong size and or pixelated. Badly formatted images are a real turn off and should be avoided at all cost.

Content

Have you ever put a film on and half an hour in to it, thought “I’m bored” and switched it off? Would you then go out and buy the sequel? Blogging works much the same way. Make sure your content is concise, interesting, useful and relevant. Each time you get boring, your 8 second count down begins again. Every blog or web page should be written with an objective in mind- what point do you want your audience to take away? Make sure all your points are relevant to your takeaway and ensure your headline indicates what that takeaway is.

Headline

This is your big bold hook- the first thing that your audience will read and so if it’s not enticing it will fail even the best written content. A good headline will engage 20% of your target audience, however, an effective blog headline will tune up your click through rate (CTR) by 500%. Your target audience is looking for two things from a headline: appeal and value. Be sure to keep a record of style of headline and CTR, as you will learn over time which blog headlines work best for you.

Social Meta Data

When you share a web page or a blog on social media, the social media network will pull through information from your website (meta data). If your website code doesn’t inform the social media network properly or you don’t make use of the proper meta tags, it will not show the right information. This could mean that your headline doesn’t show, it doesn’t carry across the correct image or the snapshot of text is all wrong too. This fatal error can make redundant all your efforts for points 1,2 and 3!

Formatting

When communicating face to face, body language is hugely important. In fact, 50% of judgement is visual and this is no different when reading a blog. If you have huge blocks of text, it will look boring. It’s the equivalent of listening to a monotonous voice drone on and on and on… Be interesting! Use images and subheadings to break blocks of text up. Use text formatting like underlining and italicising to highlight important points to keep the reader interested in what’s to come.

The human brain has evolved and is working in a new way, distractions are ever increasing with app notifications pinging our audience’s attention away. Keeping readers engaged is possible with the right approach. By using correct meta data and headlines you can hook your slippery target audience in and with strong images, good content and the right layout you can hold their attention and avoid the Goldfish conundrum.

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