Today we’re going to talk about adding depth to create a more engaging blog post. Let’s get started, shall we?
Dimension, or depth, is what makes an ordinary blog post into something remarkable. Your reader may read your ordinary post and he may get your message, but when you add depth to your content, it becomes more meaningful.
It resonates with your reader. It adds that “Wow!” factor that makes readers want to share your content and subscribe to your blog.
Here are some ways you can add depth to your content and turn an average post into something extraordinary.
1. Use examples: Whenever possible, use examples to illustrate your point. I often think readers here at Dukeo are someday going to revolt because I use the words, “For example” at least once or twice in every post. But most people find it easier to understand a concept if you explain it first and then provide an example.
2. Use metaphors and analogies: Use metaphors or analogies: Using metaphors and analogies helps the reader visualize your message and makes a stronger emotional impact.
A metaphor is a figure of speech that implies a comparison without using the word “like.” For example, “You are the sunshine of my life” is a metaphor that implies your life is better for having known this person. “That boy is a pig” implies disgust, and “That blogger is a rock” implies the blogger is a reliable source.
An analogy is an figure of speech that uses two unrelated things to highlight a comparison. For example, “She was as annoying as nails on a chalkboard” or, one of my favorites, “… worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.” – Baz Luhrmann.
3. Add your own opinion: One of the main reasons people like blogs is because they’re more personalized. If your readers wanted “just the facts” they could visit Wikipedia or their favorite news site. But they come to your blog because they want to know what you think. They want an opinion. And don’t be afraid to express a dissenting opinion, sometimes those are the most engaging. Just be sure you can back up your position.
4. Provide links to more information: Linking out to additional information just adds more value to your post. You can use a “related posts” plug-in to link to content on your own blog and readers also appreciate it when you link to relevant content on another blog. You’re adding more value and that’s always a good thing.
5. Add quotes: Quoting a reliable source adds credibility to your post. It’s the voice of another person, preferably someone your readers will recognize as an authority on the topic, and it backs up your position. You also look like a star because you took the time to do some additional research and find that quote.
6. Include an interview: If you can’t find a relevant quote, fire off a quick email and ask for one. Most experts are happy to answer one or two questions via email, especially when they know you’re going to feature them in your post.
7. Quote your readers: Pull quotes from your reader comments. This shows your readers that you really are paying attention and it increases reader engagement because everyone loves seeing their name mentioned in a blog post. Use comments, Tweets, Facebook postings, or quotes from emails.
8. Assign homework: If you’re using your post to teach something you can increase reader engagement by assigning your readers homework. For example, in my post about crafting titles I asked readers to come up with some creative titles and post them in the comments.
9. Invite participation: Any time you ask or allow your readers to participate you’re going to increase engagement. Assign homework, put up a poll, tell them to leave a comment, invite them to write a post on their own blog and send you the link so you can reference it in a future post. The list of possibilities is endless.
10. Use charts and illustrations: Colorful carts and illustrations are just another way to help your readers visualize your message. Don’t just tell them, show them, too, and your readers will get more value from your post.
11. Present the other side of the story: I like to use examples to show readers what can happen when they do something wrong, too, because everybody makes mistakes and if you show your readers how to correct those mistakes it gives them a little boost of confidence.
For example, I probably should have linked out to information about metaphors and analogies instead of including it directly in this post. Those two additional paragraphs make this already lengthy post even longer and for most readers that information might not be necessary. But it’s a good example of what not to do and how you can fix it, so I’m going to let it stand.
12. Look forward: Before you publish your post look to see if there are any areas where you could expand the point. If so, consider this for future blog posts and tell your readers to come back next week for more information about… While this doesn’t immediately provide more value it keeps the momentum going and increases reader engagement.
13. Does it add value: And finally, before you hit publish, read back over your post. Does your content add value for your readers and does it move you closer to your goal? If not, don’t publish it yet. Go back and add more value with an eye toward moving the reader from Point A to Point B, to complete your call to action.