You’re doing everything you’ve been told you should to get people engaged in your blog: you post on Facebook at exactly noon every day because that’s when you’ve heard it’s best for your readers. You offer freebies to keep people coming back. You write at least one post a week. You take blogging seriously, but the readers are not coming. And if they are, they’re leaving. Fast.
Have you ever considered that your writing might be a bit boring?
I know of bloggers who work hard to get people to their blog, but they struggle to get people engaged. I’ve started to read many blog posts, and then I click out because the writing lacks life or anything that could convince me to spend my limited time reading that post.
I’m not a perfect writer—nobody is. You’re not a perfect writer, and you’re never going to be, but that shouldn’t keep you from sharing what you have to say with the world. However, ask yourself if you do any of the things that might be boring your readers:
1. YOU WRITE TOO FORMALLY
Are you stuck in college essay writing mode? Is your tone too formal for the context? I’m all about using proper grammar, but that doesn’t mean you have to write your blog as if it’s a letter for the pope or a British Lit 101 essay.
Consider this: people choose to read blogs; they certainly don’t have to. What would make somebody decide to stay and read everything you have to say?
What to do:
Try writing how you speak. I mean, don’t include “um” or “like” as much as you might when you talk (I’m so guilty of this), but try to write almost like you’re having a conversation with someone. I first heard this idea from my college grammar professor, and it has changed my writing. When I need to write more formally, I do—the same way I would change the way I talk if it needed to be more formal.
2. YOU COMPLAIN TOO MUCH
Is your blog your place to rant? There’s a place for this, but don’t make your blog all about how sick your family has been for the last three weeks, how your kids never sleep, and your husband still hasn’t taken out last week’s trash.
What to do:
I love reading things I can relate with, and I know the rest of the world does too! You don’t have to be sunshine and rainbows all the time, but maybe if your entire family has been sick, you can make a funny meme that people can relate with rather than complaining about how awful it has been. Or if you feel like you need an outlet to get all of your frustration out, try journaling. People have enough difficulty making it through daily life that they need more positivity in their entertainment.
3. YOUR INTRO ISN’T ENGAGING
Did you know you basically have just a few seconds to capture someone’s attention? Neil Patel shares in this article that only 10% of people scroll down from the intro. (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/write-stronger-introductions) If you start with a drawn-out story about how you got stuck in traffic on the way to the store that morning, you might lose readers before they even get into the bulk of what you have to say.
What to do:
As you start writing, consider the goals of your introduction. You probably want to do these things:
• Hook your reader and entice them to keep reading.
• Provide a short description of what’s to come.
• Make a promise of what questions you’ll answer.
Create an exciting, yet purposeful introduction that’s enough to convince your readers to keep going. Avoid babbling or “just getting the words out.” In college, I was so proud that I could fluff up my essays enough to get the word count, yet still get a good grade. Writing a blog is not this way. Your readers don’t care about your word count—they only care how your writing can help or entertain them.
4. YOU TALK ABOUT YOURSELF TOO MUCH
Sitting through a conversation with someone who is doing all the talking is enough to make you doze off mid-sentence. It’s not much different with blog writing. Yes, your blog is your space, your platform, and you can do what you want there, but if you want people to be engaged, you can’t talk about yourself the whole time.
Talking about oneself too much is probably the most common mistake I see among blogs and social media. People write about themselves, without considering how to instruct, entertain, or engage their audience. Don’t get me wrong—your audience loves stories. Stories are how we connect. But when you’re talking about yourself too much without relating your anecdotes to your audience or without being helpful, it’s boring.
What to do:
Before you begin writing a post, make sure you know what your purpose is. As you’re writing, create content that points to that purpose. Tell stories that help you get your main message across, and then try to relate them to your audience.
5. YOU’RE TOO SALESY
Okay, of course you want to make money with your blog, and I bet everybody knows that, but nobody likes to feel like your only intent is to sell to them. Are you creating posts that are full of sales pitches? Is it clear that your sole purpose is to get your readers to buy something?
I’m an avid blog reader and the blogs that attract me enough that I not only pin their content but subscribe to their mailing list have something in common: they all provide a lot of helpful information. They have so much useful information that I’m convinced that they must have more, so I subscribe to download a free printable or take a free email course.
On the other hand, I’ll quickly click out when blog posts have a little bit of information, and then say, “Get the rest of my tips when you purchase my ebook” or “Learn the rest of what I promised you from my free download by signing up here.” Look, I’m not a marketer, so maybe this is an excellent sales tactic to some people, but for me, it gets me to click out of the post.W
What to do:
In his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie says that you’ll get people to like you a lot quicker by being interested in them rather than trying to get them interested in you. The same goes for blog writing—people will be a lot more interested in buying from you if your content is for them rather than just trying to convince them to buy from you.
6. YOUR WRITING IS TOO GENERIC
People could get bored if you’re writing the same old thing they’ve seen time and time again. Or maybe you are providing new information, but you’re not adding any life into your writing.
I don’t think everybody has to sound like they’re having a party all the time but remember—people don’t have to read what you read. Write in a way that is intriguing enough to convince them to stay.
What to do:
I mentioned this previously, but one way to make your writing sound a little more exciting is to write how you talk. If you suspect you might be a boring talker too, try adding some life. You shouldn’t be disingenuous—just bring out the best, most engaging part of yourself.
Not too long ago, I posted on social media that by default, I keep it pretty safe in my writing. Often when I go back through my content and edit, I spruce it up, trying to add more life to my writing. One of my followers commented that she does the opposite; she writes boldly, then she goes back and takes out all the stuff that’s over the top. She finishes editing once she’s done cringing. Haha!
I loved this idea! If you’re like me and you naturally keep your writing a bit generic, try writing more boldly than you’re used to. Take out anything you’re uncomfortable with in the end, but definitely keep some party in there.
7. YOU’RE LONG-WINDED
Imagine you’ve met someone at a party. He’s exciting and knows a lot, even about topics you’re very interested in. At first, you’re intrigued by what he has to say, but then he keeps going. And going. And going.
No matter how interesting you find the topic, you’re probably looking for the best excuse to get the heck out of there. Do I say I need to use the bathroom? Or do I skip ahead and say my kitchen is flooding so I can just leave?
Sometimes people repeat themselves, saying the same thing over and over, whether they’re using the same words or not.
Do you think you could be doing this with your blog? You want to provide lots of helpful information, but it’s best to do it concisely.
What to do:
One of my fiction writing professors in college recommended starting a story as close to the end as possible. This tip can apply to any type of writing. Start your blog post as close to the end as possible, without taking out any vital information.
When you edit your posts, ask yourself if everything you’ve written is necessary. I try to ask myself if what I’ve written is one of three things: inspiring, entertaining, or helpful. If anything I’ve written isn’t one of those things, then it needs to go.
8. YOUR WRITING IS ALL OVER THE PLACE
Do you like to write about all the things in your blog posts? Are you jumping around from one topic to the next without much direction?
Sometimes when we know a lot about something, it’s hard to focus. We want to share everything we know all at once, without focus or organization.
What to do:
If you think your writing may be all over the place, try organizing it with numbered lists or bullet points. Imagine that you’re a total beginner who knows nothing about your topic. What would be the best way for you to learn about it? Is there information you would need to know before other details?
Try writing with a beginner in mind to help keep your content organized so it’s not just thrown at your reader’s face all at once.
Check out this blog post for more ideas on how to organize a blog post.
Are there any other ways you think you might be boring your readers? Comment below, and together we can try to come up with a solution.
If you want to more help with your blog writing, sign up for my free five-day course for tips and ideas on how to improve.