Note from Jon: This is a guest post by Henneke from Enchanting Marketing. Her fabulous new book Blog to Win Business – How to Enchant Readers and Woo Customers is out today. It will make you smile, kick your ass, and massively improve your blog. Download your copy exclusively from Amazon. I highly recommend it.
You’re working hard. Bloody hard.
You share your best tips. You edit and polish your posts. You wrack your brain for the perfect headline.
But that’s not all.
You promote your posts on Facebook and Twitter. You build an email list. You stalk influencers and write guest posts.
But somehow you feel your efforts aren’t paying off.
You want more shares, more comments, more enthusiasm for your blog.
But you’re simply not getting the response you deserve.
It’s soooo frustrating.
Because you can’t work any harder.
Isn’t there a smarter way? A way to truly engage your existing audience instead of constantly fighting for new readers? A way to entice them to comment more? And tempt them to share your posts?
Yep, there is a way. And it all comes down to this:
Readers don’t want to be informed; they want to be seduced. (Click to tweet)
That’s right. You need to seduce your readers with each headline, each paragraph, each sentence.
You need to make your content so irresistible that your readers crave your next post.
How? It’s easier than you might think.
If you use the following 18 tips to become a master in the art of seduction, your readers will be hanging on your every word.
They won’t want more of your writing; they’ll beg for it.
1. Be a Great Conversationalist
You know the feeling you get when you talk with your best friend?
He listens to you. He asks you questions. You’re laughing together.
Well, you can create that same feeling as a blogger.
To truly engage your readers, you need to start a conversation with them too.
How? It’s simple – use the word you and ask questions in your post.
Have you noticed that this is already the second question I’m asking you? That’s how I try to engage you.
By asking simple questions – such as Who is your romantic hero? – you make your readers pause briefly, pay attention, and look for your answer next. And when they quietly nod yes to a question you’re asking, they’re more likely to read on.
As soon as you start writing conversationally, you’ll notice your blog comments increasing. That’s because readers feel you’re inviting them for a cup of tea and a chat. Leaving a comment becomes a natural part of that friendly conversation.
2. Sneak Inside Your Reader’s Head
To have a meaningful chat, you need to join the conversation already going on in your reader’s head. And the best way is to use the same phrases he uses.
Don’t impress your readers with your extensive vocabulary. Replace difficult words with simple words. And skip jargon. Because it’s not sexy at all.
The magic words are those that chime with your reader, that make him feel you understand his struggles, fears, and frustrations, and make him feel you’re having a heart-to-heart.
In the opening paragraph of this post, for instance, I empathized with your blogging frustrations and with the feeling that your blogging efforts aren’t paying off.
When you empathize with your reader’s feelings, you make her feel that she’s your special one, that you’ve written the post especially for her.
3. Use Comforting Words
Blogging gurus tell you to build your authority.
But authority reminds me of dusty professors and boring text books. Devoid of personality. And utterly unsexy.
By stressing how much you know, you make readers feel like amateurs. You put yourself on a pedestal. You’re showing off.
Instead, put a virtual arm around your reader’s shoulder. Reassure him with simple phrases like, “We’ve all been there,” or, “It happens to the best of us,” because doing so stops him from feeling silly.
4. Paint a Picture of a Happy Future
Oh, that wonderful longing when you’re setting off on a well-deserved vacation.
Do you know the feeling?
You might imagine a white beach, sunshine, and delicious cocktails. Or you might picture an exhilarating trek across the jungle.
That wonderful holiday destination you’re picturing in your head helps you cope with all your travel troubles – the long queue at the airport, the yuck food during the flight, and the crying baby in the row behind you.
With a blog post it’s the same. Your readers don’t really want to make an effort to read your post. Reading takes time and they have so many other things to do.
To entice people to read your post, sketch a sunny destination in your blog opening. Tell them how your simple trick or easy formula will make them happier, healthier, or richer. Sketch a destination so wonderful that they crave reading your post.
5. Be Vulnerable
Are your friends perfect?
No, of course not.
We’re all imperfect.
Earlier this year I shared my biggest fears about blogging – this post generated more comments than any other post on my blog.
When you share your own weaknesses, worries, and fears, you connect with your readers because you become human.
6. Fire Up Readers with Your Passion
When you talk with someone face-to-face, you use intonation and body language to show how you’re feeling.
You can shout to attract attention or whisper in a secretive way. You can use gestures to stress your words.
But in a blog post, you only have words to attract attention and convey emotion. That’s why you need to turn up your passion and choose more powerful words:
- Instead of dull, use mind-numbingly dull.
- Instead of pleased, use delighted.
- Instead of beautiful, use gorgeous.
As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
To make your readers feel something, you need to choose more passionate and more emotional words.
7. Let Your Readers Fill in the Gaps for Themselves
Your readers are independent thinkers.
They like to make up their own minds. So allow them to draw their own conclusions.
For instance, I could tell you I’m a rebel. But you’d probably think, yeah, yeah, that’s what she likes to think. I don’t believe her. That’s why it’s better to give you the facts and let you draw your own conclusions.
- My high-school teachers told me to study physics in college, but at 17 I left home to study Chinese.
- Or: Rather than choose a safe color like blue for my website, I went for orange and purple – to be different and stand out.
- Or: Boing, boing. Henneke arrived at the cocktail party wearing her wooden shoes.
Each of these statements paints a picture of who I am as a person – allowing you, as reader, to make up your own mind about me.
8. Appeal to All the Senses
A fragrant smell. A light touch on your arm. A song playing in the background.
A sensory experience is memorable, and sensory writing is the same.
Your brain processes sensory words as if those senses are actually being stimulated. As you would taste a sweet cake, witness a dazzling display of colors, or feel a rough texture.
Even abstract concepts can be made sensory. You can blow your audience away with a vibrant presentation; you can create a silky-smooth purchasing process; you can write scrumptious blog posts.
Sensory words are more powerful and memorable than ordinary words because they make your reader see, hear, smell, taste, or feel something.
9. Be Energetic
You know that your energy is contagious, don’t you?
A monotone voice lulls people to sleep.
Long and undulating sentences soothe your readers with a comfortable flow. Short sentences, however, are dynamic. They’re abrupt. They awaken readers.
Want to know how this works? Just read this section about being energetic aloud, and pay attention to how the rhythm changes when you read the two short sentences They’re abrupt and They awaken readers.
To make your writing more alluring, add a dynamic rhythm. Interrupt long, flowing sentences with short bursts of enthusiastic action.
10. Don’t Let Your Attention Wander
I’m sure you know the kind of person who always keeps blabbing on and on. They jump from one topic to the next. They don’t pause to give you a chance to say something.
Some blog posts have the same problem. They ramble on rather than focus on one idea, and nothing is more boring than a story that goes in twenty different directions.
While this post has 18 different points, they all support the idea that you should seduce your readers with your words. Check out any of the popular posts in the list at the right. Each post has one clear idea. Each argument, each story, and each example should support it.
Stay focused. Hold your reader’s gaze.
11. Be Playful
Having a sense of humor makes you more desirable – especially if you make yourself the butt of your jokes.
The wonderfully named The Middle Finger Project recently wrote The 75 (Curious) Steps Of Writing A Blog Post.
While including steps like Bop your foot to the tune and begin writing and Paint your nails, they finished with: Write a damn post about it, and hope that it comes off as endearingly self-aware, and not like you’re a total asshat incapable of ANY GOOD IDEAS.
Don’t be an arrogant asshole. Remember to make people smile. Be humble.
12. Be a Little Unpredictable
When you follow proven formulas, you become ploddingly predictable. You start boring your readers to death.
Try a different tone. Use a new template. Write about a fresh topic.
Experiment. Be bold. Say the things everyone thinks, but no one dares say.
A little recklessness is sexy.
13. Tell Interesting Stories
Think about your best friends or favorite colleagues. Why do you enjoy having a chat with them?
It’s the small stories you share. You might discuss a bad referee decision in Sunday’s match, the movie you went to yesterday, and where you can get the best steak.
Your friends can talk about more than their specialty subject.
If your blog only discusses your topic of expertise, you show yourself as a one-dimensional expert. By sharing tidbits about your hobbies or personal life, you become a more interesting person.
Metaphors spice up your writing and help you include snippets about your personal life. On my blog I’ve shared personal stories about cycling, cooking, and traveling; and I use these stories as metaphors for blogging and content marketing.
When you draw analogies from personal experience, you give your readers a glimpse into your life. They start to feel they know you and that’s how you start to bond.
14. Don’t Be Too Professional
Would you rather open an email from one of your best friends, or an email announcing a blog update?
Easy isn’t it?
To get your blog updates opened, act like your subscriber’s best friend. Get rid of fancy logos at the top – add them to your footer instead – and make your email look like a personal email.
Vary your greeting – sometimes I write Best wishes and other times I end my emails with Warm wishes from sunny England. Occasionally I add a personal P.S. about what I’ve done over the weekend or what I’m up to next.
Don’t be a slick marketer. Email your readers like you would email a friend.
15. Be a Rebel!
Don’t you think rebels are more attractive than goody two-shoes?
A rebellious streak can increase your seductive aura.
So don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo once in a while. Say the complete opposite of what everyone else is writing and justify your dissent with persuasive reasons. No one is attracted to a sheep who simply follows everyone else.
And it’s not just what you say, but how you say it too. Writers that follow high-school rules sound like a textbook. Bland and drab.
So come on. Don’t be so freaking boring. Break a few rules:
- Use everyday expressions. Hell yes!
- Write a one-word sentence. Yay!
- Start a sentence with Or, And, or But. Yippee!
- Write incomplete sentences. Woohoo!
Textbooks are faceless. They lack a clear voice.
To let your personality shine through and seduce your readers, you have to break the rules and develop your own distinctive voice. The more rules you break, the more distinctive you become.
16. Bring Unexpected Gifts
You listen well, you ask questions, and you give your readers space to breathe.
But sometimes seduction requires a little more, doesn’t it?
Where are your red roses? Your chocolates? Or your bottle of Rioja Reserva?
Readers like to know you care about them, and there’s no better way to show you care than by bringing a gift. With no strings attached.
When did you last give away a free cheat sheet or ebook that’s seriously useful to your readers? Without an opt-in?
17. Give Desire Time to Grow
Would you ask for someone’s phone number without having a chat?
No, of course not.
You chat. You wink. You flirt. And then you try to arrange a date.
It’s the same with blogging. Show you’re interested. Share a little about yourself. Allow desire to grow before pitching your products or asking for help.
18. Make Your Parting Words Linger
What are the lines you can recite by heart?
Most people remember a few song lines, a couple of poems or nursery rhymes, some sayings and advertising slogans.
These phrases have one thing in common – they all use poetic techniques like repetition and rhyme. These techniques make your words smoother, and that makes them easier to remember.
If you’d like your readers to remember your words, you need to borrow from poets too. For instance, last year I finished a Copyblogger guest post with the words:
Write less. Read more.
Talk less. Listen more.
These words linger in your mind because of their staccato-like rhythm, the contrast between less and more, and the repetition of words. These eight words communicate the essence of the post.
Which words do you want your readers to remember?
The truth about seducing your blog readers
Blogging isn’t about hitting the publish button.
Blogging isn’t one-way communication.
You’re starting a conversation with your readers. To have a good chat, you need to listen more than you talk.
You need to learn who your readers are. Understand their struggles. Know their frustrations.
Treat your readers even better than you would treat a friend. Help them overcome their doubts and their fears. Encourage them to realize their dreams.
Captivate them. Seduce them. Enchant them.
Sweep them off their feet.
About the author: Henneke is an irreverent marketer and copywriter on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs charming. Her new book Blog to Win Business: How to Enchant Readers and Woo Customers is out today. Download your copy exclusively from Amazon.