How to get people to read your blog

In a previous job I wrote a blog post which gained more than 100,000 hits in just a few days. It was exciting watching the numbers steadily clicking up as more people shared my post, reacting and engaging with it. However, trying to achieve the same again, I failed, feeling frustrated that I couldn’t recreate whatever it was that had made this particular post go viral.

Since then, I’ve written blogs for other websites, but often receive very specific instructions as to what to write, the tone to use and the specific details of what to include, not leaving much room for creativity. My clients have always been happy with the results, so I assumed I was doing a good job.

As an associate for Marketing Harmony, I have more creative control over blogs, and freedom to pick the topics. However, I need to know that my posts will be effective in reaching the right audience, and create an impact. 

So, I decided to research what makes a good blog post. I needed to find out why people had clicked on that post and enjoyed it enough to share it.

There are a staggering 2.5 million blogs posted online every day (and that’s just on WordPress Probably every topic you could ever think of is already covered. So, what makes people read some and not others? What could I do to make mine original and stand out? I needed to know how to encourage people to read it, because otherwise, it’s a pretty pointless exercise. The entire point of a blog from a business point of view is to get people to read it. Whether that’s to encourage more traffic to a website, to sell something or to build your credibility in a particular field. It has to be read, and hopefully shared, to fulfil any of these aims.

So, researching what makes a good blog post, I found out that, above all else, it has to be engaging and tell a good story. It needs something honest and human about it, so the reader feels a genuine connection and can relate to the author. However, there are other facts we need to consider. A 2018 survey of 1,000 bloggers by Orbit Media shows that.

  • It takes on average 3 hours 28 minutes to write a blog
  • The average blog post is 1,151 words
  • Most businesses publish several a month
  • Bloggers who post frequently are more likely to have stronger results
  • Bloggers who update old content report stronger results

I thought back to my previous viral blog and realised that it ticked a lot of boxes with regards to how to write a good blog, without me realising it at the time. I had used my expert knowledge in a particular area, inserted a touch of humour, and people related to it because it represented them and their lives. It was authentic, and, although I worked hard on it, the content came to me naturally because it was something I knew.

I realised that many of the previous blogs I have written for businesses failed to offer a human element, something relatable, or a story to carry the reader through. That wasn’t because I was failing to do what I was asked; it was because I did exactly as I was asked. The businesses were focusing on what they thought needs to be included in a blog, they failed to find out what makes people read a blog in the first place.

Now, armed with this knowledge, it’s easier to focus when writing a blog for Marketing Harmony and our clients. I can advise if their instructions will result in a blog which fails to achieve their aims and engage readers.

Back to that viral post. I have also realised that viral content is extremely hard to achieve. And just because a post doesn’t go viral, doesn’t mean it is a failure. If there were a specific formula for creating viral content, then everyone would be doing it. The key thing to appreciate is that the more you post, the more you’ll understand what your readers like. You learn as you go. Maybe you’ll have that light-bulb moment which results in thousands of people to read your blog. If you do, it will probably be the easiest thing you have ever written. What I’ve also learned, is that if you have to try too hard to write a post, if it doesn’t flow naturally as you type, then it might be worth coming up with another idea.


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