AD| Blogs have always been a popular platform to share your thoughts and expertise. During lockdown, the digital platform experienced a boom in content and creation from both new bloggers and existing websites. We’ve got so much to say about our lockdown stories. Promotional, service update, managing mental health at home, these are some of the new topics that have been emerging since march 2020. But as the competition is growing for bloggers, they need to understand the key to digital engagement in a post-pandemic environment.
First of all, it’s worth reminding us of the essential rules in the blogging industry. While covid-19 has initiated a digital revolution, it doesn’t mean that bloggers need to learn everything anew. The things that put visitors off your blog before and after covid are still the same. A blog that relies on popup marketing too heavily could lead to frustration and loss of interest. Ultimately, no reader wants to sign up for your newsletter after only a few seconds of reading an article. The more popups interrupt the experience, the less likely visitors are to come back. Similarly, irrelevant blog posts and missing social links can also affect blog growth. Once you’ve got the basics right, the next step for bloggers in 2021 is to implement the lockdown lessons. What have we learned by living online for a year?
#1. We forget about accessibility
Most bloggers are guilty of that. We tend to confuse responsive design and accessibility. When everyone works from a home office, disabilities disappear because they are invisible behind the screen. However, that doesn’t mean that disabled readers have an easy time online. Being stuck at home can make individuals with disabilities feel more isolated. Unfortunately, digital platforms can fail to meet their needs. For bloggers, simple changes could make their presence relevant to an audience group that is too often overlooked. You could include a written description in your alt tags of all the photos so that people using a screen reader can enjoy them. You can also provide an audio version of your articles by reading them aloud and recording it.
#2. That web template looks plain dull
New bloggers have emerged in 2020. While it’s great news for the blogging community, it also increases the risk of deja-vu. Website templates are used by many bloggers. In the end, your presence could become lost in a crowd of websites that look and feel the same. That’s precisely why bloggers who are serious about their online presence should reach out to professionals, from a web design company to a creative logo designer. The first rule of standing out is to cultivate uniqueness.
#3. Digital fatigue
Some readers have been working from home since the start of the pandemic. Digital work platforms can support collaboration with coworkers even if they are in different locations. It’s practical, effective, and simple. Some of the most popular tools include Zoom, Slack, Microsoft 365, and Trello board. On the one hand, it ensures that businesses can survive and thrive during the pandemic. But, when it comes to mental focus, bloggers have to remember that people spend the majority of their time handling digital data. Digital fatigue is inevitable. That’s precisely why it becomes crucial to structure blog posts in a way that makes them more digestible. Using headings throughout the article can help speed readers to screen your content and figure out if they want to engage with it. Short paragraphs also cut a lengthy text into manageable chunks of data. Finally, it’s best to stick to simple and plain English.
#4. Your audience has less time for reading
Storytelling has been in our DNA since the beginning of time. Our ancestors loved a good story, and so do we. The best stories are those you listen to because listening brings a new emotional touch to the narrative. As such, bloggers who are concerned about maintaining high engagement rates may want to consider how to introduce an audio storytelling service. Creating a podcast can transform the interaction with your audience. Audio stories captivate the brain. The brain needs energy to respond to a story. Experiencing emotions through the narrative is a costly process. Therefore, an audio format can increase the emotional response because it eliminates the mental burden of reading.
#5. One image speaks a thousand words
Similarly, the use of imagery, whether photos or videos, can also bring the narrative to the next level. An image can convey a message much more effectively and quickly as a text. The brain interprets visual clues quickly compared to a text. The use of light, colour, and geometry can also enhance the message in a way that no text can match. Vlogging, for instance, can make a complex story accessible to the audience. Similarly, personal photos can also add a new layer to a blog article, elevating the narrative. In an effort to make stories more digestible and engaging, bloggers could consider a visual presence that reduces the need for text.
#6. Identify new niches
As mentioned at the start of the article, the pandemic has caused a shift in priorities and needs. Beauty bloggers, for instance, need to consider how the pandemic is affecting their skin and hair care. Fashion bloggers can refer to home office style and comfort. In other words, many pandemic-related niches are appearing. Some of the most googled searches during the pandemic include digital security, boredom, sleep, fitness, and comfort food. It’s essential for bloggers to seize the opportunity for renewal. You can’t afford to ignore trends that are relevant to your audience group.
#7. Monetise less
It could seem counterproductive for bloggers who rely on advertising. However, as people are spending more time online, they are exposed to a variety of marketing networks. Ads that flash on the side of the page or that momentarily covers the content of an article are becoming tiresome. They are part of everyday digital interactions. Combined with lockdown cabin fever, it’s fair to say that people’s patience is running thin. Unnecessary ads could only succeed in driving people away from your platform.
#8. Encourage creative contributions
It’s not uncommon for bloggers to use guest posts, both as a way of reaching out to blogging partners or published paid content. However, you could also consider new contribution strategies to boost engagement. A lot of bloggers are already familiar with open questions which encourage readers to comment and interact with the content. But you could move things to the next levels by encouraging conversations on social media. Simple and playful activities, such as sharing a photo of your perfect cup of tea and asking your followers to share theirs, can create a small buzz among your audience. Polls and confessions are also effective tools to give readers an active role.
#9. Run readers’ interviews
Why not give the reins to a reader for a day? You could use a weekly, fortnightly or monthly strategy to let your readers create new content. Publishing an interview with a selected reader, for instance, can bring your audience at the heart of your blog.
#10. Make new partnerships
A blog needs to grow and evolve. Your interest and priorities change as you go through different events in life. Therefore, it can be helpful to reach out to new partners. The process will not only expose your blog to a new audience group, but you can also grow your reach and influence. Additionally, it ensures the long term survival of the blog. What’s the point of a blog that doesn’t evolve when everything else changes around you?
Blogging challenges are growing above and beyond the realm of written articles. In 2021, bloggers need to embrace versatility to remain relevant and engaging. From considering new storytelling media to changing monetising strategies around their digital presence, this is a blogging revolution.