Blogging is one of the very best ways to build your brand. Not only does it allow you to create a hub where you can share valuable information with your customers and readers, but it positions you as an expert in your industry and allows you to publish fresh content that will be indexed by search engines. One of the most challenging tasks any blogger is likely to face, however, is how to increase engagement levels on their blogs.

Whether you want your readers to sign up to your mailing list, buy one of your products or simply leave a comment, here are some tried-and-tested methods to increase engagement levels on your blog.

Write quality content

It’s the most obvious point on this list, but it’s important to share it nonetheless. If the content you add to your blog doesn’t provide value to your audience, then there’s little point in posting it. Before you publish anything, make sure you read it a couple of times and ask for feedback from colleagues and family members. Ask yourself, if you were in your customer’s shoes, would you want to read this? If the answer is no, then go back to the drawing board and create something that’s worth reading.

If you’re entirely new to blogging or simply don’t know what to post about, then read this article from Blog Tyrant – it’s packed with information on how to write posts that become popular.

Add a call to action

If you’ve already managed to build up an audience on your blog, then you’re one step ahead. Take advantage of their loyalty and ask them to do whatever it is you want them to do. If you want them to sign up to your mailing list, for example, then sign up for a MailChimp account and then try this free WordPress plugin for capturing email addresses.

If your readers don’t know what you want them to do, then they’re not going to do it. You should, therefore, make your website as easy to navigate as possible, and use valuable website real estate, like your home page, sidebars and in between blog posts, to add calls to action. You can learn more about calls to action on the HubSpot Marketing blog.

Host a competition or giveaway

With the availability of free content at an all time high, consumers have more choice when they’re looking for advice online. If you search for how to write an eBook on Google, for example, you’re presented with more than 31 million results – that’s 31 million pieces of content all vying for your attention. Therefore, alongside producing the very best content that you can for your audience, you need an additional hook to get them to engage.

Hosting a competition or a giveaway, for example, free eBook mentoring or book cover design, can encourage people to hand over their details and become invested in your brand and ideas. Capturing email addresses, comments and social media engagements is all part of the sales funnel, so the more people that visit your blog and enter your giveaway, the better. Remember, too, to promote your giveaway on social media to increase engagement levels even further, and consider guest blogging or outreaching to get coverage of your competition.

Include case studies and testimonials

If your readers can’t relate to the content you’re writing, then they won’t engage or interact with it. Case studies are one of the most powerful tools you can use in digital marketing, so ask your customers if they’ll share their knowledge or experience.

If you don’t have any willing customers, or you want to keep them confidential, then consider creating an expert round-up post, where you ask industry experts their thoughts on a topical subject. SmartBlogger has put together a great guide on writing expert round-up posts that get thousands of shares – the key ingredients are choosing the right questions, finding the right experts and promoting your blog post in the right way.

Make it easy for people to share your content

Getting your readers to share your content on social media is great for free promotion – it means your blog will be exposed to thousands of potential customers, and it doesn’t cost you a penny. But unless you make it easy for your visitors to share your content, they won’t be able to do so. Many WordPress themes have sharing features built in, but if yours doesn’t, then install one of the many social sharing plugins available for free.

Ask questions at the end of your blog posts

Although a well-written blog is likely to encourage discussion and debate in the comments section anyway, asking a question or posting a poll can be sure to hook in readers. Plugins such as PollDaddy allow you to add a poll to the end of your blog, so consider adding one and seeing whether or not doing so increases your engagement levels. For contentious or topical subjects, polls can encourage people to check back; plus, the data you gather from a poll could be a great starting point for a future blog post that’s backed by your own research.

Promote your content more

As much as you’d like every reader to sign up to your website and buy your products, the chances of that happening are slim. It’s important not to rely solely on your existing readers and instead promote your content so that it can reach as wide an audience as possible.

One of the best ways of promoting new content is to post about it on social media, but other options include syndicating content, using article submission websites, taking part in outreach to ask for backlinks and mentions from influencers in your industry, and using your mailing list to alert your subscribers that a new post has gone live.  Kiss Metrics has put together some advanced methods for promoting your new content – check them out if you’re looking for more ideas and want to take your content marketing to the next level.

Respond to your readers

If someone has taken the time to comment on your blog post or sign up to your mailing list, then the least you can do is say thank you. Respond to their comments, follow them back on social media or answer their questions. It doesn’t take long to add a personal touch, and creating a good first impression means that your visitors are more likely to come back again.

After all, these visitors, commenters and subscribers could be your future customers, so it pays to put in the ground work when they’re still getting to grips with who you are and what you do. Offer a free download, run a question and answer session or give one-on-one advice if you have the time – you’ll be thankful that you did when they place a big order with you!

Increase engagement levels on your blog

Increasing engagement on your blog isn’t always easy. Depending on the nature of your industry and the competitiveness of your niche, you’ll have to work hard to get your readers to speak up. Just remember that valuable content, good calls to action and consistency will help you stand out and encourage your repeat visitors to get in touch.

What are you doing to get readers to engage with your brand? Let us know your ideas on social media, or get in touch if you have any questions about building your business