A guest post by Frankie Wallace.
Communication skills — the ability to speak to an audience and create a relationship with readers — is a key element in the craft of blogging.
Though many bloggers are natural communicators, there are still plenty of ways to improve on those skills. Often the key components of communication are lost in the craft of creating a blog post.
Better communication skills emphasises the importance of understanding your audience and having a mental picture of who you’re talking to.
It’s also helpful to allow for some back-and-forth dialogue to take place between you and your visitors, whether that be through your blog, social media, or other channels. Bloggers must make an effort to connect with their readers.
Finally, creating clear and concise content can do wonders for readability and effective communication skills.
Understand your audience
Naturally, your audience is important in blogging. Marketers analyse audiences for insights such as for Facebook advertisements, and the same principle applies to creating content that speaks to your readers.
Making the effort to understand your audience is a core component to embracing user-centered design in business and ultimately improving profit. Researching your audience allows you to optimise your products, customer interactions, and content marketing. Understanding who they are will help you speak to them and to create content they will want to read.
Make a list of the types of people who are your target audience. For instance, if you write a blog for mothers, your readers may include new moms, single moms, or moms with a few children.
Give these personas names, write out their likes and dislikes, and deduce what they want to read about. They may not want to read about studying abroad or data analysis, for example, because that topic doesn’t apply to them. They wouldn’t be on your site in search of that information anyway. Find a niche, and get comfortable with it.
Allow for some dialogue
Being effective at communication skills means being able to speak as well as being able to listen. When you’re writing a blog post, work on creating dialogue between you and your readers.
Ask them questions, encourage them to comment, and make sure they know you value their opinion. Ask them what they want to read, and encourage them to challenge your opinion or ask you questions. Create a blog post that starts a conversation or shares an experience, as well as including a call to action at the end.
This dialogue helps you to understand what your readers want, which makes it easier to monetise blogging. In fact, many bloggers encourage readers to comment to make their post more conversational than just a resource.
Make a connection
A core principle to connecting with others while blogging is understanding the four maxims of conversation:
- Quality: The information on your blog should be as truthful, comprehensive, and transparent as possible. Citing high-quality sources is a great place to start.
- Quantity: Your audience should not want for more, but they should not be bored to death with excess information. In regards to the length and depth of your posts, try to find your target audience’s sweet spot.
- Relevance: Your content must be relevant to your target audience. Keep your blog focused; it’s okay to show some personality, but you don’t want to push potential customers away with irrelevant content.
- Clarity: Don’t be ambiguous or unclear in your blog posts. If readers need to expend too much effort to understand your posts, they won’t stick around for long.
Show your vulnerability
In addition to understanding this, there’s another consideration to keep in mind if you want to form a connection with readers: You’ll need to show your vulnerability.
Being vulnerable is one of the most valuable and powerful communication skills, and it’s a great human connector. If you’re writing about a topic you have personal experience with, remember to share your experience instead of writing in a journalist style from a distanced standpoint.
You will be more likely to make a connection by sharing how you got yourself out of student loan debt, rather than by writing an article about how someone might get themselves out of student loan debt. The difference is in the connection and letting your readers relate to you. The vulnerability and human connection makes all the difference.
Be clear and concise
Sometimes effective communication isn’t just about what you’re saying; it’s about how you’re saying it. Short sentences, short paragraphs, and headings that break up the text on a page create a layout that is more readable on the internet. Work on being clear with your point and being concise about why your readers should read what you wrote.
A simple or interesting headline and a clear introductory paragraph should tell readers what they will find out by reading. This is a tactic not only used online but also in places like business and accounting where articulation is key in holding a person’s attention and avoiding wasting their time. Writers often enjoy being creative and artistic with their writing, but sometimes it’s about getting to the point.
Bush up your communication skills
Blogging may be less personal than having a one-on-one conversation with a person, but that’s sometimes a helpful exercise in remembering how to communicate better while blogging.
When speaking to someone in person, you’d choose your words differently depending on who is listening. You also let the other person speak back to you during the conversation. You use a connection to relate to them, and you avoid going off on a long tangent to avoid losing their interest.
All of these principles can be applied to blogging in order to improve your communication skills.
About the author
Frankie Wallace regularly contributes to a wide variety of blogs and enjoys writing about health tips and politics. Wallace currently resides in Boise, Idaho and is a recent graduate from the University of Montana.