Blogging is a great way to engage people with your business. But what if your product or service is…well…kind of boring?
How do you write a good, engaging blog post about a boring topic?
That was the question that Carrie Wood asked herself when she and her husband/business partner first launched the site for their small business, Lease Ref.
Lease Ref is the world’s only online commercial lease review company. They offer commercial lease reviews for a one time fee, and at a fraction of the cost of a real estate lawyer.
The Lease Ref blog offers guides and tips for contract negotiation, site selection, small business advice, and working with brokers and landlords. There’s a ton of information that prospective clients will want to know.
But people probably aren’t keen on kicking back and reading pages of dense articles about real estate.
Lease Ref’s information was valuable, but it needed spice.
That’s why Carrie knew that if she wanted to grow her site traffic, she would have to come up with a smart content marketing strategy.
The problem: when you’re getting your business off the ground, you want to be cost-effective wherever you can. You may do this by using managed WordPress hosting, if you don’t have the technical know-how to set up and manage your WordPress blog.
But, hiring a designer isn’t a cost that a lot of small businesses can afford.
In fact, hiring a designer for ongoing project can cost anywhere from $45 to $1000+ for ongoing projects, depending on your budget.
Here’s the thing: with 17 years of forensic accounting focusing on commercial real estate behind her, Carrie knows her stuff about commercial lease consulting. But Carrie doesn’t come from a creative background. She has no design experience.
But by starting with infographic templates, Carrie was able to create her own custom visuals to make her blog posts more engaging than her competitors’ and to draw in significantly more traffic.
And she did this for a fraction of the cost of hiring a graphic designer. Here’s how Carrie was able to do that.
How to write a good blog post that makes boring information engaging
There are two basic steps to get visitors to click and stay on your blog posts.
Step 1: Get readers to click on your post by combining an enticing title with an attention-grabbing featured image.
Step 2: Keep readers on your blog post with a combination of engaging hooks, visuals and other blogging best practices.
Even if the topic you’re covering in your blog is, by nature, kind of dry, these steps still apply.
Just take a look at what Carrie did for the Lease Ref blog:
As passionate as Carrie is about her business, she’s realistic: she knows that commercial real estate isn’t exactly the sexiest topic.
But that didn’t mean her company blog had to be boring.
One of the main problems Carrie noticed with a lot of their competitors’ blogs was that they tended to publish long, dense, text-only posts. She didn’t want to publish content like that because she knew very few people would bother to read it.
In fact, according to a study by CoSchedule, “Only 10-20% of readers actually make it to the bottom of the post.”
In many cases, when a visitor to your blog comes across a giant wall of text…they’re going to turn around and hightail it out of there.
Because of that, a lot of visitors miss out on useful information.
That’s what Carrie was worried about.
Commercial leases are one of the largest expenses for a business and probably the least understood document a company will sign. While real estate information might be boring to a lot of people, it’s important that Lease Ref’s audience got that information.
Carrie asked herself: “How can we make our content more engaging?”
Carrie found that using images to attract readers, illustrate points and break up text made for blog content that way less intimidating, more engaging, and more informative than their competitors’ blog content.
In fact, one particular blog header they created was so successful that they were able to pull in 380% more traffic than their next best-performing article.
How Lease Ref used a custom header to get 380% more traffic to their blog
Let’s take a look at one of Lease Ref’s biggest successes to date.
Depending on where someone is looking, a blog header may be the first impression they have of your article.
For example, if you share a blog post on Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook, the blog post header and title are automatically shared.
With that in mind, you might want to reconsider wasting that valuable space on a generic stock photo.
Carrie realized just how effective an eye-catching blog header could be when one post in particular got 73% more traffic than the Lease Ref homepage.
Carrie liked this particular template because the background image was general enough to apply to a wide range of people but it was still thematically linked to her blog post.
So she decided to repurpose the template to create a blog header for her post “132 Insanely Useful Websites for Entrepreneurs and Small Business”.
Now, it’s important to note that there are a couple of different things that contributed to their success.
First, the content of the blog post is solid. It’s full useful resources, the text itself is readable, and there are plenty of screen caps and other visuals to illustrate the information.
Because let’s face it: no matter how attractive the images in a blog post are, if the post doesn’t offer any real value to readers, they aren’t going to bother reading or sharing it.
Second, Carrie and her husband used some smart promotional strategies to get their blog post out there.
1. They shared their blog post on Facebook, using the blog header as a featured image, and gave the post a boost. They targeted both entrepreneurs and small business audiences.
2. They submitted their post to StumbleUpon, which got them some referral traffic.
3. They reached out to every site they included in their blog post and asked them to share their blog post (this strategy was the most effective).
Carrie sent out a pretty attention-grabbing email to each site…
Check out what happened:
Their “132 Insanely Useful Websites” blog post now consistently gets 380% more views than their second-best performing blog post, and 73% more people are landing on this post than on their home page.
Lease Ref managed to pull in significantly more traffic by 1) combining an eye-catching blog header with helpful content, and 2) some smart content promotion.
But that’s not all Lease Ref has accomplished with custom visuals. On the whole, their blog content is more engaging and informative than their competitors’ blogs.
Carrie uses infographics, diagrams, charts and social media images to illustrate points and to break up intimidating walls of text.
Use images to make their blog content more engaging
While you should use images to improve the flow of a blog post, the images themselves should offer added value for the reader.
That’s why infographics are so effective–not only do they give your eyes a rest, but they also summarize information. Just pull the key information from your blog post and make it into an infographic.
Summarize information at the end of a blog post with a long infographic
Even if your blog writing is engaging and even if you pepper visuals throughout the article, there are still going to be people who don’t bother reading your post.
Sometimes it’s because the blog post didn’t answer their question, or they didn’t feel up to reading a long article. In either cases, they may choose to scan quickly through the article.
That’s where an infographic that summarizes the key information in your blog post comes in handy. Even if someone doesn’t bother to read your entire blog post, they are more likely to bother taking a few seconds to read over your infographic.
Because the infographic is long, Carrie usually includes them at the end of her blog posts to summarize all of the information above.
Here’s an infographic Carrie created to summarize a blog post about bad office lease renewals. Even if people don’t bother reading the entire article, they can still get the key information in this infographic:
Keep readers engaged with short infographics throughout a blog post
Another way to keep people reading your blog post is to include short infographics throughout your article.
For example, you could use a short infographic to summarize the key points of each section of a blog post. Or if there’s one section that is particularly important for readers to understand, you could use an infographic to visualize it.
Lease Ref often uses short infographics throughout their blog posts to keep readers engaged.
Here is a simple and color graphic Carrie uses in a post about sale leasebacks:
Not only does the graphic offer your eyes a break from the text, it also helps illustrate a key concept explained in the post.
Use simple visuals to explain key concepts in your blog posts
Even if you don’t want to create a full infographic, you can still use simple design elements to create informative visuals.
After Carrie explains a key concept, she often includes a short single-visual graphic that illustrates the concept. The graphics break up the text and reinforce the information.
Like this simple visual in a blog post about subletting your office space:
Using a simple area chart template, the visual illustrates the opportunity for profiting from a subletter.
Add humor to your blog posts with visuals
Just because it’s a company blog doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Visuals are a great way to add some much needed humor to a dry topic.
Carrie also used some simple arrows and text to liven up a post about why businesses shouldn’t rent commercial loft space. The image funny while also giving readers a better understanding of why businesses probably won’t want to go for a trendy loft space.
By using custom blog images, Carrie was able to demystify dry, sometimes complex information and create blog content that is actually fun to read.
How YOU can create your own blog infographics
Creating your own infographics can be intimidating if you have no experience.
Carrie knew that if she was going to create professional blog graphics on a budget, she was going to need a little help getting started.
When she was first learning to make infographics, Carrie picked infographic templates that only require small edits like changing the fonts, icons and colors. Then, after some practices, she was able to start creating her own infographic designs from scratch.
If you follow the same process as Carrie, you will be able to create your own infographics for a wide range of uses–not just blog posts!
Creating an awesome infographic to accompany your blog posts only takes three steps.
Pick which information you would like to visualize
There are three ways you can approach picking a topic for your infographic.
1. Summarize the key points of your entire blog post. In this case, it’s often easiest to simply organize the information on your infographic in the same order and with the same subheadings as your blog post.
2. Pick a particularly important section of your blog post and visualize that.
3. Make an infographic that offers some further, complementary information. For example, you could flesh out a section of your blog post even more in an infographic.
Let’s take another look at the infographic Carrie made for her blog post about office lease renewals:
Even if people don’t bother reading her entire blog post, they will be able to get the key information from her infographic.
Pick the right infographic template for your information
The information you are visualizing will dictate which type of infographic template you use.
For example, if your infographic is going to present a process or a step by step guide, then a process infographic template will work best.
Or if your infographic is going to present a bunch of statistics and data, a statistical infographic template with charts and graphs will work well.
Often enough, you may decide to use a particular template simply because you like the color scheme, title font, or the icons it has. But keep in mind: you can always personalize those elements yourself.
Carrie used an informational infographic template with designated sections and clear headers to visualize the key information in her blog post.
Customize your infographic template and make it beautiful
Once you have picked your template, now you can customize the design elements to make it fit your brand. Venngage’s business plan offers a brand kit. It lets you add your brand’s color scheme so that you always have easy access to your more used palette.
This could involve simply swapping out the text and changing a few icons, or it could involve recreating entire sections of the infographic.
Adjust the length of the infographic:
If a template has more sections than you require, you can select the extra sections and simply delete them.
Then adjust the size of your page.
Change the infographic template colors:
Paste the hex codes or find the right shade using the color wheel.
Insert your information into the template:
Copy and paste your infographic into the text boxes on your template.
Change icons to fit your information:
Search for icons that fit the style an color scheme or your infographic.
Set your business apart from your competitors
When it comes to getting more traffic to your blog, pay attention to your audience and create original and engaging content that appeals to them.
Lease Ref knew that their audience would probably be bored by generic real estate content so they decided to spice things up. Their blog is a source of helpful information and some pretty entertaining infographics.
Look for places on your own site where you can make information more engaging by using visuals. And don’t let the design process intimidate you…remember, you can always start with a template.
Now you know the basics of how to write a good blog post by using infographics and other visuals. If you want even more actionable blogging tips, check out our in-depth guide for increasing blog traffic.