The concept of blogging has had a relatively short history when compared to other forms of content, but its rapid growth is impressive nonetheless. What started as a lone college student’s “personal homepage” in 1994 has become a standard content vehicle, with the total number of blogs in existence estimated to surpass 440 million worldwide.
Of course, there are endless varieties of blog content—you’re not competing with half a billion business blogs—but the challenge is to stand out among those who could take business away.
Quality content is critical for inbound marketing success, but it’s not everything. The creative presentation of your blog and blog posts can also make an impact. Specifically, a good pull quote--what I call the “money quote”--may be one visual treatment that keeps readers on the page.
Identifying the Money Quote
Throughout my career, I’ve conducted countless interviews for articles and blogs I’ve written for newspapers, magazines, and other online publications. Preparation is an essential step. I have my list of questions. I’ve done background research on the topic, as well as the person being interviewed. But, all the groundwork aside, what I’m listening for is that money quote.
All the groundwork aside, what I’m listening for is that money quote.
Often I get asked how I select pull quotes, but there’s no straightforward answer. You’ll know it when you hear it. Usually, it stirs something in me, pulls at my heartstrings, or piques my interest in a way that I know will have the same effect on the reader. The most engaging blogs are ones that not only inform but evoke some level of emotion—even in the oft, sometimes cold-hearted business world.
The best scenario is when you have options. If you’re lucky enough to extract more than one pull quote, you can also weave the language within the blog for a holistically compelling piece.
Of course, blogs are often not a result of the interview process. That’s when enlisting really solid writers becomes a valuable asset to your content library. A good writer can compose an entire blog or blog series based off a phrase or sentence or even one word that came to her in the middle of the night.
The challenge is to stand out among those who could take business away.
A mistake some business blogs make is to not maximize the great content they’ve created. Savvy content creators are able to take pieces of persuasive content and repurpose it in multiple assets and channels. A powerful pull quote can make an impactful social card, sparking more shares and retweets on your social media platforms and thus driving more traffic to your blog. Its inclusion in a slideshare, infographic, or newsletter also “spreads the love,” so to speak.
Another important thing to remember is that while the quote alone has to be significant enough to make an impression, the design and placement also carry weight. Hiding a pull quote at the bottom of your blog lessens its effect.
A good writer can compose an entire blog series based off a phrase that came to her in the middle of the night.
The reality is, unless you have a lot of spare time on your hands (and who does these days), you don’t read every word in an article or blog. Even if your readers do have the time, you don’t want them to get MEGO: my eyes glaze over. A blog that is text-heavy or text-only might get a quick scan but is more likely to induce yawns and result in page abandonment. In addition to pull quotes, you can draw readers’ attention by including images, charts, bullets, and bold phrases.
One thing’s for sure, blogging and other content strategies are here to stay. If you can make your blog stand out from the crowd, both readership and ROI will get a nice boost.