Endings are hard. They are a curse that haunt us. We’ve finished the post but have we ended it?
Have you ever read a great blog post or article and it’s started to evaporate towards the end? Not only have I read posts like that, I’ve written them too.
So how should you end your posts? Does it really matter?
That’s what this post is all about. Get them right and you could hook your reader, get them reading more, get them to take action, get them to keep thinking.
But most blog writers don’t give them a passing thought
Let’s look at what a good ending can do and how you can approach it.
This is part 4 of our series on writing blog posts people read to the end
In part 1 we looked at opening paragraphs
In part 2 we looked at the power of sub-headings
In part 3 we looked at how you can write scannable content
In this, part 4 we’ll look at blog endings
Keep people reading
We want our readers to do something more. To become customers or to become loyal advocates. And they aren’t going to do that by reading one post. We need them to consume, enjoy and read on. The more they read the more loyal they will become, the more likely they are to buy.
Like many people who reached their teens in the 80s, I was a Stephen King fan. I remember reading my first Stephen King book, ‘The Shining’. I raced through the pages dying to get to the end and when I did I paused and picked up another Stephen King novel.
You’ve already written a great post, all you need to do is give you readers a little push and you’ve got them Steven King style.
Give them opportunities to read on if they want to. Include links to other related posts in your text and at the end of your post. I use the ‘Contextual Related Posts’ plugin that adds related content at the bottom of posts. I’ve always liked the way Content Marketing Institute include ‘Handpicked content’ in the middle of their posts.
Make people feel like they’ve learned something
Do you love to learn? I’m pretty sure your readers do too. Why would we read a post unless we are going to learn from it? It doesn’t have to be a tutorial, people can learn from your experiences and stories too.
Your blog post ending is your chance to hammer your message home. To make sure your readers get it.
The key message I’m aiming for with this post is:
Write better endings to your blog posts and gain loyal readers – here’s how
You could do this by summing up your conclusions. Listing key takeaways or by adding a simple sentence re-affirming your main point.
It’s not always just the reader that’s doing the learning. Many bloggers find the act of writing a blog post a learning experience, I know I do.
If you bring your readers on that learning journey with you they’ll get to know you and trust you.If you bring your readers on that learning journey with you they'll get to know you and trust you.Click To Tweet
It’s much easier to relate to Dorothy’s last words in Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz after sharing her scary and wonderful adventure.
And here is Toto, too. And oh, Aunt Em! I’m so glad to be at home again!
And after your shared experience you’re more likely to agree with that point of view. There really is no place like home.
Write down the key message you want people to get from your post and make sure your post fulfils that message. Then hammer it home again at the end.
Get readers to take action
By Stephen Kinging your ending you are asking your readers to take action. You are asking them to keep reading but you can push it further than this.
Look for the one thing you’d like readers to do as a result of each post.
Do you want them to buy? Do you want them to comment? Do you want them to share your post? Perhaps you want them to take action on the thing you’ve taught them and show you want they did.
Think of one key thing you’d like them to do and challenge them to do it at the end of the post. If they obey they’ll be spending more time immersed in your business and guess what you’ve got a loyal reader at the very least and with any luck a customer too.
Avoid having more than one call to action as readers will become confused and do nothing.
End with a beginning
Gone With The Wind is over a thousand pages long yet the final words of the book are:
After all, tomorrow is another day.
If readers were expecting closure they’d be disappointed but what they got was the opportunity to continue the story in their own heads.
Even on a business blog, we can use this technique. We can leave the story unresolved. For example. I could end this blog post telling you I’m going to test these ending techniques to see which would work best.
As a reader would you try to guess the answer?
These are just some ways you can end your post. For me, it’s almost always a summary of the post to emphasise my key point but I’ve found challenges helpful in the past too.
Next time you are writing a post don’t let it evaporate at the end. Aim to finish it in a way that will keep your readers engaged either in reading, commenting, writing, buying or just by thinking about you.