Having a conversation with someone who only wants to talk about how awesome they are is about as pleasurable as sticking a fork in your ear. No wait, even worse; a spork in your ear. The same rules apply to the blogosphere. Bloggers who use posts to solely promote their products instead of providing relevance and value to their readers just don’t get it. They’re also probably calling sporks “foons.” Sigh.

Your job as a blogger is to bring value to and entertain your customers, not to work a sales pitch into every post. Think of yourself as a magazine publisher — you must create articles people want to read and that sell themselves. Do this consistently, and customers will find you. Here’s how:

Is your blog content making kitties yawn? Stop that.

Research Your Audience
How can you know what types of information your blog readers crave if you haven’t yet pinpointed your target audience? The quick answer is you can’t. The first action every blogger must take is to learn the desires, likes, and purchasing habits of their target audience. Does your reader base expect thrilling tales of adventure from your blog? If so, whatever you do, do NOT mention Lincoln. Woooee! Snooze-a-rama!

Which type of consumer is most likely to buy your products or services? Who is already reading and commenting on your blog posts? These questions and others can help you learn more about the readers your posts must reach.

Know What’s Trending
After you understand your target audience, you can then begin to learn which topics are trending among those consumers online. Just a few valuable resources you can use to keep pace with online trends include BuzzFeed and Twitter.

By knowing the topics relevant to your blog that are picking up a head of viral steam, you can tailor future posts to meet those information demands. However, to do this successfully, you must cover topics in a different way than other bloggers in your niche market.

Spark Emotion
Emotion is the guiding force behind most of the blog posts that go viral. That and cats. When a blog post ignites joy, anger, or other strong emotions in readers, those readers are much more likely to share the post with their friends. And if someone gets joyful about a cat post? Watch out, world.

Here’s a good question to ask with each blog post you write: Why is this topic important to my readers? Identify why they’ll want to consume it, then make it irresistible with  humor or a compelling story or valuable information — anything that speaks to the emotions of your readers.

Be Concise
If someone wants to read a novel, they’ll buy a book hover over someone’s shoulder on the subway and peer at their tablet. But most people don’t have time for that. Online users usually lack the patience to read lengthy paragraph blocks, especially when the same information can be reduced to a few sentences. Find the core of your blog post, present that first, and then only include the key points that support the core message. Doing this consistently develops reader loyalty and shows that you truly understand the needs of your readers.

Rather than creating sales pitches, draft blog posts that are actually useful to your readers. And don’t wear pins like this.

Worried that no one is reading your blog? If you’re using posts solely as product sales pitches, you’re right: they aren’t reading it. Bring value to your blog by generating relevant and useful posts your target audience is eager to consume. Do this consistently and readers will start arriving in droves. You’ll likely start selling more products as well. Sporks! Sporks! Who needs a case of sporks?!