Post by Blog Manager, Robbi Hess
One of my all time favorite movies is Zoolander. I cannot resist “Blue Steel” and the funniest part of the movie (to me as a lover of words) is when Derek Zoolander realizes his dream of building a “Center For Children Who Can’t Read Good and Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too.” Derek, had a good heart, but was not the brightest bulb in the candelabra.
What does this have to do with anything? Well, bloggers want to read posts that are written well. They want to read posts that have information they can use. Posts that inform, enlighten or make them laugh. When you write a post are you writing well?
Here are my favorite five tips if you want your blog posts read:
- Have something to say. Just because you have set yourself a goal to blog five days a week, if you don’t have anything to say, then please, don’t write. If you don’t want to stop writing, then I urge, implore, plead with you to have an editorial calendar at the ready. I believe the more you write, the more you will have to write about. Topics feed topics and one topic can lead to another. One point in a blog post might have the potential to be a stand alone blog post. Keep an idea journal. Record your brilliant blog post thoughts when the come to you. Add them to your editorial calendar a a way to ensure you won’t run out of things to say. You certainly don’t want to bore your reader to sleep, do you?
- Write an outline. I can feel the collective cringe across the airwaves. You don’t have to an outline the way your high school English teacher forced you to, but if you have an outline your post will follow a natural progression and when you’re writing you can just be in the flow and get the words down. Write a topic sentence (the overall message you want your post to impart). Jot down a few thoughts for your opening paragraph, note what you want to say in the body of the post and then wrap it up. Offer the reader an “action item” as a way to get them thinking or commenting on your post.
- Share your content with others. If you absolutely love reading XYZ Blogger, why not approach the blog owner and ask if you can be a contributor. If you have expertise that you feel XYZ Blogger’s readers would appreciate, why not share it with them. You will never know if you’ll be accepted as a guest blogger unless you ask. Also, this will give your (well-written) words a home in front of a new audience.
- KISS your readers! LOL because I am a dog owner (or am owned by a dog!) I am the recipient of many kisses, but what I am talking about is “Keep It Simple Sally/Stan” (I don’t love the “stupid” part of the phrase). Yes, you have more expertise than your reader, if you didn’t why would they come to you? Yes, you are funnier than your reader. Yes, you may be degreed and have a lot of high-faluting letters after your name, but what does that mean to me when I read your blog post? It depends. If I am looking for a high tech article, then please blow me away with your knowledge. If I am coming to you to find out the best way to groom my dog, write a blog post, travel cross country with my pet, then please tell me what I need to know. Also, unless your blog is going to be read only by industry professionals, slow down with the acronyms. When I am reading the texts that my kids send me I sometimes have to really stop and ponder what in the heck some of the acronyms mean; don’t make your reader have to pull out a dictionary to decipher your message.
- Take it to the stage! Not literally. If you ever want to know how your words really sound then read your post aloud. If you stumble over words or phrases when you’re reading it, your reader will too. Also, something you’ve written may look good, but not flow well at all. Henrietta is the recipient of many a blog post recitation especially if I am writing on a topic that is not 100% within my area of expertise. Reading aloud also is a great way to “edit” your work in a different medium. When reading your your post aloud you will (hopefully) catch errors, misspellings, grammar faux pas and more. (Hopefully you caught the one in this sentence because when your fingers are flying there is the chance that you will write the same word more than once… it happens!) This tip may also help you write more concisely.
While writing may be a somewhat subjective practice, there are still rules that need to be followed. You can certainly insert a brilliant metaphor or a clever turn of phrase, but bottom line, well-written post will draw in readers and likely keep them coming back! What can you do to make certain you’re writing well?
(Photo Shutterstock: Group of dogs listening)
(Photo Shutterstock: Sleeping ferret)