As a blogger, you know that content is key to writing a killer blog post. Without quality, engaging content, it really doesn’t matter how well-written your post is – it simply won’t play. That said, bad writing can obscure good content such that your genius might get lost under poor organization, overlong paragraphs, or a sloppy layout. To help your brilliant ideas and stellar vision shine, we’ve put together some of our best tips on the do’s & don’ts of great blog writing.
DO start with a fool-proof outline
Writing without an outline is like landing in a foreign city with nothing more than the name of your hotel. You might have an interesting adventure, but it’ll likely be an 8 hour slog rather than an efficient jog from A to B. Spending just 5 minutes outlining prior to starting your blog post will allow you to plot out the major points you want to make and will let you more clearly see the connections between them. You’ll have a better sense of the hierarchy of your information, and a better shot at convincing your readers of your point – since you’re giving them a clear path to get to it.
DON’T be afraid of the crappy first draft
The “crappy first draft” gives you an out when putting together a post, a way to push through and get your ideas down on paper without worrying about how it sounds. Try setting aside 30 minutes just to write without going back to re-read or edit. Once you have the basic structure, try reading the piece out loud for glaring errors or structural confusion. The internet has given rise to a lot of laziness in spelling and grammar. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap! Additionally, be accurate when including facts and statistics, and be sure to cite your sources. Finally, solicit feedback from colleagues or friends. And be your own fiercest critic. If you aren’t interested in your own work, it’s doubtful anyone else will be.
DO surprise us
Include something of real value to your readers. Mining the same old content, especially content that can be found on other related sites, won’t help you distinguish your voice or your brand from the crowd. Try to include new data – or a new interpretation of old data. Maybe there’s an anecdote from your company that would illuminate a particular topic. Add value to your audience and they will remember your blog as a great place to return when they’re in a rut.
DON’T stick to a tired format
Internet readers are notorious for having short attention spans and little patience when it comes to blog posts. You want to make it easy on your readers: keep your text well-organized, preferably in short, punchy paragraphs with clear sub-headings. Explore different kinds of posts as well to avoid both reader and writer fatigue. Try a listicle, flowchart, how-to guide, or infographic. And make sure your style is in line with both your content and brand, whether that be informative, off-the-cuff, or downright weird.
DO make it visual
Include images (or videos and gifs) when relevant. Visual elements that break up the text and provide different textural points of focus for the reader can keep boredom at bay by creating a more pleasant reading experience. Images will also make your content infinitely more shareable.
DON’T throw away your title
An attention-grabbing title is the best ambassador for your blog post. It is often the only piece your audience sees in a search engine or social network, so it needs to invite curiosity. A great blog post is catchy and original. Include enough information so that your reader gets a sense of what the piece is about, but not so much that they don’t feel the need to click through. Headlines with numbers – think “10 Ways to Write a Better Title” – often get more clicks, as do those that hint at something surprising or new. To really get a sense of what might work, test out potential headlines on friends or coworkers. And make sure to gather data on your top performing titles to assess trends among your target audience.
DO ask your reader to participate
Invite your reader in with a clear call-to-action at the end of the post. This can be as simple as using a pertinent question to encourage commenting or sharing. You can also link out of the post to your product or service, or link internally to other relevant posts. As long as the invitation is sincere and related to the content at hand, you’ll be engaging your audience in a genuine way and making them feel more connected to your organization.
We hope these tips will help you craft great blog posts that you and your brand can be truly proud of. And when you’re ready to share these with the world, check out our posts on finding blog readers and marketing your blog.