|When you blog on an ongoing basis, perhaps even daily, you soon fall into a routine that includes certain unwritten rules to make your copy as entertaining as possible. If you are new to blogging, or aren’t getting the feedback that you were expecting, you may be forgiven for thinking that these unknown laws are the stronghold of those that are in some secret circle, or those that have a set of outlines to refer to when editing. It really isn’t that much of an unearthed secret from some ancient tomb that has led those of us that write often that leads us to write great copy every single time. Unless you have gone through some kind of formal writing education, it’s really a case of trial and error, much the same thing that you are going through. Of course, the best posts are also the result of lots of work. While I can dash off a blog post every day, it takes another few hours of ‘fine-tuning’ to get it to say what I want.
Culling the net for Best Blogging Practices will soon lead you to a list of ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ that will make your everyday blogging practices easier. In fact, there is a list of glaringly obvious outlines that most full-time, respected bloggers follow, and will give your writing more punch. Here are the top tips that I found over the last little while – things that I follow, but more unconsciously than anything else. I hope they can ignite your imagination.
1. Attention Grabbing Headline: You read blogs because their headline draws you in. Make a promise of benefit, make it short, and deliver what you promise.
2. The first 50 words: They should outline a situation, or a problem, that the reader shares and wants the answer to. Don’t make your points flowery, but describe them well. I always remember Mark Twain’s maxim: Don’t write that it’s raining, describe what it feels like to be rained upon.
3. Use Persuasive Words: There is power in a pen, words can persuade. There are trigger words, and adjectives that hit home. Read some fiction to find out what grabs you about a scene, a phrase, a sentence, and use the words you see that trigger something in you, that persuades you that this real.
4. Bullet points: You have seen this in many articles: List your ideas in easy to read and consume sentences, then follow up with another piece of information that describes it more fully. Don’t write anymore on a point, simply edit those two items down until they describe the point you are trying to make. Of course, you can always use numbers, too!
5. Hold reader’s attention: You know who you are writing for, and you know what they are looking for. Gently get to your punchline, your answer, or your point in a way that keeps them hanging in there with you. You want them to move on, not check out.
6. Close the deal: You have set up a situation, a premise, or a problem. At the end, solve it. Your final conclusion should ask questions, or make your reader reach for their own conclusion, but give them the answer they need.
Of course, editing is vitally important. Aim for 500 – 600 words for a total, but pad it out with scene setting, description, and adjectives, first. Then cut the article back to your desired length, leaving the most important components of the piece, with just the right amount of accompanying description. Learn to master the six points above (and have fun while you are doing it! It’s exciting!), and your blog posts will shine. If you re-read this post, you will see that these six points are covered completely. In fact, the hardest thing I had to do was winnow all of the ways that I think automatically when writing down to these six.