Creating a good blog is still one of the most effective and reliable methods of online marketing. If you have the talent and the skillset to write great blog posts, then you inevitably grow your website and grow your business.
To become an effective blogger, there are a few basic guidelines to follow. These guidelines will ensure that you are writing for the audience that you need to be. Writing online is different than writing a book.
Let’s take a look.
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We ALL want more people to read and share our content. What do we do? Usually, we (1) write more, thinking that more content will be seen by more people, or (2) read other people’s writing and try to mimic them.
In truth, wouldn’t it make more sense to focus on being yourself and on writing content that you feel great about?
More is not better. Better is better.
So how do we get better at blogging?
I have been doing this for a long time. After years of writing, learning, and experimenting I have discovered that great content can be simple and can be formatted in a way that creates more shares, follows and page views.
I didn’t know what went into a great blog post. I have spent hours practicing and writing thousands of page of content and I have discovered that it comes down to a few simple fundamentals.
Format Your Writing for the Screen
People love to say that people don’t read anymore. With so many images and video’s floating around, it’s easy to understand why some would think that way.
This is just not true.
Many people still love to read. Many people read every day. In order to get more exposure through your writing, you simply have to understand the difference between writing an essay, writing a book, and writing for the internet.
Formatting your content plays a huge factor.
You need to split your content into little bite sized chunks. A large majority of your readers will actually be “glancers.” They will skim through your writing quickly and look for key points to take away from it.
I will create another article that will lay out exactly how to format a blog post. For now, this article written on Copyblogger does a great job of explaining how to break up content, how to separate paragraphs with headers and how to draw the eye to important pieces of information with italics, bullet points, and bold font.
It Doesn’t Have to Be All Words
Words are great, but so are images.
Too often I see people fully committing to one form of media within their content.
- Writers like to write
- Videographers like to make videos
- Designers like to make images.
Why not combine all three?
There is no rule that says you need to only be using written text in your blog posts. I accompany videos with almost every post I create.
Remember that your message needs to educate, but it also needs to entertain. Images and videos are extremely entertaining. If activates different parts of the brain and it keeps people engaged on your site longer.
Why do so many people copy what other people do?
It is not necessary. Every successful blogger, YouTuber or podcaster has done so because he or she took a topic they were passionate about it and presented it in a way that was authentic to who they are.
I always recommend writing conversationally, even if you are writing about a serious topic.
Granted, there are different styles of writing that require a different tone. For example, writing from a journalistic standpoint requires that you refrain from emotion and do your best to present the facts in an unbiased way.
However, most of the time you can simply speak to your audience in the same way you would present your information in front of a group of people.
Everyone has a unique personality that is uniquely them. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of blogger in the world. What makes you different than the rest?
The answer is simple. There is only one you. If you write in a way that is not reflective to who you are, your audience will pick up on it and your content will never get the attention it deserves.
Don’t waste your time. Be yourself but always be your best self.
Check Your Damn Spelling
I. Hate. Grammar. (Did I just break my own rule?)
I hate it. I am terrible at it. It takes me longer to edit an article than it does to actually write it. But I do it, and there is a reason for it.
When recording a video or a podcast monolog, people generally accept mistakes in grammar or tone inflection. That just isn’t the case with writing.
As a people, we have decided that in order for writing to be excellent it must be grammatically correct. That’s just the way it is.
Your grammar is a reflection of your image. Good or bad, you have made an impression. And like all impressions, you are in total control.
– Jeffrey Gitomer
Grammar is not fun. I understand that, but if you have simple spelling and grammar mistakes in your writing it will not be taken seriously.
That’s just the way the cookie crumbles
Practice. Practice. Practice.
To wrap this all up, you need to understand that becoming an excellent writer is just like anything else.
You need to practice. You need to be intentional about the choices you make in your writing and you need to experiment. Try measuring the results of an article you write and then making some changes in the next article. See what happens and compare the two.
Experiment with different headlines. Try using bullet points more often. See if formatting your article as a list post will do better and pay attention to time on site.
If someone is actively engaged with your content, then they will read the entire piece. That is what you want.