Effective Blog Writing

By Nicole Tinkham

Obviously I’m a blog writer but I don’t just do it for fun on the weekends. I also write blogs twice a week for the office/art supply company I work for. I enjoy doing it but I know there’s always room for improvement and honestly, I’ve never studied writing whatsoever so I feel like there’s much more I need to know. This morning I’ll be doing research on great blog writing techniques so hopefully I can actually get people to read these blogs!

Have a focus
There are times I’m totally into a certain topic I’m planning to write about and other times I feel like I’m making it up as I go. This is where I’m wrong. You must have a clear reason for blogging so your audience has a reason to read it. You don’t want your blog to be all over the place so plan out what you want to say before writing.

Schedule
I have NO problem with sticking to a schedule since I’m such a scheduled person. I write these posts every Saturday morning and my work posts go out every Monday and Thursday. Having a schedule is important so your reader knows when to expect new content.

Length
This is something I’ve always wondered. How long should blog posts be? According to one of my sources (see end of post for link), 200 words is not an efficient blog post length. Post should be anywhere from 600 to 1,000 words. I agree with this length but I also think shorter posts can be just as valuable. It just depends what you’re writing about. I’ve written blogs in the past that I look at now and think it was way too long. You tend to lose interest if your post turns into a novel.

Learn something
This is the exact reason I started this blog. I love writing about my research and new things I’ve learned. I feel this is important for people who think they can only write about what they already know.

Encourage comments (even the negative ones)
I’m always trying to get comments and for whatever reason I never do. Blogs are often controversial since most of the time it’s based on the opinion of the writer. Negative comments can be scary but criticism is a great way to grow as a writer.

Don’t be too formal
When people sit down to read a blog they don’t want to read a text book. Be relaxed, add your personality, and mix it up with a little bit of humor.

Make a topic list
As soon as you think of a great blog topic (it may come to you in the middle of the night) add it to your topic list. You’ll need all the ideas you can get when your scrambling around last minute trying to think of something to write about. Make sure to think about what your readers would be interested in.

Images
Your number one concern when writing a blog post is probably getting the words typed out but images are just as important for your post. Images (and the post title) are what will get you readers. Here are five things to consider when choosing your blog image (thanks Social Media Examiner!):

  • Convey the overall feeling or emotion of your post
  • Illustrate a metaphor or analogy that is part of your main idea
  • Evoke surprise or curiosity
  • Complement your headline
  • Make your reader smile

The inverted pyramid
This is how you should be setting up your posts (a journalistic approach):

  • First paragraph = Basic info
  • Middle = Go into the details
  • End = Other general info and background info
Lists
I’ve always heard that people are more likely to read top list posts. For example, “Top 9 books to read this winter”. I’ve also heard that posts using odd numbers (like 9) perform better than Top 10 or 20. Lists are just easier to read and can be easily skimmed over which is why I think they are so popular.
Content
If stumped on what to write about next, just think about what people are typing into the search engine. This would also make the perfect title for your post! Also, don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they want to hear about next. Here are the keys to valuable content:

  • Can the user find the content
  • Can the user read the content
  • Can the user understand the content
  • Will the user want to take action
  • Will the user share the content

Know your reader
If you want to keep your readers, you’ll have to write for your readers. Know who they are, what their interests are, what they want to learn about, and anything else you can find out about them. You can always learn more about them by their comments or by hosting polls and surveys.
Personal details
Don’t just state the facts. Add a little personality to your blogs. Readers love learning a little about the writer behind their favorite source of content.
Edit
As with any type of writing, it’s important to edit your blog posts. Have someone read over it and don’t forget to check all of your links!
These are just a few tips I found this morning but I think I’m going to call it quits for today. I’m tired and my backspace key keeps sticking and deleting half my sentence. Guess I’m not allowed to make any mistakes here on out! Anyway, if you have any additional tips for me please leave a comment!
 
Sources

Social Media Examiner (I’m in love with this blog)
Talascend  

I also wanted to mention that I use PicMonkey for my images. Definitely something to check out for your blog images. There are a ton of ways to edit photos!

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