Ask any blogger how to find blogging success and she’ll answer with write well. It’s cliche, but it’s true: content is king. Your blog design, brand, and attitude are all important, but the bottom line is this: any amount of success requires good content. And writing strong content is rarely a quick thing. It takes planning and effort. Here I give you six steps to help you write a better blog post.
- Know your audience. Success in anything can be boiled down to knowing your audience. If you know your audience, you know what they are looking for and you can give it to them. If you’re writing tutorials, you’ll need to determine whether you’re writing for a beginner, intermediate, or expert. If you’re sharing funny stories, what seems to resonate with your audience? Look at your Google Analytics to see what posts see the most traffic (organic and search) and figure out what speaks to your audience on such a large scale. Not sure what your audience wants more of? Ask them.
- Know your goal. What is your post trying to accomplish? Do you want to make your readers laugh? Show them how to do something? Encourage them to leave a comment? As you write your post, keep that goal in mind and consider how it fits with your audience.
- Tell a story. Now that you have your goal in mind and you know what you want to write, make sure you do it in a way that is easy for your reader to follow. Have a beginning, middle, and end to your post. It’s so easy to start out writing on one topic, then move tangentially to a new topic. The result is that your post is confusing or, worse, doesn’t deliver on your goal (i.e., teaching, entertaining, challenging, etc.).
- Respect the language. I’ve been called a grammar snob, and it’s true. I am. I also realize that not everyone has a knack for grammar, punctuation, and spelling. But that doesn’t mean they don’t matter. These constructs are what we use to navigate the written language. They are cues that tell your reader what your intention is. A mistake here or there can be overlooked, but consistently ignoring good grammar and punctuation may lead to fewer eyes on your page.
- Use interesting, strong words. Or, as Rita Arens puts it, write with authority. Not only should you choose strong words, you should get rid of the dead words that add nothing to your story. Which brings us to . . .
- Edit. Once you write your post, you’re not finished. Re-read your post, re-work your post, re-write your post as needed. NinaAmir suggests exercises for editing your own work like simply taking an existing piece of writing and trying to re-write it using half as many words. Like good writing, good editing takes practice.