Writing a blog post, especially for the first time, can be daunting. There are a lot of blogs already out on the internet and somehow you’re expected to stand out and be different. No pressure, right? But it doesn’t have to be overly stressful. Just follow some basic guidelines that many professional and emerging bloggers use:
Create an Outline
After choosing your topic, make a list of your key points, then it’s easy to organize your information in the most intuitive way. Use headers and, if necessary, sub-headers to break up your content into bite-size pieces.
Don’t Let Your Creativity Die
Sometimes we get so caught up in having to get it done now that we run in circles with no progress for an inordinate amount of time. Go ahead and stop the writing process when there’s a lull: like popcorn, you can wait those ten extra seconds for two more pops, but you risk ruining the whole batch if you do.
Use a Working Title
Coming up with the perfect title for your blog post doesn’t have to be the first thing you do. Matter of fact, unless something brilliant just pops in your head, don’t even worry about it until after you’ve written the content. In the meantime, just use a title that states the topic of your post. And remember that simple is usually best.
Find an Image
They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, so use that to your advantage. Find an interesting image that relates to your blog post to include. It can be an infographic, a stock image, or a cartoon. The important thing to remember is that someone can get an idea of the subject/tone of your post from the picture.
No one wants to read a blog that is overly professional and dull. This isn’t your Academic Writing 101 class from college, it’s the real world. That’s not to say that punctuation rules, good syntax, and subject/verb agreement aren’t important (because they absolutely are VERY important), but if your post doesn’t read out loud comfortably, then perhaps it’s time to reconsider your wording.
Write to Your Grandma
If you’re having a hard time starting the writing process because you’re not sure what voice to use or to what audience to write, pretend that your post is a letter to your grandmother or another close relative. It will help keep the tone conversational, personal, and to the point. Furthermore, even if your grandmother is a Scrabble wizard, like mine, you’ll be less likely to use words like “elucidate” (a personal favorite) in favor of simpler vocabulary. Despite having online dictionaries, your readers are not going to take the time to look up your favorite $5 words (elucidate means to make clear, by the way).
Keep It Short or Make It Long
With most writing, brevity is beautiful. This isn’t Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace after all. But, there are occasions when length is required for depth. Typically, a blog post should be either between 350 and 450 words, or greater than 600. There are always exceptions, so make sure you write enough to cover all of your key points, but not so much that your readers need a double shot of caffeine to make it through.
Use Culture References Broadly and Appropriately
Unless your blog is designed for a niche market, consider what culture references you use and how. Not everyone has the base of knowledge you do about wherever your passion lies. Like ballet? The common person doesn’t know the term “détaché”. Like rockets? Few have a clue that the external tank of a rocket uses monomethylhydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide, both of which are hypergolic fuels. So if your post is meant for the general public, make your references general.
Keeping these steps in mind, you should be well on your way to writing an awesome blog post. And, as always, if you need assistance with any of your digital marketing process, please don’t hesitate to contact The Belford Group. We’d love to hear from you.