You know why you should blog and you’re aware that you must write content that stands out from the many thousands of articles that are uploaded to the Internet on a daily basis. It’s undoubtedly a challenge to make yourself heard and it takes perseverance while you’re building up an audience.
So how do you go from good to great? What will really grab a reader’s attention when there is so much choice in all industry sectors?
Just do it
You need to get writing: As a creative type you can either dream about a future where you get paid for writing, designing, acting or painting or you can actually get on and do it. We all have friends who would like to do something extra-curricular but they just don’t ‘have the time or the platform’.
A creative brain is great but it does need harnessing at times and the Internet gives you the platform to start a blog with WordPress, Blogger etc and to get on with things.
I am also suspicious of writer’s block: It is definitely a ‘thing’ but it can be overplayed at times. You don’t see a car worker downing tools and going for a walk in order to get their head together. Take a quick break when you need to but sometimes the best way to overcome it is to start writing and to keep going. While some ideas will be better than others, the ability to self-edit will ensure that only the best work makes it into the public domain.
What to write
Anyone who had taken any form of writing course will have been told to ‘cover what they know’. That seems like sensible advice but I would twist that slightly and ask you to write on what you’re passionate about.
As an example, I know an awful lot about football but since becoming involved in the game at grass roots level, I’ve developed something of a cynical outlook when talking about the professionals. Challenge me to a football quiz and you’re history but ask me to write a 600 word blog post and I’ll pass that work on to one of the excellent writers here at 90 Digital.
If you’re cynical or just tired of writing about a subject, that will come through in your work. It’s far better to write on something that inspires you, even if you’re still developing your knowledge.
Consider your readership
Once you’ve decided on a subject area you need to think about your readers. Draw up a persona of a typical visitor to your website. Who will be reading and what are their interests?
Uncover your typical reader and it will be easier to write in a way that keeps them coming back for more.
Draw them in
You need a good headline but don’t agonise over it for too long. If nothing grabs you within a few minutes, get a provisional working title down on paper and then get on with the main body of the text.
As you continue to write, you’ll find that title suggestions pop into your head as the article continues to develop and by the end of the piece, you should have at least one standout option. Remember, a headline naturally has to outline the content without giving too much away and while it doesn’t have to be a ‘pun’ or a particularly clever play on words, it should always draw the reader in.
A marathon or a sprint?
Is there such a thing as a perfect word length? There are several opinions on this but personally I think it depends upon the topic. If you’re covering a piece of breaking news then 300 to 400 words should be enough to give an overview of that event but if we’re considering an opinion based article then you may want to expand that to 1000 words.
In time, you’ll find that your work finds a natural length without the need for ‘padding’.
While I always like to consider a readership first and Google second, it is suggested that articles less than 250 words and more than 1000 perform poorly in search results so you may want to keep that in mind.
Notes on style
Everyone has their own rules and opinions when it comes to house style but most people are agreed that you need to break up text so that it becomes easier to read. You can do this by using photographs, sub headings or a combination of both so why not experiment and discover what you and your readers prefer?
Blocks of writing at 300 words or more are tough for the brain to digest so these natural breaks will definitely make things more readable.
There are a number of tips and tricks that you can take on board which will make your blog post more SEO-friendly but in the first instance, I would recommend that you concentrate on providing engaging content which your readers will enjoy.
There are a number of ways in which you can go from ‘Good to Great’ and hopefully these tips will make writing more enjoyable while providing interesting and debatable articles for your readership.