Do you believe that anyone can write a blog post? It’s true, but many people fall down on on the style and tone of their text. Often, you’ll find people write as they think they should come across, rather than as who they really are.
That is forgivable if you’re writing a formal business proposal or a keynote speech for a conference, but in blogging it’s a real no-no.
Blogging is all about being yourself, being informal and sharing a conversation with your readers that they can understand and identify with.
Here is some advice which should help you avoid the pitfalls and write good, relevant, inviting text.
1. Before you start to write, be sure you know your readers / customers / prospects very, very well.
2. Define what you want your blog post to achieve: inform, entertain, warn, amuse, etc.
3. Develop the basic message of that blog post out of the right criteria (what do they need and want to read, not just what you want to tell them)
4. Write as people speak: imagine you’re talking to a friend over a cup of coffee, and write it down in that way
5. Write in terms of “we” and “us” or “I” and “me,” but don’t use a pompous “royal we” approach
6. Make every sentence relevant to the audience – “what’s in it for them?”
7. Wherever possible write to “you” – not to 3rd-person “customers,” “staff,” “suppliers,” etc
8. Don’t just get to the point – start with it, and phrase it so it will grab the audience’s attention
9. Say what you mean and don’t procrastinate with fuzzy language
10.Be informal but be careful not to be overly familiar
11.Use action words, not passive – sharper nouns, stronger, shorter verbs
12.Use active rather than passive phrasing (“go to bed now,” not “it’s time you went to bed”)
13.Although simple is usually better, don’t over-simplify – it can seem childish or patronising
14.Don’t go into more than one idea per sentence
15.Write so that one sentence flows logically into the next
16.One-word or verbless sentences are useful for pacing and effect, but only if you use them sparingly
17.Where possible start new paragraphs with links like “Of course,” or “However,” to keep the audience hooked
18.Use a list or bullet points to put across more than two or three items in a sequence
19.Keep jargon to a minimum and be sure your audience will understand what you do use
20.Avoid meaningless or valueless clichés because they make your writing seem unoriginal
21.Learn the difference between poor clichés and your business’s commonly used terms, and use the latter intelligently
22.Avoid adjectives and superlatives that smell phony, e.g. “best,” “fastest,” “exciting”
23.Use the most visual adjectives and adverbs you can think of – they’re powerful
24.Use “Plain English” wherever possible and especially when writing for audiences whose mother-tongue is not English
25.Avoid long blocks of text because they’re uninviting to read, especially online
26.Visually break up continuous sections of text by peppering them with cross-headings or emboldened key points
27.Keep paragraphs short, and vary the length of sentences from short to medium-length
28.Check for small grammatical and punctuation goofs – they make you look amateurish
29.Check for spelling mistakes and don’t rely totally on your spellchecker
30.Proofread your work backwards – it sounds crazy but you don’t miss spelling mistakes that way
Good luck, and happy blog writing!
While you’re here, don’t forget to stop by my Bookshop…books and eBooks to help you write better – and to give to friends and family…