Tips for writing better articles for your blog

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by on August 17, 2014

Give your all now

Tips for writing better articles for your blog

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Make your posts extremely easy to scan

Part of this is distilling your most important points into headlines, part of it is bolding particularly interesting or valuable pieces of information, space out your paragraphs so people don’t get lost in a sea of text, and make your links easy to check out.

Distill your most important points into the headlines

Anything in your paragraph or section should be up in that heading above. Literally, I should try to distill everything, especially the most valuable nugget of value and put it into my heading.

Ask a question as the title of your post to stoke curiosity

This is part of promoting your blog articles as well. Create interest by asking a question, and only answer the question once they get into your post, and read it. Every way that you can make someone curious do it. I personally feel like you should be stuffing every last ounce of value you can into a blog post if it’s relevant, and not promote posts with misleading taglines. i.e. ‘Why web designers have better sex.’ and then sneaking a little mini-paragraph justifying my click-bait title, because you can see how a blog visitor could get the point that you don’t value their attention, but rather are just trying to leverage it to get you in the door.

Find a way to frame the topic in a newsworthy way

Incredibly valuable point here, and this is something I haven’t made use of quite as much. When a topic breaks in the news that relates to your industry, perhaps the best thing you can do is provide some fresh perspective from the angle of industry insider. For instance, my post about placeholder ‘Lorem ipsum text’ on the Healthcare.gov website.

Make sure to minimize the amount of industry specific jargon

You can’t just sling around terms like ‘User Experience,’ ‘CMS’ and ‘MVP’ without explaining what they mean and why if you are in any way trying to reach out to people beyond your core ‘tribe’ of people. You may have a core audience for your blog that is in your industry, but some people are peering in the window and they want to be able to learn from your thoughts and experience as well. Let them.

Stop being so formal, Corporations even hate corporate speak now

When I slip out of my character of designer/entrepreneur sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised that people appreciate a somewhat un-guarded and candid look at my perspective. Wiggle out of your armor sometimes and just show the raw you, what you care about, why this work matters to you. If you’re passionate about what you do, all the better, you’re on your way to getting rabid fans that soak up your content with insatiable eagerness.

Use bullet points when you have a list of points

  • It makes things easier to scan
  • It creates a piece of the article that draws peoples attention
  • It creates order and thus allows people to absorb the information

 

Don’t worry as much about the length of the article, stuff it with value

This coming from a mentor of mine who’s been in the industry for 50 years. I told him at coffee hangout session recently, that the most ideal blog post length is said to be up in the 2000 word range now. He said this discussion has been going back and forth for many years, the opinions naturally cycling. What really ends up mattering, he told me, is that each and every ounce of your writing is stuffed with value. If it’s 100 words and packed with value, people are going to notice, and appreciate you saving their time. If it’s 1000 words and that value is spread across the that whole 1000 words, perhaps it won’t have as much impact. So my strategy is to shoot for a thousand words, but pack all thousand of them with tons of value.

Never save an idea for later, put it all in now

Really. If it’s part of your topic of the article your writing, don’t think to yourself, oh I can break this into parts and give them the other half tomorrow. No one cares about tomorrow when it comes to fresh content that’s bursting at the seems with value. Avoid the inclination to save a little value nugget in your pocket for later, put it in now. By giving everything you’ve got now, you set yourself to be open to new insights.

Keep a list of article ideas that you can start writing on at any moment

This is super helpful when I wake up in the morning early to write and instead of waiting for ‘the big idea’ to hit me like a magic bean, I just grab one of the topics on my list that I’ve already expressed interest in writing and start it up. It can also help to have decided on the topic you want to write on specifically that night before, and then think about it a bit before you go to bed. Sometimes the subconscious can do some of the work for you.

Write about the stuff that you love and are super interested in

Nothing is going to insure your success at writing as really pinpointing those things related to your business that are so interesting to you, you want to learn as much as you can about them and share that information. This comes out in your posts, and people are going to catch your enthusiasm.

Be OK with ‘shitty rough drafts’

Number one thing is to get all the information, and stories out on the table in whatever manner you can. If you have to go in and edit later, spruce it up, add or subtract content, than so be it. But in the meantime you have to get something out on the table, it’s not going to write itself. That leads me to the last point…

Do it

“The way to write a book is to actually write a book. A pen is useful, typing is also good. Keep putting words on the page.”

– Anne Enright


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