I know all too well that maintaining a blog is hard work and often share some tips with our clients that help me keep things going. I eventually decided that it might be useful for others if I shared these online, so I’m writing this short sequence of articles to help you become a better blogger.
In the second of this 3-part series, we build on the framework for our blog post that we put together in “How to write a blog post – Part 1: Getting started”. By the end of this article, you’ll have done all the writing you need to and be well on the way to having your blog post completed.
In our previous post, we created the structure for our blog post with six headings, each having three items we wanted to cover. The next step is to fill out the blog post using this structure.
1. Write your blog’s introduction
The introduction is your chance to set the scene and get the reader interested in what you’re going to tell them. You could do worse than to follow the advice from Dale Carnegie (famous public speaker and all-round self-improvement guru from the 1950s) who said “Tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it; then tell them what you’ve said.”
A sign of real quality is to link your opening paragraph to your last, which wraps the whole article up in a lovely little package and reinforces your original premise to the reader.
Remember: use your introduction to tell them what you’re going to say.
Finally, don’t forget that if your post is a follow-up to a previous piece, or maybe even part of a series like this one, include a link to the previous post in your intro so the reader can find the original if they need to.
2. Write up your paragraphs
Deep breath; here we go – this is the bit where you need to do a bit of writing. But FEAR NOT – you’ve got two major tools in your armoury that will help you get through this.
One; because you’ve broken your blog post down in to headings, you can choose how much writing to do at a time. If you feel like it, just do one paragraph under your first heading, then have a break. If you’re on a roll, do more.
Two; because you’ve broken down your headings into your “3 things to cover”, you don’t need to think about what to write, just how to word it.
Tip number 1: Keep your tone conversational and your sentences short. Read back what you’ve written and consider whether it sounds like you, if you were talking to the reader face-to-face.
Tip number 2: Keep the sections (beneath your headings) a similar length. You don’t need to write loads; if you’ve got 6 headings and each has 100 words (which isn’t much, really) then you’ve got a 600-word blog post. That’s plenty.
Tip number 3: Keep it light. I think if you asked most people about what makes them keep reading an article, they’ll say they want it to be entertaining or amusing in places. Even if you’re dealing with heavy or technical subjects, inject a bit of personality to keep it from being dry.
3. Add links and images to your blog
The final step in completing the content of your blog post will make your article come alive and break down any remaining boredom barriers.
Throughout your copy, check to see where you could usefully link to other pages or articles; either on your own website (this is a great way to push products of services) or elsewhere. Visually, the addition of links will break up large areas of bland-looking copy. To your reader, it shows consideration for them and that you have taken real care when putting together your post. Oh, and one last point – linking to pages on your own site is a great boost for your search engine performance.
Images are a great way of adding further visual interest to a post, but give some thought to the images that you use to really score highly. Images should be relevant to the copy, either to reinforce the point or to provide additional information, like a diagram for example. Don’t forget to label your image files with terms that will help with your online marketing.
Well done you. You’ve now broken the back of writing your blog post. In our final article “How to write a blog post – Part 3: Finishing touches” we apply the last crucial touches before you can publish your post.