If you are considering blogging for the first time and aren’t sure what goes into a good blog post, here are some elements to consider:
- Make your post scannable. Most people who read online scan for key words and phrases, rather than reading left-to-right and top-to-bottom as they would a book or even a magazine
- Use bullet points.
- Draw the reader in quickly.
- Make your point more than once, perhaps in different ways.
You can see how a bulleted list stands out, but be sure to include some narrative, as well. If you can weave in a personal story, by all means, do so. Beginning with a firsthand account that sheds light on your chosen subject is almost always a good technique.
- Consider your audience. If you’re writing for your peers, don’t feel it necessary to explain everything; they probably know about as much as you do. Don’t forget to explain some things, however. Acronyms may have multiple meanings, and not everyone knows everything you do.
- Invite comments. Interaction is part of blogging. Respond to comments – activity is good for blogs, and for search engines, too.
- Good is better than perfect. Spell check—please—and use good grammar, but don’t go overboard. Too much formality may put readers off.
A well-known anecdote about Winston Churchill best expresses the problem with being overly correct. As the story goes, Churchill was scolded by a fellow member of Parliament for using a preposition to end a sentence. The witty Churchill replied, “That, sir, is an accusation up with which I will not put.” On the other hand, keep in mind that you are writing for a business audience, and familiarity should be tempered with the knowledge that your next boss may be reading what you write. Have a friend or colleague proofread your post.
- If you quote another blog, include a link. The Web is all about being able to connect to your resources. Don’t use material without attribution. Ever.
- Use styles effectively.
- You can format your text with italics and bold, but don’t overdo it.
- Draw your readers’ attention to your key message.
- Don’t try to “fill up the page.” That’s a very hard thing to do on the Web.
- Keep the search engines in mind. Use keywords about your topic, and use them more than once. Tag appropriately; similar posts can help you find the right tags to use. (There—I used the words “tag” and “tags” in the same sentence!)
That’s it. Relax, use your spell check, and write directly and clearly. If you get stuck, try the method Ernest Hemingway suggested in A Moveable Feast: “Write one, true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.”
Good luck and happy blogging!
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