I Like Tips and Trick Write Great Blog Content

But I have to say, I can get very amused by some of the things I write and I think I have a good blog voice – if I may say so myself, ha ha. I write a blog about divorce called The Divorce Saloon. Now, obviously, divorce is not funny. But sometimes I find myself cracking up after I write advice to potential readers. (Maybe I am really advising myself, as well as cracking myself up?) I also write a blog called The Small Biz Society International Blog. And, of course, my political blog: iBarack: An Historic Presidency. It’s a very schizophrenic process, because I have to try to sound different in every blog, and I can’t duplicate content as that would be totally dull and boring. So it can be time consuming as well. But I must admit I enjoy writing and these blogs. Writing is definitely a passion for me, and it soothes me. But how does one actually grow an audience for one’s blogs? That is what I would like to know.

I’ve started and re-started blogs so many times :-/. I just want to get it write. So I’m doing my research, finding it’s ok to struggle. And I’m going to do it!
This time I’ve found some GREAT sites that are successful, yet vary in their audience and style, so I’m learning a vast amount! Now, I just need to write, that’s the scary part.
I’ve got quite a few posts sitting in my draft department while I find my ‘voice’ before I really set sail.
But I love your sites, all of them! I talk about you to many of my friend and even mention you on other fourms. And When you finally get to San Francisco, where I attempted school, I hope you will make time for speaking engagments since I’m not too far.

A well written blog is a beautiful thing to read. When I hit upon a blog with great writing, I can spend hours digging into the archives, learning, laughing, getting to know a writer.

Because a great blogwriter, in the end, is someone you want to be friends with. It’s someone interesting, someone who can tell a story and hold a great conversation and be fantastic company.

Great blogwriting is hard to find, but it’s out there, and it can be done.

I can’t make any claim to being a great blogwriter, but I have been studying it pretty closely over the last couple of years, and I can report back things I’ve learned from my reading, from my experiments with my own writing, and from what has worked and what hasn’t.

Blogwriting: A new form
Remember, blogwriting isn’t the same as writing fiction, or journalism, or magazine writing. There are similarities, of course, but blogwriting is a literary form in itself.

The difference between blogwriting and other forms of writing lies in the audience, and the closeness of the blogger to his readers. Unlike other similar forms of writing, such as the op-ed column, magazine writing and the like, blogwriting is intensely close to the audience. You’re not broadcasting your writing to a remote audience who will read your article or column tomorrow morning (or in some cases, weeks or months later). You’re writing for an audience who will comment on the post mere minutes after you press “publish”. They will argue with you, praise you, become your friends. They will write their own posts, commenting on and analyzing your writing.

It’s because of this interaction and proximity to your readers that a blogger is exposed to the world, that it becomes immensely personal, that even if you don’t write anything personal at all, you’re vulnerable.

Blogwriting comes in many forms, of course. It varies in extremes from a personal journal to an op-ed column to a magazine how-to feature. And most blogs are some combination of those older forms, and more.

Your voice
Every blogwriter has his own voice. Writing comes from somewhere inside you, it’s a piece of you. That’s not as gross as it sounds.

If you try to write without personality, if you try to remove yourself from your writing, it will be dry and not a bit boring. I don’t advise it.

Put yourself into your writing. Let your voice speak through. Speak to the readers.

Read that last sentence again, because it’s key: speak to the readers. Write as if you’re talking to them. Sure, they’re not talking back, but only for the moment. Soon they will. So talk as if you’ve got their ear, and as if they’re listening but just chomping at the bit, waiting for their chance to respond.

Write conversationally. As we each have our own way of speaking, conversationally will be different for each person. If you have a problem with this, read it out loud. As yourself if that really sounds like you. And if not, rewrite it.

Don’t be afraid to use a little slang, if that’s the way you talk. Don’t overdo it, of course, but a little bit of non-standard English can add color. Don’t be afraid to use the phrases you normally use in conversation: be yourself.

Examples of great voices: Dooce, Seth Godin.

Insanely useful
This is what works for me — writing posts as useful as I can possibly make them. I don’t always succeed, of course, but it’s my goal.

I think about problems I’ve had, challenges I’ve faced and overcome, and if they’re things my readers might also be facing, I write about how to solve those problems. Step by step.

The more practical the tips, the better. Its fine to give general advice, but if the reader can’t actually put that advice to use, it’s useless.

Concise and scannable
These are two separate things, but they’re related. Blog readers don’t have a lot of time. They’re not sitting down to read a novel. They’re reading your posts at work, between meetings and tasks. Or they’re reading in the early morning, as they’re getting ready, or late at night, right before bedtime. They don’t have all day.

So write concisely: make your point, give the information, and be done. If you don’t normally write concisely, be sure to edit your post when you’re done, and see what words and phrases and sentences and paragraphs can be cut out or shortened.

“Scannable” is my term for how easily a reader can scan through a post for the main points. Is it possible to tell, in a few seconds, what the main ideas of a post are? Lists work well for that, as does making the key sentences bold or using sub-headlines for different sections of the post.

Keep the readers in mind, always
Great blogwriting isn’t just about the writer. Sure, there should be a lot of the writer in the writing … but if the writer is so selfish that he ignores the reader, he’s not writing well at all.

Again, great writing, in general, is a conversation. Conversation requires at least two people, and so to write you must have the reader in mind. Who is he, what is he interested in? Talk to him.

The reader should be at the center of everything: the topics you choose, the way you write, what you include and what you don’t. Forget that, and you’ve made a huge mistake.

Entertain them
Not every post will be entertaining, but many of the best will be. OK, maybe this one isn’t so entertaining. But you get my point.

Amuse your readers. Tell them stories. Add in a little humor, even if many of them won’t get it. Don’t be afraid to offend sometimes, although it’s not great to purposely anger people for no good reason.

Examples of entertaining writing: Pointless Waste of Time, Sara Brown.

Experiment, fail and learn
There is no one way to write a great blog post. The best blogwriters have all found their own voice, their own techniques. You’ll do that too, but you won’t succeed right away.

Read great blogwriters, and rip them off. Steal their ideas and techniques and make them your own. Writers have been doing that for centuries — I’d argue that it’s the only thing writers do.

Try new things you discover on other blogs. Try them and fail. It’s from failure that you learn.

That’s right, I’m talking to you. You wield your WordPress editor as a valuable tool. You use it to attract new prospects, to build trust with them — word-by-word — so you can get down to business.

And you do it in your slippers. Because shoes are optional in our world, right?

Your shoes might be fuzzy, but your words need to be consistently remarkable.

Consistently good content creation is the backbone of online business.

But how can you make that happen? Well, one option is to drink lots of coffee and stay up late the night before you publish your post, stifling yawns and squinting to see your screen.

But the better option is to spread the writing and editing process over a few leisurely days, and write your post in stages without ever getting out of your slippers. Sound good?
Quality over quantity

If you believe Jon Morrow (and who doesn’t?), you know that writing one epic post per week is a better long-term strategy than writing mediocre content every day.

That’s what you’re aiming for in your start here: one weekly post that will attract attention, establish your authority, and encourage people to share your information.

And keep in mind, Brian Clark built Copyblogger.com by writing two posts per week in the beginning.

It all starts on morning one.
Morning 1: Start with a mind mapping tool

Slippers on? Favorite beverage at your side? It’s time to begin.

Start by thinking about your topic, and what angle you’ll approach it from. Fire up a mind mapping program — or a piece of paper and your favorite pen — and get ready to start writing.

Your headline is the most important group of words in your post, so spend plenty of time crafting one that will get your post the attention you’re looking for. Put that at the center of your mind map.

Your subheads can branch out from there. Subheads form the backbone of your content: get these right, and everything else will flow.

Your subheads should be informative enough that someone scanning your post will understand the gist of it.

They should be intriguing enough that your scanner is left wanting to dig deeper and learn more.

And that’s enough for day one.

The first step is the most difficult, and you’re off to a good start. Move on to the rest of your day, and prepare for tomorrow — it’s going to be a heavy one.
Morning 2: Time to fill in the details

You might need an extra helping of your favorite beverage for today’s task. You’re going to be fleshing out the details of the outline you created yesterday, and writing the rest of your post.

Still, keep those slippers on. You need to be comfortable so you can get the job done.

The first thing to tackle today is to look over the headline and subheads you wrote yesterday. Do they still make sense? Are they still intriguing? Are you looking forward to filling in what’s missing?

If not, take some time to tweak. Reinforce the basic structure of your post so you’ve got something to hang the rest of your words on.

Once you’re satisfied, it’s time to fill in the details. Ready? Set? Go!

I know what you’re saying right now. “It’s not a race.” Actually at this stage, it is.

The fastest way to get the rest of your post written is to write it as fast as you can. Write your first paragraph. Write the rest of your introduction. Fill in the details under your subheads. Wrap it up at the end, and include some kind of call to action.

As. Fast. As. You. Can.

Why so fast?

Because at this stage, you shouldn’t be sweating every word. You need to register your thoughts, not edit. Editing is for tomorrow.

Finally, before you wrap up working on your post for the day, look for an image. There are lots of resources for finding good images: spend some time finding one that will complement your words and draw attention to your concepts.

Then, walk away. Focus on something else, get a good night’s sleep, and plan to take a last look at your post with fresh eyes in the morning.
Morning 3: Edit, massage and tweak

On day three, you’ll wake up refreshed, slip on your slippers, and pour one more cup of that favorite beverage. Sidle up to your keyboard, and fire up that draft post one more time.

Do a read-through to see how it looks today. Better yet, read it out loud in a monotone voice to be sure it still makes sense and sounds good, even with no inflection.

Edit, re-write and move copy around as needed. Keep reading and tweaking until it’s just right.

Next, spend some time formatting your post for readability. Add bulleted lists where you can. Add excerpts using block quotes. Break up long paragraphs into smaller chunks to make them easier to read on screen.

Before you queue it up for publishing, go down this checklist and make sure you can answer “yes” to everything:

    Does the headline stop them in their tracks?
    Is the image intriguing on its own?
    Do the subheads tell your story all by themselves?
    Have you asked an engaging question at the end to encourage comments and conversation?
    Did you add a call to action for a product, service, or your email list?

Morning 4: Publication and Promotion day

Back in your slippers on morning four, you can enjoy the fruits of your labors. But your work isn’t over, so don’t relax just yet.

Publication day is promotion day. This post you spent three days crafting deserves attention, and it’s your job to ensure it gets it. How can you do that? Try:

    Making yourself available to respond to comments, answer questions and converse with your readers
    Promoting your post across the social media channels you use
    Sharing it on sites like Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon

Did you write an especially epic post? If so, add this one task:

    Email other blog owners and tell them about it. Ask them to share it with their followers.

It’s not easy to write epic posts week after week, but dividing the work up over several days will make it manageable.

Building time into your schedule to get away from your post will make you a better editor.

And doing it all in your slippers will make you feel like the king of your world.
What’s your writing schedule?

This is one way to write epic posts, but there are many others.

Do you have a favorite technique?

Let’s talk about it in the comments.
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