I’m gonna go ahead and assume that, as you’re a blogger, you’re already a kickass at writing 500 to 1000 words – probably even more, if you’re super inspired!
But allow me to have this basic refresher for a sec: What makes a great blog post great?
Honestly, there are as many kinds of great blog post as there are great bloggers. But I think Ana Hoffman from Traffic Generation Café summed it up perfectly:
Sure, you have to consider what your readers like. But you also need to think about what fires you up. If you just publish a post because you need to, your readers will sense this. Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of half-hearted pieces of writing and they really weren’t my best.
And because you are an important part of this equation, there really aren’t any hard set rules you need to follow to write a great blog post.
So instead, I have listed 5 tips on how you can improve your writing – and therefore, create more great posts for your readers.
1) Write how you speak
This is, by far, The Best Writing Advice I was given to. And now, I’m giving this to you.
There are two good reasons why writing the way you speak is awesome:
1) It makes your sentences flow naturally. Which is great for both you, the writer, and your readers who are reading your post.
2) Conversation-like writing style is ideal for blog posts.
3) It’s a great foundation in building your unique writing voice.
4) It helps you fast track into improving your writing.
A simple exercise you can do is free writing. Free writing is when you ignore grammar or sentence structure or topic relevance. You just write. There are plenty of reasons why free writing is great for you – I even listed some on my blog.
Get in front of the computer, type word after word, and – this is the most important bit – don’t edit as you go. I know the urge to use that backspace and reread what you’ve written is tempting but you must resist!
Another thing you can do is read your draft out loud. Listen to yourself speaking. Does the words sound natural to you? Or are they a bit stiff? Usually reading out loud can help with that.
2) Find a format you’re comfortable with
You’ve probably read dozens of advice on how to write a great blog post before reading this one. And I bet these were some of the tips you were given:
“Cut down your paragraphs.”
“Make shorter paragraphs.”
Look, I know they’re great. I write list posts and use bullet points myself. But if you’re not comfortable with these blog post format “standards”, you don’t have to force yourself.
And sure, list posts may seem like they’re getting tons of traffic and engagement. But let me tell you, there are tons of long-paragraphs, essay-like posts out there that shine through as well! Look at emotional posts where the blogger share a personal experience. Look at discussion posts.
My point here is, write how you’re comfortable with. So if that means lots of bullet points or an essay, then do so. Remember you are an important part of this Great Post Equation.
3) Add your personality into your writing
This ties in with my first tip, writing how you speak. Your writing style is very much a part of your blog’s brand. How you write shows your blog’s personality.
Over the four years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve gone through different writing styles. In effect, my blog had also gone through lots of personality changes. I’ve been sarcastic and overly critical. I was that blogger that utilizes capslock and emojis too much.
You’d wonder why I always had blog identity crisis, like, every month.
My biggest mistake was that I was channeling some other blogger’s writing voice. When I should have just channeled my own.
Again, free writing can help you with this. Another thing you can try is creating a writing swipe file. For me, this is a list of words or phrases that I can refer to when I feel I’m not writing like myself. These are the words and phrases that showcase your personality.
4) Write however long (or short) it needs to drive your point home
Honestly, I don’t believe that you must write posts with 1000+ words. The word count does not measure how great a blog post is. And yes yes, I’m aware I’m saying this as the word count in my document is nearing 1000 itself. Oh the irony.
But here’s the thing:
This is how I write. This is what I think it takes for my point to drive home.
Recently, I came across a blog and the posts were suuuper long. They run at 2k on average! I don’t even reach halfway of some until I got bored.
And sure, maybe the long posts are making Google drool. Maybe it’s the ideal post length for the blog’s readers. But it sure as heck wasn’t the ideal post length for me. (Which goes to show that I’m not their ideal reader.)
Write as much as you need to get your point across. The excess is fluff. You don’t need fluff. There’s a great example of a short, on-point blog post by BBP member, Bri Cruz, about asking for what you want.
5) Editing is your best friend
You know how I said above that my posts usually run at 1k? Welp, that’s for the first draft. By the time the post is published, it’s usually around 600 to 700 words. 900 tops.
See, I ramble a lot and I’m aware of this. I let myself ramble and detour on the first draft. And then my critical hat is on when I’m editing. That’s when unnecessary sentences and paragraphs get cut off. Until all that’s left are the important stuff.
Usually, I edit twice. The first one is immediately after finishing the first draft of the post – so I could deal with the obvious typos or grammatical errors. The second round of edit happens a few days after, when I’ve distanced myself from the post long enough to see it at a fresh perspective.
Give Help and Get Help
Read up your buddy’s old post and compare these with their new ones. Point out what they’ve improved on. (Because everyone loves to hear they’ve improved, yes? YES.) But also, what can your buddy further improve, writing-wise? Let them know!
Remember: Developing your writing style and creating a writing process that works for you will take time.
And it’s totally okay if it seems like you’re not improving much. You will. Keep practicing. Work on your writing regularly. Publish them so you can get them out of the way, and then take notes for the next blog posts you write.
Show up and write. You’ll get there. I believe in you.
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