Over a conversation I had with a colleague, I realized that my biggest challenge in writing blogs was that I am not very personable. I attribute this to my background in art history and time served in the military. Two opposite ends of the career spectrum, both expecting a very formal, dry writing style. In art, an artist uses their “voice” through their medium. So I decided to write a blog about how I am finding my “voice” in writing.
The foremost important aspect of writing a successful blog is to keep your readers’ attention. Behold! My blog writing journey:
Using Real-life Experiences to Trigger Ideas Being that my career is to be social, I like to open with a personal reason why I chose the topic of the blog. Though my articles can be filled with both original and curated information, I think it is important to make it relatable. Telling someone they must use x-y-z to be successful is not as strong a statement as giving them a reason WHY x-y-z works.
Lists versus Stories Lists have become very popular in blogging and are encouraged in many company blog sites because numbers tend to achieve a higher click-through rate. The question of which is better is really up to you. Experimenting with both techniques is a good way to find out what your readers turn towards and what you like to write about. Personally I like to use both; sometimes I even combine the two for a fun boost.
Create a list…again? Before starting your blog, write down all the key points you plan to cover. Use this as a deciding factor on whether to use a list, story or both. A creative mind never stops thinking; it’s easy to get off track in your blog when you touch on something that could stand alone. Keeping a reference list at the top of your document will keep you on track.
Make it Yours (With a Little Research) It can seem very daunting when you are writing about a popular topic. The challenge is making your blog stand out from the rest. Once you have your topic nailed down, scout the web to find others like you. Reading other blogs’ comments can help you narrow down what works and what doesn’t. Pay attention to questions and incorporate them in your blog. Regardless of what you decide to teach your readers, make it understandable on a personal level.
Create an Attention Grabbing Title My best advice is to wait until the end of your blog to think of the title. Come up with a few titles to see which works best. Tweet each title and track how many retweets, mentions and favorites you get. Whichever rates the highest wins!
Using numbers will increase the chances of your blog being clicked on. Digits rather than of words is even better. If you are not writing a list, try using a title that describes what you are teaching. Instead of using the common “How to” try different variations like, “A guide to”, “DIY”, etc. Again, do a little research on competitors’ blogs. A great title should sum up what the blog is about.
As with all social media, blogs are meant to create a personal relationship with your readers. For the most part, you will always see a snippet of my life in my writing. Engage with your readers by replying to comments and answering questions. Blogs are meant to be personal! So shine! Stay tuned for my next blog…