Stop Thinking Like a Writer and Start Thinking Like a Blogger
Blogging is different than the writing you did in high school or college because your audience is different.
Your readers are likely mixing business with pleasure when they visit your blog. They want new information, they want to solve a problem, or they’re curious. But they’re also hoping to be entertained, too.
If you have an easy-going manner that sounds like you’re speaking to readers one-on-one, you’ll do well. Injecting humor is even better. Be approachable and genuine. In other words, be yourself, or an even better version of yourself.
Tips to Help You Write Like a Blogger
Find your voice. Don’t be a carbon copy of other bloggers; be yourself. You have unique experiences and viewpoints that you can bring to your blog and make it different from anything else out there. Think about how you make friends – you show the person who you really are, and they either like you or they don’t. It’s the same with your blog readers. Be yourself, be genuine, have a personality, and those who connect with you will stay with you, and become your biggest fans because of who you are.
Don’t bury the lead. Most blog readers are short on time and want their info NOW. If you wait until the end of your post to give them the good stuff, they’ll never see it. You have to start out with the big benefit first and let them know right away why this post is going to make a difference in their day or their life.
Keep it short. Most blog posts could benefit greatly from going under the knife. If a sentence doesn’t move the post forward, then delete it. The same goes for entire paragraphs. Shorter posts tend to work best, especially when you’re new to blogging. Authority posts – those long 3,000+ word posts – are something you can work up to as your reputation builds. In the beginning, keep posts short with one main idea in each post.
Become a headline pro. There is NO getting around this – you’re going to need to become an expert at headlines. Without a compelling, tweetable headline, your work will never be read. Consider writing the headline first and tailoring the post to the headline, rather than working the other way around.
Screw up. That’s right; make mistakes. Be imperfect. Be human. The best bloggers are real-life people who let you know they make mistakes. If you try to get every single blog post just peachy-keen perfect, you’ll never publish anything. Write it, edit it, post it, and move on. When you make a big enough mistake, correct it. If you make a whopper, let your readers know you goofed. They’ll love you for it.
Rewrite. We said it’s okay to screw up, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to put your best foot forward. Write and then rewrite, because people will spend more time reading your posts if they enjoy them. Go over your writing and find the places that don’t quite make sense or are downright confusing, and then fix them. You might read your post aloud since this can help you find the bits that need fixing.
Be honest. Are you sad? Depressed? Angry? Stressed? Disappointed? Worried? There is awesome power in authenticity. Write about it. You’ll find some of your readers are going through the exact same thing you are. Plus, it’s therapeutic for you and for them to get it out there.
Entertain. Yes, you might be writing about business or some other serious topic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t entertain, too. Use stories, humor and the element of surprise to turn even dry material into something fun and interesting.
Mix it up. Use videos, photos, interviews, infographics, reviews, humor, cartoons, and anything else you can think of. Be innovative.
Bring in other authors. Once your blog has a following, bring in other writers to spice up the conversation. You might consider asking a provocative question, taking one side yourself, and having another writer take the opposing point of view.
Blogging Skills 101
As a blogger, you need to bring one or more skills to the blogging table. Of course, any and all of these skills could be learned. But I’ll bet you’ve got at least two of these skills already tucked into your own person blogging arsenal – you just didn’t realize how valuable they are.
Skill #1: Story Telling
Humans are wired to pay attention to stories, which is why the best bloggers tap into their natural ability to tell a great tale. Whether you’re telling the story of how you failed before you found success, what you did when confronted with an obstacle, how you faced a fear, or simply what you did this morning, telling stories is a great way to connect with and entertain your audience.
Skill #2: Teaching
Why do you see so many blog posts that begin with, “How to…?” It’s because people are looking for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. If you can explain how to do something, then you can teach. And in teaching, you can make a real difference in the lives of your readers, too.
Skill #3: Persuasion
Do you have a point of view that you would like to get across? For that matter, do you enjoy being somewhat controversial? Posts that take a definite stand, especially on a hot topic, tend to get shared on social media a LOT. And if you’re skilled in persuasion, you might even be able to change minds and bring people around to your way of thinking.
Skill #4: Curation
Assembling and organizing information is a skill you almost certainly have already. Huffington Post started out as a curation site, and even today they still pull media from different sources while also creating their own original content.
Skill #5: Self-Expression
You have dreams, goals, and desires. You also have fears, challenges, and doubts. By describing the world inside your mind, you’re giving others the gift of knowing they’re not the only one who feels or thinks the way they do. And you can help them to overcome their challenges by showing them how you’re able to conquer yours, too.
Skill #6: Reporting
This is accessible to almost anyone. Even if, at this moment, you know very little about your chosen topic, you can still act as a reporter for your readers. Find out how things are done, who are the experts and what they know, and report back on your blog. A great example of this is brand new make money online people, who write about their journey as they progress. They report on what works and what doesn’t, as well as what others are successfully doing to make money online.
Image Credit: Mohamed Hassan