Writing blog posts is fun and rewarding. Knowing how to make your blog post amazing and appealing should get you excited about writing.
I recently read Ann Handley’s book Everybody Writes, along with articles from grabcontent, QuickSprout, and Writtent. I have compiled a list of the 10 best and most useful tips so that you can write better than you ever have before.
1. Write the title super well.
Your title is just as important as the rest of your article. Don’t pick one until you have finished writing. And, don’t rush through the process of picking it. It helps to keep a list of possible titles before choosing one. Here are a few tips, with examples of what they look like:
- No clickbait. (He Wrote an Article So Good His Mama Cried… You Won’t Believe How!)
- Numbers are your friend. (23 Reasons to Obliterate Comic-Sans)
- If it’s bland, it’s not worth keeping. (How to Write Well)
- Nothing too short. (Fantabulous Writing)
- Nothing too long. (Every Time You Write, Follow This Simple Procedure and You’ll Definitely Prosper)
- Write to a person. (This Advice Will Help You Write Better)
2. The beginning should be the best.
Forget what you learned in school. You don’t need an introduction that lays out what you will write about in the next three paragraphs. The beginning of your article, if good, will result in people reading to the end. If it is not good, they will not continue any further. Always lead with your strongest, most interesting, or most helpful point. If you need an introduction, a quick two-sentence paragraph (like the one in this article) will do fine.
3. Don’t edit while you write.
Perfection shouldn’t be attained your first write-through. If you try this, you will get bored (and probably not finish writing). Deal with your first draft, however hideous it may be. You can come back later to reorganize, rephrase, and correct what you have written. Putting your information and thoughts down is a different process than critiquing them.
4. Start your sentences with the most important words.
If you really want to keep someone’s attention, have each new thought start well. The most important words in your sentence should be the words that start your sentence. Ann Handley gave a good list of ways not to start your sentences:
- According to
- There is a
- It is important
- In my opinion
- The purpose of this [email, post, article, etc] is
- In 2017 [or any year]
- I think [feel, believe] that
These shouldn’t be followed absolutely, but it is worth checking your sentences against this list to see if you can make them more interesting.
5. Don’t repeat yourself.
This rule applies in a couple ways. First, it is best not to use the same word multiple times. But, this doesn’t mean it is always wrong to say a word more than once. If you can use a pronoun without being ambiguous (or losing emphasis), do it. Second, don’t repeat an idea that is not your main idea multiple times in the same article. It is not helpful to tell someone the same thing over and over again “just in case they didn’t catch it the first time.”
6. Write in active voice.
Always write in active voice. If you can’t remember what this means, here is a refresher. Active voice is when the subject of your sentence is performing the action (verb) of your sentence. For example, “Bob loves the Bible.” The opposite of that is Passive voice, where what is doing the action is after the verb in your sentence. For example, “The Bible is loved by Bob.” This just complicates things. Plus, it sounds weird.
7. Brevity is okay. So is length.
If you have a topic that you don’t know much about, write a brief article. If you have a topic in which you are well-versed, add some length. It is not good to try to stretch what you have written to make it longer or to condense what you have written so that it won’t take as much time to read.
8. “Assume the reader knows nothing. But don’t assume the reader is stupid.” – Ann Handley
You will have to explain your words and ideas to your audience. This does not mean that you have to dumb-down your words. Though it is good practice to use unsophisticated language, don’t patronize people. As Woody Guthrie once said, “Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.”
9. Write to someone.
Keep in mind, it is a regular person who will be reading what you write. Even the most sophisticated CEO would rather read a simple and clear article than a paper filled with academic jargon. Ann Handley recommends starting your draft with “Dear Mom,” and writing like you would to your mom. It helps you keep your audience in perspective. Don’t be afraid to use the pronoun “you.” In short, be personable (not always personal.)
10. Have someone check over your work.
You won’t be able to catch every mistake. Not only can they point out grammatical errors, but they can also tell you how to make it more interesting. A writing buddy is one of the best resources you’ll need so you can write like a pro.
Now that you’ve got these 10 tips, your writing will be better than ever before. But, remember this: If you are not embarrassed about what you wrote a month ago, you aren’t growing. It’s good to realize you could’ve done better. If you need a writing buddy, styling advice, or help with your blog, feel free to contact me.