With over 600 million blogs in the world today, blogging is bigger than ever. Mastering the art of blogging is useful for any business, and there are tons of articles filled with advice. But don’t get bogged down with all the blogging rules. Just find your niche and keep these 4 top blog writing tips in mind.
1. Learn about SEO
I hate SEO. Ok, that’s not quite true, but the truth is SEO (search engine optimisation) can cut out the more poetic, free flowing aspects of a feature. You need to use key words and links and do what the algorithms tell you will attract your audience. It can feel mechanical and forced. But it makes all the difference in your brilliant blog being seen by 1 person or 100, or 1000. You can hire people to do your SEO for you, or you can take SEO courses – just know it changes constantly and you’ll need to keep up to date. Check out this article on teaching yourself.
2. Format is king
80% of readers won’t read your whole blog. (Are you still there? Good.) They’ll scan the headline and intro so you need to say it all upfront, in an inverted story telling pyramid (see image below). Give them the what, when, where, who, why and how. This can be applied to every format of online writing. Apply these format points:
Catch (and keep) my attention. Readers are fickle and will quickly decide whether they’ll read on or not. Stand out with a concise, interesting and attention-grabbing intro.
Write for easy scanning. Don’t put all your info in one box or in a small font. Imagine reading it yourself and be structured.
Work hard on your headline. It should clearly communicate the content that will follow AND be interesting. Brainstorm at least 30 headings then go back and choose the best one. Aim for no more than 8 words in a heading.
Use sub headings and bullet points to make it easier to read the content. Use short, punchy sentences and don’t waffle.
Tell a story and use anecdotes. A feature comes alive when we read about people who are experiencing it, or personal examples that make the audience trust you. Be real.
3. Length counts
There’s much debate about blog post lengths. Originally between 300-600 words was the standard, but this is now seen as too short if you want to be taken as an authority on a subject. Between 2,300 – 2,500 words is now called the sweet spot. This doesn’t mean you have to write this many words, you should rather look at what will appeal to your audience and tailor the length to your message. (This blog post is only 734 words because that’s all I have to say and 4 tips is 4 tips.) Wix offers a good breakdown of lengths here.
4. Show your personality
With everyone wanting to be a blog writer, you need to stand out. Be both knowledgable and interesting. Decide what your USP (Unique Selling Point) is and don’t be afraid of being yourself. Keep writing and showing up on your blog page so you become a trusted expert in your field. I love this advice from Medium writer Sinem Gunel:
“We’re all bored of reading the same old stories and advice over and over again. While generic ads and repetitive content are taking over our newsfeeds, we’re all looking for genuine connections with people and brands who seem to care. Instead of chasing timely trends, stick to your core message and build a loyal audience of readers who know, trust, and like you. ”
To improve my blogging skills I did the Writer’s Write social media course with Mia Botha. The course was perfect for practicing writing skills, catching up with new social media trends and fine-tuning my SEO and copy-editing abilities (yes, those dreaded things!).
I also recommend Tiffany Markman’s range of writing courses.
For everything you need to consider when starting a blog: The Blog Starter
Avoid these common mistakes.
See what these bloggers are doing right.
If blogging is not for you – try book tokking on the social network Tiktok. It’s hugely popular in the world of children’s and YA books. The #booktok hashtag has gone viral with major publishers like Penguin Random House getting on board with a partnership with TikTok. You can read more about the phenomena here.