I despised English class in school. I couldn't have cared less about grammar rules or Shakespeare, and I barely skimmed the Cliff Notes of books I was supposed to read.
I slept through almost every English class my Junior year prompting my teacher to send me to the school nurse and accuse me of having a drinking problem due to my drowsiness. What can I say, English was directly after a late lunch and it was b-o-r-i-n-g. It was a miracle I passed the class.
As you could imagine, I never considered myself to be a writer. Yet, today I'm a professional blogger and an author of multiple books. How is this possible when I couldn't identify an adjective clause if my life depended on it? I just Googled it and I'm still confused.
It's possible because readers don't give a crap about grammar rules either; blatant mistakes and typos, yes, but imperfect grammar, not so much. They care more about interesting topics and how they're presented.
So you don't need to think of yourself as a "writer" in order to become a successful blogger. The secret to writing good content is telling a unique story about interesting topics. That's it.
But there are a few simple ways to make yourself a better writer and ensure that you consistently produce quality content. I promise these rules and tips will make you a better blogger and are not as boring as your high school English class.
Here's 15 tips for writing good blog content:
1. Be yourself: First and foremost, be yourself. There is so much similar content on the web, but there is only one you. It's important to put your original spin on every topic you write about and to let your personality shine through.
|Write content so simple that even Homer Simpson |
could understand it (Image: 20th Century Fox)
3. Write what you want to read: This may be the most important tip on this list. Write about topics that interest you in the format you wish the information was delivered. Create articles around questions that you're curious about finding the answers to, research them, and present them in your own style.
4. Write as if you're speaking directly to the reader: This is the best advice I can give to those who don't consider themselves to be "writers". Write as if you're having a a face-to-face conversation with your readers and you're trying to explain something to them.
5. Let it flow: When you have an idea for an article, just write it as a stream of thought without making corrections or stopping to research specific facts. Let it flow from your mind to the keyboard and go back and polish it afterward.
6. Less about you, more about the subject: If you were the main character in all of your blog posts, they'd probably get boring after a while. Use less "I" in your articles and more "you" when you're teaching something. Or practice writing articles with neither in it. Your English teacher would call this writing in the third person, or simply narrating events in your article.
|Be sure to entertain and inform|
8. Use Hegelian dialectic: One easy strategy to write an interesting blog post is by using the Hegelian dialectic: problem, reaction, and solution. In other words, identify a problem within your subject, explain the reaction to this problem, and outline the possible solutions.
9. Video commentary: A great way for beginners to improve writing skills is to write short commentary about an interesting video clip. Write a few paragraphs explaining the video; the subject, the people in it, some of the best quotes, and your general take on it. Then embed the video below your commentary. Eventually, you can string together multiple videos with commentary into a comprehensive article.
10. Frame out a list: Everyone likes a good list article like the one you're reading now. They're perfect for our attention deficit world because they give useful information to the reader quickly. To write effective list articles, frame out the bullet points of your list before you do anything else. Once you're happy with the focal points, then write your intro, detail your bullet points, and conclude the article.
11. Make it easy to read: Reading online is different than reading from a book. Long dense paragraphs are very cumbersome to read online. Therefore, write easy-to-read content with short paragraphs of only 2-3 sentences broken up by a space between paragraphs.
12. Keep it clean: Maintain a standard font throughout the article with the possible exception of bold or enlarged headlines. Nothing is more annoying and distracting than multiple font styles, sizes, or colors in a single blog post. As a general rule, don't use ALL CAPS or bolded phrases as it can diminish the importance of the rest of the content.
13. Be factual: It probably goes without saying, but if you want to build up trust with your audience, make sure the facts in your articles are well sourced. Don't assume something is right because you heard somebody say it somewhere. Google it and link to the source, especially with controversial topics.
14. Use images: Pictures may be the best aid for inexperienced writers. As the saying goes, pictures are worth a thousand words. We are all drawn to images. If images are well placed throughout a blog post, they'll lure the audience to read entire articles they may otherwise just gloss over or skim.
|The last thing you should do is proofread your article very carefully|
Since I'm a grammatical dummy, these are the rules I follow for writing good content. I also never stop working to improve my craft by learning new writing techniques and challenging myself to push the limits of my meager ability. My English teachers would probably be shocked to discover that I became a professional writer. But if I can do it, so can you.
J.P. Hicks is an info-activist, pro blogger, editor of Blog Tips and author of a book about blogging. Follow @ Twitter, or like on Facebook and get the FREE ebook SEO For Bloggers.
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It's okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and links remain intact.
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