Like any piece of writing whether it be a novel, short story, news article or in the case of what I want to talk about today, a blog post, you need a hook. If you don’t create interest from the beginning, and maintain this interest for the rest of the post, your reader probably won’t get to the end of what you have to say.
Let’s break it down:
Like a novel, a blog post needs an introduction, main story, and a conclusion.
Begin with an interesting title. This little piece of information is often over looked, but it’s very important. It can be long or short, but it needs to give the reader an idea of what the post will be about. Be careful not to have a misleading title as this will only annoy people.
Take my title for instance: Blogging about Blogging: Dissecting the Blog Post – a Writer’s Idea on Writing
Instantly the reader knows I’ll be talking about blogging, that I’m a writer, and I’m going to express my ideas. If the title is about a topic that the reader finds interesting, then they’ll continue reading.
The title is the beginning of the hook, but not the complete hook. The first paragraph is equally important. At the beginning of this post I stated what I was going to talk about, so the reader knows exactly what to expect. Then move on to the body of the post and make sure all ideas are expressed clearly.
Inject personality into the post. Write in a style that best suits you, and be genuine. It’s very important to stay on topic. As I said before, if the title says the post is about one thing, and it’s actually about another, readers will get annoyed and probably won’t come back.
The word count of the blog post is also another important thing to consider. Don’t make the post too long. Anywhere between 500 and 1000 words should be enough, sometimes even less than that. Of course, there are always exceptions, for example, an excerpt of a current WIP could be up to 2000 words.
Proof read the post. This may seem like a basic step, but let’s face it, blogging is quick writing. Mistakes slip through more often because a post can be written and published in around half an hour. My suggestion is to write the post, read over it and make any corrections, then walk away for a little while. I always pick up mistakes I missed the first time around, and I always end up adding more to the post.
The next point I want to talk about is being regular. Yes, it’s good to be regular. I need to follow this piece of advice, but the fact is I’m busy and blogging doesn’t always top the list of things to do. I can’t seem to find the time I want to dedicate to my blog, so I’ve decided to look at it like this: one post a week, two if I can. That’s only four posts a month at the least, which means I can write them and schedule them in a day. Sometimes it doesn’t always work, and I don’t know that far in advance what I want to write about, so I have a notebook that is dedicated entirely to my blog. When I have an idea I jot it down. Planning the post is also a good idea. This can be as simple as starting with a bullet point, then elaborating on the points to form each paragraph.
Be original! This is highly important. I like to talk about things I’m passionate about, and that I find interesting, or that I’ve learnt and think others will learn from, too. Make sure to mix it up. Don’t blog about the same thing all the time. The key is variety which leads me to my next point.
One mistake (I think) that some writers make is that they focus too much on self-promotion. Sure we need to promote ourselves and our work, but this shouldn’t be the focus of all blog posts. It will get old very quickly. There needs to be a balance between things like self-promotion, advice, topical or opinion posts, and life experiences.
Make sure to check blog statistics. This information is vital and will show what posts have done well, where hits are coming from, how many page views the blog gets etc.
Lastly, the blog post needs a conclusion. This could be as little as, I hope you’ve found this information useful, or thanks for stopping by today. Or sometimes I like to finish with a question and encourage readers to engage by leaving a comment.
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