It’s one thing to write a blog post. It’s another thing to be a great writer. When you combine those things, it makes you a great blogger.
In reality, most people have the talent to be a good writer. We learn writing in school, so most of us have at least a basic ability to communicate in the written word. And, with wonderful spell-checkers like Grammarly, we don’t even have to know how to spell every word.
But there’s something you need to know about blogging: the kind of writing your English professor loved is the kind of writing blog readers hate.
Throw all those fluffing techniques you used to hit a certain word count and throw away those 1850’s writing rules.
It’s time to be a good blogger.
Techniques for Better Blog Writing
There are a few easy tweaks you can make to your blog posts that will make them more engaging and easier to read. So, let’s jump into these techniques so you can start writing better blogs.
#1. Write Headlines Worthy of the Front Page
In years gone by, journalists competed with each other for that big, bold headline on the front page. This is the headline Newsies would be screaming following, “extra, extra, read all about it!”
This is the headline Newsies would be screaming following, “extra, extra, read all about it!”
Today, journalists are waging that same battle, but instead of the front page, it’s the top spot in Google search.
Here’s the thing, few people will care about the content if the headline isn’t interesting. This is something I have had to learn the hard way, and I’m still stubborn from time to time.
I’ll spend all of my time writing content I think is really great, only to slap on the first title I come up with and hit publish. And, when I do that, my readership suffers.
Your headline is the hook, the attention grabber, the red umbrella in a sea of black umbrellas. It needs to stand out.
It needs to stand out. The only way to really stand out from the hundreds of other titles floating around is to make it interesting.
Consider revisiting your titles before hitting that blue publish button. Can you make them more interesting? If so, do it.
It’ll pay off.
#2. Cut the Fat – All the Fat
Today, I woke up and went to the gym. I ran on a treadmill. I lifted weights.
Ultimately, I finished my workout feeling like I was going to puke and my arms were going to fall off.
Why did I go through so much torture? Because I’m trying to lose fat. Fat doesn’t do anyone any good. It looks bad. It’s unattractive. It’s unhealthy.
It looks bad. It’s unattractive. It’s unhealthy.
It’s unattractive. It’s unhealthy.
The same goes for your blog posts!
Too many of us retain our bad habits of stretching our 500-word research papers to the required 1,000 words. Rarely did we find more interesting things to say. Most of the time, it was going back and trying to stretch our sentences out to be as long and meandering as possible.
“The dog barked so loudly,” became “the purple and red dog was so annoyed and angry, that it barked a piercing, shrieking bark that was so loud…”
Don’t act all innocent, you did it too!
That kind of writing takes too long to get to the point. If you want to write better blog articles, edit with a butcher knife, cutting anything that doesn’t need to be there.
Aim for the shortest sentences and shortest paragraphs you can achieve without sacrificing your message.
#3. Use the Active Voice as Much as Possible
Active vs. Passive voice is hard to remember. I naturally write in the passive voice. But, passive voice sentences are longer. Active voice sentences are punchier and shorter.
Passive voice: “I was asked by Dana to give a speech on blogging.”
Active voice: “Dana asked me to give a speech on blogging.”
If you read through this very blog post, you will probably find plenty of times I used passive voice. This is one of my biggest writing struggles.
On your edit pass, look for instances of passive voice, and try to rewrite it to active. It’s not always possible to go active voice, but when you can do it, it makes your blogs much easier to read and comprehend.
#4. Use a Clean Blog Structure
I’m surprised at the number of bloggers and companies I see writing blog posts that are just a big wall of text. It’s like they think of blogging as a research paper or magazine article.
Text, nothing but text!
Don’t do that. Break that text up!
Here’s my go-to structure for blog articles:
- Read More Tag (The intro is my excerpt text on the blog page)
- Master Heading (H2 Tag)
- Segue Text
- Subheading 1 (H3)
- Explain Point for Subheading-1
- Subheading 2 (H3)
- Explain Point for Subheading-2
- If there are more points to break down, I break them into H4 sections.
- Last Subheading for Conclusion (H3)
Using this blog post as an example:
- Read More Tag
- H2: Techniques to Better Blog Writing
- Segue Text
- Subheading 1 (H3): #1. Write Headlines Worthy of the Front Page
#5. Be Conversational
For most of my clients, the content I write for them is in a conversational tone. This article I’m writing is in a conversational tone.
Some clients feel like they should be more professional than that. They are wrong. I’ve butted heads with several clients who wanted to sound like they were in a heavily-starched suit, sitting straight-backed in a high-rise office with an audience of very judgemental people. So, they wanted their blogs to sound very stuffy. In every instance, this is a mistake.
I don’t care if you’re blogging B2B or B2C, your copy is being read by a human. A person with a sense of humor, pet peeves, and friends.
Do you enjoy talking to a close friend, or to a stranger who likes to sound like he knows more than you?
Use words like, “you” and “I.” Imagine you are writing an email to a friend or sitting down with a friend over coffee.
Just communicate. Person-to-person.
It’s much easier, much more relaxed, and people like it.
Writing Better Blog Posts
Ultimately, your content needs to be interesting or helpful, or these tweaks won’t matter. But, if you have interesting or helpful content, these tweaks can take a good blog post into a really great blog post.
Consider this, you’re already investing a lot of time and effort into creating your content. Why not increase that investment by a small amount and make it really, really good.
That small additional effort will pay off huge dividends.