For the past three months, I’ve been writing drafts and tweets, and doing research as part of my virtual internship at LightBox Collaborative. There’s no one “right way” to blog, but I’ve learned a few tips for writing better blog posts along the way:
Make titles snappy.
Capture people’s attention with a great title—give them a good reason to continue to read.
Lead early and lead strong.
The first paragraph is the most critical. Start with your main points and explain later. Readers might not make it past the first paragraph, so put your best foot forward so they make it to the end.
Give the most information with the least amount of words. 500 words is often more than enough. People are becoming accustomed to getting their information in bite sized chunks in our 140-character world. Everyone’s busy and wants to read something that is entertaining, informative, and relevant—then move on to the next thing.
No one takes textbooks to the beach because they’re dull. The greatest reads are written by the most passionate voices.
Write content that matters.
Don’t just blog for blogging’s sake. While frequent posting will help make sure people don’t forget you exist, don’t bore your readers with filler.
Bullet points, headings, and lots. Of. Punctuation.
Make sure your posts are easy to scan and quick to read by breaking up the text. Keep your paragraphs short, and use bulleted lists and headings to divide up the text. Especially when reading online, we’re programmed to read in short bursts and so most people probably won’t make it past the fourth sentence in a paragraph.
Edit, edit, and edit again.
No won likes lookin’ like a phool. Sloppy editing kills credibility.
Link a lot.
Share the love with links. It gives readers a chance to drill deeper for more information and gives you a chance to give credit where credit is due. These are my favorite sites.
Sprinkle the post with search-friendly keywords.
Don’t you want people to be able to find what you wrote in search engines? Then think about what keywords people would use to search for your blog post and include them in the body of your text. Don’t force it: keyword placement and frequency should be natural and shouldn’t seem out of place.
(image courtesy Flickr user Mike Licht, Creative Commons)
. . .
Chelsea Strzelecki is a virtual public relations intern at LightBox Collaborative. She will graduate from Central Michigan University in May 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in integrative public relations with minors in psychology, leadership, and public affairs.