To get the most out of your event blog you need to produce good quality content that your audience will want to share. Here are twenty-five of our top tips to help you improve your blog posts.
2. Make notes
Whether you’re a fan of apps like Evernote or old-fashioned paper and pen, keep notes somewhere that you can find them again later. Personally I prefer using paper so I have the freedom to use doodles, mind maps and flow charts as well as simple lists.
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3. Choose topics you care about
Some writers can pump out posts on any topic under the sun. You can tell the difference, though, when you come across a writer who is actually passionate about their topic. Start with something you care about to make your writing better.
4. Choose topics you know about
While research is important and can help you dig deeper into an issue, having some knowledge of your topic before you start will make your post a lot easier to write. You’ll save time on understanding the topic and you’ll be more comfortable which will come across in your writing.
5. Start with a plan
Beginning your post with a plan will speed up the writing process. Start with a rough headline that sums up your topic. Add subheadings for each point you want to make, and dot points of all the ideas you want to include. Moving from subheadings and dot points to a full blog post is easier than starting with a blank page.
6. Read a lot
Use an RSS reader or email subscriptions to keep up with your favourite news sites and blogs. Reading regularly will keep ideas flowing and provide inspiration.
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7. Learn from others
Read other blogs to find writing and formatting styles that you like. Take notes on which headlines pique your interest and which topics receive more comments.
8. Get organised
Plan time to write and stick to your schedule as much as possible. Organise your resources by working out a writing process that works and tagging or sorting notes and ideas as you collect them.
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9. Brainstorm regularly
An old-fashioned brainstorm is a great way to open up the flow of ideas. Take some time now and then to throw out as many ideas, topics or general themes as you can think of. This will give you a head start when it comes to choosing a topic for your next post.
10. Talk to people
Just because blogging happens online, all the work doesn’t have to be on your computer. Talking to people is a great way to find fresh inspiration. Set up a meeting to discuss ideas or grab a colleague to help you brainstorm.
11. Get a dictionary
I believe a dictionary is essential for every good writer for two reasons. The first is that you should be reading a lot if you want to improve your own work, and a dictionary will help you to understand what you read better. Secondly, a dictionary (or thesaurus) is a handy tool for helping you to find the right words to make your point and avoid hackneyed phrases. I highly recommend the Google Dictionary extension for Chrome which has pop-up definitions and synonyms.
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12. Use dot points
Using numbered lists or short bullet points will help you to make concise points.
13. Use ‘tweetable’ phrases
When writing The Flinch, Julien Smith said Seth Godin pushed him to “make everything tweetable, memorable.” Keep this in mind when writing blog posts that will be shared online. Use short, strong phrases to make your content more shareable.
14. Add media
Add images, sound and video to your posts to expand on your points, provide examples and add interest.
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15. Use varied post lengths
Most blogs have a standard post length that works. While this is a good way to keep your work consistent, don’t let yourself get tied down by it. Allow a little flexibility now and then to keep your content fresh and interesting.
16. Make the medium serve the message
Your message should be the most important thing in every post. This is why starting with the headline is a good idea. Keep your message in mind when writing and editing.
17. Encourage comments by writing less
Jeff Goins recently wrote about the benefits of writing half-finished blog posts to get more comments. By leaving your posts open to ideas and input from your audience, you will encourage more engagement. Be sure to choose topics that your audience cares about and wants to discuss.
18. Write powerful headlines and follow through
Your headline is what will sell your post and make people want to read it, so put the effort in to make it stand out. Write “magnetic headlines” and follow through with killer content. If your post doesn’t deliver, even a great headline won’t save it.
19. Write for “scanners”
It’s widely accepted that as Internet readers, we scan. We take in small chunks of information and have short attention spans. Cater to your readers with small paragraphs and short words. Break up your writing with subheadings, bullet points and images and use bold or italic fonts to make important points stand out.
20. Rewrite 3 times
Edit your work. This one is a no-brainer that too many bloggers avoid because it’s not much fun. But rewriting and re-reading your work is too important to be skipped. Nick Thacker recommends going through your post 3 separate times. The tighter and more polished your post is, the more your readers will get out of it.
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21. Edit ruthlessly
Editing is tough, especially on your own work. Keep the editing process separated from the writing so that you can be ruthless. Try to cut out anything that isn’t needed.
22. When you think you’re done, read it one more time
Just before you publish, proofread your post one last time. Even if you’re sure it’s ready, do it anyway. No doubt you’ll find something you had missed.
23. Get a fresh pair of eyes
Always get someone else to read your post before you publish. This is one of the best ways to find any mistakes you’ve overlooked.
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24. Respond to comments
When your readers take the time to comment on your blog, keep them engaged by responding. Being present even after your post is published creates a sense of community and encourages interaction.
25. Don’t be afraid to give up
Sometimes a topic just won’t work. Other times, a particular angle or approach won’t suit the topic. If you get stuck into your post and find it a struggle to complete, don’t be afraid to put it on the backburner. You can always come back to it later to revise or just pull ideas from.
Do you have a favourite tip or one that we missed? Leave a comment below and let us know.