Blogging: You Are Doing it Wrong!

We all know there are a ton of blogs out there and most of us know that  many of them offer terrible content. If you are new to blogging I am going to give 5 tips to help you write blog posts people might actually read.

1. Don’t start off by telling the reader about you!

There are times that starting an article where you discuss your qualifications is good to prove that the suggestions you offer are solid, but that shouldn’t happen often. Starting an article with a funny sentence or two about your self isn’t really appealing either.

Iloveme2If you are writing about “5 Fantastic Tips on Email Marketing”, but you start off by writing about your new Ford Mustang readers will be turned off quickly. They didn’t come to read about Mustangs. Your first paragraph should support the title you have given to your article. You cannot basically promise to give to give “5 Fantastic Tips…” and then talk about your car, your dog or anything else. Your first paragraph must introduce what the article is going to be about and hint at suggestions that will keep people reading.

Suggestion - Don’t lose your audience in the first paragraph; you should be pulling them in and convincing them to read.

2. Stay on point and don’t drift!

The hardest articles to read are the ones that don’t stay on point. They start to drift and pull in other topics or a random idea and it confuses the reader. The reader is typically reading a blog post quickly so you don’t want to confuse people and make them try to figure out where you are going with your current tirade (or what on earth it has to do with the subject at hand).

If you have created an outline first make sure you stick to those points. When you go back through the article to review and edit remove anything that doesn’t enhance or further your point(s). I do that all the time (and have already done it in this article). Ask yourself when editing, “Does this help the reader in anyway?” If the answer is no then get rid of it.

fach2.13manyroadsCurrently I do a lot of editing on sites with articles from guest bloggers. The biggest problem I see is the writer drifting in their paragraphs. One minute they are offering fantastic information and then I am reading about how it reminds them of their recent boat trip on the lake. Why? Then to make sure I don’t miss when the good suggestions start again I have to read through the boring…as an editor I have to read through it, as I reader I don’t. I just leave.

3. Don’t be Choppy!

There is nothing harder to read than a choppy article. When I say choppy I mean something that does not flow from one sentence and/or idea to the next. Choppy includes articles that have paragraphs where none of the sentences have anything to do with the others.

Content marketing is really important for your business.  Don’t mess up at content marketing or inbound marketing or social media. For your business to succeed you need to make sure you do all you can online.

If someone is going to tell me, in the first sentence, that content marketing is important for my business I want to know why it is. The following sentences should support the first statement made. Make sure that each sentence in a paragraph supports and/or enhances the other. If a sentence doesn’t do that it needs to be in a different paragraph or deleted.

The three example sentences above are a good example of choppiness and a writer drifting from one idea to the next. Another way articles can be choppy is when there is no lead in to the next paragraph. You can explain what is coming next, for the next paragraph, or you can add headlines to automatically do that for you.

choppyroughseas2.13fachTip - If you have written an article, have read through it and think it is ready to be published, it is often best to walk away for an hour and then come back to reread the article and check for choppiness and paragraphs that drift. When you check an article later you almost always find something to change or fix.

4. Review for grammar and typos! PLEASE!

Typos are a part of life. I don’t think less of a blogger that has a few in a published article. However, too many typos or grammar issues can be a turn off to the reader and they might not return to your blog. It is very obvious in many articles, that if the writer had just pasted the article into a program like Word and ran a spelling/grammar check they would have found a lot of problems.

Take the time to check the spelling and grammar. It only takes a few minutes to check and it is better than being embarrassed. You can’t be taken seriously as a blogger when your writing mistakes are obvious to elementary school children. I understand people being in a rush and hurrying to write out their thoughts, but that is no excuse! Let the fantastic information you have written shine and don’t let typos ruin the information you have given away.

If you are going to put the time in to write and give your ideas away please take the time to check for typos. Trust me when I say that too many mistakes, or repeated mistakes, make readers lose respect for the blogger.

spelling2.13fach5. Don’t Glorify Yourself!

If you have an opinion blog that is all about your thoughts then writing about you is fine. But, if you have a business blog that is offering tips or information please know that readers don’t really care about your personal interests. The reader is not there to learn about how great you are at snowboarding, cooking, picking out amazing cars or anything else.

The reader comes to a business blog to learn or accumulate data. They are there to get some information that they can use and they do not give a hoot about why you are so wonderful. Bragging turns people off all the time in real life and in blog posts bragging comes across just as bad. However, in blog posts the whole world can see it and that information can be shared. Just keep in mind that the reader is there to get information on a topic and they are not there for you.

Being a Good Blogger Is Not Easy

Being a good blogger that will get recognition one day is not easy. You have to work hard, write often and do as much as you can the right way. I believe the 5 tips I have given above can help bloggers avoid turning readers off. The goal is to earn the reader’s respect and get them to come back and read again.