Writing a blog is not as easy as it seems. My first blog post was not a success. It was actually only half an article that I posted on LinkedIn’s blog, Pulse. In the first paragraphs I dropped that after a long brainstorming session I had written a thriller that was published by a reputable publisher. Then I boasted that I sold ideas for articles to national newspapers such as De Volkskrant and Quest every week. Then I invited the reader to click through to my website Vis, where I would reveal how I came up with these great ideas.
The result: 4 likes, 0 shares and less than 80 readers of which fewer than five people clicked through.
Logical. Nobody is waiting for the beating of someone who actually only wants traffic to his website. But in what way can you write a blog that people are enthusiastic about? I already explained that to more than one hundred and fifty people in my Blogging course for more customers – below you will get a detailed taste of that course.
Blog writing: 7 tips
The absence of visitors was in a way a liberation for me. In the following blogs I was no longer keen to make myself interesting. Slowly but surely I started writing more blogs about problems I struggle with: lengthy in my texts, words that I used too often and problems with concentration. I no longer portrayed myself as an “expert” but as a struggling journalist and writer. In short: as someone who makes mistakes, just like everyone else.
From that moment on the blogs were better appreciated. A piece about 11 words that I had to delete myself more often, was read almost 80,000 times and received over 4,000 likes. Articles about phrases that you can omit, my concentration problems and boring verb forms attracted more than 150,000 readers.
I do not believe that writing a blog is a matter of one success formula. My most read posts do have a few ingredients in common in terms of content, structure, structure and especially in terms of tone. If I could travel back in time and advise myself when writing my first blog on Linkedin, I would give myself the following tips. So: how do you write a blog?
Blog writing tip 1 – Start with a blunder.
If you want to inspire someone else with your insights in a blog, first show how you acquired it yourself. Nobody learns without first going into their mouths. Share this story in the form of a short anecdote, much like you would tell someone in the pub.
Writing a blog in which you fool yourself in the first paragraph is a good way to break the ice and draw the reader into your story.
Blog writing tip 2 – Write a nutshell paragraph with recognizability
Your anecdote, if it’s right, symbolizes a larger problem that more people are struggling with. In the second paragraph you show that by broadening your personal story and raising a question. For example: my first blogs were not a success. You pull that wider by asking yourself: how do you actually write a good blog that people are waiting for?
Such a paragraph is also called the nutshell paragraph in journalism. You use it to announce which question you are going to answer in your article, so that people immediately know what they will find out when they read through. Writing a blog is primarily: thinking from the reader.
Write blog tip 3 – Give tips, but don’t pretend to be an expert
Blogs are often popular if they contain tips that can directly benefit readers, for example when writing emails, business texts or motivational letters.
But that does not mean that you have to put yourself on a pedestal as an expert. You are probably an expert by experience. You ran into a problem and now use a different approach that works better for you.
But that does not mean that it is the only right approach.
With this tone you leave more room for discussion and reactions. This results in more involvement and therefore more readers.
Write blog tip 4 – Make the tips concrete with clear language
Above all, try not to bring your tips too big and floaty, such as “write with more feeling” or “live more in the moment.” These are clichés that you can explain in many ways.
Tips work especially if they are practical and written in clear language, preferably without many suffering forms and tang constructions.
When you say: you better delete these 11 words, or this software can help you to concentrate better, there is no discussion about what that means exactly.
Anyone can try and judge for themselves whether it works for him or her.
Write blog tip 5 – Add structure to your paragraphs
Also at paragraph level it is nice if your text has a good structure and generates a bit of tension.
You can use topical sentences for this. Those are sentences that make it central summarize the idea of your paragraph. They are usually at the beginning of a paragraph, so that readers know what they can expect in the next piece of text.
It works well not to reveal everything in the topical sense, so that some tension is generated. An example of a topical sentence that generates tension.
If you don’t know how to start an article, the bar talk rule is very useful.
The reader knows from this sentence that he is going to read in the coming paragraph about a writing method that has something to do with pub talk, but nothing more. This way you encourage reading.
Write blog tip 6 – Do not exaggerate the effect of your tips
Don’t pretend that your life has changed radically because of your insights. Nobody has the recipe for success. Don’t be afraid to say that you still go wrong sometimes.
For example, I have learned a lot about blogging in recent months, but that is not always a guarantee for readers. A few weeks ago, for example, I wrote this blog on LinkedIn that has been viewed by a hundred people, even though I applied many of these techniques there. Sometimes you just don’t have the right subject.
Write blog tip 7 – Ask your readers for help
You can lend a hand to the success of your blogs by explicitly requesting the help of your reader. Often articles are not shared on social networks, because that is simply not in the system of people. There is nothing wrong with just pointing out the possibility.
For example, my article with concentration tips on LinkedIn immediately got a lot of likes, but it was hardly shared. As an experiment, I added the following sentence.
Share this message (press the top right arrow) so that we concentrate more on our work and have time for fun things, such as concentration on each other
Suddenly people started pressing the share button – it has now been shared almost 1000 times.
If you want to read more good blogs, share this message, so that writing a blog will soon be easier for everyone
Do you have plans to start a blog yourself to attract more customers or website visitors? A few times a year I give the Blogging course for more clients in addition to my journalistic work. If you participate, you are in good company. More than a hundred people preceded you. Register here.