The gap between a so-so blog post and a truly amazing one isn’t as big as you would think. Blogging, like any type of writing, is a subtle art, one that requires knowledge of your reader and the subject matter with the addition of a little something special. This is where so-so posts become stellar.
As an editor, I see both – the so-so and the stellar – and I see how people respond to each. The so-so posts get a so-so response, an Internet silence that can only be interpreted as “MEH”. The stellar posts get a wild response, outliving their expected shelf life by days, weeks, months, even years as they get bounced and rebounced around the socialsphere.
A good rule of thumb is if it’s boring to write, then it’s probably boring to read. The reason is that your enthusiasm for the subject is reflected in your treatment of the subject. If it’s a subject you are passionate about, it is only natural that you lavish attention on the details and spend that extra time fussing over the language.
So how do you take a hum-drum post and make it awesome?
The Secret to Writing Stellar Blog Posts
Come Up with a Kick-Ass Title – Create a title that both accurately conveys the subject AND adds a little extra excitement, curiosity or expectation. Yes, sometimes the magical Internet fairies find even the lamest titled posts, but give your work the chance it deserves by spending the time to develop a strong, compelling title.
Start with a Strong Promise – Give your readers a reason to read beyond the first line. Allude to what they will gain by continuing to read. This post promised to show how the gap between so-so and stellar wasn’t as big as people would think and then went on to talk about the different responses. Worth finding out more? It got you to here didn’t it?
Make It Relevant to Your Readers – Address your readers as you would if you were speaking to them. Talk about their challenges, their fears and their problems. Help them see how they fit into your post by connecting the dots between your subject and their lives. Like that time you wrote a post that you thought would be useful only to have it fall flat.
Show How You are a Trusted Source – Answer the question, “Why you?” Tell your readers why they should trust what you have to say on the subject. I mentioned that as an editor, I see a lot of both types (making me an expert) and I have had the experience of seeing how readers respond to both (giving me firsthand experience).
Share Concrete Information – Stop it with the navel gazing! Even the most personal posts can have a valuable lesson or realization to share with your audience. Know what you want your reader to take away from your post as you are writing it so you don’t wander off on a tangent and forget to return (this one happens…A LOT).
Sum It Up – Take the time to bring it back to a big picture lesson. This is especially true for longer blog posts that go into a lot of detail on a subject. Leave your readers with a final thought, an action item or a question to ponder. Remember, when they get to the end of the article is typically when they will make the decision on whether or not to share it.
One of the best ways to improve a blog post is to simply step away and return to edit it a day, or even just an hour later. It’s easy to catch the awkward sentences, missing words or even weird typos when you revisit your work with fresh eyes.