This is the first in a two part series looking at how to write for your blog and share what I have learned over the last 3 years.
Writing is either something you love doing or hate doing. I think I fall into the latter category, I hate it but I love the creative process of writing and I love it when the words just quickly spill out onto the page.
Sometimes it's like I've connected my mind Via USB cable to the computer and my thoughts just write themselves. Other times the USB has definitely been disconnected and there is an error in the system and it takes me a while to reconnect.
This post will show how I cope with the ups and downs of writing articles for blogs and hopefully give you some advice of how you can cope with writing and become better at it.
Know The Demographics
This may sound a little strange but you have to know the audience you are writing for. You wouldn't get the comedian Billy Connelly playing to an audience of the women's guild club. So it is with your blog, you have to know the people you are writing for.
The best way to do this, for me, is to think of a man and the woman who is going to read your blog. Now, describe them and ask the following questions:
What age are they?
What type of job do they have?
What is their income?
Do they have children?
What type of house do they have?
The reason why we do this is to get a picture in our head of the type of articles we should be writing, and we should always keep this in mind with every article we write. I wouldn't write an article 'WordPress For The Advanced User' if the demographics of my audience were aged 85, retired,and have little or no computer knowledge.
Similarly I wouldn't write an article 'WordPress for beginners' to an audience of computer geeks.
The reason I imagine a man and a woman, rather than just one person, is that men and women obviously think differently particularly with styles of humour. It is predominantly men who find jokes about farting funny whereas women, generally, don't. So, we have to look at two sides when we are writing.
This might sound like hard work but believe me when you are practiced you will do these things automatically and it will become second nature to you.
Don't Be Afraid To Drop Some Readers
You cannot please every reader who comes to your blog so there's no point in trying. If you want to be contrarian and go against the crowd then do it. You might lose a few readers on the way however the people that do follow you will be loyal.
I made this mistake early on and am only now beginning to write the articles I really want to write and am prepared to lose a few readers who don't like what I have to say. However, If I had started out this way I believe I would have built a better blog in a lot quicker time and honed the writing to a smaller smaller group of people who were more loyal.
I love reading Naomi Dunford's Ittybiz because she writes the way she speaks. She curses and swears but does not care, her motto is if you don't like it don't read it. She has a great following who are very loyal and she has a great blog and business because of this.
This is true of life. We cannot please everybody, it's absolutely impossible, so why bother trying. Develop the role of the type of person you want to be and be comfortable in that role. If you are not comfortable then change it. Who says our personalities have to be sticky, they don't. If you don't like something about yourself then change it and adapt to your new role.
Writing authentically should always be your main goal when trying to connect with your readers. If you are not authentic it will definitely show in your writing. This Cannot really be said if you write articles for magazines as there is a certain style you have tow write in, however, if it's your own blog you want your personality to shine through in your writing.
Using some slang is also not a bad thing to get your point across, but using it all the time would put a lot of readers off unless all your audience is from the same area as yourself and using local slang is permissible. Generally if you are trying to build a large audience you will have a lot of readers from outside your local area.
Your posts are not going to stand out if you write another 'Here is my cute little dog' post, although that type of post gets a lot of hits for some reason 🙂
Being different doesn't mean to say you have to be totally original, if that were the case there would only be a handful of blogs on the internet.
Blog posts will generally fall into 5 categories:
5 Common Types of Blog Post
- Useful – This is when you are teaching somebody something that will help them in their life. This blog is written based on this type of post. If your blog is 'Useful' based try and make it stand out from the other useful crowds. It could be the way you write, or presenting it in a different way.
- Funny – This type of post can be incorporated into many other styles of post. For example there are two great personal development bloggers Tim Brownson and Craig Harper who write about personal development but what makes them stand out is their style of writing. Craig is self deprecating and funny and Tim's writing style is of a very conversational and funny.
- Breaking News – Most bloggers will not get to break big news so it won't apply to most bloggers. However, if you want to write this type of post you will certainly be different and newsworthy and will be linked to a lot.
- Personal – The personal post is how most bloggers start off, unless they treat it as a business from the start. I am embarrassed to say I wrote a post entitled 'Tips to Reduce Farting' which was a personal post, it might have been considered useful to a few people but I would never write a post like this now.As soon as you start writing for a blog treat it as a business from the very start, even if you want to write personal stories about your little cat, you never know where it might lead.
- Debate – This can be a great way to write blog posts and throwing one in every now and again is recommended. Writing a post where you play devils advocate and get a debate going in the comments section of the post can bring a lot of new readers to your blog
In part 2 of The Art Of Writing Great Blog Posts I will look at the