With coffee in hand, millions of bloggers begin their day by switching on their computer or mobile device and the writing process starts. Maybe a few emails get checked or social feeds are read. Then the creative process begins.
When a blog first gets started, there is excitement within the content. There are visual language components that engage the reader. As the routine of writing sets in, however, those great blog posts begin to become more average. Then average becomes poor. Then poor becomes, “I don’t think I want to write anymore.”
Bloggers in the middle of a routine often settle for “acceptable.” This guide will help you create something with passion and power once again – and then be able to repeat it over and over with every future post.
Are you ready to enjoy some incredible tips for writing better posts? Then grab your coffee and let’s do some learning.
#1. Create a hook from the very beginning.
The first sentence or paragraph of a better blog post starts with a thesis component. It is the central argument or thought that you intend to offer to the reader. When you can create a thought which engages their interest or curiosity, then you’ve got a better chance to have them read your blog post all the way through.
There are a number of ways in which you can hook a reader and reel them in.
- By offering an inspirational quote. Neil Gaiman once said this about blogging: “I started blogging a decade ago because I like blogging. Writing’s a kind of lonely thing to do, and I liked the idea of demystifying the process because I loved it as a kid and teenager and as somebody who wanted desperately to write.” This can become the foundation of an entire blog post.
- By offering a statistic. Did you know that there could be as many as 4.9 billion email accounts your blog could target with a subscription? Statistics are verifiable facts that immediately make an impact because you’re about to explain why that fact is something the reader needs to know.
- By offering a relational question. Did you know that writing a better blog post is like a box of chocolates? A question requires an answer. Ask the question first and more readers will want to find an answer.
- By telling a story. And that’s how this post started. Stories don’t have to be personal. They can be focused on a group of people, a neighborhood, or even be fictitious in some instances.
How you start a race matters. A poor start makes it less likely that you can win. How you start a blog post determines whether or not a reader will stay with you until the end. So hook them right away with a solid thesis and then structure your blog post around that key point for best results.
#2. Write with a clear purpose in every sentence.
What turns a better blog post into an average one is an excessive amount of unfocused ramblings. Tangents. Thoughts that are not related to the subject matter of the post.
It’s like writing about what you had for breakfast this morning at the start of the post, but then discussing the pros and cons of a first-person shooter video game.
A better blog post requires powerful writing. To write with power, you must be precise, simple, and straight to the point. Here’s how you do it.
- Make sure you maintain a clear purpose. Every sentence in your blog post should help your readers in some way. Some sentences build relationships. Others provide information. A sentence which doesn’t maintain the purpose of the blog post should be removed.
- Keep your topic as narrow as possible. Instead of offering a bunch of tips for better generalized writing like your high school language arts teacher provider, offer a specific focus. Like how to be writing better blog posts, for example.
- Always revisit the purpose of the content. The hook you’ve offered readers through your thesis is called a “value proposition.” A reader keeps reading because they believe your promise that the blog post has something of value to offer them. If you break that promise, they’ll stop reading. So you’ve got to keep going back to that promise to make sure you’re still offering value.
If you can include empathy and generosity within the power and passion of your words, then you will create a better blog post with consistency.
#3. Use sensory words to create a mental vision for the reader.
We have ordinary words and extraordinary words within our language. Ordinary words provide information. Extraordinary words stimulate the senses. When you can use more extraordinary words within your writing, then your reader will feel, hear, and see what you’re discussing in their mind’s eye.
Here’s an example of ordinary words being used.
The bee flew around the yard. It explored a few flowers, flew towards my head a couple of times, and then decided to go back to his hive.
It gets the point across to the reader, but it really isn’t exciting. It isn’t powerful because the words used have no sensory meanings to them. This is the hidden power of extraordinary words.
Now let’s transform that sentence.
The bee buzzed around the tranquil backyard. It gently landed on flower after flower, exploring the world. It casually flew my way as well, offering me a gentle hello, before deciding that home is where the bee’s heart happens to be.
You must “paint” the image for your reader. Use sensory words that offer smells, tastes, and touches. Include motion adjectives to create movement within each sentence. This will breathe life into your writing and that will create a better blog post.
#4. Give yourself some extra authority.
You have three blog post choices about writing a better blog post. Do you read the one from the published author? The one from the stay-at-home parent? Or the one from the writer that doesn’t even know how to spell the word “authority” correctly?
Most people will choose Option #1. A few will choose Option #2 because that writer’s personal story relates to their own. If someone starts reading Option #3, they’ll probably stop and go to one of the other options.
Why? Because of the perception of authority. We want to learn from the very best. If you can add some extra expertise into your content with consistency, then you’ll be able to create a blog post more people will read from start to finish. It’s pretty easy to give yourself some extra authority – here’s how.
- Provide specific examples from your experience. When you can tell authentic stories from your past which relate to the blog post content, then you’ll show the reader that you know exactly what you’re talking about and have a specific lesson to offer them.
- Add some more statistics which prove your point. Statistics are generally boring, but that’s because they’re often listed in a blog post instead of being part of the narrative. Don’t ignore the numbers. If a statistic is relevant, then put it into the discussion.
- Offer quotes from others within your subject matter. If you’re writing about blog posts, then see if you can get a new quote from one of today’s top bloggers. Email them to see if they’d be interested in a short interview. Or you can directly quote one of their blog posts, but make sure you include a link to their content and email them about the quote so that everything stays on the up and up.
Expertise matters. Giving yourself even a small boost of authority can make all the difference in the world. If your posts aren’t seeing the traffic you’d like, then this is the writing tip you’ll likely want to address first.
#5. Analogies or parables can make difficult subjects easier to understand.
It can be difficult to help readers understand certain concepts that you’re talking about. This is where analogies or parables can become a way to give more strength to your writing so you can create a better blog post.
Analogies compare the subject matter that you’re discussing to a different subject. So I might say something like this: “Writing a better blog post is a lot like making coffee. If you follow the right steps and use the correct ingredients, then you can brew up an interesting pot of information for your readers.”
Parables take this a step further. You teach a lesson in the same way as an analogy, but it’s more of a fictional story.
Why do analogies and parables work? Because you’re taking your blog post directly to the reader. You’re using language and circumstances they can understand on a personal level.
#6. Metaphors can also be useful as well.
But sometimes you don’t need or want to write a full parable to help someone understand the subject matter you’re discussing in a blog post. You might not have an awesome analogy that compares writing to coffee. You can still take advantage of this relational principle as a writer by using a metaphor.
Metaphors do a great job of helping people visualize what you are talking about. Here’s an example of a metaphor.
It’s been said that in space, no one can hear you scream. This is because there is a lack of air in space. Astronauts must wear a special spacesuit which allows them to breathe and protects them from the cold and radiation that exists in outer space. Your blog post has a similar problem. Without interesting facts and information presented in a real way, your readers won’t have a way to survive through your post.
The benefit of using metaphors is that you can experiment a lot with them without really causing damage to the reputation of your blog. Not every metaphor is going to create awesome results, but the readers will give you credit for the attempt to make something difficult to understand a little more relatable to them.
#7. Have confidence in your writer’s voice.
Writing is just as creative as painting, photography, or building a Halloween corn maze. You are putting yourself out there to the rest of the world on your blog. People are going to judge what you’ve written and it won’t always be positive.
Just because you receive criticism doesn’t mean that you’ve written a bad blog post. It just means your content didn’t relate to that reader and it frustrated them enough that they decided they needed to tell you about that emotion.
When writers receive feedback that is consistently negative, it can cause them to begin doubting their skills. Writers can even begin to believe that they aren’t experts in their field or point of interest.
Writers can begin to feel like they’ve run out of ideas. And, when that occurs, there’s a good chance that the blog will eventually wither and die. New content for a blog is like water for you. Without it, there is no chance for life.
So it is important to stay confident in your own writer’s voice, even in the storms of criticism. Here’s how you can do that.
- Listen to the feedback. Although it can be difficult to find feedback in comments where you’re called a bunch of nasty names, there are some commenters who will discuss what worked for them and what content in your post seemed confusing. Ignore the first example and listen to the second because that will help you develop content that is better targeted to your audience.
- Keep pushing forward. This is your art. Just because people are not liking it doesn’t mean your words are lacking impact. Sometimes a strong negative response occurs because your blog post struck a nerve – and that means you’ve actually written a pretty good blog post.
- Stay committed. When you are committed to writing better blog posts, you’ll notice that the negative feedback will eventually begin to fade away. It’s like dealing with a bully. When you stand up to them and keep living your own life through your blog, the folks who like to focus on the negative will find a different writer to pester with their comments.
Writing better blog posts ultimately means staying true to the person you are. Be yourself and your blog will grow. Offer your experiences and your blog posts will be interesting. Over time, you’ll find your writer’s voice and the passion it offers will build an audience which wants to read more of what you have to offer.
#8. Pop culture references must be measured.
Outside of expertise and voice, blogs attract readers because they feel relevant. Relevance equates to being relatable. Being relatable equates to being likeable.
Discussing current events in pop culture can therefore help you reach out to new readers on neutral ground. Where this writing tip tends to backfire is when a writer doesn’t really create neutral ground with their references.
How does that happen? Because the writer infuses their own opinion into the pop culture reference instead of offering it more as an analogy or a metaphor.
Here’s an example:
The Beatles are the greatest rock band of all time. When you listen to their music, their harmonies and melodies are catchy, fun, and make you want to sing along.
That’s a pop culture reference that is about the writer’s opinion. If the reader doesn’t agree because they like Gary Lewis and the Playboys more, then you’ve just lost that person.
Or worse – you’re going to wind up with a negative comment on your blog post because they feel like you’re uneducated in the music from that era.
The point of using this option for writing a better blog post is to create similarities instead of creating division. So using The Beatles as a reference is a good idea. Let’s just take the divisive wording out of the observation.
The Beatles are sometimes thought of as the best rock band of all time. Some may disagree, but there is something about their harmonies and melodies that can make their music attractive.
#9. You must be able to make your blog post unique.
With hundreds of millions of blogs out there today, it is impossible to review them all to make sure that your content is 100% unique. If you search a blog topic online before you start writing it, there’s a good chance it’s been extensively covered by other bloggers already. How can you be unique if thousands of other people are writing about the same thing?
Easy. By offering you own experiences and talking about them in relation to the subject matter you wish to discuss.
Let’s use this post as an example. Writing better blog posts has been a unique journey. There have been many errors learned along the way. Some of the things posted in the past would not be posted today. The fact is that we are always living and learning. These tips for writing better blog posts are likely duplicated in other posts from writers who have learned similar lessons.
Yet how those lessons were learned and how we have each applied them are very different. This is what makes a blog post unique.
Far too often, writers tend to settle for shortcuts to produce higher levels of content. They might “scrape” a post by copying the work of someone else to their blog and call it their own. Or a writer might pull up an interesting blog post and just rewrite it so that it doesn’t seem like it was copied. There’s even “spinners” which allow a writer to create hundreds of blog posts that are exactly the same in content, but different in wording.
Shortcuts never create a better blog post. The only way to make your blog post unique is to sit down and write it. So start writing.
#10. You need to have a call to action.
In the world of sales, you must be able to spur prospective customers who are sitting on a fence of indecision to take an action. You want them to complete the sale so you get paid. To do this, you create what is known as a “call to action.”
A call to action is a writer telling their reader what specific steps to take.
Now a blog post isn’t always trying to sell something for profit, but you are trying to sell your reputation as a writer. You’re selling the value of your blog. That means a good conclusion will always have sort of “punchiness” to it so that it becomes memorable. You want the reader to take some sort of action.
Unfortunately, you’ll see a lot of writers summarizing the key points of their post in their conclusion to make sure their primary thesis has been answered. That’s better than nothing, but that won’t create consistently better blog posts. Here are some better options.
- Ask the reader a difficult question. Restate your key points into one question the reader must answer. You want the reader to consider how they can include the information they’ve just read into their daily routines.
- Tell the reader to go do something. For this post, a good conclusion would tell the reader to implement these key points into their next post and then report their results afterward. Blog readers are more likely to respond when you offer them a very specific instruction.
- See if the reader will share their own experiences. The best blogs are communities of people sharing their experiences with one another. Use your conclusion to inspire people to share their own thoughts about the key points you’ve offered to begin conversations that may add even more value to the post you’ve written.
A good conclusion will reinforce the value of all the content that has come before it. A bad conclusion will negate the value and make the reader feel like they’ve just wasted their time.
#11. None of these tips are actually commandments.
As the story goes, Moses when up a mountain and spoke with God. He came down with tablets of stone that had laws engraved on them. Whether it actually happened or it is a metaphor, the message was clear: these laws were intended to be permanent.
The advice that you’ll find about writing better blog posts is not permanent. They are not written in stone. They are simply guidelines to consider when you’re creating art.
Sometimes you may not want to follow any of them because you feel like the best course of action is to blaze a new trail somewhere. Sometimes you may wish to include every writing tip offered here because that’s how you can create consistency throughout your content.
The bottom line is this: as a writer, you want people coming back to your blog repetitively because they find it to be valuable. Being informative, engaging, and consistently unique will make this happen sooner or later.
Maybe there are times you need to be like Moses and carry around blog writing tips that are written in stone. There may be other times when you need to be like Moses and throw the stone tablets to the ground so they break. Either way, you’ll be creating content that works for your blog and provides value to your readers and that’s the most important aspect of modern blog writing.
Life is too short to be reading bad blogs. As a writer, life is too short to be creating bad blogs. So have a firm opinion, but keep an open mind. Share your expertise, but be willing to learn something new. Offer value in every blog post, but invite others to share their own valuable experiences.
You’ll find that writing a blog using these tips and your experiences can be a whole lot of fun. It’s like seeing the sun break through a thick layer of grey clouds, if but for just a moment, to warm your skin and let you know that the day is going to turn out all right.