8 steps to better blog writing

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If you are writing for a blog, throw the rules out the door. Blogger, author and consultant Mark W. Schaefer teaches us eight ways to connect to your readers!

If you are writing for a blog, throw the rules out the door. Blogger, author and consultant Mark W. Schaefer teaches us eight ways to connect to your readers!

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  • 1. Blog readers are SKIMMERS who scantheir inbox or blog reader to figure outwhat posts are worthy. So a headlinethat says “My views on soap” or“Thinking back” don’t cut it. You have toGRAB ‘em and make them read.Characteristics of great headlines: Catchy Descriptive Contains keyword Tweetable (short) Also, any headline that indicates a numbered list is going to attract more eyeballs. Busy readers like lists.
  • 2. In school, we are taught towrite linearly. A beginning, amiddle, an end. That does notwork on blogs. You have to tellthe ending first. I call thatwriting upside down.Busy readers are going to bebored and frustrated if youdon’t tell them exactly whythey are there and what thepay-off is. So start with the end… and then explain it.
  • 3. There is no science behind thischart. I totally made it up. But Ihave also written about 2,000posts so I have some sense aboutthese things!You have to EARN the right to golong. If you are MalcolmGladwell, you have earned theright to go long. If you are juststarting to build your audience,don’t challenge them with longposts unless it is somethingextraordinary. Somewherebetween 500 and 1,000 words isgolden.
  • 4. Subheadings rock.A sub-heading is like a miniheadline – like what you seeabove this sentence.Subheads draw attentiondown the length of the blogpost and breaks up the blockof gray. This is especiallyimportant in a challengingreading environment like asmartphone.
  • 5. In journalism school I was taught tokeep my “voice” OUT of my writing.Just stick to the facts. The best blogwriting weaves your personal narrativeinto the discussion and lets yourpersonality shine. When somebodywants to write a guest post for {grow} Ichallenge them to write a post thatONLY they could write. Dig deep. Be you. That is the heart of originality.
  • 6. This is easy toremember. Try to makeevery blog post R-relevant, I – interesting,T – timely and E –entertaining. If you cando that consistently,you will be creatingshare-able blogcontent.
  • 7. Throw the rules outthe door. Write likeyou speak. Even. If.It’s. Choppy.After you have writtenyour blog post, read itout loud. If it doesn’tsound like you simplytalking to youraudience, lighten it up.Just tell them thestory.
  • 8. If you want to encouragecomments and engagement,you don’t have to have all theanswers. You just have to askthe right questions.Although you wouldn’tnormally end a whitepaper ornews article with a question, itmakes perfect sense for a blog.Right?
  • 9. If you enjoyed thispresentation, you’ll find lots ofother great social media tipsand time-savers at my blog{grow} which can be found atwww.businessesGROW.com.Please connect with me onTwitter and Facebook, too!All the best, Mark W. Schaefer
  • 10. Mark W. Schaefer is a globally-recognized blogger, educator,business consultant, and author who blogs at {grow} — one of thetop marketing blogs of the world. Mark has worked in globalsales, PR, and marketing positions for nearly 30 years and nowprovides consulting services as Executive Director of U.S.-basedSchaefer Marketing Solutions. His clients include both start-upsand global brands such as Cisco, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson, andthe UK government.Mark has advanced degrees in marketing and organizationaldevelopment and holds seven patents. He is a faculty member ofthe graduate studies program at Rutgers University and is thefounder of Social Slam, a national social media event that takesplace each April. He is the author of two best-selling marketingbooks, Return On Influence and The Tao of Twitter. In 2012, hewas named by Forbes magazine as one of the Top 50 social media“power influencers” of the world.Mark has appeared on many national television shows andperiodicals including the Wall Street Journal, Wired, The New YorkTimes, and the CBS NEWS.