How to write great blog postsThe number of words, types of photos and secrets to getting othersto interact with you.
Who We AreNadine AnglinOnline Editor, The Kit@nsharonaSarah KelseyStyle Editor, The Huffington Post Canada@sarahkelsey
Who we are Christy Laverty News writer, editor, blogger @Imfreckles Mara Shapiro Blogger, Community Manager @chickymara
Blogging Basics Your Mantra: NBB (Never Be Boring) A good blog post is:• interesting, engaging• well edited• unique to your voice or viewpoint
Blogging Basics Structure:• between 500-700 words (you can split posts into part 1 & part 2 if necessary)• contains at least one photo• short paragraphs (lots of white space makes it easy for the eye)
Three Parts to a Blog Post• Introduction: Why am I writing this? Why would you want to know about this? Start with an anecdote or strong/witty statement, give a reason why someone should read on• Body: Choose your points and support them. Answer questions, make the connections. This is where you engage the reader• Conclusion: recap your beginning, summarize; call to action AEI: Always End Interestingly
Other tips• Make sure you know why you’re writing before you start. What point do you want to get across?• Titles are key: great titles will bring readers to your post• Use lists, bullets or tips (eg. Top 10 reasons...)• Include keywords in your first couple of sentences
Other tips• Make sure to title and tag photos when uploading• If you want people to comment, ask a question at the end• Don’t be afraid to be controversial; people want to hear your unique viewpoint
What if I’m not a good writer?• What are the formats and tools that you can use to help you nurture the writer in you?
What if I’m not a good writer?• Just write. Sometimes your beginning happens at the end.• Get away. Take a shower, go for a drive.• Step away then edit. And edit again. Make sure you’re Is are dotted and Ts are crossed. Take out superfluous words
What if I’m not a good writer?K.I.S.S:• Keep It Simple Silly! Don’t get too complicated.Conversational:• Try thinking about how you tell a story to a friend.• Think about the casual, conversational tone you might use to talk about that product, experience or person.• Record it if that helps. Then use that same tone in your writing.
What if I’m not a good writer?• Create formats for different blog posts so that you’re not just staring at a blank page, you’re filling in categories.• When creating your formats think about what interests you, what will serve your reader, and what other people in your niche are doing.
What if I’m not a good writer?Stay organized:• The more organized and on top of day-to-day site management you are (managing site calendars, reading the news, etc.) the more organized you’ll feel when it comes to writing.• You’ll feel like you have all the time in the world to write a post.
What if I’m not a good writer? Talk it out:• Think about how you would tell the story you’re trying to write to a best friend.• Write down the conversation.• This will give you an idea of how a conversational story should read.
What if I’m not a good writer? Read:• There are dozens of books out there that aren’t boring that will help you learn about proper grammar.• Eat, Shoots and Leaves is one of my favourites
What if I’m not a good writer?Analyze your favourites:• The next time you surf the web, bookmark the sites you like the tone of.• Go over the sites in-depth; read a lot of their articles.• Jot down notes on what makes them sound similar. How are they telling stories? How do they make them engaging?
What if I’m not a good writer?Be patient:• Being a good writer isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s an evolution; a process.
Why am I writing this?Why is it relevant?The importance of being timely.
Why am I writing this?• Before writing any post, ask yourself why it’s worth writing about right now.• Remember the 5 Ws: who, what, where, when, why• Just because you’ve received a press release, doesn’t mean something is worth covering
Why am I writing this?Don’t stop there:• What’s trending? (On Google, Polyvore, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.)• Develop a content calendar• Can you develop more than one story out of the post?• What are other blogs similar to yours writing about?
Your VoiceWhat is your voice?How do you use it to create a great blog post?
Your voice• Your voice is your unique style of writing (pacing, tone); it’s your personality in text.• Your voice can be comical, poetic, sarcastic, academic... all of the above!
Your voice• You need a unique voice to stand out in the crowd and to connect with your audience.• To find your voice study writers who write in a style you like, take note of how you speak when you’re having a conversation with a friend, record yourself talking about a specific topic or product and literally listen to the way you speak.
The next level…Nadine• Upgrade to an entry-level DSLR (around $500) and learn basic photography principles.• Try different embeddable widgets ex. a poll, a gallery, a quiz, etc.
The next level…Mara• Decide what the level is.• Do you want to become a quotable expert? Do you want to change the look of your blog? Monetize it?• Whatever you decide to do, just reach for the stars. You never know when the magic will happen.
The next level…Christy• Storify and Infographics (pictochart) : A great way to tell a story in a different way.• Think visual: Photographs and video
The next level…SarahBecome tech savvy.• Take a course like those offered by “Ladies Learning Code.” You’ll learn everything from Photoshop to HTML, so you can upgrade the look and feel of your site on your own and easily.
Last words…Nadine1. Remember writing is a craft, not an art. Anyone can learn it.2. We’re moving into a visuals-first era online. How can you tell your stories more visually?3. Always self edit. Take away the fat, you’ll be left with a better story.
Last words…Sarah1. Ask for advice (people who’ve come before you can offer tips and tricks you might not be able to learn on your own).2. Be bold and brave. Try new things! Don’t take yourself too seriously3. Keep your eyes and ears open. Story ideas and visuals can come from anywhere. Stay up-to-date on news stories, read lots of blogs/magazines, etc. Brand yourself with PR people.
Last words…Christy1. Write, Write, Write: the more you write the better you will become & the easier it will be.2. Don’t be afraid to try something new, different, creative3. Be yourself.
Last words…Mara 1. Your blog is you. Make it yours. Don’t ever compromise yourself and what’s important to you 2. Be Real. Don’t be afraid to say what you mean and share your feelings 3. Be consistent. Give your readers what they expect. A small loyal community is a wonderful thing. There are no small blogs.