So you want to write a blog?
That's fantastic! As community managers and evangelists, we are often in the position of blogging in our own communities. In fact, you might want your community experts and advocates to feel empowered to write blogs about their subjects of expertise and their passions as well. Blogs are a great way to tell a story, educate your readers, and have fun!
Here's the thing: all blog posts are not created equal. Depending on the voice, the sentence and paragraph length and the value to the reader, a blog can be incredibly engaging or totally miss the mark. Since we want all blogs to be amazing and create connections with our customers, prospects, and others, I've come up with these five tips for successful blog posts.
Five tips to better blogs
1. Use the title to communicate value
What will readers get from the blog? Your title should clearly communicate to readers why they should read the blog and what they will get from it in the fewest words possible. See the title of this blog? Pretty clear, I hope. I want to help you all become amazing bloggers and so I came up with a short list of things to do to help you with that goal. I could've called the blog "Let Our Voices Be Heard" but that wouldn't really communicate what you're going to get from this content, would it? And since SEO is an incredibly important thing to consider for blogs, so be sure to connect with an SEO expert to see if your title can be optimized. See Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
2. Write in your talking voice
When writing a blog, it's more engaging to communicate in a casual personal tone. Blogs should be written in the first person (I did this, you can do that). You should be able to visualize speaking the blog to a person and them hearing it as part of a conversation. If your writing tends towards the news article style, a good tactic is to record yourself explaining to a real person what the article is about. Then write that down and it can become a blog.
3. Use lists, short sentences, short paragraphs, images
People do not have tons of time to read these days. And a whole bunch of readers are scanners. Be sure to write your blog with scanning in mind. Lists are a great way to pull content together in an easy-to-scan format. For paragraph style, break long sentences into shorter ones, be sure to organize sentences into topical paragraphs. A paragraph should be around five sentences long. Double space between paragraphs and break them up with subheadings that catch the readers attention. Add images to break up text and add visual interest.
4. Provide value to the reader
Writing a blog to get something off your mind is fine, but even better is to figure out how your thoughts can be helpful to your readers. You may have a great story to tell, but be sure to link it to some take-aways for your readers. Take some time to think about who your audience is and what they care about. Then be able to answer the question: why should the reader care about this blog and what's in it for them?
5. Finish off with a call to action
What's the final take away? Do you want readers to attend an event, read something in greater detail, watch a video or download a white paper? Even if the call to action is more conceptual (such as asking readers to consider the ways they can use your product) that's okay too.
While this list is not all encompassing, these tips are a great way to get started and to be sure you are hitting the big marks for blogs.
Try your hand at a blog today!
I'd like to challenge all of you to give these tips a try and write a blog this week.
- Take a subject you feel passionate about and tell your story in your community.
- Review and edit your blog to cover the tips above.
- Collect feedback. Find a writer you admire in your own community or company and ask them to review your piece.
- Determine the best place to post your blog. Depending upon the content and subject matter, your blog could end up on your community, on LinkedIn, or your personal blog channel. You can even try your hand at blogging in our The specified item was not found. blog channel here in the Jive Community. I'll get to review your blogs before they are posted. Guidelines are here: Blogging Guidelines.
And remember to have fun!
NOTE: If you would like to use this post in your own community to help encourage bloggers, feel free to copy and paste! Simply add a line attributing the content back to me here in the Jive Community. Thanks!