How to write a blog (that someone else will want to read!)

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    So - you want to write an effective blog?

     

    There are some basic best practices that will make your blog more effective and more enjoyable for your readers. Let's go through them:

     

    1. Hook your readers right away

      You're marketing a point of view, and as with any marketing campaign, it's grab 'em or lose 'em.

      So spend a little time thinking about the title of your blog posting, and write an introductory sentence that tells the reader why they should spend their time reading what you've written.

    2. Make  it easy to read

      Sorry, but no matter how brilliant your blog is, no one wants to wade through two hundred continuous lines of dense writing. Make your sentences clear and concise, and use white space  (blank lines), heading styles, boldface, and bulleted and numbered lists to make it easy for your readers to home in on the important stuff.

      (Don't overdo it either! Remember all those really annoying web pages with blinking words? Use these formatting techniques where they make sense - where they fit naturally into the flow of what you're writing.)

    3. Write  about things you care about

      If it's not important to you, if you're not passionate about the subject, don't bother writing  about it. If you don't care about it, why should your reader?

    4. Use links

      The editor in Jive makes it easy for you to include links in your document to places on the web, or to people and content on your Jive environment.

      Using links serves several purposes.  They connect what you're writing to the rest of the world and connect your readers to information you consider useful and relevant.

    5. Edit  what you write!

      It's easy to lose your readers' attention  when they're stopped dead in their tracks by a whopper of a misspelling or a serious grammatical error!

      There's a spell check button at the top right corner of the editor box:  SpellChecker2.JPG

      Use it!

      Remember - you can hit the "Save" or the "Save and Continue" buttons at the bottom of the editor. That gives you the ability to write a first draft, sleep on it for a night, and then go back to it. You'll often find that that second look helps you separate the wheat from the chaff and end up with a better result.

      And, since this is all about collaboration, ask a friend (who just happened to be an English major in a prior life!) to take a look at what you're written.

      Finally, don't over edit. You want what you've written to sound real and fresh, not packaged or pedantic.

    6. Have Fun!

      Writing a blog can be a lot of fun. Like driving a car, it gets less terrifying after you've done it a few times. As with many things, the best way to  get better at it is just to keep doing it.

     

    References:

     

    There  are some good resources on the web for how to write blogs.

     

    One way to learn about writing blogs is to read well written ones. Technorati has a list of their Top 100 Blogs.  Similarly, Time magazine has their 25  Best Blogs of 2009.

     

    ProBlogger has lots of useful hints about how to write a blog. Just ignore all the promotion they do of "How to become a millionaire by spending two hours a day blogging" web sites.

     

    Another useful site is mintBlogger.  (I didn't find this site until I started adding references, but clearly, great minds think alike!)

     

    A short article on  writing your first blog can be found here.

     

    That's  it for today. Feel free to comment on the best practices you like.

     

    (This wiki is a copy of one of my blogs. I have copied it here at Gia's request. Feel free to make full use of it.)