Want to get your opinion out there? Catalogue your European vacation? Got something to say about your cat? Blogs are THE way to communicate that jumbled mess of thoughts in your head you call an opinion… but we’d ask that you don’t submit the latter two examples to this site.
After drumming my fingers on my desk for nearly a year trying to figure out what it is that makes a blog work, it dawned on me that it can be anything! That being said, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are a few subtle differences between a successful blog article and the sort of tripe that’s only amusing to yourself.
Here are a few ideas to keep your readers chomping at the bit for more:
Be interested in your subject matter. If you’re writing a post about something wholly uninteresting to you, it’s going to be a depressing, uninspired article, even if the reader has an interest in the topic. Inherently, taking an interest in what you’re writing about is going to have you walking away from your piece as an expert. With any luck, someone’s going to sit back from their read and have some new insight on a topic that will give them something to ponder while they trudge through their daily lives.
Dress it up. Hard facts are essential, but a compelling story isn’t comprised of a series of bullet points. Sure, you want to address the issue at hand, but the inspiration behind writing a blog entry is to, hopefully, educate others using your thoughts and opinions. With that in mind, a list of facts may interest someone already “in the know”, but you’ll quickly drive away your readers with uninspired catalogues of fact. Keep them coming back with pithy anecdotes and personal experiences that relate to your topic. Be warned though, if you get TOO wordy, it can be just as detrimental to your online popularity as a string of point form notes.
Seeing is believing. Alright, so you can write. Good for you. Keep in mind that for most people it’s difficult to get “in your head” and see the things you do when you’re writing. You know the old adage. “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Spend some time perusing the Google image search and find something compelling that relates to your subject matter. It shouldn’t tell the whole story, but it helps to put a face to the name, so to speak.
Proofread, damnit! No one wants to read a poorly spelled, grammatically absent article, no matter how well communicated the subject is. It looks childish and all but eradicates any amount of professional respect you may have garnered by the time you sign your name to it. Not so good with grammar or spelling? Not a problem. Everyone’s got a friend who’s a stickler for these types of things. Pass it along to them and get them to take a look. Ask for some honest feedback about the article while you’re at it. Having a different set of eyes take a look can do wonders, just don’t be so vain as to ignore any criticism. There are also online services that can help. Check out www.grammarly.com if you need to. A word to the wise though, don’t rely on mechanical grammar or spelling checkers. They can be easily fooled. Reread your rant and know the difference between your, you’re, and yore.
Still here? Apparently I’m doing my job, then. Hopefully you took something away from this and you’re all ready to get blogging. Take heed of this advice and you should be able to produce some interesting reads. The be all and end all though? Have fun with it and you just might find your wit and charm flow naturally into the written word.
Next up: Between a rock and a hard head
About the author: Incapable of keeping his thoughts about how the rest of society should be behaving in any circumstance to himself, Alex constantly finds himself on the wrong side of opinionated. In order to stave off physical violence, he’s decided to find a new outlet for his cynical views of life, love and sunshine.