Successful blogs are dependent on a myriad of factors. From tone and style to marketing tactics, bloggers these days need to follow a bundle of diverse parameters in order to have a viable business. There is no shortage of blog content for readers to choose from but in order to excel, you need to rise above the noise and pack some serious punch.
As someone who has been blogging since before the phrase was coined, I’ve learned an endless number of lessons writing content for myself and clients about the do’s and don’ts of blogging. Below is a list of key points to get you inspired. It’s anything but exhaustive, but the list provides a firm foundation of current top tips that will propel your blog posts into the next echelon of greatness. Go forth and write with confidence!
1. Research Your Audience Like a Crazed Maniac
There is simply no such thing as knowing too much about your target demographic. Be obsessive and meticulous about knowing all you can. From age ranges, gender, income, likes and dislikes – anything and everything is helpful as you craft the ideal content.
2. Choose Blog Topics with Your Audience in Mind
Many of the millions of blogs seem to cover more of what the writer wants to discuss, and less about what their audiences really want to read. The result is an endless array of clutter that rarely resonates or provides benefit for either party. If you know your audience, you know what information they find valuable. Make sure every post you create matches or exceeds their expectations.
3. Make Your Point Crystal Clear from the Word Go
Blogs are not meant to be your attempt at writing War and Peace. Don’t tiptoe around the topic you’ve selected; make it clear what you’re discussing from the very first paragraph.
4. Stay Focused
Blog posts that meander into various topics and directions are missing the point of the medium. Stay on target with your selected topic from start to finish. If inspiration strikes for related tangents, make them future blog posts instead.
5. Answer Your Audience’s Questions
As you craft your articles, consider the standard who, what, why, and where questions that your readers might have around the given topic. Better yet, craft articles from actual questions or comments you’ve received; then you know you’re on the mark.
6. Balance Business with Pleasure
The most successful blogs have an ideal balance between informal friendliness and polished professionalism. If you can’t strike that balance yourself, hire a professional to write your posts for you. Even if your content is highly valuable, it won’t resonate with your audience if your tone is off-putting.
7. Be Error-Free
This might sound like an obvious one, but make sure your posts are free of misspellings and glaring grammatical errors. Anyone who spends time reading blogs knows this is not common practice just yet. Make it a must for everything you create.
8. Make the Content Readable
Blogs work best when the content is well formatted, and that means shorter paragraphs, punchy lists, and lots of sub-headers. Verbose posts that aren’t properly broken up look overwhelming, and are therefore often ignored. Keep it snappy; longer posts are acceptable, but line breaks are always your friends.
9. Be Wary of Over-Styling
I know those text tools that italicize, bold, and underline words can be tempting, but use them with serious moderation. All those different type styles can look very distracting, and may take away from the value of your information.
10. Font is Critical
Choose a font that is readable, and is neither too big nor too small for your audience. Avoid clashing colors that also render content hard to read. In this case, simple is always best.
11. Pictures Still say More Than Words
With the huge selection of commercially usable and totally free stock photos, you have no excuse to not include images with every post. Content with images is much more likely to get clicked on and consumed. Take a little extra time to include appropriate images with your posts, and your readership will increase.
12. Don’t Forget to be Entertaining!
We sometimes get so obsessed about sharing our ideas and getting our points across that we forget to make our posts fun to read. Share personal anecdotes when appropriate, and don’t be shy about adding some pizzazz. Even the most serious of topics need a boost of humor.
13. Be True to Your Brand
Just as it’s critical to fully understand your audience, you need to know who you are as a company before you represent your brand in writing. Once you have a clear brand identity, make sure every post mirrors this focus, lest you confuse your audience and muddle your reputation.
14. Lists Rock
There’s a reason I’ve mapped this post out as a numbered list; they are volumes more popular than massive blobs of text. Divide your thoughts into bite-sized chunks, and more people will read your posts. It’s that simple.
15. Brand Your Blog
Don’t forget to make sure your blog’s branding matches the colors and feel of your company, complete with logo. Otherwise, you’ll provide valuable information to people who don’t connect the knowledge share directly to your company, and your efforts are all for naught.
Have any other savvy tips for writing great blogs? Please share your thoughts!