This post was inspired by a worrying discovery I made recently – I suffer from blog fatigue!
I follow a number of blogs about freelance life, to pick up business tips and for insider knowledge. Yet the more I read, the more I am finding they can be a serious timesink…
This can be for four reasons:
- Bloggers tend to write about subjects they know a great deal about and may believe that their readers need every ounce of that knowledge.
- Authors may use their blog to promote their business, which they obviously believe is the best thing on the planet (rightly so!), and apply that belief (read: bias) to their writing.
- Authors don’t necessarily have their blogs edited, so no impassioned reader is picking up on redundancies, self-indulgencies and purple prose.
- It’s incredibly difficult to take a step back and assess your own work in the cold light of day.
So now that we’ve identified the problem, what’s the solution?
- When writing a blog post, consider it a post for your audience, as opposed to it benefitting you.
- Put yourself in your readers’ shoes – how long will they likely have to engage with it? (Aim for the lower end; a 5 minute read is in fact a long and demanding read.)
- Imagine how your post will be accessed – most of us use smartphones to read content online and do it on the go, so write posts that can easily be read in short chunks of time.
- Break up the text into paragraphs that can be sped-read at a glance.
- Highlight information of importance by creating lists and using bold type.
- If something can be expressed in one word, use it rather than being overly descriptive.
- Be ruthless when self-editing – if something can be left out (such as your ad-hoc parenthetical comments (!)), drop it.
- Leave your post unpublished for a day and get back to it with fresh eyes. Do this exercise again and if anything can be done to improve clarity and brevity*, do it.
- Finally, if you can, engage a copy-editor who can do the hard work for you.
Happy blogging! What are the other tips you have for writing engaging blog posts? Share in the comments section.
*Brevity doesn’t always have to be your goal as a blogger and it isn’t called for at all times; but sometimes it may be helpful to start your post with a short summary and include a ‘Read more…’ button at the end for those interested readers.