In recent times, blogs have become an essential platform for social networking because of the interactivity between author and reader.
Despite their widely understood value, starting a blog can be overwhelming, but it's much easier than you'd think. Best yet, there are no right or wrong ways to blog and in this post, we'll offer up four simple steps to get you started.
Before writing the first word of a new blog post, spend some time researching your topic. This can involve anything from:
It's important to know everything you can on what you're communicating about, which means doing a deep dive among the weeds and learning the intracacies of your subject and how others are talking about it too.
Any time spent researching the post before committing a letter to paper is time well spent. For example, if you want to write about the latest developments in artificial intelligence, read everything you can find on the topic to familiarise yourself with the jargon and the major players in the field.
This will also help you to come up with an original angle, which is important since originality is key. Readers are ALWAYS looking for fresh ideas, perspectives, and information that they haven't seen before.
1. Ponder some good title options for your post, as this will help narrow the scope of your article and hone your thoughts. It will also be the first thing your readers see, so it needs to draw them in enough to keep on reading.
2. Write a brief introduction - just one or two sentences in length, describing what you plan on covering in the post. This helps keeps you focused on your blog topic while writing the content, but also makes a promise to the reader of what they're going to get should they commit to the piece.
3. *MOST IMPORTANT* List all the main points you want to cover in the post. These too will become the main sections and sign post each of your post's arguments or points.
4. Create sub-sections under each main section by listing supporting details or comments. Every main point requires supporting facts or information to help readers understand that point.
5. Write a conclusion that summarises the main points you promised to cover in your introduction. The conclusion needs to succinctly tie in everything and reiterate the main points of your post. It should also help strengthen the impact of your blog post, while acting as a reminder to readers of what they've just read.
Write your draft. But don't try to edit or fine-tune your post as you go. At this stage, you just need to focus purely on getting all of the content from your head down onto the page efficiently and effectively. The point of this step is to quickly generate ideas that you can put in the right place at a later stage.
Make sure to also include an outline with your ideas to help organise your thoughts and serve as the skeleton of your post, keeping you on track. Then, as you write, check off those points you included in your outline to help you to identify missing elements and make sure you've covered everything related to the topic.
For example, if I'm writing a "How To" blog post, I'll tick off my main points as I complete them to make it easier to spot any missing steps in my process.
After you've written your blog post, it's time to edit and polish the final product.
Editing your work is an essential step in the writing process. But don't be fooled - you're not just looking for misspellings and/or grammatical errors when you edit. You're also looking for places where your post might be confusing or where you can add more robust examples to support your points and tighten up your prose.
After that first pass, let the blog post sit for a few hours before you return to do a second editing pass. It's always easier to spot mistakes when you have some distance from the material. (Another good tip is to read it aloud as it helps pick up errors not as obvious to your eyes as you quickly skim past.)
While there's little room for cliche in life, strong, clear instructions can go long way to writing a blog post that will help you engage your readers and (most importantly) keep them coming back.