Learning how to write a top-notch blog is a lot like learning to swim. Yes, you read that write and before you dismiss me as a madman, just hear me out.
Firstly, you can’t learn to swim without getting wet and blog writing is the same. The best way to learn how to write a good blog, is to just jump straight in with pen to paper (or more likely fingers to keypad).
That being said, there are a few things you need to think about before diving in. You need to consider which pool you are going to go to, what stroke you want to learn and how far you want to start swimming.
The pool you’re going to use represents the specific topic area you want to focus your blog on. For your blog to be a good one, you want it to be interesting and informative but most importantly useful and relevant to your target audience. You’re not going to a skate park to learn to swim, so don’t write a blog about the restaurant industry if you’re in the scaffolding business.
The swim stroke you want to learn represents the tone and person in which you want to write your blog. For a more personal approach, consider using a humorous and conversational tone (a bit like this blog) or for a more serious tone perhaps employ the use of technical jargon and a less conversational tone. Have a think about which style best suits you and what you are trying to represent. But, once you have picked your style, don’t swap halfway through. This would be like a swimmer swapping from front crawl to breast stroke during a race, it wouldn’t end well.
How far you want to swim represents how long you want your blogs to be. Allow yourself to be flexible in this, as after some research you may want to adjust.
Once you’ve had a think about all of these things then be sure to thoroughly research the topic you have selected. Facts, stories and personal anecdotes will significantly help to bulk out the discussion of your topic in an engaging manner.
So, now you’re all set to jump in. Although, at first it may be wise to start in the shallow end and with armbands on. In other words, I’d advise you to create an outline for your proposed blog, in the form of bullet points and para-phrases before you start writing straight away.
Okay, now you can let yourself jump into the deep-end and really start getting into it. Using your outline, throw your armbands off and get stuck into some proper writing. Start by bulking out your existing bullet points/paraphrases and connect them with flowing paragraphs.
It’s likely that as you write, you’ll get into a rhythm and more ideas will begin to present themselves to you in your head.
When you’re writing I’d also recommend having a dictionary or thesaurus to hand. That way, you can make sure you’re really saying what you mean to say and the thesaurus can help you to avoid using the same word repeatedly. Essentially, it will help to flower up your blog with a more diverse and rich use of language.
Like with swimming, don’t be afraid to take a break. Writing it all in one sitting can be too much for some, so if you think you need a break and a mental refresher then don’t be afraid to take one.
So, now the armbands are off and you’ve been swimming in the deep end it’s time to critique, and perfect, your stroke. In writing terms, I am of course referring to the re-reading and editing of your blog. After producing your first draft, go through it with a fine tooth comb and ask yourself questions like:
- Does my blog flow? Are the paragraphs in order?
- Have I used the right tone?
- Have I written it in the right person?
- Does my blog achieve what I want it too?
Also consider your choice of words (for an example, I could have just said ‘word choice’ instead here), your word order and of course your punctuation and spelling.
Now you’ve done that it’s time to add a graceful yet athletic dive into your swimming stroke. This (obviously) represents the creation of your blogs headline or title. The cherry on the cake.
You want your headline to be informative, so that the reader is able to identify the topic of your blog immediately but opt away from a long and out-stretched title. An attention grabbing title is also great but try not to be too vague.
A lot of the time, the title of your blog will depend on the style that you have written it in. Just like in swimming, you can’t dive in if your swimming back stroke.
Lastly, ask a colleague or friend to proof-read your creation. You-know-what-you-mean in your blog (of course you do, you wrote it) but will someone else know what you mean and get what you are trying to say?
So, there you have it. Writing a blog is just like learning to swim. Who would have thought?