8 Tips For How To Write a Great Blog
Written by Jeanne Faulkner & Heather Armstrong
Every Mother Counts believes everyone has something valuable to say about the issues we present. We want our blog to be the space where those voices and opinions are heard. Whether you’re someone everyone knows or someone new we want our readers to discover, we believe everyone has a fresh perspective that we want to highlight on empowerment, motherhood and being a woman. We want your story to shine, inspire and resonate, but we understand not everyone is a natural blogger. That’s why we’ve created eight tips for how to write a great blog and teamed forces with Heather Armstrong, who writes the blog, Dooce and has possibly the funniest, snarkiest and spot-on voice of motherhood out there. We encourage bloggers to “color outside the lines,” and hope these tips will help (especially if you’re a newbie) as you let your creativity flow.
1. Grab us - Your reader has countless blogs, newspapers, articles, reports and books screaming for her attention. If you want her to read your post, make it more attractive than anything else on her to-read list. If you also make it funny, poignant,heart wrenching, different and inspiring…she’s yours.
- Consider choosing a subject that ties in with current events and news stories. That will make your perspective timely, relevant and bubble to the top on Internet searches.
- Create an irresistible headline and start your story with an opening line guaranteed to seduce us. If you grab your reader’s attention from the start, she’ll stay with you until the end.
2. Add passion – Go ahead and make your reader laugh, break her heart and make her mad. Most of all make her think, feel, act and remember your story.
3. Stay Focused – Funnel your creative juices into one or two related ideas, then embellish the heck out of them. Your reader wants to understand your perspective, but too much information is overwhelming, and your reader has limited time and attention. It’s easier to focus on one well-written big idea delivered in bite-sized pieces than several large chunks of information.
4. Be concise –Your entire story from gut-grabbing opener to soul-searching summary should run about 500-600 words. Keep your sentences simple and paragraphs brief. Illustrate your point creatively but clearly. Need an example of the kind of thing I might be talking about? That italicized question is 13 words. Need an example? is three.
5. Make your story our story too – Ask yourself while writing:
- What part of my unique experience is most valuable?
- How will my story inspire, motivate, and teach?
- How can my perspective impact readers’ lives?
- Give readers a take home message that’ll improve and empower their own or other peoples’ lives. The more action oriented and specific the better.
6. Edit, rewrite, rinse, repeat – Every writer thinks his first draft burst of inspiration is pure gold, and every word a jewel. Think again. Good writers know inspiration is messy, disorganized and difficult for others to understand. While the kernel of wisdom at the center of your inspiration might be a gem, it’s almost guaranteed to be a rough cut that needs polish. Once you’ve written a first draft:
- Step back and give your piece space and time.
- Go back and reread it.
- Pull out anything that doesn’t support your main idea.
- Eliminate excess words, simplify language and make your work sparkle.
- Ask a friend to give it a read. Fresh eyes always help.
That said, don’t over-polish your work. Heather offers this advice:
Sometimes to add passion, especially in a blog post, some of the writing has to be raw. That's why blogs are so appealing. They don't read like a sterilized graduate paper. They have a voice that drips and moves and sometimes has a run-on sentence where a run-on sentence is totally appropriate. A fragment where a fragment would make the most impact. There needs to be an editor, but don't edit out the spirit of the voice.
With Heather Armstrong in Dhaka, Bangladesh on an EMC trip in 2009
7. Be precise – Readers love a good story, but they also want accurate information. To change people's minds or open them up at all they need to see hard data. That’s what makes your blog more than just one writer’s opinion.
- Double-check your facts
- Add links to studies, extra reading materials and current event articles
- Quote relevant experts
8. Be Flexible – Every great writer needs an editor to nip, tuck and tidy up. Once we have your blog, we may need to tweak just a little. If it needs big changes, we’ll tell you, otherwise, we hope you’ll trust us to give your blog the final polish that makes it great.
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