In many cases, the only training beginning bloggers have is high school English classes. Unfortunately, they discover really quickly that writing blog posts are not like writing essays at all! If you’ve just started a blog and this sounds like you, don’t despair—this post can help you hone the skills you already have and craft great posts!
Here are some tips for content creation that will wow your readers and inspire them to share your posts.
Vary your content: write on different topics and in different formats
When you’re planning out your content strategy, make sure that you’re not writing the same post repeatedly. Mix up the type of post you’re writing as well as the point of view you’re taking on your larger blog focus.
For example, your travel blog might mostly consist of accounts of vacations you’ve taken with your family and reviews of the facilities you stayed at. That’s fine, but you may want to break it up with an opinion post or, even better, a list post. Interview your kids about their favorite trip or get your wife to write a post on how to pack efficiently!
Tip: list posts are especially enticing to readers because it’s easy to scan them and glean the main ideas. You can hook them in with a title that tells them exactly what they’re going to learn in your article and how they can use it (not to brag, but this post is an excellent example of a list post with a practical, implementable focus).
Keep your writing as simple and concise as possible
Many of us remember writing essays in high school or college and struggling to meet the required page count. If you’re like me, you came up with the wordiest, most flowery sentences you could to hide the fact that you had run out of things to say. Trust me, your teachers could tell.
Blog readers can tell when you’re full of hot air too, so don’t insult their intelligence by trying to make yourself seem smarter than you are. Stick to clear (but vibrant!) words that convey your point in the most succinct way you can manage.
We’ll discuss this more in our last point, the number one tip for creating content—so stay tuned!
Stick to one topic per post
While mixing up your content (within the same general focus) can only be an advantage, mixing up your content within the same post is not. If you want to write about blog news, do it in a separate post; don’t tack it onto your Florida inner-tubing review. Likewise, don’t take your Florida post as an opportunity to talk about your trip to Colorado. Let each topic have room to breathe or your readers will find your content confusing an unshareable.
If you find yourself struggling with this, it may help to outline your posts before you write them. This doesn’t have to be a formal thing—you can just jot down subheadings you want to use and arrange them in an order that makes sense.
Always keep your audience in mind
Here’s a vital tip: when you’re writing, think from the viewpoint of your readers. What do they want to know? How can your content help them? What is easy for them to read?
Modern audiences like easily-scannable posts full of information that pertains to their own lives. If they want to read stories, then they will seek them out, so unless you’re a fiction blog, stick to actionable topics.
For example, your travel blog might include fond memories and group photos, but if you’re trying to get a readership going, you should probably be focusing on recommendations for vacations for other families.
Don’t write empty posts
This is related to our earlier point about being full of hot air. Don’t just write a post for the sake of writing a post. Make sure that every single one of your posts is relevant and engaging for human readers and not just search engines. SEO is important, but you should never sacrifice a genuinely engaged readership for playing the numbers game.
Make your content easy to read through good formatting decisions
We talked about this a little bit when we discussed keeping your audience in mind. Readers like posts that are easy to read, so make good use of subheadings and white space. Don’t create a wall of text and consider yourself done. (Subheadings are good for SEO as well as human readers, so don’t neglect to use them!)
The number one most important tip: Revise!
What is the content strategy to end all content strategies? Careful revision! Everyone, the most famous writers included, writes terrible first drafts. The best writers are actually the best editors because they know how to take their raw ideas and craft them into something that other people will find worth reading. Don’t get stage fright and stress about your first draft too much, because your subsequent drafts will improve drastically!
Here’s a tip: Make sure you read your post out loud during the revision process, especially if you’re newer to the writing scene. If you stumble over something and you were the one that wrote it, think about how much more confusing it’s going to be for your audience. You will also get a feel for the rhythm of sentences, which is surprisingly significant when writing for an audience.
What did you learn about content strategy? How are you going to change your practices? Let us know in the comments below!