The Art of Blogging
With so many blogs out there, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. But writing a regular blog is a great way to keep your audience up-to-date with what’s going on in your organisation, and can be shared on social channels – driving more traffic to your website.
But of course, there’s no point writing a blog if no one’s going to read it. So what makes a blog appealing to readers?
1. Use attractive images and design
You might think that a blog should be all about the words, but really the images and design of the page are the first thing your reader will see, so make them as attractive as possible. Don’t forget that you don’t have to be limited to just one image. Having multiple images on one blog can keep it visually interesting and help break up the text.
2. Make it easy to scan
People have very short attention spans when they are reading online, so if a blog is just one big chunk of text, they may give up and take their clicks elsewhere. Breaking your blog up into numbered lists or subheadings means that it’s easier for you to plan your blog and map out what you want to say. It’s also easier for your reader as they can scan the blog and decide if they’re interested in reading it. Headings are also useful for SEO purposes as you can incorporate relevant keywords into them. You should also make sure you have an optimised title that includes the keywords for your blog and makes it clear what your blog post is about.
3. Think about your audience
Decide on the sort of person you want to read your blog. What is your reader interested in? Why are they reading your blog and what do they want to know? Most people read for either information (often they are looking for the answer to a question) or entertainment – the best blogs combine both by being both informative and entertaining. However, depending on your audience and goals, you may want to choose to focus on one or the other.
4. Develop a 'voice'
Your ‘voice’ as a blogger largely depends on your audience and their needs. You can choose to be more formal, informal or neutral, and this will affect every sentence you write (or ‘all the words’, if you’re gonna be more informal about it). The best bloggers maintain a consistent tone not just throughout their posts, but across them too.
‘Voice’ is something to be particularly careful of if you have more than one person contributing to the blog. In this case, one option is to name the different writers so that the reader knows the posts are by different people, and therefore may have different ‘voices’. Alternatively, you could put one person in charge of reading all the blogs before they are published and adjusting them to the chosen ‘voice’ of the blog.
If you’ve got lots of different authors on your blog, you should also consider writing a style guide. This will outline the way that common features of your blog should be styled, for example, how do you style numbers: is it 1 or one? And should headings be underlined or in bold? Having one clear document to clear up issues such as these can help your blog maintain a consistent style, and this makes your blog look more professional.
5. Check your blog
It might sound obvious, but always double check your blog for grammar and spelling before you publish it, and then check it again once it’s been published. Also make sure your content is clear and there are no formatting or layout issues. You should also check that any links are working properly. You might not think these things are important, but just one tiny error could lose you credibility, readers and maybe even clients.
6. Ask for feedback
Getting people talking should be one of the main goals of your blog, so make it clear that you’re open to blog comments and feedback. This can be as informal as asking the reader questions in your blog (What do you think? Do you agree?) or writing ‘comments welcome!’. You should also make sure that you have a comments box, and reply to any comments submitted there. And if you’re posting on social media, take note of any feedback submitted via these channels. You may also want to add some social buttons at the end of your post, so that your readers can easily share it across social media.
You can also show your blog to other members of your team, people in a similar field, friends, family, lovers, neighbours – anyone and everyone! Getting feedback from a variety of people should help you tweak your content and make sure it’s right for your audience. Note that if your lover seems to be the only one who adores your blog, you might want to rethink your approach.
7. Include a call to action
So your reader has got to the end of your blog. What next? What you don’t want is for your reader to click happily off your blog and never think about it again. Guide them to where you want them to go next. Do you want them to comment? To like you on Facebook? To buy or sign up to a service you are offering? Do you want them to read more of your blog? Do you want them to share your blog post? Whatever you want them to do, tell them about it. This is called a ‘call to action’ and it’s very important indeed.
If you need help crafting the perfect blog, Strategy can help. Get in touch and let us do the work for you.
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