You Don't Have to Be a Great Writer to Write a Great Blog: 21 Quick and Easy Tips for Becoming a Successful Blogger (Part 2)

By Amy McIIwain, President, Financial Social Media on Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

In our last blog, we posted the first installment of our guidelines for helping you write a blog for your firm (shown in gray below). Now, here’s the second installment to finish up the series. Remember, these guidelines are designed to help you write the best blog possible, while spending less time and effort doing it. You don’t have to be a professional writer to write a great blog. All you need is a desire to position yourself as an expert in your field, drive more visitors to your website, and attract new clients.

  1. 1.) Have something meaningful to say.
  2. 2.) Write about hot topics.
  3. 3.) Write in everyday, conversational language your readers can relate to.
  4. 4.) Keep it short.
  5. 5.) Take inspiration from other bloggers, but…
  6. 6.) Don’t lift from other writers’ blogs.
  7. 7.) Focus on a single topic.
  8. 8.) Don’t be afraid to write in tried-and-true blog genres.
  9. 9.) Feel free to use enumeration to organize and title your blog.
  10. 10.) Present information in bite-sized chunks. It’s always a good idea to organize your articles into sections. For example, use bullets and subheads to break up large blocks of content. This will help to distinguish one point from another—and will make the task of reading your article seem much less intimidating. After all, doesn’t a reader prefer to have information presented in neatly-labeled, bite-sized pieces one at a time, as opposed to one big, jumbled block of text that needs to be swallowed whole?
  11. 11.) Ask questions and provide answers. Questions get people thinking and increase engagement levels. Ask people their opinions, and share your own.
  12. 12.) Don’t bad mouth or insult. Your opinions represent not only yourself, but also your firm. Plus, you get further with sugar.
  13. 13.) Check your grammar and spelling. Obvious, yet important...remember the previous bullet; do you want to give the impression that your firm would hire someone who was too lazy to proofread their own work? Worse, what kind of message does it send if you’re a principal in your firm?
  14. 14.) Don’t spend time on the obvious (unless it’s grammar and spelling). Don’t tell readers what they already know, or have heard a million times before. If you want to talk about a trending topic, or agree with a popular opinion, that’s totally fine, but just make sure your take is original.
  15. 15.) Use stories, but only when they work in context with your topic. The most effective stories are personal, real-life stories that people can relate to. But, they’re only effective when they’re clearly related to the subject matter of the piece, or if used as a strong, logical metaphor that demonstrates a point. Keep in mind, when you’re using a metaphor, you (and your reader) shouldn’t have to look hard to see the parallel.
  16. 16.) Cut one-third after you’ve written your rough draft. This number is not an unbendable law that needs to be enforced with an iron fist. Rather, it’s more of a best practice. Get in the habit of over-writing and only keeping the best of the best, as opposed to over-writing or under-writing and keeping it all. We all know how painful it can be to say goodbye to what you’ve worked so hard to create, but if the rest of the blog can survive without it, lose it.
  17. 17.) Keep your voice—don’t imitate someone else’s style. Aim to establish your own authentic, consistent writing voice that over time readers will begin to recognize, connect with, and appreciate.
  18. 18.) Spend time on the headline—it’s the most important part. In most cases, you have a split second—a couple of seconds at most—to get a reader’s attention and earn your article a view. The fact is, the title of the article is just as important as the article itself. (This may seem counter-intuitive, since the article is so much longer.) To make an analogy, if the internet is a highway, your title is like the billboard or exit sign for your article. Without the right words to catch their attention, people will pass right by, without ever thinking to get off at your stop.
  19. 19.) Take your reader on a brief journey. After reading your blog, readers should feel as though they have ended at a different place from where they began. Whether they have learned something new, had an interesting thought or idea, or just liked the way your blog sounded, they should have the feeling—even if not recognized—that something has changed. If you make a lasting impact on your reader, they’ll store that fact in the back of their minds and hopefully return for later postings of your blog.
  20. 20.) Link to related topics and other relevant blogs. If you are using any keywords or topics that can be linked to other parts of your website, be sure to insert hyperlinks wherever you can. It is always preferable to reference and link to your own content to keep readers from clicking off your site, but when citing an external source or article, always be sure to give appropriate credit.
  21. 21.) Don’t be afraid to be creative—these rules are meant to help, not restrict. Good luck with your blog! May it earn you lots of readership and lots of interest…and who knows, help you garner a new client or two.  

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