So many blogging tips, so little time.
The nice thing about a good tip in any arena is that it remains timeless. In fact, one of the best and most universal of all tips – blogging or otherwise – is to recycle the basic tenets of effectiveness.
Athletes do it every year in pre-season training camp.
Musicians do it every time they rehearse.
Pilots do it every time they take to the air.
Writers should do it, too. Even if the process covers your refrigerator with little yellow sticky-notes.
If you spend time reading a diversity of blogs – here’s another tip: you should – you’ll soon discover that they come in all flavors. Pay attention to the ones you enjoy and the ones you value – not necessarily the same thing, by the way – and look for what they have in common.
Those qualities tend to be universal in nature.
It isn’t just good content, and it isn’t just good writing.
It’s good fundamentals and craft, especially in terms of structure and strategy. Leave random waxing-wise to your conversations… your blog posts need to have the symmetry and allure of a fine piece of sculpture.
Here are a few more posting tips to add in this regard, in the form of a checklist. May we suggest posting them right above the door handle.
What is your post’s opening hook?
We don’t have much time or space to casually engage our readers. Your first line should be the one you sweat the most, and it should be a work of artful manipulation that makes a promise your reader cannot resist.
Doesn’t have to be genius – obviously… look at this one – but it needs to throw open a door your reader will want to step through.
Is there a succinct point, or a vague conglomeration of messages?
Less is more. Especially when less is clear. Does your post bite off too much for the space allowed? Focus your content on a single gem of value, then wrap it in context, clarity and style.
(Somebody out there is sure to point out that this post doesn’t do that, as there are 10 tips offered here. Then again, maybe it does – this is about being strategic and thorough, rather than random. And that’s a gem of a point no matter how you slice it.)
Does your post demonstrate personality, as well as credibility and value?
Never underestimate the power of voice and attitude. There’s too much competition for mindshare to rely on your brilliant content alone.
Is your post in context to your brand?
Which implies you understand what your brand is and how both your content and your style create and support it.
Is your post in context to your business plan?
A brand is one thing, but what are you selling here? What is your agenda behind the content? Recruiting readership? Referencing product links? Pushing an ebook or a membership?
It’s good to avoid being too on-the-nose with these things, but it’s a waste of opportunity to post without regard to what you want your reader to do in response. Even if it’s simply to come back.
Does your post invite feedback?
Sometimes, when your content is controversial or challenging, this is implied. When it’s not, ask for feedback or additional thinking from your readers.
Does your post differentiate between new and fresh?
There’s a big difference. It’s a mistake to try to make something look new when it’s simply recycled conventional wisdom. Fact is, there is very little that’s new, while there is an abundance of fresh perspective to offer.
For example, I’ve labeled these tips as unlikely. Which means, they aren’t among the first tier of blogging tips you normally encounter. Which is precisely why you’re still reading.
Does your post avoid stating the obvious?
This is the vanilla of blogging. It’s everywhere, and it’ll get you nowhere. Go for triple chocolate thunder, even if it has a swirl of vanilla in there somewhere.
For example, take the opening line of this post. Not exactly genius, but it takes a cliché and imparts a little spin to it. Enough to promise that the content will not be cliché.
Is your post error-free?
Only one way around this one – sweat equity. And don’t trust your spell-check software, it doesn’t think for you.
What is the gift to your reader in this post?
It’s easy to dash off a post leveraging your vast backlog of knowledge and experience. It’s something else to craft a message that delivers true value and is positioned to make a difference.
The best posts are not about you, they’re about your reader.
Shoot for that, and those readers will not only return, they’ll bring others with them.
What’s your favorite but unlikely tip for better blogging?