So many people think blogging for a living is easy. Well, sometimes it is. But most times, it’s not. As a blogger who is relatively new to the trade, it’s easy to mess things up. I certainly did.
Chances are, you’re a good writer; but even though blogging is writing, writing is not blogging. Right now, I’ll be teaching you some common mistakes you should watch out for if you really want to stand out as a blogger.
1. Your Audience is—and should be—the Goal.
One of the most important rules of blogging is that your posts are relatable. You have to make sure they resonate with your audience and compel them to take action. To be precise, you have to think about your audience, and the actions you want them to take.
“What is at stake?”
“What do they gain by taking action?”
“What are they afraid will happen if they don’t take action?”
These are some of the questions you ask yourself before (or when) writing a post. Your reader has to see that you understand their pain, challenges, and goals. These will help you find meaning to your writing and help you connect to your readers better.
2. Write Like You Talk.
From research, I know that the average reader has an attention span of about 35 seconds. Reading complex posts with confusing words will only make your reader too happy to exit your page. Keep in mind that you’re not writing to impress anyone—this is not a term paper!
We don’t want to know about the number of words in your vocabulary either.
Instead, write in a personal and conversational manner. Write as if the person is in front of you. You’re speaking (or writing) to a real-life human being, not a robot without feelings.
It’s okay to insert stories and tell jokes. Loosen up your writing; add pop culture references (E be things o) and contractions (wanna see the world?). Get rid of jargon — clarify abbreviations. That’s how real people talk.
3. No One Cares About You
It’s bitter, but it’s the truth. We are wired to be self-centred. We’ll read what we think will benefit us. In essence, if all you do is talk about your story, your experience, and your achievements; well, you are OYO (On Your Own).
It’s no offense to you, but people generally care more about what you can teach them than your experiences—especially when you’re new.
However, this does not mean you should totally forgo your personality and be someone you’re not. Just like my previous point, it’s okay to let your personality show so your readers can warm up to what you want to say.
4. Be Specific.
When I first started, I generally wanted to write on “big” and broad topics because I thought they‘d give me more views. Interestingly, I discovered—through the hard way—that my highest views came from the posts that were specific and concentrated on a particular audience.
For example, 3 Important Life Lessons I Learnt from Shokugeki no Souma—A Japanese Anime had more engagements than Are You Really in Love? Check Again! The reason is not far-fetched: one was more specific and had a target audience. The other wanted to speak to “the whole world.”
If all else fails, specific, audience-driven posts will not.
5. Create Outlines, Use Headers.
Last but not least in this mini-series. One, before writing a blog post, make sure you have an outline. I’m sure your secondary schools teachers may have hammered this into your brain, but it’s true! It makes things easier for you because the brain is attracted to order, not chaos.
When you create an outline, you encourage yourself to fill in the blanks. Same with headers. Headers, on the other hand, encourage reader-experience and enable them to flow and enjoy your post.
I know, I know. Sometimes you just want all the words to keep pouring and pouring. But that’s a sure way to lose your reader. Always remember…
“While it’s nice to imagine that your readers hand on to your every word, the reality is that they’re probably mostly skimming your posts. As you write, make your posts skim-friendly: including plenty of paragraph breaks, clearly titled sections, relevant images and formatting that makes it easy to find the piece of information they likely came for.”Karla Cook, Sr. Manager of the HubSpot Blog Team
Part 2 is on the way. Please remember to drop a comment for me — I always love them.