Tips for Effective Blogging: Part 2
You’ve starting experimenting with article ideas, using the tips shared in the previous article. Hopefully, by now you have started working at least on one. This article will help you look at what you’ve started with a different pair of glasses, molding it into an effective blog.
In the previous article we covered the first four tips:
- Write micro-faceted articles
- Finding topics to write about
- Cite sources whenever possible
- Write at a 10th to 12th grade reading level
Now we will cover an additional five (5) tips which will set the tone and user experience of the reader, while ensuring long-term use of the content. So let’s dive right in!
Write evergreen articles
If you’ve ever been to a forest in the winter, you may have seen trees that still flourished and were green. We tend to use them as Christmas trees – they are known as evergreen trees, because they never lose their color.
An evergreen article is an article that is not written just for today – the information is timeless and can be read next year and still have value. Sometimes it’s not possible, because you may be writing about a current event. However, if you try to stick to evergreen articles, you will:
- Get traffic for years to come. Why? Google and Bing will index it and as people search your topic, it will be found. Since it offers valid information that is still useful, people will still read it.
- Be able to repurpose it. Repurposing is the reusing of old content. For example, every now and then I repost an old article in social media. Since the information is desired and still valid, it pulls traffic to my website! You can rename the title and maybe change the main image to give it a fresh look.
So make your articles evergreen and when you are bogged down and don’t have time to write something new, you will have content to share that will keep you on your audience’s radar.
Make it conversational
Passive writing is only good for academic and government papers – which explains why few people read it! No one wants to read boring content. So write like you speak! Now this doesn’t mean write in jargon or slang, but rather, write as if you were having a conversation.
If you were trying to explain something to a child, how would you do it? You’d do it chronologically, with examples, telling a story so they would pay attention, be interested and get it. That is how you want to write your articles. Don’t skimp on examples and stories – it’s what sells!
No shorter than 500 words
You want to make sure your article isn’t too short. If it’s too short:
- It won’t help you SEO-wise
- You won’t be able to share much substance
In the past, the belief was you wanted short articles, because people would not read long ones. This has been proven false. According to Business2Community (B2C), the top ranking and read pages have 2,450 words, while the those in the top 10 have 2,000 or greater.
Does that mean you should write that much? No. But it does mean you should not let word count stop you from delivering a full message. My articles average 1,200 words. I find that the longer my article is, the more it pulls. Why? People looking for information WANT information – not some summary that leaves them with more questions.
Don’t be arrogant or narcissistic
Have you ever read an article from someone SO SMART they believe they operate on another plane? They think they know it all about their topic, there’s no one who can add to their conversation and it reads with an air of arrogance and narcissism. Few people want to read that.
If you keep in mind that the three reasons people use social media (where you will be distributing your blog) are to be entertained, helped and informed, and that you have to do all three, it will help you when you write.
Tips, case studies and how-to’s pull the most. If you write an article that shows you actually care about the reader, it will show and they will not only read it, they will share it. Why? People like people who care! Like Teddy Roosevelt once said, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Read If a Picture’s Worth 1,000 Words, What Kind of Picture Would Your Blog Paint?
Lay it out like a magazine article
People have plenty of choices for content today and there are too many options, so people filter. Therefore, if they have choices and limited time, why would they choose your blog over someone else’s? The answer is – user experience.
It’s all about user experience. If your website is well done, the content is well written and the experience is friendly and fun, you will win that battle. So lay out your article as if it were a magazine. Choose your images for impact – avoid bland images others would use. Use headings and sub headings, bullets and lists, to make it easy to follow and read.
Keep in mind your blog is your editorial page. It’s where you share your unique perspective, talents and passion. For all intents and purposes, it IS an online magazine. So take the time to think it through; don’t rush it just because you want SOMETHING. What good is it if you saved money on free bland images, wrote a short article with not much thought or research, if few people will want to read it? Your return on investment will be an expense, not a profit.
If you do it right, it will show you care and you will reap the rewards!
Stay tuned for the final article in this series next week, where we will cover how to promote your blog in social media and online. In the meantime, try to have one ready to send out next week!