Blogging Basics: But I’m Not a Writer…
So English wasn’t your favorite subject in school and now you’re thinking, “I have to do WHAAAT?!” We get it. We know that not everyone is a natural-born writer, but thankfully blogging is much different from the MLA formatted papers of your school days. (Even as a writer, I still have nightmares about those!) Blogging has the freedom to be much more informal and conversational. If you can talk to a customer, you can write a blog post. I promise!
So where do you start?
Just as we discussed the importance of brainstorming topic ideas, it’s also important to brainstorm content ideas for your chosen topic. Don’t worry about paragraphs or even complete sentences—just get all of your thoughts down on paper. If the topic requires some research or additional content that you don’t know, ask someone who does know and jot down their thoughts or research online and copy/paste some key points with the website link of where you got them (more on that in our upcoming blog post). Often, the hardest part of writing is just getting started, so compiling a document of all of your random thoughts about the topic is a great way to start.
Next, begin organizing these thoughts. This part of the process will vary based upon what you’re writing about, but choose the order that seems logical to you. It could be chronological if you’re talking about a process (like this blog post for instance). It could be starting with the basics and going into more detail as you go. It could be starting with an introductory paragraph and then doing a numbered list of items where the order doesn’t necessarily matter. Whatever seems to make sense, go with it. As you organize the content, gradually begin to combine the information into sentences and paragraphs. I know that this will be harder than it sounds, but having the pieces to start with makes the process much easier than trying to sit down and write it from scratch. As you are writing, it might be helpful to talk out loud. Don’t hesitate to write exactly how you talk—that’s what gives a blog personality. Just make sure to warn those around you if you’re going to be talking to yourself!
Spice it Up
No one—I repeat, NO ONE—wants to sit and read paragraphs upon paragraphs of bland, boring content. Break up your content with sub-headings, bullet points, numbered lists, links to other pages within your own website and to outside websites, and photos whenever possible. Photos especially can be a very powerful tool. Get in the habit of taking your own pictures whenever you can as it relates to content that you may want to write about. Having a bank of photos to fall back on is a great resource. Also, don’t feel like you need to write a book. We live in a society that has grown accustomed to 140-character tweets and sentence-long Facebook posts. Delete unnecessary content, as it will just add to the clutter. Finally, finish off your post with a call-to-action that reminds the reader of who you are and what you have to offer. (See near the end of this blog post for an example.)
Once you have your blog post written, you might find it helpful to have a second pair of eyes read it over. Oftentimes, the people who have the most to say within an organization have the hardest time putting it into words. Find someone who has a knack for grammar and pass it off to them for a final look. It could be someone else within your organization or it could even be a family member. If you’re having trouble finding someone with the time to proof your blog posts, try utilizing the following online tools to ensure your blog post is grammatically sound before posting:
- Grammarly – check for spelling and many other common grammatical errors that you may have missed
- Readable – ensure you’re writing at a level users will understand with Readable’s Readability Scores
Still, even with these tools, we know that blogging isn’t for everyone—if you’d rather pass the buck, so to speak, give us a call! We would be happy to discuss how the content strategists at Reusser Design can assist you with digital strategy and content writing for your organization. (See what I did there?)
For even more information about starting your new blog, make sure to check out the other posts in our Blogging Basics series:
- Why Your Organization Needs a Blog
- But I have nothing to write about…
- But I don’t understand SEO… (coming soon)
- But how do I avoid plagiarism… (coming soon)