Having written well over a hundred blogs over the last decade, and read countless more, I thought I’d share a few tips on what seems to have drawn people to my articles, and what attracts me to others:
1. Make it personal
Everybody likes talking about themselves, right? Well, don’t overdo it. But I’ve found that the best blogs have an authenticity that’s derived from being from the author’s indisputable perspective. Don’t make it too introspective though – think about how the reader might relate to your observations.
2. Think laterally
Blogs are a great medium for the lateral thinker. I’ve written blogs relating aspects of the charity sector to glorious train stations, self-cleaning bridges, dancing, yoga – you name it. My main aim is to get people to say to themselves: “I hadn’t thought of it like that before!”
3. Make ’em smile
Careful with this one. Jokes can be misinterpreted. But I’ve found gentle humour (yes, that’s how we spell it here) works quite well. I like puns and wordplay, but that might not be your style. What makes you smile?
4. Have a conversation with yourself
Why does this work? I’m not sure, but it seems to. Should we move onto the next point? Yes, we’ve not got much time.
5. Link to something topical
I don’t do this so often, but when I do, for example in this blog about football sticker collecting just ahead of the World Cup, there seems to be quite a lift in readership.
6. Full sentences? Not necessary…
Grammar rules can go out of the window in your blog. A blog can be more conversational, and so can mimic dialogue, rather than be an essay. Short sentences rule.
7. Share it on social media
Many people seem to write blogs and leave them there in the ether, hoping that people will magically be drawn to them. Share them! LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have all worked well for me.
8. Don’t underestimate the importance of your title
Don’t be too vague. That’s just annoying and won’t draw people in. But do make it clear that you may have an interesting angle.
9. Make it in list form
This is an example of one. It’s easily digestible, and helps people to know how long your blog will be. We’re all busy, you know?
10. Keep it short
Get in. Make your points. Get out.
And, in that spirit, I’d better stop there.
This article was first published in 2014, but is republished here (and considerably improved) with the addition of Mandy Johnson‘s brilliant sketchnote.