by Rochelle Melander
I watched a bit of the Olympic trials for gymnastics on television. I noticed that the best athletes made their sport look easy. They jumped, flipped, and twisted with ease. Yet I know that many hours of practice support every elegant move. Because blogging is such an immediate experience, with many posts responding to recent events, it appears easier than, say, writing a book. Yet I know that hours of study, writing, and revising go into every phenomenal blog.
So how do they do it? How do bloggers take their blog from blah to breathtaking? Here are a few tips to help you develop a winning blogging style:
Research the medium. Blogs are not periodicals or newspapers. They look different. The articles need to sound different and still offer great content. You need to learn the form instead of trying to squeeze your best feature article into a blog post. Know how the best blogs write: first person perspective, shorter posts, the best information at the beginning of the post, valuable content throughout the post, links to other information and blogs, and photos.
Sharpen your voice. Read a few of your posts aloud. Does the writing reveal your unique personality? If not, keep writing and revising until your posts sound like you. Here’s a hint: people want to read your work not just because you have something valuable to say but also because of how you say it. Think about how your unique perspective, including your quirks and pet peeves, might be conveyed in your writing. Then rewrite your post until you can hear it.
Create great content. Blogs need to provide valuable or fun information. Your content needs to rise above all of the other great information out there to make it onto the must-read-now list of your audience. Think about:
*What is your unique contribution to your niche?
*How does your blog help readers?
*Where are the holes in your niche and how can you be the one who fills them?
Create titles that rock. People click on titles that stir their imagination, capture their attention, or clarify something. Do what you can to find titles that are high in “clickability.” In addition, separate your paragraphs with headers and spaces. It makes your post easier to read. Think USA Today versus The New York Times.
Edit! Yeah, good writing and grammar still counts. Write your rant then go back and make it sound right.
Add photos and stir! No matter how well you write, a great photo can bring your blog from so-so to super. Grabbing a photo from a website like Morgue File is great start. As a blog reader, I also love seeing an author’s photos from their life—pictures of their pets, what they did on their summer vacation and the view from their writing studio. And just in case you’re curious, here’s one of the summer projects I completed with Dream Keepers, teaching The Book of Me at Villard Square Library in Milwaukee (more on this in a future blog post):
Your turn: What have you done to create a winning blog? Leave a comment below.