Often, I find myself reading a blog post that stops short of the real opportunity. It starts well. There’s a good observation, then a little bit of an idea starts to pop its head out, and then nothing. It’s like the room never got finished, the road never completed, the signs never went up. Something.
In writing good blog posts (just as it is in giving a good professional speech), the goal is to convey information that’s useful and/or entertaining. There’s not exactly a required formula (though I know several formulas that help you deliver killer blog content). Instead, what I’m getting at is that you might consider how your blog will be received and potentially used by your audience. I have some ideas.
Make Every Post a Story
And by this, think about a beginning, middle, and end. In the beginning, you’re reporting the most important stuff: what you’ve observed, what’s changed, what’s new. In the middle, you’re helping people making meaning from it, with the aid of your perspective. In the end, you’re giving them serving suggestions for what should come next from your audience. How will they take what you’ve given them and do something?
Not every post will fit this, I guess, but many will. We’re given the opportunity to inform, to educate, and to equip our audience. What comes next is up to us.
Always Write With Service In Mind
I was interviewed by Brian Pittman from Bulldog Reporter during a webinar, and he pushed me at every step to take an idea I’d given, and add to it by coming up with something actionable the audience could do with the information. For every case study I offered, he wanted a few takeaways. He called what he did “service journalism,” and I like the idea. His brand of journalism was to take his skills as a reporter and use them to tease out actionable steps for his audience.
Let’s do the same.
For every idea you share with people, be it a blog post about a suitcase, or an embed of a YouTube video by your favorite band, take a few extra moments to think about how this post will bring value to your audience. See if you can’t give them a takeaway or a next action.
Wrapping Up a Good Post
The best way to wrap up the post is with something definitive for your audience to do. In most of my blog posts, the “to do” is simply to comment and add your perspective. I appreciate every comment I receive, and I love starting conversations that you can take with you to whatever ends make sense for you. When I wrap up a review post, I give you simple links (often Amazon) to the product I’m talking about. This isn’t to make money, per se (though I do make about a nice dinner out per month from stuff you buy), but rather a way to give you a simple link to evaluate the product for yourself.
When I promote something, my goal is to send you to the something, so you yourself can decide upon a next action. Those are ways to wrap up a post, too.
But when the post is simply an informative post (like this one), I will most often wrap by seeking further discussion in the comments.
So, let’s review:
- Make every post a story, with a beginning, middle, and end.
- Write with service in mind, meaning add something that your audience can DO with the information.
- Wrap up with a direction in mind (such as inspiring comments or promoting a next action).
Oh, and another great way to help people see what you’re saying? Make the post itself an example of the actions you’re describing.
Does it make sense? Is that how you build your posts? What have your results been?
Photo credit Cavin