This is a guest-post from the dashing Paul Hassing. What he don’t know about blogging, ain’t worth knowing, so I asked him to share his toppest tips…
Kate asked for my realio trulio top ten blogging tips. As I’ve got hundreds of the buggers, I had to ponder, cull, winnow and sift to pick the real gems. Here are the results, for your utility and pleasure.
Choose a topic you know and love. Not only will you have more fun, you’ll almost never get writer’s block. The more of yourself you put in your posts, the more readers will reward you in kind.
My proven, thrice-tested, quick-and-easy blog post recipe is:
- True story.
- Broader context.
- Further reading.
When you work to this structure, even the most complex issues become manageable.
Collectively, readers know infinitely more than you. So be humble and learn from them. If a reader writes a comment that’s longer and more authoritative than your post, rejoice in the honour. Never ever ever underestimate your audience.
For every 100 readers, only one will speak. Entice just one more person to play and you double your discussion. A commenter debate can expand your post 5-50 times. More important than the words is the wisdom they contain. To kill trolls and encourage shy readers, insist that all comments are polite. Clever and relevant are optional.
Answer every polite comment swiftly, personally, comprehensively and gratefully. Don’t berate readers for going ‘off topic’. Tangential debates can eclipse ‘ordinary’ ones – to the delight of all.
External links to further reading show you value readers’ brains, not eyeballs. They’ll reward you by returning. Note: most readers prefer external links in separate screens. So don’t ‘boot’ people from the post they’re reading. Also, use italics for emphasis. If you underline words (like I used to) readers may think they’re clickable links.
The more you woo search engines, the less human your words become. Put readers first, second and third!
In all my years of blogging, the most powerful word I’ve found is ‘you’. Better yet, it doesn’t wear out with use.
Tired eyes and tiny attention spans demand pithy content. Keep your words, sentences and paragraphs short. If a sentence is too complicated, riddle it with bullets. If a story’s too long, do a trilogy. Many readers enjoy serialisation and suspense.
Readers go where readers are. If you can beat inertia, momentum is sublime. In other words, keep at it!
Well, what do you think? Yes, no, maybe, all of the above or other [define]?
I’d love to know …
I believe frank feedback is the shortest, surest path to excellence. So please give it to me with both barrels!
Paul Hassing, Founder & Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire
Paul has written, edited, proofed and produced print, radio, online, outdoor and business copy for well over 1200 organisations of every size and sector.
He is extremely versatile, having handled everything from websites, recruitment ads, case studies, annual reports and newsletters to catalogues, media releases, user guides and even cookbooks. He works fast, knows what he’s doing and seldom needs to do anything twice.
Paul holds Bachelor of Business and Master of Arts degrees and has ten years human resources experience – including two as Personnel Manager. His work has been awarded three times and his articles have appeared in over 20 magazines worldwide.
In writing numerous blogs for himself and his clients, Paul has moderated hundreds of articles and thousands of comments. One of his pieces features in Seth Godin’s Purple Cow.
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