Tips on writing content for your blog

Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality – Beatrix Potter

Here are some tips on writing content for your blog:

1. Use catchy titles: As I subscribe to more and more webfeeds, I tend to flicks through content a lot faster. Short, catchy, tabloid-style titles grab potential readers attention and will ensure that your posts have a better chance of being read.

2. Be unique: One of my favourite blogs is Gaping Void. Hugh MacLeod’s cartoons are great and instantly grab my attention. Try to make some aspect of your blog unique. for example, I now open each post with a quote which tends to reflect the entry.

3. Make sure to credit your sources: Don’t plagerise! Never use someone else’s content without crediting them. You can refer to them in your entry and offer your own opinion on the story rather than be a copycat.

4. Think before you post: Blogging isn’t a race, so take your time . The majority of my posts (including this one!) are prepared at the weekend, giving me plenty of time to think over them before posting. You don’t want to post something that you’ll end up regretting.

5. Stay on topic: Your blog’s content is key. Like Ed says ‘good, interesting blogs get read, boring rants on irrelevant topics don’t’ So if your blog is about Soccer, I don’t expect to be reading about Tennis on it often.

6. Link, it’s polite: If you read something interesting online and tell your readers about it, then post a link to what you’re talking about. It’s annoying to read about something and then have to Google it, instead of simply clicking a link to it.

7. Be conversational in tone: Nobody wants to be bored to death reading your blog and you should also try to attract readers who might not be familiar with the subject you are covering. Some really intelligent people have turned me off with their academic style of writing. You’re supposed to be having a conversation not talking down to people.

8. Respond to comments: It’s great to see that you’re blogging, but if you don’t respond to comments on your blog readers will tend to get annoyed and may unsubscribe. Sometimes it’s even nice to send the person who left the comment an email, IM them or havea real life conversation with them via Skype. When I left a comment on Steve Rubel’s blog congratulating him on his marraige I was surprised to get an email from him saying thanks. What a nice touch! Unfortunately he doesn’t seem to be so quick to reply to comments when people criticise him.

9. When to post: The best time to post I find is the morning when people will be going through their subscriptions. I tend not to blog on weekends anymore because people seem to check their Webfeed/RSS reader during typical work hours on Monday to Friday. People will be able to give your post more attention.

10. Be controversial: Don’t be a sheep, stand out and voice your own opinion. Who cares if nobody agrees with you? As long as you believe in what you’re saying then don’t be afraid to disagree. people are always inclined to get two sides of a story. Mind you, don’t push it otherwise you’ll be seen as someone who just likes to brew trouble.

11. Blogging is not email: A blog might be an online journal, but that doesn’t mean you have to start each post with Dear Diary. The same applies for Hi, Hello World, etc. There’s no need to sign off either, your name will be listed at the bottom of your post anyway.

12. Assuming makes an ass out of u and me: Don’t assume readers are familiar with your product/service/pastime. I had to delete my subscription to a PR blog the other day because the author insists on referring to some model that I am completely unfamiliar with. I got the sense that he was trying to sell me something I wasn’t going to buy into.

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74 Responses to “Tips on writing content for your blog”  

  1. 1 Stephen

    Agree with all of the above except point five. I like the idea of having a perso-professional (in the words of Phil Gomes) blog. If I see something that I personally find interesting or amusing I will post it. Even if it’s a little off-topic. I like to see it when reading other people’s blogs too. It gives me a sense of who they are and what interests and amuses them.

    As Phil says about his podcast: “The podcast is “perso-professional”, just like the blog. What does this mean? Well… It means that I may talk about PR, or I may talk about glue-sniffing pygmy baboons.”

    I’ve just installed the WordPress moblogging plugin – Postie. When I eventually get a mobile that will send emails (student loan at the end of this month) then I’ll be toying about with that. Obviously the pictures that I send probably won’t have relevance to PR, but that’s just me toying and experimenting with the technology.

    But each to their own. It depends what you want your readers to get out of your blog.

  2. 2 Blake

    Great list! With regards to #9, I would advise bloggers to not blog on company time – unless it has been approved that they can allocate time to blog and the company knows that they have a blog. Or, just save it for your lunch hour. Anyway, thanks for putting this together – good stuff.

  3. 3 Piaras

    Yeah Blake that’s a good point about blogging on company time.

    I get what you’re saying Stephen, but for the most part it’s great if people can keep it on topic. If you’re a Webfeed/RSS addict like myself and subscribe to a lot of feeds, then if someone starts to go off-topic a lot I’ll end up subscribing rather than having clutter in my inbox.

  4. 4 Tom

    Great Post!

    I love posts like these, they always give me the inspiration to blog more, and blog better content, so thanks for the tips, they are greatly appreciated!

  5. 5 Jimmy Cerra

    I really DISAGREE with the titles part. In fact I hate catchy “clever” titles unless I really know you (the blog author). Most of the time I’d much rather – and am much more likely to read a story with – a descriptive and accurate title. You can still be creative with those post names; however, the title’s descriptive characteristics should come first. Function over form (yes, I am an engineer) in this case.

  6. 6 Darren

    interesting post. I’d say I agree with you on most of them but have a slightly different spin on the use of catchy titles, thinking before you post, being conversational, when to post and being controversial depending upon what type of blogs you’re writing and what your personality is. Good solid tips – but I’d be a little less black and white about them perhaps?

  7. 7 Hopesome

    Sharon Housley给博客只提了十点建议, Piaras Kelly更棒,好家伙一下给了十二条建议,看看都是什么—- pingback by 播客宝典 http://www.hopesome.com

  8. 8 Piaras

    About the short catchy titles, they probably don’t have to be short but they do have to be descriptive. A lot of people seem to just report the news and if you’ve already read pretty much the same headline then why are you going to read their post? I try to fit my opinion or my slant into the title, especially if I’m commenting on something.

    Take the Guardian moving into Berliner format, I post about it in June when it was originally announced. After details were announced last week there have been a rash of posts about it and I wouldn’t have necessarily posted about it again except for the fact that I want to talk about it in terms of marketing. I posted it under the title iGuardian Nano in light of Apple’s latest creation and I got a pretty popula response to it.

  9. 9 Jacob Gorban

    I don’t fully agree with point number 1.
    I think that more than being catchy the titles of the posts should be informational and inlclude keywords for the post. This way you’re likely to get more readers coming from a search engine.
    This is especially helpful if you write on nicha topics and have a not so known blog (yet).

  10. 10 Piaras

    I agree with informative, but you have to attract people to your blog. I still reckon ‘iGuardian Nano’ proved to be more popular than if I had posted the entry under the title ‘Guardian launch new Berliner format’. Espeicially because everyone under the sun was posting about the same thing. I had my own opinion about it, so it was a good way to distinguish my post from the rest.

  11. 11 Tom McKay

    Great tips, Piaras, from a fellow word flogger.

    I agree about catchy titles. On my “Attract More Customers” blog, I recently urged powerpoint presenters to make their slide titles catchier and spicier — more like tabloid headlines ;-)

    And taking a tip from your list, I headlined my post about your writing tips this way: “The ‘secret sauce’ to spice up your blog posts.”

  12. 12 Jesse

    Great tips. Though I don’t necessarily agree about weekends. I for one surf seven days a week, not just mon-fri

  13. 13 M. Iglesias

    Goog points! but muy difíciles de seguir para aficionados como yo. Tratare de seguirlos.
    Gracias

  14. 14 Michele

    You might also want to add something about navigation. I usually go to a lot of blogs via aggregators or direct feeds. Some blogs, including this one, are very lacking in navigation, so I end up clicking out instead of reading other posts

  15. 15 Breffni

    What about when writing posts for a company. Surely you have to avoid being to controversial or customers will think the owner is X or Y. Being controversial is o.k if your a reporter/ jpunalist who selling his/her own opinion. First impressions are vital in business and i personally wouldn’t want to publish something that could deter customers from sending enquiries into my firm. Any solution or do i just have to try plaese the majority of the audience?

  16. 16 Piaras

    Business people can be the most controversial people of all, just look at Michael O’Leary as an example. You have to be outspoken if you want to grab people’s attention.

  17. 17 ian marshall's doublr

    Priceless. This has proved really helpful as I am just about to join Planet Blog.

  18. 18 Jane

    I’m a newbie in the world of blogging, and I found your tips quite informative. My blog is definately going to be controversial since it is a memoir about my struggles with addiction. It seems this is a unique venture as well since I’ve not come across too many blogs on this touchy subject. Although I feel that my writing is largely theraputic and slightly selfish (I just need to get some things off my chest!), I do want others to read it and possibly relate. Feedback and advice, even criticism is always welcome. Thanks!

  19. 19 zhafran

    4 Things ALL Articles Must Have

    The importance of articles in today’s websites and internet based companies are immeasurable. They dictate a lot in the success and the drive of traffic into one’s site. It has become a key element in making a site work and earns a profit. A website operator and owner must have the good sense to include articles in his or her site that will work for them and earn them the many benefits articles can give to their site.

    Articles have been known to be the driving force in driving traffic to a website. Articles are a factor in giving site high rankings in search result pages. The higher a site ranks the bigger slice of the traffic flow pie he gets. With a huge number in traffic flow, there are more profits and more potential for other income generating schemes as well.

    But, it is not just about stuffing your site with articles; they have certain requirements as well. These requirements must be met to obtain the maximum benefits an article will provide for your site. A well written article will catch the eyes and interest of your customers and keep them coming back for more. They would also be able to recommend your site to others.

    Here are some tips to help you and assist you in making your articles. Below you will read about four things all articles must have to make it successful and helpful in making your site a profit earning and traffic overflowing site.

    • Keywords and Keyword Phrases.

    An article must always be centered on the keywords and keyword phrases. As each website visitor goes to a site, there are those who are just merely browsing but actually looking for a specific something. When this happens, a searcher usually goes to a search engine and types in the keywords they are looking for (e.g. Toyota Camry, Meningitis, Tax Lawyer and Etcetera). It could be anything they want.

    The Important thing is that you have an article that has the keywords that are related to your site. For example, if you maintain an auto parts site, you must be able t have articles about cars and their parts. There are many tools in the internet that provides service in helping a webmaster out in determining what keywords and keyword phrases are mostly sought out. You can use this tool to determine what keywords to use and write about.

    • Keyword Density

    Know that you have your keywords and keyword phrases, you must use them fully. An article must have good keyword density for a search engine to “feel” its presence. Articles should at least have ten to fifteen percent of keyword density in their content for search engines to rank a site high in their search results. Getting a high rank is what articles do best for a site.

    Keyword density is the number of times a keyword or keyword phrase is used on an article. The number varies depending on the number of words used in an article. An effective article must have a keyword density that is not too high or too low. With a very high density, the essence of the article is lost and may turn off a reader as well as the search engines. It comes off as overeager. A low number may be ignored by the search engines.

    • Good Article Content

    Like what is stated above, you cannot just riddle an article with keywords. They must also be regarded as good reading materials. Articles must be able to entertain people as well as provide good information and help for their needs. Articles should be written well with correct spelling and good grammar. If you want people to trust you, make your work good and well thought out.

    People respond well to figures, facts and statistics. Try to get great information and as many facts as you can. A good and well written article will boost your reputation as an expert in your chosen field or topic. As more people believe in you. They will be able to trust you and your products.

    • Linking Articles

    And another important thing to remember. If you are going to submit articles to ezines and/or contribute your articles to newsletters and other sites, DON’T ever forget to include a link to your site. A little resource box with a brief description of your site and you should always be placed right after your articles that you have submitted. If people like your articles, they will most likely click on the link directing them to your site.
    http://www.pnpinternetincome.com
    http://www.motivationnews.com

  20. 20 Search Engine Marketing Firm

    Great tips. Though I don’t necessarily agree about weekends.

  21. 21 Arlo Gilbert

    Great Post. Content is still king……

  22. 22 Millard

    Regarding “Link – It’s Polite”, I’ve always liked the idea of putting in links when I send an email, but I have always afraid that when I was blogging, this would take them to another site and they would never come back!!

  23. 23 david

    Thank you for Great tips. I will try to apply your tips on my site.

  24. 24 Param

    Super job. All the points discussed are relevant. Not surprisingly I force my team to adhere to many of these points while writing for http://www.wisitech.com/blog/

  25. 25 Terisa Toledo

    New at the blogging scene & appreciate the awesome tips!

  26. 26 Cephla Sparks

    Well very written indeed Piaras. Always appreciated crisp writing. I don’t agree with a few of your points, but I can see how it might very well work for some.

    Cheers

  27. 27 Amar

    All 12 tips are great. I have a basic blog written and now editing it to correct the content where it’s needed. You took your own advice (point 8) in responding to my email promptly. I have taken your advice from your “tips” above in creating my blog. It’s not done yet but soon it will be, I hope. Thank you Piaras.

  28. 28 Amar

    ‘Exchange of Ideas and Stories’ was helped in creating with your ‘tips of writing content for your blog’. I have four questions for you.

    1. How often do you have new post? Once a month, once a week or once every six months?
    2. I tried to subscribe to follow your blog but I don’t think it’d working. What am I doing wrong?
    3. My blog is through ‘Blogger’ by Google and editing is a bit challenging. Do you find ‘World press’ easier to work with?
    4. What do you do to get your blog noticed. Search engines?
    5. Last but not least, I want to thank you again for your encouragement and help in getting my blog off to a good start.

  29. 29 James Soto

    Piaras – Thanks for the tip on writing contents it was very informational.

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