Are you getting the best results possible from your blogging activities? Try these best strategies for being a more effective blogger!
A lot of people underestimate blogging. They assume that because they can talk a fair game, blogging won’t be that hard. Then, when they engage in it they find that it’s not half as easy as they thought it would be and that they’re not getting anywhere close to the attention that they’re expecting.
The interesting thing is that these two problems are, in fact, related to the same underlying problem that blogging (And all writing) has. And that is that the number of communication channels that you’ve got available are far more restricted than in speech.
What do I mean with that?
Well, when you’re speaking with somebody, you don’t just have the words that you use. You also have your body language, the tone of voice that you use and the reactions of the other person to go off of. In this way, you can clarify what’s hard to understand and you’re offering up far more information than you otherwise might be aware of.
Tried and true tips for being a more effective blogger
When you’re writing a blog article, this information falls away. Even more problematic, you don’t realize it does. That’s because when we’re writing we actually have a little voice in our heads narrating what we’re writing down. And that voice has a lot of extra information in it, like speaking speed, tone and even pregnant pauses.
The problem is when the words actually go up on the page that voice is no longer there. And so, there is a huge amount of space for miscommunication to happen. Fortunately, you can compensate for that by learning to use the other ways of communication that are available to you. What are those?
You’ve got to use headlines. They’re not only important for SEO purposes, but they can also guide your article along. Personally, I’ll write my sub-headlines first, as they serve as signposts that I can use to guide the way that my text is going to go.
Sometimes I’ll even go a little further and also include one line that explains what each paragraph under that headline will be about. Only when I’ve written out the headlines of the sections I’m going to write do I actually start writing.
Even if you don’t want to use them that way, you’ve still got to include them for the simple reason that people nowadays don’t have time to really get into your text. Yes, you can get angry at that, if you want to. Not that it will do much. But you can. Just make sure that you get angry and still use headlines. Then you’ll get the best of both worlds.
Bullet points and numbered lists
I have a very simple rule. As soon as I start using words like ‘firstly’, ‘secondly’ and so forth I stop and think about whether I actually want to write those words out or just use a numbered lists. Numbered lists are incredibly useful, as they turn words into visual markers. That’s important, as it means you can transfer information to your audience in another way except for with the words that you’re writing.
For that reason, when any of the following things happen, consider using a list:
- Whenever you’re giving people step by step instructions, you’ve got to use a list. No questions asked. This will make it far easier for them to find out what they’re supposed to do when.
- When using any numbered words like ‘first’ and ‘secondly’ it’s time to think about using a list. The more of them you use, the more you urgent the list becomes.
- When comparing people, things or tasks. It’s quite straight forward. If different people or companies are being mentioned, then give them each their own entry in a list. This will make it far more likely that people will be able to find what’s relevant for them. So you might use this for a list of translation reviews, for example. Or for which other blog you respect for what reason.
- If you’re writing a longer blog entry that will cover a lot of points, why not give people a table of content? Then they’ll be in a much better position to know what’s going to happen and if they want to stick around to read it.
Punctuation is the way that you can control the flow of your words. For that reason, learn to use them correctly so that people know what you’re actually trying to say. Correctly punctuating your sentences can truly make a huge difference between what is understandable and what is entirely incomprehensible.
Even more importantly, not punctuating your work correctly can change the meaning of your sentences entirely.
For example, take these two sentences:
A panda eats shoots and leaves
A panda eat, shoots and leaves
The first line tells you that a panda likes leaves and shoots and will eat them. The second line, in the meantime, tells you that pandas will eat, then shoot you and leave. Yes, it is a funny example. But it also marks a common problem which is that the meaning of sentences can be changed by putting a comma in the wrong place.
For that reason, master punctuation. Learn to use the comma and – even more importantly – the period. After all, if your sentences are shorter then there is a whole lot less risk that you’ll say something that your readers can’t figure out.
If you’re not sure if your sentences are short enough, try using the Hemingway App. It’s a great tool as it tells you when you’re using run-on sentences.
Look, blogging isn’t easy. There is a lot you’ll need to learn and there is only one way to learn a lot of it – and that’s practice, practice, practice. For that reason, don’t give up if you’re not immediately successful. I can tell you from experience, that when I first started out my blog entries were terrible. Only, over time, have I become better at writing these kinds of things and I still have a long way to go myself.
That might sound slightly depressing, but it isn’t. It just means you’ve got to put in hard work. But then, in everything worth doing in life you’ve got to do that. Because if it comes easy you won’t appreciate it. That’ just how we’re put together.
So go out there and master the channels you’ve got available. You can do it. All you have to do is try (and try and try).