How to Write a Blog Post (people will actually want to read)

100.

It’s sort of a big number.  In context of an anniversary, it marks an outstanding achievement.  Also, it’s like super simple and minimalist and good looking (if you’re into that stuff.  I’m not.  See: colorized background.)

Why are we talking about 100?  Because this, what you are reading right now is post 100 here at the Woodland Quill.  100.  Can you believe that?  That’s… cool.  Right?  Right.  I figured that I wanted to do something special for my 100th post, but then last week’s post (how to read a blog) that I wanted to do a follow up post to that about how to write a blog.

Good news for you guys: 100 had me in a celebratory mood, so you get both.  That’s right, today we’ll talk about writing a blog post, then later this week (Thursday?) I’ll give my first “State of the Woodland” address, to let you all know what’s up with me, what’s up with the blog, and what cool new stuff is coming this Summer.  (Spoilers, sorry.)  BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!  Because last week I reached out to a friend of mine and got the “rights” back to a short story which I wrote many moons ago for a contest he hosted… and I’m going to publish that here this week as well.

Wait, did I just promise three posts?  Yes, I did.  Not to follow through on all that… *gulp*

 

But for now…

How to Write a Blog post:

There are a lot of good resources online for how and why to start a blog, and even how to keep it running, but everyone has their own little tips and tricks that they use, so… I guess it’s time I shared mine.

Don’t do what I did

Okay, today is a special occasion, so I made an exception to this rule, but generally you don’t want to start a blog post off with a long block of ugly rambling paragraphs that will turn your reader away before they even get to the heart of what you have to say.  Of course, you need to have some sort of introduction, but you need it to be engaging for your readers.  This means two things:

Keep it short.  Readers aren’t on your blog to waste time reading, they are there to learn new skills or develop ones they already have.  Maybe they are there to be entertained, but even at that, long introductions are rarely entertaining.  Get through your intro as quickly as possible and get on to the meat of what you have to say.

Make it stick.  In addition to being short, you want your intro to hook your reader.  You want it to promise them something (which you will then deliver) that will keep them on your blog, reading your post, and learning.

 Know what you’re saying

Just like readers have to know why their reading, you have to know what you’re writing.  Too often blog pots are so out of left field that they’re hard to follow and impossible to apply.  You don’t want to write like that, here are the easy tips to help you avoid it.

Know what your readers want.  You aren’t /ever/ as a blogger going to publish something about you.  Ever.  Everything you throw out on the internet should benefit your reader in some way.  Maybe it teaches, or entertains, or positively engages them.  Everything you do when you write a blog post is about the reader.  What, in the story you’re telling or the info you’re sharing, is going to help your reader?  Focus your post around that.

Keep everything organized (or bulleted).  Blogs are meant to be scanned.  (As I discussed last week, scanning isn’t a good way to learn from a blog), but they are written to be scannable anyway.  Many posts I read achieve this effect through the use of bullet points.  I don’t use bullet points often, but I do sometimes.  Instead, I use frequent, multi-tiered headers to break content up into easy to scan and follow posts which communicate quickly and effectively to the reader.

Say what you’re going to say…  Old maxims are true more often than not, and that’s the case here.  The best way to make sure that your post actually communicates something (and doesn’t just ramble on) is to start by saying what you’re going to say (that’s the promise you make in the intro) say it (that’s your organized content) and then say what you just said (in your conclusion.)

Outline.  Yeah, I know that us novel writers do enough outlining as it is, but outlining blog posts is actually really great.  Sometimes I actually do it right on the computer (I usually write out all my sections and then fill them in) but sometimes I scribble it out on a paper or something.  But just getting an orderly flow for your content set up is crucial to making sure that you’re actually saying something when you’re saying something.

Give yourself a second draft.  Follow through is like the hardest thing, I know, but write your post soon enough that you have time to read over it again before it’s published.  When you do, think about each point you’re making and try to clear it up.  How could you state what is on your mind more clearly/usefully for the reader?  Do you need examples?  Do you need another point?  Whatever it is that will bump your post up a notch, you’ll never find it unless you go back and read over your post.

There you have it, I’m afraid that’s all I’ve got.  The most important thing to keep in mind when writing a blog post is your readership.  If you’re worried about them, then you can’t stray too far afield.

 

Photo: Spiral Bound Writing Pad, Creativity 103, CC BY 2.0


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Brandon

Raised on C.S. Lewis and matured (to whatever extent) on Tolkien, Brandon Miller is a huge fan of Christian speculative fiction. His favorite stories artfully bend the physical reality to reveal spiritual realities which apply to all realms, kingdoms, districts and solar systems (including our own.)
When not writing fiction Brandon spends his time tending his blog The Woodland Quill, sportsing, or just struggling through that last-year-of-high-school/first-year-of-college which is really neither but is definitely both.

Comment

  1. Shaina May 19, 2017 at 1:55 PM - Reply

    Thank you for writing this! I have been wondering how to help my poor blog along, and this was the perfect post to teach me how to do that!

    • Brandon May 19, 2017 at 2:44 PM Reply

      That’s great, I’m so glad this helped! Good luck on your post writing endeavors!

  2. Laura May 15, 2017 at 1:57 PM - Reply

    Can I PLEASE bend a few rules if I’m not writing a “toolbox” blog?

    • Brandon May 15, 2017 at 2:18 PM Reply

      Yes. By the power invested in me by the great emperor of the internet, as a blog writer (and this representative of his interests) I hereby grant you the authority to bend the all-encompassing rules explored in the aforementioned.

      Okay, but really… Yes, of course. Everyone has there own style of blog, so you can bend any of this that you want. However, no matter what you do with your posts, remember that the reader is king. Your posts should seek to serve the reader in one way or another.If you do that, then the rest of this stuff just kind of calls into place.

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