“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 
― Maya Angelou

 

Chances are if you’re reading this post, blogging (or perhaps just writing in general) is something you’re passionate about. You have adventures, projects, wisdom and experiences you’re excited to share, but sometimes the process of taking those thoughts and translating them into posts are challenging, and can sometimes seem, just as Maya Angelou described, an agony.

 

Today, we’d like to share some tips with you to help make your next blog writing session less of a challenge and more of a thrill.

 1.      Content Calendar.

This may sound like a simple step, but trust us, it’s really important. Content calendars help you focus on both your blog’s holistic content and tone, as well as specific features/posts. What a content calendar can help you determine:

  • How many posts to write a week
  • What days/times you’d like to publish them
  • What assets you need to keep in mind when putting posts together
  • Set deadlines to keep you on track

 

2.      Hook, Line & Sinker

Just like with any introduction (be it in person or in print), first impressions matter. That’s why you should spend a little extra timing crafting the content components that will help you land new readers while engaging loyal fans.

 

Hook

A “hook” is a literary technique in the opening of a story or post that captures the reader’s attention so that he or she will continue reading. It can be several sentences (or in some cases paragraphs), but is ideally the opening sentence.

 

So how does one go about writing an effective hook? Put yourself in your reader’s shoes:

  • Present them with a question or dilemma. This makes them wonder how you’ll answer the question or what the consequence of an action will be.
  • Use a relevant quote or personal anecdote.
  • Start your story in the middle. Sometimes starting a story out of sequence can help build a level of suspense in your readers. 
  • Begin with a definition. For tutorials and how-tos, this can be an effective way of drawing readers in.

 

Line (Summary)

A “line” in this particular case, refers to your blog’s summary. In addition to helping you frame what you plan to cover in your post, summaries are also helpful for blog structure and SEO, as they often appear as the description search engines use when indexing your posts, or as the excerpts on your blog’s home page of recent posts.

 

Summaries should include your hook, an additional sentence or two that help set up your story, as well as any relevant keywords you’d like search engines to reference to reel those readers in.

 

Sinker (Calls-To-Action)

The way you close out your blog is just as important as how you begin. After all, when you sat down to write your post, you probably had an idea of what you wanted your audience to do when they were finished reading it. Closing out your post with a specific call-to-action helps you (and your reader) clarify what it is they’re supposed to takeaway (and do) now that they’ve finished your post.

 

  • Keep it simple. Your call-to-action should be ten words or less and should only ask your readers to one thing. Prioritizing what that one thing will be is entirely up to you.
  • Make it urgent. People respond to deadlines. Giving your readers a definitive window in which to respond helps deter them from “putting a pin” in your call-to-action, and adding it to their mental to-do list.
  • Make it meaningful. “Time is money,” as the saying goes, and your reader’s time is limited. Make sure your call-to-action provides the opportunity for meaningful engagement or adds value on the reader’s behalf. 
  • Make it big. Something simple like increasing the font size of your call-to-action or changing the color can go a long way in getting the attention of your readers. Experiment with the positioning or try making it a button to see if it encourages more of reaction from your audience.

 

3. Friendly Format

Consuming information online can be challenging, especially when a post isn’t formatted with the reader in mind. Making a couple of tweaks to your formatting can go a long way in encouraging readers to hang with you until the end.

  • Make It Scannable. Chunk your post into more digestible bites of information. This makes your post easier to scan and is sometimes referred to as “snackable content.”
  • Use headers. This also helps in making your post more scannable, while helping give the reader a clue of what to expect ahead.
  • Create bulleted lists to break up more complex sections of your post.
  • Bump up the text size. Reading on a bright, tiny screen is tougher on your eyes than reading something in print. Give your readers’ eye a break by bumping up your font size to something a more manageable (we recommend size 14).
  • Include block quotes. Variety is the spice of life after all. Being formulaic can often be a good thing, but sometimes it’s good to jump outside the box and include an element (like a quote) to help break up longer blocks of text.

 

4.      Conversational Copy.

A temptation when writing (especially for larger audiences) is to fall back on more formal language, but since blogs are usually about providing a look inside someone’s personal life, hobbies and interests, that formal language can seem a little off-putting.

 

  • Use Your Voice. No one can tell a story the way you can, so find your voice and embrace it.
  • Be descriptive. Heard the phrase, “Show me. Don’t tell me.”? Listing a series of events is far less exciting for your readers than showing them how that series of events unfolded. Include descriptions that appeal to the senses: colors, textures, sounds, smells, etc. to help pull your reader into the story. 

 

5.      Pictures = 1,000 Words

We’ve all heard the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but images aren’t the only way of including rich media in your posts. Audio clips, video and icons as well as images can make your post a more immersive experience for your readers:

  • Serve as an additional hook to draw the eye and attract attention
  • Break up walls of text.
  • Provide a visual representation of what you’re talking about
  • Add a polish to your blog, making it look more put together

 

No two blogs are alike, and every audience has its sweet spot, but we hope these tips are helpful when you go to plan your next post.

 

If you like what you read, please share it with your friends and fans on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

 

This blogging tip brought to you by Mom Bloggers Club and Mommy’s Club. For more from Mommy’s Club, including giveaways and contests, follow them on Twitter (@themommysclub), https://www.facebook.com/themommysclub

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