Every now and then, I get asked advice about blog writing.
The problem with coming up with tips for bloggers is that writing is a pretty subjective thing, and we all have different styles we like to write in.
There’s no real hard and fast rule about what sort of tone we should adopt, or what kind of ‘voice’ we should be using, but it’s a no-brainer that the closer to your own way of speaking and writing your post it, the more trustworthy and real it will be.
How to bring in blog best practice without losing your own style
Despite this, there are still a few ways you can improve a blog post without getting so caught up in the structure that you lose your own voice and end up with an article that sounds false, or completely unlike your usual style.
If you’ve been with me for a while, you’ll know I’m a big advocate of having a strong enticing title to draw people in.
I also like using sub-headings so that it makes it easy for clients to read what you’re saying, and breaks the text up in to manageable chunks.
Thinking about the big bang
I’m also a strong advocate of a great ending in a blog article.
Often, this can be the very hardest part to write.
A lot of articles kick off with a sterling title that grabs your attention, heads off through a really great, structured narrative, and then…whimpers out more sadly than a firework in a tsunami.
This can be a real let down for your readers.
It’s kind of like going out for a fabulous meal, loving the first two courses, and then being really disappointed with the dessert.
Our brains are hard-wired to always remember the last thing that happens to us, with the most clarity.
So, instead of being pleased that you had a great mushroom soup and fantastic prawns for two courses, you’re left remembering the fact that the cheesecake was the worst you ever had.
So, it stands to reason that the end of your blog post needs to be as powerful as the beginning, to keep your readers interested, informed, and enthusing about the article long after they read it.
Avoiding the cheesy sales line
Many bloggers will usually stick a sales message at the bottom of their article.
This is sensible, because you’re popping in a call to action and getting people to respond actively once they’ve read the message you’re putting out there.
However, if every post you publish is simply a long-winded way of saying “Buy my product! Buy my services!” at the end, your audience will soon get a bit peeved with the disappointment at the culmination of each post.
Top tips for great endings
To keep your blog endings sharp, punchy, interesting and attention-grabbing, here are my top tips….
- Summarise your points to make it easy for the reader to remember what you’ve told them
- Ask for a share, a tweet or a ‘like’ to promote social networking and get people talking
- Put something controversial (but not offensive) as your final paragraph, to encourage people to respond with comments and kick off a discussion
- Link to something useful, to develop the points in your article, and provide more value
- Ask questions at the end. What do your readers think? Have they got any other ideas? Has the information been useful? Can they add anything in to the mix?
- Give a heads up on content you’re planning on posting over the next few weeks, to keep your readers popping back and looking out for new material.
If you alternate these six endings, you’ll soon find that summarising and doing calls to actions will come as a natural conclusion with every post you write.
What do you think?
Have you got any other ways to jazz up a post at the end?
To prove that I’m following my own advice, here’s a random joke for you…
Q. How can you tell if a group of monkeys have been reading your blog?
A. The quality of the comments goes right up.