Nowadays, starting a blog is simple, and the majority of blogging platforms are intuitive and easy to understand. As a result, anyone with access to the internet can create a blog. However, a considerable portion of online content is poorly written. The writers don’t invest the necessary time in honing their blog writing skills.
Most blog articles are sloppy, poorly researched, with no message or proper citations. Many of these articles were written with search engine optimization in mind, implying that the content’s quality was not a priority.
Many bloggers are clueless about how to engage their readers or develop content that will drive more traffic to their site. It is not enough to write interesting posts. You have to come up with unique content that stands out from the rest.
Perhaps once you were done with the technical aspects of setting up a blog, you thought that the hard work was over. That’s actually the easy part. You’re just getting started, and you need to learn how to write in a way that will make readers want to come back.
Fortunately, improving your blog writing skills is easier than you think. You just need to follow a few tips, and soon your articles will go from boring and difficult to understand to engrossing and even addictive.
Remember that needing to work on your writing skills doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. You could be a great writer, but you’re unaware of some requirements specific to blogs.
Revisit the Basics
First and foremost, you should have a working knowledge of the fundamental concepts of writing before you can begin creating amazing content for your audience.
You don’t have to go to an Ivy League school to learn how to write, but you will need to be familiar with grammar and spelling. Having a copy of “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White on your bookshelves is a must for any writer, as this book is one of the most comprehensive resources available on the proper use of grammar and other useful topics.
Do Your Research
Aside from plagiarism, there is nothing more damaging to your credibility than failing to do proper research. Many bloggers try to cut corners with the facts in their haste to finish a blog post. This can mean providing inaccurate statistics or being sloppy with attribution or sourcing.
This not only puts you in hot water with your editor or content marketing manager, but it also makes you look inexperienced. You don’t need to spend weeks cross-checking every single statistic, but common sense should prevail here — don’t rely solely on sites like Wikipedia, and instead use recent, original sources whenever possible.
That being said, it’s not at all difficult to lose track of your research, particularly the sources. To keep things tidy and easy to manage, you can use free software like PDFChef that allows you to split and merge PDF files. This keeps all of your research for each post in one place when it’s time to create an outline, which brings us to our next point.
Start With an Outline
Even for the most seasoned writers, the blinking cursor of a blank page can be a formidable adversary to contend with, so start with a rough outline of what you want to write. This will serve as the battle plan that will guide you to victory. Rarely – if ever – do writers simply sit down to write something without a good outline.
Let’s say you’re writing a blog post about developing brand voice through content. Your outline will look something like this:
- Introduction – A quick summary of the article;
- What is Brand Voice? – A paragraph or two describing the fundamentals of brand voice;
- Using Content to Develop a Brand Voice – Explanations on how to use content to establish a brand voice and aspects content creators and marketers should consider;
- Examples – A few examples of content that is in line with the marketing positioning and branding of well-known brands;
Sometimes you’ll stray a little from your original outline but what matters is that you have it there to get you started and keep you on track.
First Drafts Are Almost Never Good – Just Accept It!
It’s easy to imagine your favorite bloggers effortlessly writing fantastic posts with no effort. You probably think they spend most of their time in cafes reading obscure books. In that case, you can take solace in the fact that this is not the way writing works.
First drafts are almost never good, and that’s ok. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t succeed on your first try. Simply jot down your ideas, then go back and polish them. Even the most accomplished writers have to go back and revise drafts they were embarrassed to show anybody else.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect
Take your time to write as well as you can, check and edit your work, and make sure your workflows are logical. But this doesn’t mean you should spend weeks working on a single blog post.
It will never be perfect no matter how many times you rewrite it, and one of the most difficult things to learn will be to let it go. This is particularly important when it comes to content marketing because you generally don’t have the luxury of writing maddeningly beautiful blog entries full of heartfelt language and powerful imagery.
The “writing” portion of writing will get easier and faster as you gain confidence, but never forget that you have deadlines.
As Stephen King once said, the best way to improve your writing skills is to read more. Choose to read an article that piques your interest instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media. Rather than watching Netflix, unwind with a magazine. Before going to bed, read a novel to help you relax.
All of these activities will expand your vocabulary and expose you to different writing styles. They might even inspire you to come up with some original article ideas or put your own spin on something.