Saturday, March 05, 2005

 

Writing compelling blog posts

MarketingProfs has a lovely article by B. L. Ochman, president of whatsnextonline.com, on How to Write Compelling Blog Posts (registration required). The article is fairly extensive, but her first five bullet points are crucial:

Adopt a direct style. Declarative sentences are good. Web readers demand them.

Link like crazy. One thing that distinguishes blog posts from dead-tree journalism is that bloggers link prodigiously. Link to any other blog or Web site you mention. Link to articles, books, products, bios, explanatory materials on other sites and anything you mention in your blog. Always link to information that clarifies or gives background on information and opinions in your post.

Write less. Omit all unnecessary words. The best advice I ever got about writing was from my first boss, the late "press agent" Leo Miller, who taught me a game to play with sentences. He'd keep taking out words until removing one more word destroyed the meaning of the sentence. For example: He'd take out words until removing another destroyed the sentence meaning. Aim at keeping your posts at about 250 words.

Write good headlines. Most people use a news feeders like News Gator to scan blog headlines. They decide after seeing the headline to click into the post. Tell as much of the story as you can in the headline.

Additionally, the article has useful hints about layout, editing, and writing blog comments. Go read the whole thing. It's well worth the short time it takes to register.

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