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12 Tips on Writing Content for your Blog

Piaras Kelly PR has 12 tips for writing content for your blog which has been linked to by a few people today. I’d actually agree with most of it – but would also recommend a little caution with a few of them. Let me make a comment on each one.

1. Use catchy titles – there is debate over this. I personally prefer titles that say what the post is about. While catching titles might get you some readers – if you’re looking for traffic from Search Engines a title with your keywords in it that says what the post is about might actually be better than a catchy or criptic title. This goes for RSS feed readers also.

2. Be unique – this is a good tip. Think about how many blogs are out there that look, sound and operate the same as millions of others. Standing out from the crowd is important.

3. Make sure to credit your sources – After my last few posts I think I’d better not say any more about this.

4. Think before you post - This is a definite must – however on some blog topics speed can mean the difference of being the ‘go to’ blog on a topic or being just another of many that are followers. If your blog is on a competitive news topic then speed can be important.

5. Stay on topic – I agree with this. Keep 99% of your posts on topic. An occasional diversion can be ok – but if your blog is on a specific topic – keep to it. The only exception is where you have a wider topic for your blog. The key is to not change mid stream what your blog is about. Your topic can be very wide – but its best you don’t chop and change between wide and niche topics too much.

6. Link, it’s polite - Linking to others is what blogging is all about.

7. Be conversational in tone – I’d agree with this in the majority of cases – but would argue that a consistent tone that reflects your personality is probably more of a key than a conversational one. While I’m as conversational as possible here at ProBlogger – some of my more successful blogs are less conversational. Instead it can be appropriate to be more authoritative on some topics. Again – the important part is being consistent – find a tone and stick to it.

8. Respond to comments - this is a great point – many bloggers don’t do this. Of course it’s easier said than done when your blog attracts a lot of readers..

9. When to post – the argument here is to post in the morning when people are going through their subscriptions. Nice idea – but when is ‘the morning’ when you’re not in the same place as most of your readers? I do think about when I post (for me late at night is a good time for readers) but I’d not get too worked up about it. I do agree that weekdays can be better to publish key announcement or pieces though.

10. Be controversial – This can work for you – but it can also detract from you. I personally don’t get into the controversy thing too much – I prefer a more positive constructive approach to blogging. If you go the controversial route – make sure you have thick skin and are willing to disillusion and even lose some readers. Controversy can build readers in the short term but most blogs need a mixture of positive content as well as critiques, rants etc (of course there are some exceptions).

11. Blogging is not email - Good tips for newbies.

12. Assuming makes an ass out of u and me - ‘Don’t assume readers are familiar with your product/service/pastime.’ – true – it’s worth remembering that your readership is a fluid thing. Not everyone reads everything you write so when you write about things you’ve written about previously you might want to either explain yourself or link to explanatory pages. Also highlight your about page to give people some of the basic information about you.

found via Micro Persuasion

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. duncan says:

    12 is a constant mistake I make because new readers may not have read previous posts and you just naturally presume they have because you wrote it, I see the same thing here at Problogger any time you get new readers as well, they start saying strange things some times and you know straight away theres no context of history or a long term reader-writer relationship.

  2. #2 Be Unique – Yep, seeing that more and more blogs are appearing you have to ‘differentiate yourself or die’ the saying goes.

    #3 – I think we’ve all smacked that around about lately.

    #4 – Think Before you Post – a great tip. Once you publish that post it can stay around forever. Don’t write something that you don’t want coming back to bite you months/years later. That’s why I tend to go at blogging like a journalist – research and then more research, then edit and then publish (and still sometimes I screw up)

    #6 Link – I’ll take you up on that Darren – you link to me and I’ll link to you. It’s really hard though. I try to link to as many as possible but I have to stick within my niche if I’m to have any relevance and so many times I have to say no to people.

    #8 Comments – of course, I don’t get hundreds and hundreds of comments but I do reply to every comment made at my blog – I see it is as a courtesy thing: they’ve made the effort to comment and I’m welcoming a new reader or continuing a relationship with a current reader. Commenting is the ultimate accolade. It means you’re having an affect and people are reading and thinking about what you write about.

    #10 Be controversial – I think there’s a time and place for this. It has to be managed well and thought out. It’s the usual thing: attack a big corporation and you can’t go wrong – don’t start a fight with someone your same size, it;s bound to fail. I think Duncan (Blog Herald) is the expert in controversy and can clue us in on this more on this ;-)

    #12 – very good point – we sometimes get too self-involved in our own blogs and blog buddies to see that newbies don’t know squat about what we’re on about – it’s a bit like some of us Aussies making “in house” jokes – it’s funny to us but the vast majority have no idea and think we’re probably nuts.

  3. Lei says:

    The point that really struck me was #10. I sometimes envy blogs that are more extreme because they seem to attract more readers with their controversial nature, but since I’m more of a moderate on most issues, I would burn myself out trying to titillate people. In all of my blogs, I aim for a positive tone with just a dash of sarcasm/snark that you would get if you met me in person.

  4. Joseph says:

    I totally agree with Tip 6, but I find that most sites just assume that you actually know how to link to another site.

    I didn’t link to another site in one of my other comments on this blog, because I don’t know what tags I can use and there doesn’t apppear to be a way to edit my comment if I get it wrong.

    Some sites show comment tags or preview what your post is going to look like to make it easier for the user, which I find extremely helpful.

    Others, also allow you to edit your post within a certain time frame (say 30 mins).

    I am very knew to blogging, but not to web development, and sometimes I don’t know what to do.

    Oh, and it is also very irritating to click on a click, only to find out that you have to register with the site before you can view the content.

    Most people wouldn’t bother.

  5. Allen Heat says:

    About the 12th clause:

    When i talk about a specific product/featutre that was mentioned in older posts, i always link to it so i make sure people will know what i’m talking about…

    =)
    Heat

  6. barry bell says:

    I think that many of these top ten lists should really be taken with a pinch of salt. I agree that there’s plenty of useful info around (and Darren pulled much of it up with his 31 days series), and plenty of advice that has been proven to work, but blogging as a discipline/career is still vrey much in its infancy. So, while it’s a good idea to bear some of these tips in mind, we all still have carte blance to go out and do it our own way.

    You can spend all your life following other peoples’ rules, or you can stand up and make the rules yourself.

    And that’s one of the most interesting things about blogging right now.

  7. I would add a #13 that comes from Seth Godin’s recent free e-book Who’s There.

    He says that every blog post should be a conversation starter, something inspiring others to an action of some sort. Each post should scream everything that you’re about, should have your voice, and should invite readers to not only join in the discussion but to keep coming back again and again.

    In short, your posts should always be more about what you and your vision can do for your readers than just all about you.

    It’s kind of the catch-22 in successful blogging, that the more popular and successful you become, the less your blog becomes about you and the more it becomes about the community you’ve built up around yourself.

  8. Thom Singer says:

    I agree with #5….that being said, the best feedback I get always come from my “weekend blog” which is random stuff about my kids, views, rants, etc….. People (stangers and my friends) all seem to like hearing that stuff that is just “Thom’s random life” in addition to the business development, marketing, networking, sales and PR advice.

    I think sharing a bit of your personal life is what makes a good blog. It is not a New York Times article…it is a blog.

  9. Regarding the debate between catchy or clever titles and more plain ones that explain clearly what your post is about, I tend towards the middle when possible. The idea being, that you try to come up with a clever title that uses your keyword and lets the reader know what the post is about. The best of both worlds so-to-speak.

    I read somewhere the suggestion that as more and more people start to use feed readers and news aggregators and such they will over time end up subscribed to a lot of feeds. The more headlines there will be staring them in the face. Each competing for the readers limited time to be read. Not having time to read everything, they will pick what catches their eye or sounds interesting. Yet another plain keyword focused title will probably be less likely to get read as it blends in with all the other blah headlines.

    What might others here think about this idea?

  10. #4, “Think before you post”. – I imagine that goes without saying. However, some of my best writing comes when it just flows out of me. It’s like how people often describe it as, “I didn’t write it, it came from somewhere else, and I’m just the conduit”.

    But I think #4 ought to be rephrased as “Settle down before you post”. When I get riled up, I tend to write stuff that ends up sounding stupid after I’ve calmed down.

  11. nitin vyas says:

    Blogs are a source of information and the best way to say what you want to say without spending money. A lot of visitors and willing learners will show up on blogs. It is my advice to them that the content on your site or blog should be simple to understand and should not have many jargons that a layman would not understand. Simple content with exact meanng is the best way to keep a user intersted

    Nitin Vyas

  12. threio says:

    Thanks for the tips, most I follow to the letter.

    my main problem is keeping posts around 300 words. I have a sports blog and by the time you add the relevant stats and the actual result its a bit long in my opinion.

    Why read my blog if its just a different version of main stream sports articles.

    Is there an example of posting without paragraphs — per se? I need something to “put-me-in-a box” for awhile to break this habit.

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  1. [...] Geh nicht davon aus, dass alle alles in Deinem Blog lesen. Inspiriert durch 12 Tipps on writing Content for your Blog [...]

  2. [...] Tips on writing content for your blog von Piaras Kelly PR. Kommentiert von Darren Rowse in seinem Blog. zum Blog-Eintrag [...]

  3. [...] So I’ve decided to change my ‘rules’ (repeats silently to self – ‘change is good, change is good, change is good’). The thing that finally swung it was reading Darren’s post on 12 tips on writing content for your blog and the very top, number one tip was to use titles with keywords that tell what the post is about rather than a cryptic title. Pow! There goes the whole premise of the cryptic side to my blog. [...]

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