In this post John from Ace Online Schools shares some tips for writing educational blog content.
When the titans of blogging write about building a successful blog, they always emphasize the importance of insanely useful content. One of the best ways to be useful is to educate your readers. If you can give your readers knowledge that helps them achieve their goals, people will hang on your every word and happily link to your content.
Teach What You Know
The first requirement of effective teaching is having a depth of knowledge to share. If you haven’t mastered a topic yourself, you have no chance of teaching it to others. It amazes me how many people try to do this, particularly in the make money online niche. If you want to start a blog to educate yourself that’s fine, but don’t expect to have much success until you know your topic inside and out.
Once you have a base of knowledge to impart, the second step is effective communication.
Mix General Concepts with Specific Examples
Darren recently posted about this idea. What he realized is that many readers like to be told what to do. Learning is about understanding important ideas; both as concepts and as they relate to reality. Understanding general concepts is important because it empowers readers to make decisions for themselves based on their unique circumstances. Examples are indispensable because they make an abstract idea concrete. There is no excuse not to weave specific examples into your posts because it requires only a simple reference link.
Use Illustrative Images and Diagrams
One of the most underutilized educational techniques in blogging is the use of diagrams. By this I don’t mean random images from Flickr that you to toss in at the last minute. I mean handcrafted diagrams that illustrate the key ideas from your article. A great example of this is the SEO Success Pyramid by Small Business SEM. Diagrams help educate your readers where words alone fall short. They’re also link magnets. There’s a bit of a learning curve if you aren’t good at creating images, but the results are worth the effort.
Learn to Write for the Web
You need to understand how people read on the web and learn to write for them effectively. Go to Jakob Nielsen’s web site and read this paper. It will do more to improve your blogging than any other article. If you look at the top blogs, you’ll find they follow Nielsen’s style guidelines remarkably well.
Don’t Be a Link Snob
Insecure blogs are scared of linking out. They’re afraid of losing traffic and giving link juice to sites that compete with them. This is absolute rubbish! If you share valuable information with readers, you’ll be rewarded with trust. Readers will value your site more and be more likely to return. Some of the most popular sites on the web are almost entirely short summaries and links to outside content. Clearly it hasn’t hurt their traffic. Help your readers educate themselves by pointing them in the right direction.
John blogs at Ace Online Schools about the world of online education. Visit our site for the latest educational news, online learning resources, and advances in educational technology. Bloggers might enjoy his article about How to Launch Your Writing Career Online.