Here’s some collective wisdom of our OgilvyOne Business copy team. Of course, it’s not an exhaustive list of things to consider when you’re blogging, but if you follow these, you’ll be on the right track. And we’d love to hear your writing tips, too.
1. Be single-minded
Show you have depth of thought by making one point really well from different angles. This is better than flitting around and not really sticking to any point for long.
Tip: Write the objective at the top of your plan (you are writing a plan, aren’t you?)
2. Find a hook
Opt for an idea that runs through the blog article or an editorial ‘format’. Examples include top 10 tips, Q&A, a quiz, based on a video or a photo story.
Tip: 1] People love lists 2] Lists are a good way to plan your article 3] Refer to 1].
3. Give examples
Theory quickly gets boring. Examples, things that happened and stories will illustrate your point much quicker, more clearly and will engage your reader in a personal experience.
Tip: Try to use one example every 100 words.
4. Never use a shoehorn
If you’re veering off course so you can shoehorn an example or favourite quotation in, then something’s wrong. Either you’re writing about another topic or you’re missing the point.
Tip: If it’s not relevant to the point you are making, kill it.
5. Chuck your boomerang out there
Have an opinion. You can show you’re aware of both sides of a debate and still be provocative. Say what you think and where you stand. And remember to ask your readers’ views and encourage comments. Asking for feedback should be a call to action in every blog.
Tip: Before you write, gather your thoughts on a topic – try a mind map.
6. Does it sound like you?
Something weird happens to how people express themselves when they start typing. So try to write as you would say it. And avoid trying to sound important, as you’ll probably just come across as pompous.
Tip: The read aloud test highlights copy that trips you up or words that add nothing.
7. Show your personality
You’ve got a unique perspective, so share it.
Tip: Start with why you’re writing this article.
8. Be topical
The summer of 1976 was a drought… need I go on? Our social media-driven world is all about real-time conversations, so pick a subject that’s fresh in the mind of your reader.
Tip: What’s trending or in the news that’s relevant?
9. Don’t bang on
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to word count. It depends on the topic and what you’ve got to say. As a rule for blog articles, you should be able to say what you need to say in 400 words and then stop.
Tip: Aim for 400 words and get your red pen out if you go way over.
10. Does my bum look big in this?
Ask a friend, a lover or maybe even a copywriter to read your finished article*. Get them to tell you if they don’t understand anything.
Tip: It helps if you trust their opinion.
Skeletons in your cupboard
One last thing. No matter how good your blog article is, your command of English is important. Typos, grammatical howlers or poor punctuation will detract from your message and dilute your credibility. If I were you, I’d ask a professional writer to proofread your article. And I’d definitely buy them a bar of chocolate if they spot any errors.
*No article is ever finished – that’s the beauty of digital.