You want to blog, but you’ve never written anything for public consumption before – unless you count that essay in high school, which you were required to read in front of the class. But, you really want to blog, become good at it, and perhaps even work for network or expand your career to being an online content marketer, or a social media specialist.
Don’t worry. Everyone has to start somewhere. Even if you don’t consider your writing skills up to par, there are things you can do to take that first step.
Here are the best writing tips for beginning bloggers that will point you in the right direction.
Keep it short.
Researchers have been studying the attention span of online readers for years, and the consensus is that the average attention span is five minutes. While there are still exceptions – people who prefer long-form articles – you cannot ignore the majority of readers.
Write shorter sentences. Express your ideas in fewer words. Use shorter paragraphs.
Pro tip: Write your blog post without stressing over how short (or long) your sentences and paragraphs are. Once you’re done, edit. That’s when you cut out unnecessary words, repetitive statements, and details that do not contribute to the strength of your article.
Keep it simple.
Don’t use “big” words to impress. Readers don’t want to have to check the dictionary every time! It’s not that you’re dumbing down your audience, but make it easy for them to understand what you want to say. Impress with your ideas, not with words that you can barely pronounce.
Pro tip: Avoid jargon and sophisticated words. If your high school brother can’t understand what you’re saying, then you need to use simpler words.
Keep it personal.
Imagine you’re talking to the reader face-to-face. If you’re not comfortable with that in real life, that’s fine. You’re writing anyway!
Use first person pronouns: I, we, you, and us.
This makes your readers more comfortable and keeps them reading.
Keep it real.
Do you notice how I add “pro tip” in most sections? That’s keeping it real in such a way that I provide examples so that you know what to do when you start writing.
It’s easy to write about ideas, but that’s just what they are: ideas. Giving examples makes your ideas applicable in the real world.
Pro tip: Draw examples from your own experiences. If you feel that you don’t have enough experience, ask! Use Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. to ask more experienced people for guidance.
As a beginning blogger, you need to learn from others. The best way to do this is to read, read, and read. Then read more.
Follow experienced bloggers in your niche, and regularly read their articles. Even better, browse their archives for more articles that you can learn from. By doing this, you pick up tips on blogging and you also learn from their writing style.
Pro tip: Pay close attention when you read. Don’t skim. Try to go beyond the five-minute attention span.
Bonus: Follow the experts on social media.
You might feel overwhelmed by the idea of starting a blog and writing posts that anyone can read – including your high school teacher – but follow the tips above, keep writing, and you’ll eventually feel more confident.