Let’s assume that you are already a good writer, and that you know all the basics.
The first thing to know about writing blogs is that brevity changes everything. Short writing is different from any other kind of writing, and a good piece of short writing has many things in common with poetry and music. A well-written blog should have rhythm and style, and the substance conveyed is greatly enhanced if the language has purpose and a pulse.
In a blog, each sentence sells the sentence that follows, serving as the marketing message to keep people reading. You’ll lose half your readers for every digression and slackening in narrative tension. One common approach is to use the journalist’s “pyramid lead” structure– to start every blog with the who/what/when/where/how/why – but in short writing, that can be too much overhead and not enough heart, so let traditional advice be your servant and not your master.
Begin and end by stating the single, simple message. People remember the first and last things they hear. The message can be simple if the goal is simple (“How to write blogs”), or intriguing like the opening of a good mystery if the goal is more subtle (“Selling the invisible”). Most important after that simple message is the “why”. Why is this important, why do you care, why should I? Your lawn-mowing business is a dull story, but the real reason you mow lawns could be fascinating. Focus on that.
Finally, as you close, and if you want people to do something as a result of your blog – buy your product, read a book, call their congressman – finish with a clear call to action. Don’t be shy. In a modern world that overwhelms with messaging, subtle nuance is usually overlooked, especially in short writing.
Create a first draft and then cut, cut, cut. Remove every word that is not essential. Start again if you have to. Put it aside and come back to it after a day. If you still see a short story that has energy and life and truly speaks for you, publish. Then do it again. Writing short prose is a muscle that only gets strong with repeated exercise, so make it a discipline. If you happen to have the gift of making people laugh, use it sparingly, but use it. Laughter is the spirit opening up, and people are hardly every convinced of anything by the intellect alone.
Blogs are a literary art form, nothing less, so get out there and get creative!
About the author
John Kolm has been writing professionally for 45 years, starting when he penned tales of mystery for Readers’ Digest at 14 and lied about his age. Since then he has had around a million words published, including a bestselling book for Penguin, Crocodile Charlie and the Holy Grail. For the last 15 years John has been the CEO of Team Results USA, a group of gamers who use face-to-face simulation for training work teams. More at www.teamresultsusa.com.