You’ve read them.
They’re dull and dry and you wonder why such blog posts are even allowed to exist.
You’ve feared you are the guy who writes that stuff.
Don’t worry. We all fear that.
But there’s something you can do to make sure you’re not that guy.
These five keys will set your blog posts apart.
1.Use Short sentences
Speak concisely, especially online.
Longer sentences with lots of unnecessary words tend to drag on and make the reader check the time and wonder if you will ever get around to making your point.
Short sentences though. They grab. They pull. They keep you reading.
Don’t use so many two-word sentences though that the reader feels machine-gunned. But definitely cut out extra words where possible.
2. Open with a POW!
You have eight seconds to grab their attention. Make it count.
For example, if you’re a realtor writing about how losing your house ten years ago inspired you to become a real estate agent, you might be tempted to start like this:
“The reason I got into real estate is very personal to me.”
Or, if it’s not your first rodeo, you might write,
“Ten years ago, I never thought a career would come out of such deep personal loss.”
The second one’s not bad actually. It has an element of curiosity. Still, these are both vague and a bit dull.
The goal is to grip readers and make it worth their time. What’s in it for them?Humor, disgust, a thrill, inspiration, intrigue… whatever. Promise it, (usually in the title and intro) and then deliver. The goal is to make them want to keep reading.
Instead, try something like:
“The day the bank foreclosed on our house I swore I would never lose control again.”
It’s both specific and intriguing. The reader identifies with not wanting to lose control, and is immediately curious about how you lost your house and how you made sure it wouldn’t happened again.
3. A Brief, Compelling Introduction
This is where you expand on your title and “POW”erful opening.
Keep it grabby.
You got them to want to keep reading. Good! Keep that up.
As an intro example, check out the beginning of this post (or others on this site), or this example below.
“The mortgage broker’s mistake cost us $300,000. Besides losing all that money and being homeless, I gained it back and even reunited with family. And none of that would have happened if I hadn’t lost everything. Basically, losing my house was the best thing that could have happened.”
4. Spectacular Title
I could have started with this I suppose, but I didn’t want to. So what.
I usually spend at least fifteen minutes crafting the perfect title. Sometimes longer, depending on what it’s for.
The title is where to promise something.
Arouse curiosity, promise a solution to a problem, imply mystery, or be straight out funny. Maybe what you’re promising is insight or inspiration — a moment of pause in a fast-paced world. Whatever it is, the title should get them panting for the promise.
Crafting titles is an art. Read awesome titles in magazines and popular blogs to start to get a feel for it.
Or… there is also such a thing as a template — a list of blog post titles you can use in your own articles without the guilt of stealing.
Examples: “10 Things You Need to Know to [achieve goal]” or
“How to [goal] Even if [common obstacle]”
Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a list of blog post titles you could just use?
I thought so too. That’s why I put just such a cheat sheet together for you. It’s called Forty Formulas for Killer Titles and it’s available here.
5. Be Personal
Why would anyone read your stuff? Who cares about realtors, right?
Don’t ever think you have nothing to offer.
You’re the only one with your personal experiences. Only you can tell those stories.
Even in some weird parallel universe scenario where someone told the same story you did, you are the only one who has your perspective on things.
Remember, they’re online to find out what kind of person you are. So show them!
Warning: this can be scary.
I used to think hiding behind a laptop would be less scary than talking to people one-on-one. So I was surprised when the act of releasing my written words into the public square was such a terrifying emotional roller coaster. It swelled to great egotistical heights and dove to dark depths of self-doubt and fear.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Better than that, it’s not as bad as it feels.
Remember — at first, no one will notice you. –Yes, this is a good thing! You’ll get to practice and kind of find your own online voice and personality in relative privacy. Once you hit your groove, you won’t care so much what people think, and you won’t have an identity crisis every time you hit publish.
If you already blog, which of these areas do you struggle in most?
If you haven’t begun blogging yet, what’s holding you back?
I’m Kim, blogger at www.KimberlyDawnRempel.com I help realtors and small businesses build an online presence through blogging.