Some says writers are born, others say writers are made. Are bloggers also made or born the same way or is there a magic wand or writing instruction that can create great bloggers?
While I can tell you quite simply that magic wands are only useful in fantasy novels and screenplays, the writing that went into the creation of both pieces was formulaic. The same is true of blogging.
All good stories, no matter their genre require three basic things: a beginning, a middle and an end. When we blog, often we are telling personal anecdotes or offering instruction on a topic in which we think or know ourselves to be quite knowledgeable. This is a good beginning.
Ask yourself some questions before you begin your blog post:
What is my post about?
Who will it appeal to?
What message am I trying to convey?
Where your blog is located and when the post is due to be published should already be established.
Why should readers be interested in the post you are writing? Find a hook.
Finally, how are you hoping to make an impact with what you have to say?
These questions, in acronym form are also the 5 W’s and the H of article writing for journalists, whose job it is to write articles for a living. Who? What? When? Where? Why? And how? All must be covered in the story when writing for digital or print media.
If you can’t answer all the five W’s and the H that’s okay too, answer what you can and outline it on a sheet of paper.
You are ready to begin. Start with the W or H that is most important to the blog post and work from there. Perhaps the blog you are working on is telling a story. Begin with a quote, something with shock value, or ask a question of your audience. This will grab the attention of your readers.
The body of your blog, also referred to as ‘filler’ should both entertain and/or inform the audience with content that is relevant to the reader for the post you are writing. If in the revision process, which we will get to, the content you have written isn’t directly related to your blog post then leave it out. Consider using it for another blog post or write it at the end of your post as a teaser for an upcoming blog post, and then make sure you follow-up with it.
The end of your blog should, in short, wrap things up for your readers. The readers should have a sense of completion to the information or the story. The only exception to this idea in my opinion is if you are writing a series of posts.
Now for the hard part: put your blog post away for a day or two, and review it at a later time. This will give you a fresh perspective on what you have created, and allow time to make sure that you really wrote what you meant and that you explained it in such a way that it will not be misinterpreted.
In my blogging career, I posted something that I thought conveyed one message and in fact, the way it read after it was posted was quite the opposite. I was (and still am) quite remorseful for that particular piece. I wrote a retraction as soon as I noticed my error, then I tore my original blog apart while I beat myself up for being a crappy writer. Then I shook it all off and realised that as a writer, blogger and editor I’m constantly on a learning curve, so I created Not My Straitjacket and kept blogging.
In short, gutsy writing is not always good. Save it for novel writing. It takes longer to publish novels and you are (hopefully) more apt to catch your mistakes. More to the point, make sure you have an editor handy who can save you from yourself at times.
Now get busy! Bloggers aren’t born they’re made.