February 13, 2012

What Makes a Good Blog Post: 6 Things I've Learned

My mission with each post is to write something people want to read. Otherwise, what's the point? Why have a blog? I could go back to pontificating to my husband and children without the added difficulty of rewrites and spell checkers.

I recently reviewed Stephen King's memoir, On Writing: On Stephen King. I could make dozens of posts out of his practical and motivating advice, but this sentence really stuck with me:

"Fiction writers, present company included, don’t understand very much about what they do—not why it works when it’s good, not why it doesn’t when it’s bad.”

I would love to give the magic formula for writing a great post, or better yet a great novel. But, to be frank, I often don't understand it myself. There are times when I write a piece I'm so proud of and it gets very few page views. Other times, I write something off the cuff and people respond.

I can't tell you what works, but I can share some of what I have learned specifically about writing blog posts...

Be Honest. There are many blogs to choose from, make sure readers know that you will always be honest and not just say what you think they want to hear.

Be Timely. Keep up to date on your industry's news and post about it. Be sure to link to any relevant articles or other blog posts.

Give Tips. If you've learned something, chances are others have not and would like to. Plus, I've noticed people love a number in the title. If you have 5 tips, say you have 5. If you have a lot of advice, split it into a series of posts.

Ask for feedback. People might read and enjoy your posts, but not feel compelled to comment. Ask a question or request feedback to get the reader involved.

Highlight. Time is precious and most of us have many social media demands. I love reading blogs, but if the post is too long I end up skimming it. Make my job easier by highlighting important parts (bullets, short paragraphs, bold faced theme words) or breaking it into multiple posts.

Offer Value. Make your blog a valuable resource, not just a constant commercial for a product or service. People will be more apt to buy your product if they trust you.

What have you learned about writing a good blog post? Just as importantly, what is a major turn off?

Now I need to start gathering ideas for a post on writing a good novel. Wish me luck.


Since I started posting to BlogHer daily back in November, five of my posts have been featured. I thought it would be interesting to list them here.

* On Stephen King
* The Art of No
* Eyes on the Prize (retitled for BlogHer: 5 Tips for Focusing on Resolutions)
* Left and Right Distractions
* 6 Ways to Best Use Time


Shannon Knobel said...

Interesting ... I always wonder with all the forms of media out there, how often do people read Facebook Posts, Tweets, Blogs, pinterest comments, as well as countless websites, multiple email accounts. Then the other forms of media as well, newspaper, magazines, books.

How do some Facebook Posts get read, while others never do...

Anonymous said...

Hmm, good post. So let me pose this. You talked about what makes a good blog post, what about what makes a good blog?

J E Fritz said...

What I've learned is to be interesting. Sometimes that leads to absolutely crazy posts, but if I can make someone laugh/think/whatever, I'm happy.

Tia Bach said...

Shannon, It's a bit unpredictable. But I've found when I'm honest and myself, I get better responses/views.

Ryan, That is the question! I struggle with my blog's focus. Is it about me, about writing, about both... I don't have the perfect answer. I let it be like me... all over the place. ;-)

JE, So true. People sense phoniness and then they are gone. OR at least if they are like me, that's what they do.