Millions of blogs fight for readership online (over 75 million by some counts), with thousands more being created every day. Making yours stand above the rest may seem like a daunting task, but here are ten suggestions for making your blog posts stand out from the crowd.
1. Write each post title so it grabs the reader's attention. It is the first thing someone reads, and it should get your reader's attention right away. Your title should both pique the reader's interest and be informative. Do not write "Business Writing Advice"; instead, say "The Best-Kept Secret to Reducing Your Business Writing Worries." Longer titles have the advantage of describing in detail what your post is about; 8-12 words are a good range.
2. Keep sentences short and clear. A little goes a long way. Readers are busy people and they will not spend hours detangling complex syntax or sifting through blocks of text. Also, use strong language. Start a new paragraph every few sentences, and limit each post to 250 words, if possible. If you cannot write it in under 250 words, split it into two entries.
3. Break up the text. Use numbered lists, bullet points, and subheadings to make your posts easy to scan. Lots of white space on the page is a good thing-it allows your reader to take mental breaks and let the knowledge soak in. In addition, with the inevitable clutter of banner ads and side text, this technique puts some distance between your writing and all those distractions.
4. Keep current. No one wants to read old news. Your job is to stay up-to-date so your readers do not have to themselves. Read newspapers. Scour the web for references. For example, if you write a blog about business communication, subscribe to Google News Alerts using keywords related to the field, such as blogs, podcasting, instant messaging, business letters, memos, and business reports, so you will always be well informed. Posting items from last month or last year will lose your reader's interest faster than you can say "Enron."
5. Be bold. Timidity is an easy path to anonymity. Do not be afraid to create and state your opinions. Of course, there are some situations in which objectivity rules-but you have to give people a reason to read this blog by you and not by the person next door.
6. Be accurate. If you make a statement, be prepared to back it up. Know what your sources are and quote them accurately. Misinformation spreads like wildfire online; do not be the spark that sets it off or the wind that fans it.
7. Contribute to the conversation. Links are great-but then what? Do not just post links to the same tired sites, offer your reader something new. Contribute to the conversation. Your goal is to be the site to which everyone else is linking-so you had better have something worth writing about.
8. Stay focused. Once you have defined the theme of your blog, stick to it. A blog about piggy banks has no business posting about the latest innovation in alternative energy. Such a deviance will only confuse your reader and chip away at your virtual authority.
9. Use key words liberally. Keywords are, well, key. Harness your blog's search engine potential by dousing your title and post with effective keywords that will help interested parties find your page in the vast, muddled blogosphere. This is one of the most important elements of getting your blog read-go at it with gusto.
10. Be consistent. Keep a schedule and stick to it. Post frequently-at least several times per week if you want to increase your potential of attracting new readers. Let your blog languish for weeks without updates and your audience will move on to fresher ground.
Maintaining an informative blog that people want to read takes hard work and good writing skills. Find what makes your writing unique-and flaunt it for all it is worth.
About The AuthorCourtland L. Bovee, one of America's leading instructors in clear and effective communication, co-authors several leading college-level texts with John V. Thill, a prominent communications consultant and current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Global Communication Strategies. Their website, Business Communication Headline News, the #1 business communication site on the web, is at http://www.businesscommunicationheadlinenews.com
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