What started out in the ‘90s, when the World Wide Web was just finding its sea legs, as Links.net has now achieved world domination: blogging, that modem-powered 21st-century version of keeping a diary, has bought the season tickets to venting for you and me, allowing us to individually rant, rave, and replenish mankind’s store of knowledge with our, ahem, wisdom and informed take on Lindsay Lohan’s latest (facepalm!) misadventures.
Now that Livejournal (more popular in Russia and in Singapore today than in the U.S.), DiaryLand, Blogger, Open Diary, and WordPress have taken stakes in our daily lives—as well as in the way we make a living (just ask the professional bloggers), in the way modern companies (which hire the professional bloggers) make a profit, and in the way search-engine-optimization (SEO) experts steer Web traffic to their clients—here are some blog-writing tips from experts to make that blog more engaging, attractive, and meaningful to readers and clients alike. They are as applicable to the general blogger as they are to the real estate agent who has decided to take advantage of this tool to connect with his (or her) prospective clients.
Realize that blogging is good writing. Good blogging is good writing, which means real write-ups. Early bloggers, including real estate agents, used to be able to get away with stream-of-consciousness writing (you know, that what-comes-to-mind-first-and-to-hell-with-grammar-and-spelling stuff), recycled materials, even computer-spun gobbledygook that served only as placeholders for SEO tags and tricks. Not anymore. Google has wised up and recently brought its search algorithms up to snuff against fake write-ups. Google (as do other major search engines) nowadays looks for original stuff because it’s one of the hallmarks of good content.
Now, you don’t have to be a professional writer to be a good blogger. Just give your ideas a good thought before you commit them to the keyboard. Oh, and don’t forget to run your masterpiece through a grammar checker and a spell checker. A badly written sentence can easily confuse, even irritate, some readers. Real estate matters are confusing enough for a lot of folks.
Share your ideas. For a blog to be engaging it has to gift the reader with an idea, preferably a unique one. It’s your duty as a writer to share your ideas with your readers. Don’t be stingy. According to Jay Baer, author of Youtility, in fact you should not be afraid to showcase what you know.
Know your reader. Because writing a blog is essentially no different (although it’s more fun) from writing an article for publication, this most basic of writing guidelines also applies. Keeping your reader in mind while crafting your blog is a can’t-miss way to keep your writing interesting. And being interesting to your reader is what blogging is all about.
So, do research on your intended audience (or if you can manage it, dip into its culture) before you do any writing. Understand your reader, advocates Brian Clark, founder and CEO of Copyblogger.
Write for yourself. At face value, this contradicts the preceding tip. But it really doesn’t. Writing for yourself is a venerable writer’s trick to get the writing juice flowing. It’s also a great way to get the first-time blogger who still lacks confidence in his writing to make that leap of faith. “What if it reads amateurish” will be no match for “Heck, I’m just writing this for myself.”
Mind you, writing for yourself doesn’t mean not writing for your reader. It’s just a mind maneuver; the goal remains the same: making the write-up interesting to the audience.
Don’t write down. Respect your readers, not patronize them. Sure, your writing ought to have an air of authority (else nobody will believe you), but never of superiority. Writing down to your readers is one easy way to turn them off and drive them away from your blog. Nobody likes to be talked down to, so write to your readers as a friend. Everyone needs a friend.