The three most common questions I hear from clients regarding blog posts are first, are blogs still a good idea (yes, if you do them well); second, how do you choose a post (know your objectives and your audience… more on that in another post); and third, how long should it be? I answer that third question, along with how to get to the sweet spot on post length with my “5 Tips” below.
- Start with an outline or at least a mind map or notes. Decide what the big idea is you want to convey and what the main supports are. If you have source material, grab the URL and save it to a working document so you can easily link to it from your post. Be ruthless… do you have more than one big idea? It’s two blog posts.
- Write tight. Say only what you need to say. Re-read after you’ve written your draft and eliminate any redundancy in word, phrase, or idea. An effective blog post needs to be readable and digestible in less than 10 minutes. Rather than explain someone else’s concept or idea, link out to it.
- Use lists, bullets, subheads, images and pull quotes to break up chunks of text. No one wants to tackle a wall of gray text. No one. Add some visual interest and white space with these tools.
- Edit like you mean it. Kill the fluff. All of it. Kill the “heavy” phrases. Don’t say “due to the nature of the relationship between these concepts” when you could say “because.”
- Aim for 300 to 600 words.
but not more than that. If you have more than 600 words, re-evalaute per point 1b, above.
See the edit in Part 5? I originally wrote the above tips for a client, and then thought, “Hey, I could make a worthwhile post out of that content. I get asked that question all the time!” I pasted them into the body of a new post and started writing the intro. Then I performed a Part 4, and noticed that saying “300 to 600” imposed a limit without the need to add “but not more than that.” So… it had to die the death of all redundant phrases. I hope this approach helps you craft blog posts that work!