Monday, 21 March 2016

How do I write a blog post?

A colleague of mine asked me how to write an actual blog post. Good question!

We need to tell a story. Our story should have some shape to it, so our reader understands the type journey we are taking together, and for a run comes equipped with their running shoes... not their six inch stilettos.

With regard to that ‘shape’ in our writing, if posts were like shoes or clothes, we need to make our post from a logical material in a sensible shape that the reader can use for the intended purpose... that they can relate to.

Like a jersey, we need a neck (introduction), a trunk (body), two arms (support and application), and the ribbing at the bottom to help it stay in shape (conclusion).

Sentences should be short rather than long, so they are digestible. Each idea needs to be in a discrete paragraph. Paragraphs should only be bite-sized ideas for the reader to absorb, in around three sentences.

There are some simple tools we can use to create that understandable shape. We could crank up PowerPoint, and flick open the PowerPoint wizard, and walk through the wizard process in creating each of our early posts, because it will walk us through the introduction, the outline and then the conclusion to each one.

We can pose questions to our reader within our posts, just as we would in a conversation. However, we need to answer them, as our reader expects us to do that, within the post. Otherwise we leave the reader unsatisfied.

We could end a blog post with some questions, letting the reader know that the answers will be coming attractions. For example, “my head is swirling with questions which I am eager to answer, and hope you will join me in coming posts as I learn how […our questions here…] fit with creating a career blog”.

Some sites that can help us are:
  • Dan Shewan details an outline here
  • Yoast, the SEO app for WordPress, details post structure here (using this address prevents ‘sign up’ pop-ups)
  • Corey Wainwright's post starts a different way, with sample sentence structure here




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