If you are like most people, blog writing can seem scary and daunting. Any time you put something out there for the world to see, it’s only natural to feel a little anxious and a little insecure. However, with the evolving market, growth of digital, and rise of content marketing, creating and curating content is no longer optional.
Blogging allows you to share your knowledge with a larger audience and position yourself as an expert in your field. It gives you a channel to connect with potential customers and lends a voice to your brand. If you are new to the world of blogging, the easiest way to squash initial fears is not to run for the hills, but to follow a template or format guide. It takes some of the pressure off and is an easy way for you to communicate your words in a layout that your readers will understand and appreciate. Like any other skill, the more you practice it, the better you become and the more comfortable it feels.
To help you along your way to becoming an expert blogger, I wanted to share the general blog format that I follow:
Introductory paragraph – Give a brief introduction to what you are about to discuss in the blog. Use this paragraph to connect with your readers and hook them in; in other words, show them why the rest of the blog is worth reading! This paragraph should be about 3 sentences. Sometimes it is also a good place to share a personal story or experience and open up to your readers.
Overview of topic – Use the second paragraph to review your topic more specifically. Provide a brief definition or example, if necessary. Give your readers all of the background information they need to fully understand the remainder of the blog. This section should be 3-5 sentences. Some people will use storytelling in their blogs and this is a good place to share how your story relates to the topic you are discussing.
Sentence leading into bullet points – Use one sentence to lead your audience into the bullet points. Three to five bullet points per blog are ideal. You should try to use bullets (or bolded headings, as I am now) whenever possible because it breaks up the content for your audience and makes it easier to read and comprehend. It also allows people with limited time to skim the article and still gather all of the main points.
Bullets – Break up the main section of your blog post into 3-5 bullet points. This should be the bulk of your content and should be the area you want readers to zone in on. For each bullet point, provide a 2-5 sentence explanation where you can elaborate in greater detail for your readers.
Conclusion – Your conclusion paragraph should include a few sentences wrapping up the main points of the blog. Provide a brief summary of what you just explained and don’t forget to state why it’s important or why it matters.
Questions for engagement – I always like to end a blog post with a few questions for readers to answer. It opens up the floor for a larger discussion to take place and it gives them an opportunity to engage and share their experiences or feedback with you.
If you follow a simple, straightforward template like the one above, writing your first few blogs will be a breeze. Using a format will give you more confidence in your writing and will naturally walk you through the blog writing process. Of course, every blog or topic is different, so be sure to tailor your format to your specific needs. For instance, certain topics may need more explanation upfront in the introduction, while another topic may require 7 bullet points, but minimal overview.
Finally, if this format seems too strict for you, remember that the main point of blogging is to share and engage readers to build your brand. Other formats for blogs can include checklists, short stories, straight sharing of data or even infographics. There is no right or wrong way to blog.
What other blog writing tips do you have for new writers? Do you use your own blog writing format already? We’d love to hear from you!