The rule about creating a good blog post is that there are few rules.
But, while there are few rules, I’ve noticed that there are some common themes or characteristics of good blog posts.
They are well written. They have a good flow. They are logical in their construction. They are edited by someone other than the author, since we all tend to read what we intended to write and not what we actually wrote. They are free of grammatical errors and typos. Note: If you’ve been blogging and your content hasn’t been reviewed by a professional editor, you’ll definitely want to invest in this service prior to going to press.
They are interesting. What makes a blog “interesting”? They offer a new or creative twist. They provide a unique perspective or framing. For example, I’m working with Lisa Braithwaite to create a Blog2Book, and her blog posts reflect thoughts about effective speaking techniques. She does this by providing unique analogies between speaking and her life observations about such disparate issues as tattoo artists, sports figures, drag queens, and a Vitamix demonstrator. They are different, quirky, and cause you to think. They are definitely interesting.
They contain stories. Call them case studies, examples, illustrations, or vignettes, they illustrate the key point or message of the blog. The stories can be fictional or based on a recent client problem (with names and places changed to protect the guilty), but are there to illustrate your key points and breathe life into your words.
They are focused on the tribe. Who is your tribe and what does the tribe want? Are the messages helpful to the tribe members? Do they answer a tribal question? Do they address a need of the tribe? My friend Sharlyn Lauby, The HR Bartender, is always spot-on when speaking to HR professionals.
They are accessible. Most blogs are short; some as short as 200 – 300 words, some as long as 800 – 1500 words. But they typically are written conversationally, with short, punchy, and often bulleted lists. As busy readers, we want to quickly absorb the information.
They have a consistent voice. Bloggers have followers because their readers appreciate the voice of the blogger. Some are edgy. Some are humorous. Some are controversial. Some are nurturing. But they are consistently who they authentically are.
They serve a purpose. That purpose may be diverse from blog to blog. Some blogs are meant to educate. Some to inspire. Some to give insight or perspective. Some make us laugh. But they all serve a purpose for their tribe.
Other characteristics are not so prescriptive or consistent. They may contain graphics or illustrations. They may offer a call to action and engage the reader. They may have catchy headlines or a grabber intro.
Activity: In the blogs that you regularly read, what are the characteristics that appeal most to you? Which will appeal to your readers?
Cathy Fyock, CSP, is The Business Book Strategist, and works with thought-leaders and professionals who want to write a book as a business development strategy. She is the author of On Your Mark: From First Word to First Draft in Six Weeks, and the forthcoming book, Blog2Book: Repurposing Content to Discover the Book You’ve Already Written. She can be reached at Cathy@CathyFyock.com. This post is excerpted from her forthcoming book.