One of my goals this year was to expand the JBF blog, offering both great content for families on saving money and parenting AND branching out with advice for other entrepreneurs – small business owners like me. IF writing a blog – or improving one you have – is on your “to do list”, then this blog is a “must read” Thanks to Mandy Vavrinak for her wisdom and the reminder that “less is more”. Enjoy!
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. deleted: but not more than that. 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. If you have more than 600 words, re-evaluate 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!
Mandy Vavrinak is a public relations, social media, and integrated marketing pro who sums up her mission for clients in just a few words: She finds and tells the stories of people, brands, businesses and places. Socially savvy, bottom-line focused and fueled by lattes and chocolate, she helps businesses and brands dig deep, define their social space and personality, and tell their story. With years of experience in how to connect the dots for businesses and media, and using the power of our connected world to its best effect, she is also an entrepreneur who owns one successful communications agency, Crossroads Communications, and is also a partner in another growing marketing and advertising agency, Communicating Arts. She’s also one of the earliest members of Social Media Tulsa and has spoken at all five SMTulsa conferences in addition to speaking at American Marketing Association local and regional events, various local organizations and at a few not-so-local conferences, too. She loves reading, baking, wine, her family of 6, travel, and a decent steak… not necessarily in that order.
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