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How Formulas Can Make You a Better Blogger

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“Frameworks end up producing style…What does this mean? It means you get more readers. There’s a big difference between readers and traffic.”

-Nate Riggs

As bloggers, we often shy away from advice that tells us to be systematic or formulaic in our writing. If you’re anything like me, you have a knee-jerk reaction to such advice – screaming in anger. We’re creators! We need to be free to create!

After all, we already see enough of that robotic stuff when tracking stats, formatting, and doing other blogging tasks, right?

But systematic doesn’t have to be evil. In fact, creating formulas can not only improve your writing, but it can also help you find that creativity we all crave as writers. Yes, I actually think formulas can make you a better blogger.

At BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2012, Nate Riggs (pictured at right) talked about mastering the list post, and he’s the person I blame for changing my mind about formulas. At the beginning of his presentation, Nate talked a bit about formulas and why they make sense for make bloggers. This information gem has already changed how I think about blogging, so today, I wanted to share the information with you.

Formulas as a Foundation

The most important concept to understand when it comes to writing in a formulaic way is that this is just a foundation. You need more to create a great post than simple a tired formula that bores your readers. However, a good formula (like a list post) is a strong foundation, and it can support experimentation. By having this “base” for a post, you can be more creative and know that you aren’t so far out of the box that it will confuse readers.

Formulas for Consistency

I’ve found that blogging consistently is one of the most influential factors on my stats. However, who among us hasn’t had weeks or even months when blogging seemed impossible? Life gets in the way sometimes, and writer’s block can make it impossible to come up topics, even with these three secret ways to find post ideas. Formulas make it a lot easier to blog consistency, no matter how busy you are or how uninspired you might be feeling. When you have a formula, you have a base for structuring your ideas, which makes consistency a lot easier.

Readers Love Formulas

Formulas can easily be equated to works like “boring” and “expected,” but that isn’t always the case. In fact, your readers might not even realize you’re using a formula unless you point it out. Formulas are formulas for a reason: they work. They’ve been honed to be inviting, memorable, and easy to read.

You don’t have to use a formula, list or otherwise, every time you write a post. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that formulas have no place at all on your blog. They can actually be quite helpful and make you a better writer, so explore this blogging option to create better content no matter what your niche.

Want to learn more about a specific type of formula, the list post? You can catch Nate’s full presentation with our virtual ticket, which also gives you access to all of the other sessions you may have missed at BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2012! Buy a virtual ticket here today!

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


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  • nateriggs

    Thanks for the write up, Allison.  Very much appreciate the mention.  If anyone would like to check out the deck from the talk, they can download it here — http://slidesha.re/BWENYListPost 

    • allison_boyer

       @nateriggs No problem, Nate. There was so much good info in your presentation even before you got to the meat of it and talked about list posts! Thanks for sharing the link to your slides. Since I had to skip out early, I’m looking forward to catching the rest of your talk on the Virtual Ticket! 🙂

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