Today, as part of the 12 Days of Blogging 2010, I wanted to showcase people who can help you with one of the essential blogging skills: writing. This is a topic near to my heart, since I was a freelance writer before I even knew what blogging was! There are some awesome bloggers out there who talk about nothing but writing; there are also bloggers out there who talk about writing as part of the whole blogging profession. Let’s look at some of my personal favorite posts about blog writing from 2010; don’t forget to leave a link in the comments if you’ve talked about this topic as well!
Yes, links are highly encouraged in this series – please share so your knowledge can help us all! Just make sure they’re relevant to the topic!
It wouldn’t be a post about writing without mentioning Ali Luke and her blog, Aliventures. Her entire blog is awesome if you’re interested in learning to be a better writer, and I highly recommend check out her ebook, The Blogger’s Guide to Effective Writing, which can also help you with the writing aspect. In “Why Writers Should Blog and Bloggers Should Write,” Ali writes:
Some bloggers don’t really write. They just type.
I’m sure there’s been times when I’ve been guilty of the latter. It’s easy to fall into the trap of seeing posts as “content” – something to tap out fast in order to increase a bunch of statistics. More page hits. More comments. More readers.
But you know that bloggers who carry on like that won’t succeed. The blogs that you love aren’t the ones which churn out half-arsed content – they’re the ones where the words grab you and don’t let you go.
Ali’s full post talks about the two worlds of writing and blogging and how they should come together to create a more powerful platform for yourself in either world. Check out Aliventures for more awesome posts and follow Ali on twitter @aliventures.
I’m a fan of this post because it’s pretty much everything you need to know to write on your blog successfully, step by step. Of course, we all have different methods for blog writing, but this is a good place to start if you’re feeling stuck. From Lisa’s post:
As you can imagine, I spend a lot of my time writing blog posts. I write them for us, for outside industry sites and for clients. Luckily, blogging is something that I really enjoy and, because I do it so much, I’ve been able to create a pretty effective process for getting the words out and the posts up. When I was fishing for blog topics on Twitter last week, a few people suggested I perhaps write about how I go about writing posts and share any best practices I’ve found for making it easier.
The full post is available on Outspoken Media, where Lisa blogs with Rhea Drysdale about search engine optimization and marketing. You can also follow her on Twitter @lisabarone.
Copywriter is perhaps the best-known source of information about blogging and writing, and one of my favorite posts from founder Brian Clark was about being confident as a writer. He also links to a great Copyblogger post on tips for confident writing by Steve Errey from The Confidence Guy. I love the tale of the restaurant in this post, along with what we can learn from it as writers. From the post:
I’m not talking about arrogance. Arrogance is an indication of fear, not assurance.
Too many people, however, approach copywriting from a defensive mindset. You’re already back on your heels from the start, instead of proudly sharing your excellence with the people who can benefit most from it.
Copyblogger is a site you should be reading if you aren’t already. They have guest posts from some of the most intelligent bloggers across the Internet and a stable of regular bloggers who are pretty smart cookies themselves. Follow Brian on Twitter @copyblogger.
Writer to Done is a blog that has tons of tips for writers, including an entire section for blogging. Really, though, many of the articles there can help bloggers as much as they can help article writers. Since most bloggers are super busy, I wanted to highlight “How to Slash your Writing Time in Half,” a recent Writer to Done article that can help you save time when penning posts. Here’s an excerpt:
As a blogger, I need to write a lot of articles. Fast. Not only do I need a flow of good ideas, I also need time to turn the initial ideas into useful blog posts. It’s sometimes a struggle.
Do you want to write faster – without losing quality?
The post goes on to give you 10 tips for writing posts quickly. In the upcoming weeks, Mary will also be posting her annual list of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers on Write for Done, so that’s definitely something you should check back to read. You can also follow @WritetoDone on Twitter!
Storytelling is a technique I use often in my own blog writing, and while I’ve read tons of resources on this topic, James’ article isn’t about why you should include stories in your writing, but rather how to do it effectively. Not every blogger uses storytelling to its maximum potential; this post will get you back on track. James writes:
Because they’re so powerful, stories are very useful for copywriters. Good stories can move people to action. They can encourage sympathy and instigate donations. They can cause an uprising or a revolution. They can provoke a response or influence readers. They can sell.
Except, of course, when it doesn’t.
Head to Men with Pens to read the rest of this post, along with more tips for writers, bloggers, and freelance business owners. You can follow James on Twitter @MenwithPens.
Hands down, one of the biggest mistakes I see bloggers make is not having a clearly marked and well-written About page. Having this place to talk about yourself is important because when someone new comes to your site, they want to know who you are and why the heck they should ever come back. A poor About page could actually cause you to lose readers! Judy Dunn has tons of awesome blogging tip articles at Cats Eye Writer, but because About pages are so important, this is the one I wanted to highlight for you all. From the post:
For every expert opinion on how to write the ‘perfect’ about page, you’ll find an equal and opposite one.
“Keep a professional focus,” says the expert of stuffiness. “You need to separate business from personal.”
“It’s all about credibility. Your degrees and post-graduate work count the most,” says the guru of self-importance.
“Be ‘authentic’ and talk about some mistakes you’ve made,” says Mr. Warm and Fuzzy.
All of these people are wrong.
Because there are no about page rules—except for one.
Want that one rule?You’re going to have to check out Cats Eye Writer – and don’t forget to also follow Judy on Twitter @CatsEyeWriter.
Does this article have three simple tips? Yes. Do we do them every time we write a post? Nope. Darnell Clayton’s post at BloggingPro is an excellent reminder of how we can ensure that every post is of a high quality. Your readers deserve it, after all! From the post:
In an age where everyone wants to be first, many bloggers are sacrificing elegance for speed in a vain attempt to break the news before their rivals get a chance to analyze the story.While bloggers should always attempt to break a story (as doing so can result in a massive amount of traffic), bloggers should also try to make sure their post is presentable to the world, lest they hear rebukes from their readers in the comment section.
BloggingPro is a site that I’ve really grown to enjoy over the past year. If you’re looking for blogging work, they have a job board that I’ve personally found extremely useful. You can also follow BloggingPro on Twitter @blpro.
Laura Spencer has a wealth of information for writers at Writing Thoughts, and one that she posted recently for bloggers is “4 Types of Blog Posts That (Almost) Anyone Can Write.” If you’re feeling stuck or uninspired, this is a great post for finding some ideas for your next post. Laura writes:
Over the past few years, I’ve blogged professionally at five different blogs (not including the one you’re reading, which I own). During that same period, I’ve literally written hundreds of blog posts.
As a professional blogger, I know that thinking of topics to write about can sometimes be a struggle. That’s why today I’ve decided to list four types of blog posts that nearly anyone can write.
If you want to learn her four tips, you gotta head to Writing Thoughts. Oh, and pro tip? Keep your eyes peeled for Laura! She also works at Freelance Folder and Everything PR, and has guest posts across the web. You can catch her on Twitter @TXWriter.
I’m a sucker for cool shtuff that makes my job easier. If you’re a writer in any capacity (blogger or otherwise), this post has some unique tools you can use to help you find the writer words, imporve your typing skills, an more. From the post:
The internet is full of writers, both good and bad. Thankfully, if you find yourself leaning toward the latter category or you just want to beef up your scribing skills, there are plenty of free online tools and resources for improving your writing
Check out 10,000 Words for more posts about the intersection of journalism and technology, and don’t forget to follow @10000Words on Twitter.
While writing forward doesn’t have tons of writing tips specifically for bloggers, this post by Melissa is one that most of us need – myself included. I’m admittedly the worst self-editor in the word, but even awesome editing skills won’t save you if your grammar sucks from the start. Writes Melissa:
Good grammar is an essential component of good writing. Grammatically clean texts are easier to read, easier to get published, and in many cases, a firm understanding of grammar can make the writing process easier.But for many writers, grammar is secondary. They’re in it for the creative journey – these writers are focused on telling a story, making a statement, or sharing ideas. Grammar is just a necessary nuisance.
Too many writers avoid truly learning grammar because they prefer to focus on the creative aspects of their writing.
Her tips for grammar are ones that I’m going to attempt to apply in my own life, and i hope you will too. You don’t have to be grammatically perfect to be a good blogger, but it certainly helps keep readers on your site. Check out Writing Forward for the rest of this post, and follow Melissa on Twitter @MelissaDonovan.
I’ve been lurking on Stan’s blog for a few months now, and I love his writing style. Pushing Social isn’t just another boring new media blog. Those are a dime a dozen; Pushing Social is not. In addition to awesome posts like “Why You Must Write Your Boogie Man Post,” Stan recently announced his new Spectacular Posts Bootcamp, a video series where he’ll share some of his top tips. From his Boogie Man post:
My 3 year old swears a monster lives in his bottom dresser drawer. The monster is a smart son-of-a-gun, he only hides there when I leave the room. But…If I read “Llama Llama Mad at Mama” right before bed, he won’t come out. (smart kid)
The dresser monster is my boy’s boogie man.
The funny thing is that we never really outgrow the “boogie man” do we?
To learn what a Boogie Man post is and rise to Stan’s challenge of writing yours, head to Pushing Social. You can also follow Stan on Twitter @pushingsocial.
Site Sketch 101 is a blog that combines advice about content, design, and influence into something…well…spectacular. At BlogWorld’s keynote, Scott Stratten talked about how he’ll pull over the car to read a new post by Jay Baer. This is my car-pulling-over blog. Nicholas’ posts are never half-assed. Never. I can think of no better way to end this list. (Have I gushed enough?) “Developing Compelling & Engaging Content” is just one of the many awesome posts about writing content for your blog. Nicholas writes:
In the world of blogging and web development, one adage has risen above all others, “Content is King.” We understand that websites are a combination of design elements, usability, navigation, load speed, interactivity and content. More importantly, we understand that content is the king that rises above all others.
With compelling content, a weak performance in these other areas of your website will be overlooked. With weak content, even the most beautiful and easy to use websites will ultimately fail to achieve any notable level of success.
Check out Site Sketch 101 – you won’t be disappointed. You can also follow Nicholas on Twitter @nicholas_cardot.
Now that you’ve checking out my 12 Writers Writing, please join the list by leaving a comment below with a link to any post you’ve written about blog post writing. Come on – when do people actually ask you to spam them with you comments? :-p You can also leave links to other great bloggers who have written about this topic. Don’t forget to add a little teaser information to entice readers to click, and if you leave a link in the comments, do us all a favor and retweet/share this post so that we can spread around the holiday love!
Check out the rest of the 12 Days of Blogging:
12 Writers Writing
11 Tweeters Tweeting
10 Guests a-Posting
9 SEOers Optimizing
8 Affiliates Selling
7 Facebook Users Updating
6 Launchers Launching
5 Golden Rules
4 Podcasting Hosts
3 Ebook Tips
2 Ethics Debates
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree (ebook coming soon!)