I don’t know you that well, but if you clicked on this article, your writing probably sucks a little. At least to some extent, you want to make your blog read better, keep your visitors around longer, and stop boring your mother to tears.
Writing for the web is a beast all its own, so here are six tips to help you out.
Go for the Absurd
The more jarring your topic and title, the better. I don’t mean be shocking and racy just for indecency’s sake (I’m looking at you, Sarah Silverman), I mean connect something to your topic that no one would have ever considered.
I tried this tactic out not too long ago with my post on what drug dealers can teach you about marketing. I got several comments about how the title alone convinced them to read, and several more conversations with people talking about how unexpected and accurate the analogy was.
Take a Unique Point of View
Unless you’re already a major news site, you’re not going to get a lot of press for simple news coverage. You’ve got to put your own spin on it.
For example, when the news about Michael Jackson’s death started to spread, there was no way a small entertainment blog was going to get traffic by parroting the news. So, talk about the effect his death had on other entertainment icons, or put together a timeline of his major news appearances, or talk about why the combination of drugs he was prescribed ended up lethal, and so on.
Put your own spin on it, don’t just parrot what people are already saying.
Write Like You Talk
Think of one, specific person that would appreciate your content and write like you’re talking to them. Blogging isn’t about formulating a perfect doctorate thesis, it’s about being approachable and consumable. It’s a whole lot easier to write like you’re laying out a technical manual, but that’s exactly the point.
To practice writing like you talk, try recording yourself talking about your post topic. Transcribe the recording, and use that as the rough draft of your post. I’ve even recorded myself explaining an SEO-related topic to friends/family and used that as an outline. It’s surprisingly effective.
Tell a Story
Lead off with an experience (yours or someone else’s) on your post’s topic. If you can’t think of a real-life example of the tactic, product, strategy, tip, or method you’re discussing in your blog post, you need to reconsider your subject.
Storytelling in marketing is thoroughly covered in several places, but here’s a Forbes article on the topic. Enjoy, and agree with me, dangit.
Use Your Own Pictures
There are loads of posts extolling the virtues of prudent image use in blogging. It’s a proven tactic that makes your blog posts easier to consume. But don’t stop there, start filling your blog with YOUR OWN images, not just some stock photography you pulled off another site.
Don’t have any original pictures? Go take some. C’mon, you’ve got a camera app on that smartphone. Screenshots, personal photography, doodles, it doesn’t matter. Get some original imagery on there!
Add Some Creativity
Seriously, it’s ok to throw a creative simile or two in your posts; creative writing isn’t evil. Just because you’re writing about practical B2B marketing strategies doesn’t mean your writing has to be as dry as Ben Stein’s dandruff.
I understand that you want your writing to be taken seriously, but we’re not coming to your site to read IKEA assembly instructions. Put some spice in it, man!
There you go, some of my best tips for writing for the web. Think you’ve got some better ones? Show off in the comments.