Keeping On Point When You Blog

Even though I’m not much of a writer on the day-job side of my life, I do try and keep up with advice, thoughts, and suggestions from professionals across the board.

Today I received a newsletter from Hubspot, a great newsletter geared towards the marketing/blogging worlds. They published an article called 13 Blogging Mistakes Most Beginners Make.

Now I’m not new at blogging — heck — I’ve been doing it for years. Ha.

But the article made me really think about how I have been writing blogs, how they have changed through the years, and wishing I knew then what I knew now. So I thought I’d share their basic suggestions.

The main article had 13 faux paux’s for beginners, although us “seasoned veterans” could use a look too:

  1. Create blog posts that serve your larger company goals.
  2. Write like you talk.
  3. Show your personality; don’t tell it.
  4. Make your point again and again.
  5. Start with a very specific working title.
  6. Use a specific post type, create an outline, and use headers.
  7. Use data and research to back up the claims you make in your posts.
  8. When drawing from others’ ideas, cite them.
  9. Take 30 minutes to edit your post.
  10. At a certain point, just publish it.
  11. Blog consistently with the help of an editorial calendar.
  12. Focus on the long-term benefits of organic traffic.
  13. Add a subscription CTA to your blog and set up an email newsletter.

Now, granted, these tips are for those writing blogs for their companies. But the tips are golden for us social bloggers as well.

The one that grabbed my attention the most was:

  1. Use a specific post type, create an outline, and use headers.

Mistake: Your writing is a brain dump.

Sometimes when I get a great idea I’m excited about, it’s really tempting to just sit down and let it flow out of me. But what I get is usually a sub-par blog post.

Why? The stream-of-consciousness style of writing isn’t really a good style for blog posts. Most people are going to scan your blog posts, not read them, so it needs to be organized really well for that to happen.

I look back on my beginning blogs and that point is soooo me. Thinking I have something of value to share, but doing nothing more than “let it flow” until the blog was more of a sharing of the moment’s emotions than helping someone else through their journey.

That is all good and well if you are writing for a philosophy class, but if you want your readers to really get something out of your writing, you need to narrow it down to something specific.

We all want people to read our blogs, to get something out of them. Otherwise they will just check you off the inquiry list and move onto the next person. 

I’m not saying you need to write an instruction manual. But even poets need to reread, rewrite, and reconsider — have they put what they wanted to get across down succinctly enough? Are people really getting where you’re coming from? Art, poetry, and sometimes even plain writing is always in one’s point of view.  That’s okay.

But when you are blogging emotions, you need to have an outcome. A finishing point. A reason for the emote in the first place. Using your blog as a brain dump, as Hubspot says, isn’t really a good style for blog posts. Most people are going to scan your blog posts, not read them, so it needs to be organized really well for them to take their time and digest what you’re saying. Organized so it clicks with the reader and they come back to see what else you have to say.

If you want a little writer’s boost (and who doesn’t?). check out Hubspot or other professional marketing or writing newsletters. If you glean ONE point from an article, you’ve learned something.

And who doesn’t want to keep on learning?