It happens to us all.
Fired up by a great idea, you sit down ready to crank out that killer post. But as you get farther into it, your enthusiasm is replaced by a sense of dread.
Clearly, you’re getting bogged down. You’re not sure what the problem is, but the piece is not coming together the way you thought it would.
You put your head down and keep writing, but the dread intensifies faster than your resolve. You now realize that you’ve got a complete mess of a post on your hands.
OK, let’s relax, take a deep breath and a step back, and run through this quick five-part checklist to see what’s gone wrong.
Or, better yet, keep this list of 5 “blogging sins” handy, and you’ll stay on the right track from the get go.
1. What’s the Point?
The worst thing a reader can be thinking after reaching the conclusion of your post is “What the heck was that all about?” Face it, you’ve felt that way after spending valuable time and attention slogging through a post with no point, and you weren’t happy. Make sure you know what you’re trying to say before you start, and take the reader succinctly from Point A to Point B.
2. Who Cares?
The worst thing a reader can be thinking early into your post is “Why should I bother with this?” The headline has to clearly state the benefit of reading, the opening has to make the promised benefit even more enticing, and the rest of your post had better deliver the goods if you’re hoping to have a happy reader.
3. Bad Chi
In Chinese medicine, a harmonious chi flow throughout the body is the secret to health, and bad or disrupted flow results in illness. Likewise in writing, bad flow makes for bad narrative and confused readers. Be sure that your sequence of ideas is both logical and compelling, and carries your reader from Point A to Point B on a slippery slope, sentence by sentence.
4. Detail Dump
Don’t get me wrong—vague writing is not good for anyone. But overly detailed writing can be just as bad, or worse. If the reader’s eyes start to glaze over, you’re done for. Give enough detail to aid in comprehension, but don’t go off on tangents that unnecessarily drill down too deep. That’s what links are for.
5. The Rambling Road
Don’t listen to the people who say you should never write a blog post over 250 to 400 words. Any piece of good writing is as long as it needs to be, but not one word longer. However, it’s quite easy to lose an audience’s attention these days, even when they are initially interested. So don’t go on for too long if the topic can’t support the length, which means ruthlessly editing down to a length that best suits the topic. If that means breaking the subject into two or more separate posts, so be it.
And there you have it… the 5 most common reasons why your killer idea might become a mediocre post, and how to avoid it. Bookmark this at delicious for future reference, and remember… only you can prevent bad blogging. 🙂
Subscribe to Copyblogger today!