Juliette Baxter was a magazine editor and writer for over 15 years. For many of those years, she loathed the onslaught of bloggers stepping on her well-heeled turf and then, just a few months ago, she became a blogger too. Lo and behold, blogging freed up her creative spirit and gifted her with more control over what she wanted to say and when she want to say it. You can read more about her writerly awakening here.
While I’m busy throwing myself into the online frenzy, I’ve kept some good ol’ print habits that I will never shake. At a time when over 50,000 blogs are launched a day (yup, I said every day), I think these habits will help me—and you—stand out. I may not be an SEO expert or a Google Analytics whiz, however what I do know is how to weave stories and words into must-reads. Below you will find my 3 rules for writing a successful blog:
Rule No. 1 Don’t always make it about you
I know Oprah is on every one of her magazine covers, but once you flip past her monthly portrait, there’s a community of voices and experts teaching us how to live our best lives. Why not try adding more voices, profiles and experts to your own blog? Seek like-minded bloggers to guest post so you can help boost each other’s website clicks, profile social influencers who will be seriously engaging click bait and feature fitting experts whose social media savvy you can piggyback.
Having said all that, I do believe there are those that can let themselves shine at all times: Any serious expert in their field or industry, an amazing storyteller who toils words that deeply tug at the heart or consistently light up the brain and while I hate to admit it, pretty much any gawd damn celeb, whether they’re a high-profile bachelorette or an Oscar-winning baccalaureate.
Rule No. 2 Never cut and paste
In the print world, this would be called lazy or even plagiarism depending on the situation. So when you see a news clip, stat or fact that has your blood boiling, your heart thumping or your mind reeling, first check that the story is consistent and true across various dependable channels because you really don’t want to sound off on something that isn’t real. Then think about how it makes you feel and how it applies to your life. Next express these thoughts cursing through your veins right through to your keyboard being sure to reference the story that fired you up in the first place. If there’s someone else who feels the same as you do and an expert that can add more facts and context, interview both of them and add their thoughts. And voila—you have a well-informed post to show-off.
Rule No. 3 Think like a magazine art director
A good magazine page has more than body text to keep a reader interested. You’ll often see a display quote, a sidebar and thoughtfully selected images with informative photo captions. Use these same tricks to break up your running grey matter on any given blog post. Begin with a strong image (or images) and caption it with a witty sound bite or a dependable fact. After the first few sentences, add a stand-out quote or sentence from your post in a display text. Got a lot to say? Break up your thoughts into a bulleted list and if it makes sense, add a slideshow, gallery or a video to bring your thoughts even more alive.