The Write Stuff
May 2016 Volume 12 Issue 4
To Blog or Not to Blog
I know plenty of people who wonder if they should be blogging. The answer is yes if you have interesting things to say, you’re interested in opening a dialogue with current and potential clients, and you know what you’re doing. With respect to the latter, here are some tips to help you on your way:
- Figure out how often you should post — and stick to it. Only posting once in a while won’t cut it, nor will posting more than once a day. If you’re really serious about generating traffic, you might want to think about blogging at least once a week, if not more.
- Watch your length. I advise clients to keep blogs in the range of 300-500 words. Any shorter and they’re not “meaty” enough; any longer and readers are likely to lose interest and stop reading. If you’re addressing a topic you think warrants more “ink,” break it down into multiple blogs.
- Invite communication and participate when you get it. Readers must be nudged to engage with your blog, so it’s a good idea to be transparent and maybe even controversial — and consider ending it with a question. If readers do comment, something that doesn’t happen overnight, be sure to enter the conversation.
- Be compelling right away. Step one is writing a catchy headline to grab readers’ attention. Step two is reeling them in with a strong initial paragraph — one that encourages them to read on.
- Don’t cross the fine line between blogging and advertising. The most successful bloggers provide information within their area of expertise to educate readers, who will then be more likely to consider using their products or services.
Does all this sound like too much for you to handle, given everything else that’s on your plate? Never fear; you might be surprised to learn that many companies hire outside help to write blogs for them. (Yes, I do that!)
“Additionally” is a perfectly acceptable word, but beware of using “also” in the same sentence. This is redundant: Additionally, the Cubs also have three of the top four pitchers based on ERA. Delete “also” to correct that.
Most styles (including AP and Chicago) say to write out numbers under 10 and otherwise use numerals, but there are some exceptions to that rule. Both of the following sentences are correct: To start the season, Cubs have won 27 games and lost nine. The Cubs’ record is 27-9.
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