Apr 11, 2012

Writing Successful Blog Posts & Articles; Beginners Tips

Many freelance writers and bloggers start off worrying what to write about and how to write it well.  They may write an article or blog post and hesitate about pressing the "send" or "publish" button and making it final for others to read.  That feeling is completely normal, worrying that your writing isn't up to par for being published. You may wonder if others will be receptive to what you have written.  Especially to a new writer who wants to impress an audience, this feeling can be so overwhelming and can cloud the real vision of their writing.

Honestly, without strong content, a blog or article is nothing.  Content is what engages people, what keeps them coming back and what keeps them on a blog or website for a good amount of time.  (In more technical words, it reduces your bounce rate.)  To write well, follow these simple steps.

  • Brainstorm first - Take a piece of paper and pen or open word document and just write whatever comes to your mind about that topic.  What you write doesn't have to be in any sort of order, just write anything.  This will help you to organize your thoughts later on.
  • Research - With what you wrote to brainstorm, take those ideas and do some research to expand your thoughts.  Record what you find interesting from your research and set that aside.  It's better to have done too much research than to have done not enough research.  If you have to leave something out that you brainstormed and researched, so be it.  You don't want to have to look for more after the primary research is done, however. 
  • Outline - This is the step where you take your brainstorming and research and begin to organize them into a general outline.  You may have to think back to High School if you can't remember how to format an outline!  Once you get used to it, it will be second nature to you!  Outlines do help tremendously, though.  
  • Write your piece - From the outline, go ahead and write your blog or article.  I promise that with the outline writing your blog or article will be a piece of cake.  You already have your thoughts organized and you know what to say and where.  The only difficult part is thinking of the correct words to make your content flow and paraphrasing any direct quotes or information that you wrote down from research or the outline.  (Don't plagiarize!)
  • Proofread - Make sure your grammar and spelling are correct, that paragraphs are formatted correctly and that everything makes sense!  If you need to, send it to a trusted friend to read over.  Have your significant other read it over or print it out and let a friend read it over.  Getting input from multiple sources will definitely help you improve.
  • Then just publish or send! And wait for any feedback you might receive.
How do you figure out what to write?

This may be difficult for even the most seasoned writers.  Looking at a blank canvas of paper or a word document and attempting to think of some topics that will gain readers attention and interest is the hardest thing

Identify Your Skills

If you want to be confident with what you write, you need to identify your skills and what you know.  Just write them down in a notebook or on a piece of paper so you can become familiar with them.  You want to make sure that you write down what you really know about and not what you want to know about.  It's better to be confident and safe than to challenge yourself right off the bat.
  • What are you very knowledgeable about?  What are you an expert at?  What can you comfortably write about with little or no research?
You don't want to write out of your league or in challenging styles or topics until you feel more comfortable doing so.  Prematurely challenging yourself will add more stress to your plate than needs to be.  A beginner writer should write freely about what they know until they feel they have grown and improved their skills enough to reach beyond their comfort zone.

Once you identify your strengths, find more specific topics that are sought after.  If you want hits or if you're writing to get residual income from a site like Factoidz/Knoji or Triond, you will want good strong topics that are easily found in searches.  The same is true for blogs, you'll want a topic that hooks your readers, keeps them interested and keeps them coming back.  You want to build your readership as much as you can.

Do a search on the topic(s) you come up with in order to see if they're a popularly searched topic.  You can do that with Google Keywords, that will give you a wealth of information on what the best topic is to write on and what the best keywords to use are for SEO purposes. (Search Engine Optimization)  Another good tip is to research the topic you're writing on.  Read some other articles and grab ideas (not direct quotes or information)  for your own article.  Analyze why they come up on the first page in Google and try to see what keywords they're using to get there.

  • Stand out and be unique when writing your article.  Write in your own style, but research as much as you can about the topic.  Anticipate any questions the reader may have about the topic and answer them in text.  
Don't be a perfectionist starting out.  Writing is an art and your ability grows with practice.  Keep writing and pretty soon you'll love what you write and your comments and feedback will show it.  Anyone can write if they just take the time and effort to practice and grow their skills and to grow their knowledge base.