Last week I had a blog post reviewed and got some good honest feedback. You know, the kind only a close friend or relatives can give you. This was absolutely necessary, but it’s a bit like the change curve thing of: shock and denial; progressing to uncertainty and ending up at acceptance and moving on (eventually….I hope). The bottom line is I needed to improve my content.
In my quest to improve, I did my usual things, looked around for ideas to ‘borrow’ and tried to find out what ‘good’ content looked like. While looking for ‘borrows’ I searched on, ‘how to write good blog posts’. Not bad, 400 million results in 0.15 seconds……. but where I do I start? Pick a highly respected name? YEEES!….. a post from Seth Godin, with fantastic advice. It was only 8 lines long and 63 words, and I completely got what he was saying, brilliant. But I do crave a bit more detail, and if you are like me, I’d recommend Neil Patel at Quick Sprout. One of the things Neil says is the importance of including detail, ‘the nitty gritty’, because readers like it. But I find it’s a tricky balance between the amount detail and holding people’s attention. Other places to look for really good advice are problogger and copyblogger.
So, onwards to my ‘what does good look like’ quest. Thanks to WordPress.com I’ve been reading huge numbers of blogs. Principal lesson….. there doesn’t seem to be a magic formula for success. I’m sure someone could find a statistical relationship between the number of views, comments, tweets, subscribers and how blog is put together, but it eluded me. What attracts people to some blogs, and drives others away is complex territory. I guess you need to know your readers are and what they like.
After the research I did my next favourite thing and wrote a list.
My checklist for good blog content:
- It must flow. I use the Engage, Inform and Call to Action format which I heard Russell Amerasekera speak about.
- Keep it short. Think about what fits on a screen (optimum 500 words, max 800).
- Break it up. Use headings, paragraphs, lists and tables. It helps people to scan.
- Include Detail. Give people some ‘nitty grity’ detail they can use.
- Use Images. If they help explain the message or liven up the text.
- Spelling & Grammar. Obviously.
All good so far, but in the end this all brought me back to this post by Mrs Motivator, “Be Critical: the 1 Essential Skill for Content”. This was missing from my list. The advice was absolutely spot on and exactly what I’d missed and should have been doing. I need to add #7 Critical Self Review, “is what I’ve done any good?” To be honest I‘d rather put myself through the change curve stages alone, and if I can, avoid some of the pain from external feedback.
So, what’s the PONT?
- If I want to improve my content along with using my checklist I need to continuously carry out critical self review.
- Like Neil Patel at Quick Sprout says there is no perfect blog. You just need to keep trying and learning.
- All this advice is great, but do what works for you. It’s not a competitive sport.
Link to image source from gapingvoid: http://www.gapingvoidgallery.com/gallerycubegrenades-limitations-p-1904.html?utm_source=Gapingvoid+Daily+Cartoon&utm_campaign=2c0d32a83b-%23354+%27Limitations%27+June+29th%2C+2011&utm_medium=email
Last week the Wales Blog Awards issued guidance on what makes a good blog. Just my luck!