Have a Blog Post Idea? Chart it Out
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Have a Blog Post Idea? Chart it Out

By Janet Garraty, content specialist and publisher

As an editor, I will stay with a long-winded blog draft to help clients with clarity. But I hate to break it to you, readers often will not give you the same grace period.

Like a frosty car on a cold winter morning that does not warm up until two miles down the road, most blog post authors do not get to the meat of their story until three or four paragraphs down.

If you find you are having trouble getting to the point of your story, here is a suggestion. Think first. Write later. Plan and chart what you want to say before sitting down.

Most journalists learn to write using what is called an inverted pyramid; meaning they write the most important points up front and the less profound at the end. This way, if the article is cut for space, the who, what, where, when, how and why has already been covered.


Map it Out

flow chart of writing taskIf you get really confused as to what details to include, make a chart. For instance, say you want to explain that going to the dentist every six months keeps your breath smelling fresh. (Don’t you wish that were true.)

In the center of the chart you will write Fresh Smelling Breath. Then all around that center point you will write out what the advantages and points you want to make about fresh smelling breath.
Maybe you write, “more kissing,” or “not afraid to say Hi,” or, “it reduces bacteria,” or, “how it works,” “best toothbrushes.”

When you look at all those benefits, which ones do you think your audience will find most compelling and which ones may not fit at all. Decide what may be most relevant and interesting to your specific audience and express those points in the post.

If you have a point or two that does not fit in this post, put it aside in your tickler file. It may be helpful for a future post.

Write Ugly

When you start to write, write ugly. Do not worry about how well it reads at first.

“Just write,” my editors used to say.

Use the points you have made and do not delete anything you have written in the first draft. You may find some copy just needs a little sprucing up.

Like a sculpturer, keep molding your piece. Look at your verbs to determine if they are conveying the action you want.

Use a well-placed and colorful adjective once in a while to help the reader visualize your point.

Then, walk away. It helps to step away from your work for a while. When you return, you often bring a fresh perspective, which will help in the editing process.

Edit. Edit. Edit

When you are confident you are finished, print out your draft. I would use an exclamation point to emphasis how strongly I feel about this, but being a pretty strict AP Stylist, I will refrain.

Reading printed material is more effective than online. Spell check is not the cure-all. Just think about, they’re, their, and there. The spelling might be right but the context could be all wrong. You will be surprised what you pick up that you did not when proofing on the screen.

Every blog is enhanced by a catchy headline. Headlines are your promise to the reader. You are telling them what they will learn. Do not disappoint them by making them wade through five paragraphs first.

The unsettling nature of writing happens because most people do not do it every day.
If you are more certain of what you want to convey, with a good plan of attack you will get to the point faster and satisfy more readers.

 

 

Janet D. Garraty

Janet D. Garraty

If you are looking to improve your blogging skills, Janet Garraty is holding her, “One Month to Better Blogging” class, scheduled to run Monday evenings, from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., September 30th through October 21st in Cherry Hill, NJ. 

You will learn:

  • Actionable steps to help you craft quality blogs that you will enjoy writing and readers will enjoy reading.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO), keywords tips and strategies to help you get more reads to your blog posts.
  • Guidelines for writing with integrity and strategy.
  • Actual writing sessions with peer reviews with members of the class and guidance by Janet Garraty
  • Up to four blog posts that are edited and ready to publish.

 

Cost is $150 per person. Seating is limited. To learn more visit HERE.