Editor’s Note: This post was written by James, a freelance writer, photographer and part-time content creator for RBA Windows. Read more articles from James on his blog InfoBros and follow him on Twitter @JGtheSavage.
Every single topic has been the subject of hundreds of blogs. Some were written for specific audiences, some came from less-than-reputable sources, and others were so poorly written that one can barely get through the first sentence. Those blogs don’t do well – what’s worse, they ruin the blogger’s reputation.
The most popular blogs on the web deliver value to the reader, and along the way they position the blogger as a smart, credible source in their field. Your blog may be the first interaction people have with you or your business, so make sure it presents you in the best light.
Deliver a Clear Message
People read to be entertained or to get information. To achieve either, your audience has to know what you’re saying. It’s OK to be clever in your writing, but don’t let cleverness get in the way of clarity.
Start with a great headline that tells readers exactly what they’ll learn. Make your points carefully – for instance, only make one point per sentence or paragraph. Finally, talk in a language your target reader understands. Using big words they don’t know doesn’t make you sound smart – it makes you sound pretentious.
Back up your Claims
Did you know that birds of a feather flock together? You won’t unless I can prove it to you. One of the great things about digital content is the ability to easily connect your claim to the source. If you fill your content with fun facts, use only those you can back up.
You don’t need to cite sources for broad or obvious statements, but you do if you want to quote existing content or include hard data in your blog. When you do, use credible sources. Citing sources like reputable bloggers, newspapers and magazines will generate more links – and more credibility – than links to new sites or unknown writers.
Create Premium Content
Publications like Selling Power have long touted the financial benefits of using premiums to entice people to purchase their products. Premium content won’t generate more money, but you’ll still see great benefits thanks to the boost to your reputation.
A food blogger will get great mileage out of an encyclopedia of spices, while a web developer will boost his reputation by writing the definitive guide to website building. Create a webinar or downloadable eBook and place it prominently on your site. Before long, you’re the ultimate reference.
Refer to Your Own Experiences
One of the first rules of writing is “Show, don’t tell.” Objective advice can be useful, but it can also seem distant and abstract. A first-person account of the same situation, however, draws in readers and makes you sound experienced and knowledgeable.
A past experience can serve as an anecdote to illustrate a topic or provide a cautionary tale. Once in a while, it can be the perfect case study. If you worked on a large-scale project, particularly for a big name, turn it into a story of overcoming obstacles and meeting your goals.
Write, Review, Rewrite
According to recent studies, only one-fourth of all US students are proficient in writing. If you’ve ever spent any time in comment sections, you probably already knew that. However, that doesn’t give you the right to be lazy in your writing, especially if you want to become a credible blogger
After writing a post, take a few minutes to edit and proofread. Read it aloud to check for confusing sentences or awkward phrases. Don’t just run a spell-check – read your blog and look for errors. Keep reference tools nearby if you’re unsure how to spell a word or phrase an idea. Take the extra time now so you don’t look like an idiot later.
Readers rely on you to be knowledgeable, but a bad blog can undermine that perception. Follow the tips above and your blog will give you an experienced, authoritative, smart voice.