This issue brings you a round-up from our UK Conference in Manchester last month with articles fr
Would you like to start writing a blog but don’t know how to go about it? In the second of a two-part guide, we explain how to structure your blog so that your readers are gripped from start to finish. We are always happy to receive blogs so here’s your chance to get your views out to the wider world!
1.What’s your message
Think hard about the message of your text. What do you want to tell your readers? And what is the purpose of your text? What do you want you readers to do at the end of the page? Make your call to action obvious! Write down the answers to these questions before you begin writing.
2. Create a structure
Every post should have some sort of introduction (in which you introduce your topic), a body (in which the main message is written) and a conclusion (which should summarize the most important ideas or deduce some new idea). Write down what you want to write in all these three sections. You now have some sort of summary of your post.
3. Use paragraphs
Make sure to use paragraphs that make sense. Do not start a new sentence on a new line, just because it looks nice. Every paragraph should have a main idea or a main subject. Ask yourself what the main idea of each paragraph is. You should be able to grasp that main idea in only one sentence. If you need more sentences, you simply need more paragraphs!
4. Use headings
If you want people to find their way in your articles, you can use subheadings. These will lead people, help them scan your page, and make the structure of your articles that much clearer.
5. Use signal words
Signal words help people to grasp your main idea. Signal words include numerical ones such as ‘firstly’, ‘secondly’ and ‘lastly’. Words like ‘nevertheless’, ‘surely’ and ‘furthermore’ also give a clear emphasis to your text. Using words such as ‘thus’, ‘so’ or ‘therefore’ prepare your readers for a conclusion. Signal words are thus very important to structure your text.
6. Keep it short and simple!
Good writing isn’t about using lots of long, clever or complicated words to explain an idea. Often the temptation is to get carried away with your writing style rather than keeping it to simple and clear. You don’t want to lose your audience in the first paragraph because it is too hard to follow your meaning. Equally, many people faced with a long page of text may just not read it because they feel they haven’t got the time to get through it all. Make sure that you speak the language of your reads – know their terms but don’t bog them down in lingo. Aim for around 400/500 words.
7. Write a messy first draft
Have you heard the Hemingway quote, ‘Write drunk, edit sober’? There’s actually some truth to that. Your first draft of anything won’t be perfect. That’s the point, it’s a first draft. Get your thoughts down first, then edit and refine.
8. Ask for feedback from your readers
Remember to ask for feedback via your blog and social media accounts. If you feel the feedback may be a bit more critical, ask for it in a form that isn’t public – like email! Then show that you’re listening – put that feedback to work in your next blog.
9. Get someone to check it
Before publishing your post, let someone else read your post first. Ask him/her whether or not he understands the main idea of your post. Correct typos, grammar and sentences that are not formulated correctly. Then press ‘submit’!