Seven Steps to a Better Blog
When your reader looks at your blog, the first question in their mind is “Why should I read this?” And, as brilliant as your blog may be, the answer to that question comes in the seconds before they click to the next link or stay on your page. How can you create a blog that will captivate your readers and keep them coming back for more?
1. Know why you’re writing the blog. You started your blog for a reason. Maybe the original motivation was simply because everyone else was doing it. Now, however, you want to use it to establish yourself as an expert in your practice area; or perhaps, to showcase your personality and ability to connect with clients. A well-defined strategy will keep you and your reader interested.
2. Decide what you want to say. Think about your potential readers. What do they want to know? If your clients are farmers, they might want to know the laws regarding moving their farm equipment on public roads during harvest or they might want a concise, easy to understand review of the new or revised laws affecting them. Are your business clients calling and asking about the new health care laws or what they need to cover in their annual meeting? Defining your subject clearly makes a post easier to write.
3. Create an engaging title. Create a title that will grab the reader’s attention and promise content that is worthwhile reading. Effective titles are short, usually only 7 to 9 words, and focused on the reader. Titles that ask a question, use numbers, or solve a problem such as ‘how to’ are attention grabbers.
4. Compose a compelling first paragraph. Consider starting with a story, a question, or a statement that interests your readers. A story with facts that set up your topic will often get the reader’s attention: Connie Consumer’s mother has Alzheimer’s and Connie wants to pay her mother’s bills. She needs to become her mother’s guardian. Readers can identify with this situation and will continue reading.
5. Write persuasive body text. A good blog is well researched and clearly written. The rule of effective website copy is to keep it short, to the point, and focused on your reader. A blog is usually between 300 to 500 words, written in plain English, and gives the reader information. It’s not a brief for a judge; it’s a short blog for your readers. Creating an effective blog post is not easy. It takes time, planning, and a touch of creativity.
6. Use multimedia. Readers faced with blocks of text with no relief from all those words won’t get past your title, no matter how engaging. Use images, videos, graphics, and lists to break up the words and emphasize key points.
7. Review and revise. Write that first draft then set it aside and come back to it in a few hours or the next day. You will be amazed at what needs to be changed to make your blog post the best it can be.
Now that you’ve written and published an interesting and readable blog, let the social world know it exists. Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or an e-mail blast to announce its posting. And, don’t forget to post it on ZeekBeek. Simply sign in using your SBM login, click on "Add +" and then "Submit your blog" from the drop-down menu. Load your blog in the space provided and it will be published. The service is free.
Roberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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