How to Write a Great Blog Post, Part 3: Expanding your ideas & getting personal in posts

Last week I begins a series in which I share the very simple process involved to take a concept from the idea stage to completed blog post. This process is successful because it always keeps new material in the pipeline. It keeps you inspired, helps prevent burnout, and encourages creativity.

In the first part of the series, I discussed the earliest stage of writing a post - getting inspired. Generating ideas for blog posts is as simple as paying attention to the world around you, writing down ideas when you get inspired, and asking yourself what posts you would like to read. Here are some very brief tips from part one of the series regarding getting inspired:
  • Read voraciously, and about topics outside of your blog focus.
  • Carry a notepad and pen around with you at all times.
  • Open your mind to new ideas.
  • Take a half-hour every day to brainstorm.

Now that you have tips regarding getting inspired, let's move on to Step 2!



I review the concepts in my idea file, determine which would make successful blog posts, and expand them. 

At this point in the process, you should have minimum of ten possible post topics in your ideas file. Whether each idea in the file is a sentence long, or fills a page, it has the potential of becoming a blog post. It's time for you to expand your idea.
  • As you read each idea that might become a post,  add details to the idea. These are things I have read, heard, or thought of that I think would go great with this idea. At this stage all I want to do is accumulate material that may be part of the finished post. Sometimes I read an idea and have nothing to add to it. Some days I add a few paragraphs. Some days I add an idea to the original idea that is a few lines, sometimes I add a vignette that is 200 words.
  • Make a list. As you add details to each topic in your ideas file, underline or highlight the most relevant points. Which part of the idea is most compelling to you? What do you want your readers to know the most? What about that idea resonates the deepest? Compiling a short list with these points will help you outline the body of the post when the time comes to write it.
  • Be extremely useful. Consider your reader and the focus of your blog. A cohesive collection of blog posts is much more effective at engaging your readers than clashing concepts and confusing topics. Which topics do you believe your readers will be interested in?
  • Identify a topic. Does your ideas file contain similar concepts? Are any ideas related to one another? If so, you might be able to generate a series based on these concepts rather than write individual posts. (I'll talk about the benefits of and the process involved in flushing out a series in my next post.)
Some posts are simply to convey information. Some are meant to educate, and others are an opportunity to welcome your reader into your daily life. The blogs I read regularly, and the ones with the most followers and traffic, contain a mix of educational, informative posts and personal vignettes.Which brings me to my new point:

Don't be afraid to get personal on in your posts.

From time to time, pulling back the curtain and letting your readers know something personal about you allows them to understand who you are on a deeper level. Something special happens when you share information about your personal life in a post. It humanizes you as a blogger, shows a different side of who you are, makes you more relatable to your readers and gives them another connecting point with you. Readers are more likely to comment on posts that include personal information. The posts where I shared my own personal struggles were the ones in which I received the most comments and the most traffic. For example:
Personal blogging takes bravery. It takes courage to put yourself out there, to share your life. A personal blog post is unafraid to share your real personality, not just your writing style or opinions of your blog focus. As Anika of the extraordinary blog By Anika noted, a personal blog post is like a conversation with a friend. It's a lovely and effective element if you're looking to build relationships with your readers, and should not be discounted when going through your ideas file.

Next week we'll start to delve in to the steps involved in my favorite part of blogging - writing your post! This includes tips on constructing a great blog post title, grammar rules, advice on post length, and ways to create a series on your blog.


3 comments:

  1. That getting personal part is the thing I struggle with the most. My spouse has a fairly public job (in our small town) and so I try to keep my blog to where I don't mention his name, keep our last name out of things, but honestly it is impossible for people to NOT know, right? And I feel like a fraud for not talking about some things. I once read to treat writing on the blog like talking to your sister...no dirty bedroom talk, but it is okay to get deep and personal. I leave for vacation tomorrow and am taking (gasp) pen and paper with me-no computer. Will work on this area of writing and hope to come home refreshed and ready to roll! Thanks for the pointers...and the telepathic cupcakes last night:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very helpul post about posts! It's so interesting where inspiration can come from. Sometimes just a passing remark plants the seed. I agree about drawing back the curtain. Personal blogs appeal to me so much more than shopping blogs, for instance.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm thinking about getting a special notebook just for blogging, and keeping a page for each post idea. That way I can scribble as many notes as possible!

    ReplyDelete

I love my readers! Comments are welcomed and appreciated.