bloggingIf you’re reading this blog post, chances are the topic appeals to you! Writing a blog that appeals to your reading audience is easier than you think. With a little research and organization, you can learn how to start a blog with articles that are popular, thought provoking, and that will generate traffic for your personal or professional website. Here are five tips to help you write a better blog.

Choose a relevant blog topic

Research and select a topic that appeals to your audience. What is your passion and theirs? Will it be business related or personal? Selecting a topic that appeals to your audience is sometimes difficult, but it’s not impossible.  Sites like Technorati can give you topics related to that space. It also lists the top 100 blogs of the day, top tags and opportunities to sign up as a blogger. You can also discover relevant topics on sites, like Alltop, Quora and even LinkedIn groups.

Organize your thoughts

Now that you’ve found a topic for your target audience you’ll want to organize your thoughts. The easiest way to accomplish this is to create an outline of key points you’d like to cover in your article.  The first way is that traditional outline our teachers taught us in grade school. Break out the main points of your post and create a list of everything you want to include, in the order you will address it. By creating a traditional outline, you will work out the flow of your post and organize thoughts in a logical manner so you’re better prepared when you start writing.

Another way to outline your post is verbally. Grab a friend or a voice recorder and talk out your post and main points instead of trying to write them. Be conversational. Talk about your topic like you’re explaining it to a friend or a customer. For many, talking through your post is a lot more effective than trying to write about it from scratch. Once you record yourself, you can take the points from the conversation and use it to build an outline.

Start writing

It’s important to write like you speak, not as you think. We tend to talk using organized phrases and sentences, while our mind is often a jumbled mess. There’s a reason why our brain filters the message.

Begin with a draft. Label your text file “DRAFT – ” followed by the working title of your article. Jot down some initial thoughts without worrying too much about how it reads. The purpose early on is just to get your thoughts “down on paper.” Come back to clean it up later, make changes, edits and additions until your article is complete. Change the file name to “REV – ” and “FINAL – ” as you revise your article. I have a folder on my computer full of partly finished drafts of articles. They’re great starts to future blog posts.

A short blog post is usually between 250 and 500 words. Shorter posts are quicker and easier to write and tend to get more readers. The disadvantage to shorter posts is that they contain fewer keywords for search engines to index. Longer posts tend to draw more traffic to your website as people value the added content within them.

Share the News

Share your blog articles with your friends on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook.  There are many social media management tools that can help you share your posts with the masses such as Hootsuite, Sendible and Sproutsocial. However, always be aware of the content you are posting, your audience and if it is appropriate for all social media channels.

Repeat the process

If you are responsible for generating blog content for your personal project or for work, it can become a chore to keep coming up with fresh new articles. Professional journalists use an editorial calendar to manage the publication schedule and stick to deadlines. We’ve created this simple editorial calendar spreadsheet to help us keep track of blog topics, notes and estimated posting dates.

Often, the most difficult part of blogging is to just get started writing. But with a little research and organization it can become easier to keep up with your editorial schedule.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /