You already know that blog writing and blog marketing wins hearts and influences your audience. Its the top way to attract web visitors who appreciate your information. Web visitors first, then clients and sales follow. When visitors read a tip from you, they want to know more. Content writing is content marketing.
As a long time writing coach, I’m concerned with so many blogs not getting read, commented on, and subscribed to so you can conduct future business with your followers.
Your audience wants a taste of your talents and personality, and if they like what they see, they will sign up for your ezine or blog right away. You want to be sure that your copy is inviting, engaging, and useful to your primary audience.
No one wants to write badly and expose their poor habits. In your heart, you know all copy needs careful self editing and/or a fresh set of eyes on it to make sure it hits the mark.
Knowing these benefits, you want to create and submit as many excellent blog posts as you can. At times, you have the articles done, but don’t have anyone handy to edit them. While it’s best to get at least one other edit from a writing coach or business associate, you can edit your articles yourself with a little help from your writing coach here.
Use this Checklist to Self Edit Your Own Work
1. Start your blog introduction with a hook.
Some writers open with startling facts, but I advise a specific hook to grab particular readers by the collar and never let go. You must hook your readers with something that reaches their emotions. Show them you care and can solve their challenges, concerns, and worries.
The hook could come right out of the mouth of your best client. For example, “How can I stop this “bad habit” that keeps me from this “success”?
2. Make your Introduction only a few sentences.
Your readers want to get to the heart of your article fast. They want easy-to-read quick tips. An illustrative story can extend your hook, but long, unrelated stories can bring a yawn to your reader. I advise using dialogue from your client studies. It keeps the article in present tense, far more powerful than the telling of the past.
3. At the end of your introduction, include your article’s thesis.
Your thesis helps you stay focused on the main message of your article. It helps you to stay on track and make your article clear and compelling. For instance, “Use this checklist to edit your own work.”
4. Make all of your sentences short.
Complex sentences and multiple phrases slow down readers. They may even stop reading.
My best advice? Make it easy for your readers to find the sentence’s subject and verb. Put the subject first, then an active verb. Avoid passive sentences. This means keep your passive sentence constructions to under 2%. Beware of linking verbs such as, “is,” “was,” “seems” and others. For example, “The contract was won by Sharon.” Or, “Sharon won the contract.” Which reads more clearly?
5. Keep your sentences standard length of 15-17 words or less.
You’d be surprised at how long your sentences get with awkward verb placement and old writing sins no one has corrected you on. Add more drama with a word or two to replace phrases – such as FACT.
Place these at the end or beginning of paragraphs.
6. Aim for compelling, short, clear copy.
Your readers don’t want to spend a lot of time reading when it doesn’t serve them. My advice? “Less is More.” Write for the 8-10th grade reader. Don’t try to impress with pompous words such as “utilize.” If you come from academia like I did years ago, you’ll need to use a rote-o-rooter to eliminate your boring lectures and old verbiage. If you are in business, you are writing for today’s audience, not your thesis persons. You have to give benefits to your readers. Always think “What’s in it for them?”
7. Use specific nouns and names.
General references don’t engage your readers’ emotions. Let them see size, color, and shape. In any of your blog posts, refer to one individual audience in one post to show exquisite care for your particular audiences. Rather than business people, say specifically coaches, consultants, solo professionals, or entrepreneurs. This expands your audience for new website business.
Here’s another example: Replace “Write your book fast to make lifelong income,” with “Write and finish your book fast so you can take that long vacation to a Caribbean island.” Money alone doesn’t motivate, but what we can do with it does.
8. Let go of certain adverbs.
Words like very, suddenly, and sparingly, tell instead of show. Use adverbs as often as you celebrate your birthday. Did I show, rather than tell? Instead of very fat, say obese. Instead of very anything, use a synonym that describes the situation. Your readers are hungry to experience feelings as well as picture themselves in your examples. You’ve heard of show, don’t tell writing advice. Adverbs tell; they don’t show.
9. Let go of adjectives.
One promotion person I know shouts out her “amazing” “incredible” benefits in all of her marketing copy. Know that your audience doesn’t want the sizzle; they wants real benefits. Another example–instead of saying, “She is a super-intelligent person,” you could say, “She’s a genius.”
10. Cut redundancies.
You don’t want your readers to yawn, do you? Or leave your article? Too much repetition in your articles speaks boring or “talking down” to your readers. Be willing to part with some of your “precious” words. If you are not writing a school text book, your first self edit should reduce your words at least by one-fourth.
Make your articles sculptured and painted like a fine work of art. Your word choices do make a difference—both in commercial acceptance as well as audience understanding.
Self-editing will help.
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Which of these tips helped you the most? Which ones will you apply to that next article you write?
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