It may seem silly that a 21 year old with only a bit of experience is writing an article about blogging tips. But, I assure you, these tips have helped me survive my first few jobs.
I started blogging sometime during my freshman year of college. I had just returned from Dublin and was pretty bored, so I started my first blog. Let me tell you, it was a mess. Content was all over the place, the writing was haphazard, and frankly, it was boring. But, here’s the thing about my first blog – it showed me how much I love writing.
From there, I took my first full time position at a company doing social media and digital marketing. I was writing content every single day, learning about a new industry, and honing my skills. This first job ultimately set up the foundational blogging skills that I still utilize every day.
After leaving my first job, I did a 5-month study abroad semester in Singapore. I had the opportunity to travel around Asia and experience all this new culture, food, and people. Naturally, I had to start a blog. This is what you’re reading now! It started as a travel blog, but as I continue to grow and develop, so does my writing.
After returning from an amazing time in Singapore, I took on my next job. While I was hired for product marketing and development, my role soon switched to content creation. In this role, my writing had a mission. This content was no longer my voice, but the voice of our mission. So each day, I hack away at writing and I’d like to think I’ve gotten pretty good over the past three years.
Okay, so before I bore you with the details of my blogging history, here are the tips:
Write about content you care about.
Writing about things you are passionate about is always the most important thing. If you do not care about your content, why should anyone else? Your passion, whatever it may be, will shine through in your writing. Your enthusiasm will compel others to enjoy your content too.
For example, I love travel, fashion, and food. While I have mainly focused on travel, I am moving towards additional topics. I reached a point where I was burned out from only writing about one topic. And though I am truly passionate about travel, I really wanted to talk about other aspects of my life. And so I'm going to incorporate fashion and food into travel. After all, these are important for traveling. I like to take pictures while on my trips, so I want to look my best. I also love finding new food in new places. This shift is not a departure from travel blogging - it's an expansion. This change not only re-inspires me, but I’m sure my readers will be glad I’m no longer droning on or putting together careless content. In the end, passion will always shine through.
Don’t be a thesaurus
Of course it’s good to incorporate vocabulary into your writing. It shows sophistication and knowledge. But too much vocabulary can be a turn off. No one wants to pick up a dictionary just so they can understand your content. It’s better to be straightforward and to the point, rather than mindlessly inserting big words because they sound intelligent. As you continue to blog and write more, your vocabulary will naturally expand. There’s no need to look up synonyms for every simple word you use.
Always, always, ALWAYS add pictures. No one clicked on your blog because they wanted to read a textbook. If I wanted to drown myself in writing, I would have flipped open my 3,000 page dictionary.
While it is completely up to you on how you want to break up text, using pictures between sections is a great way to do it. If you save all your pictures for the end, no one will end up getting to them. Chances are, they will give up and exit your page before they scroll all the way down. Dispersing the images is great for keeping readers engaged.
Make sure that the images are relevant to the content and their placement. You don’t want a picture of a penguin located in the section about lions. Now that’s just confusing. I prefer to put the relevant picture below the text that it’s related to. Chances are, your reader will go through the text before scrolling down to the image. If you put the image first, then they may end up scrolling back up and then down again to see what the picture was relating to.
Break up the Text
As mentioned above, seeing a full page of text is not appealing. Breaking up the text with pictures helps make the piece easier to digest. Make sure your paragraphs aren’t too long either. Readers tend to lose interest quickly, so adding bullet points or numbering items helps condense the text.
Call to Actions!
In every piece, you should have a call to action. It doesn’t need to be aggressive or obnoxious. It can be subtle. Something simple can do the trick. When I write posts for my personal blog, I like to include suggestions:
- "Go here if you are looking for a great brunch”
- “You 100% need to do this hike”
- "Visit here immediately!”
On the other hand, a call to action can ask your readers to subscribe or follow you:
- "Follow us for more travel content”
- “Comment with your favorite coffee place in NYC!”
- "Follow us on Facebook and Instagram”
Call-to-actions keep your content engaging, and if your readers like your content, they are more likely to perform those actions. It can’t hurt to ask.
I want to HEAVILY emphasize this. Take an extra 2 minutes and read back what you wrote. I spend way too much time editing other people’s writing just because they don’t read what they wrote. Start at the beginning of your piece and read it out loud. It doesn’t need to be loud – whisper to yourself. It makes a huge difference to read what you wrote. You might find that some paragraphs make no sense at all. Or, you may realize you forgot to add punctuation.
Not only does proofreading increase readability, it makes you look more credible. Do you see the New York Times making silly grammar mistakes? No, and that’s because they take the time to edit their articles. If you have spelling mistakes everywhere, people will assume that you are not credible. A error-free piece of writing seems more intelligent and accurate. If the writing itself isn’t accurate, the piece feels unreliable and unprofessional.