Classic Blogging Mistakes To Eradicate Before You Press ‘Publish’
What’s your writing style? According to horror writer Stephen King ‘The road to hell is paved with adverbs’, and if those adverbs include ‘always’, ‘really’ and ‘very’, I see his point. These words are so common that they can dilute the impact of your message. The thing is, whatever and however you write, your blog will benefit from careful editing. So while it’s fine to let your thoughts just spill out as they come, go through your text afterwards and give it a thorough going-over. Spending the extra time on ‘tweaking’ will make your blog slick, clear and memorable. Whether I’m editing an article, marking a journalism student’s news story at Goldsmiths University or editing a client’s business blog, these are the glitches I look out for…
Repetition of words or phrases
We all tend to have favourite turns of phrase in our speech and these crop up in writing if we’re not careful. What’s more, repetition of specific terminology, the ‘raw materials’ of our field of work, can make a blog drag, so vary it, eg, If you work in the money business, swap ‘money worries’ for ‘financial fears’, etc. Also try to avoid starting sentences with the same word. More common than you’d think!
Writing in an overly formal or flowery way
Who are you writing for? Usually it’s normal everyday people rather than examiners who give marks for the number of big words you can cram in. Blogs are meant to be chatty and easy to follow. Try to write the way you speak, but without the ‘umms’, ‘errs’ and repetition.
Delivering a lecture
Offering information is one thing. Being finger-waggy about it is quite another. The result you’re looking for is ‘inspired’ not ‘chastened’. So adopt a tone that says ‘here is some fascinating news that we can all benefit from’ and you can’t go wrong.
Overload of information
When reacting to news relevant to your business it’s best not to cram in a mighty ton of facts and figures. Use a stat, a recent study or new piece of legislation as a ‘hook’ for your stream of thoughts, but avoid sounding like a white paper or a press release. Personal anecdotes, opinions, interesting facts and a few tips will always win over corporate speak.
Do we have to talk about the weather?
Being conversational is one thing, but commenting on our precipitation levels will not make for a memorable blog, however much we Brits love talking about the weather. Have an opinon and be engaging and informative. If your blog has a distinct voice, it’s guaranteed to be a success.
Avoiding use of spell check
Can’t spell won’t spell? Use the tools that are available. A misspelt word will stick out like a sore thumb to your readers and undermine your authority. Think your spelling is fine? Think again and use spell check. And while you’re at it use grammar check. A misplaced apostrophe speaks volumes!
Not looking at it ‘fresh’
I always find it really helps to get my initial thoughts down, and then leave it for a bit. Go for a walk, focus on something else for a while, even sleep on it, and then look at it ‘fresh’. During this time I’ll have a rethink (often at 3am!) and come up with a much better format or train of thoughts, or just find that on running through it again I can see more clearly how it needs to read. Result: a sharper, more focused blog.
But don’t agonise over it
On the other hand if you keep tweaking and re-tweaking, deliberating over every word and turn of phrase and never actually publishing, you’re not going to last very long in the world of corporate blogging. Spontaneity is vital if you’re commenting on topical events. Try to find the balance between ‘speedy’ and ‘considered’.