Write like you speak and forget what you learned in business writing 101
If you are new to writing blog posts, you may think, “What’s the big deal?” Writing is writing after all, and you’ve been doing it all your life. You’re probably especially familiar with business writing, and so how could blog writing be all that different for your WordPress post?
Well, it just is. WordPress blogs are a relatively new format and call for a style of writing that is unique and very informal. It’s unlike academic or business writing in a number of ways. Here are five distinguishing features of WordPress blog writing to keep in mind when crafting your own posts.
1. “Grabber” headlines and subheads
Most blog readers are good candidates for an ADD study. If your headline doesn’t sound interesting, they’re going to move on to one that does. In addition to being snappy, it must be compelling, include keywords, be true and be short. An effective trick is to imply a numbered list, which has proved to be a very appealing way to structure content for busy readers.
Rather than “How to Write a WordPress post,” go for “Top 10 Ways to Craft WordPress Headlines that Help with SEO”.
And be sure to include a subhead, which can be another opportunity to draw in your reader, if your headline didn’t do the trick. Plus, subheads break up the page visually, which can be especially helpful when attracting smartphone readers.
2. Conversational rather than academic
Most of us have written school and business papers, and can we all agree that they tend to be rather formal, and let’s just say it, dry. There is no place for such writing when it comes to creating blog posts, unless you want to get rid of your audience before you’ve even introduced them to your WordPress blog. Instead, pretend like you’re having a conversation with a good friend, except you’re writing the words down. Write in first person, and let your “voice” come through. Readers want to get a feel for your personality. Letting your originality and true self come through is the key to attaining loyal readers and future customers.
So, write as you speak and when you’ve got it all down, read it aloud. This will help ensure that you are keeping things conversational, and that you sound like a real human being rather than a computer manual.
3. Not so linear
Forget writing storybook style – you know, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Rather, start at the end, and then spend the rest of the post explaining how you got there. This style of writing is known as “Inverted Pyramid” or “front loading” and dates back to early journalism, when reporters were taught to include the 5 W’s and the 1 H – who, what, where, when, why and how – in the first paragraph of their articles.
The reason WordPress bloggers use this technique is two-fold – to quickly engage readers with a snapshot of what to expect in the article, and to use keywords at the beginning of the page, which is good for Search Engine Optimization. So, begin your post at the end, and then flesh out the details.
4. Brief and to the point
As stated earlier, web readers are not inclined to spend a lot of time mulling over your posts unless you engage them. That starts with a good header, but it extends to the entire post. This is why you need to keep the content relevant and interesting. It should also be current, always accurate, and let’s not forget, entertaining. If you don’t dazzle your readers a little, they will find a blogger with similar content who can.
Finally, keep it on the short side to make sure your readers complete your post. Between 500 and 1,000 words is a good target.
5. A finish that makes ‘em want more
As in all good writing, the conclusion of your post should be as strong as your open. Three possible ways to achieve this are: a call to action, an actionable takeaway, and ending with a question.
Use a call to action to direct the reader to do what you want – say to call you for an estimate for your services. Offering an actionable takeaway gives the reader something to do immediately, such as subscribe to your e-newsletter. End with a question to encourage comments and engagement. Your question(s) should focus on answer(s) that are valuable to you and your readers.
Keep in mind that good writers are good readers. Look at others’ WordPress blog posts to get a feel for the style, then begin writing, and write often to find and develop your own unique voice. That voice will win you readers who will return like old friends, again and again, to read new posts and learn what is happening on your site.