Blogging isn’t as easy as it looks. In fact there is a lot more to writing good blog posts and other web copy than most people think. Here’s what you need to know.
BY KAREN LOTTER
I have been involved with blogging as a blogger, then a copywriter and also a teacher and the one most important fact that I’ve realised is that unless you are really passionate about the subject (or get paid for it), keeping a blog going is not easy.
Recreational and Professional Website Content Generation
I must draw a distinction between recreational blogging and professional website content generation. What I’m talking about is running a blog for elephant figurines or cactuses or birthday cakes as opposed to writing regular content for a business blog.
When students enrol in my courses, especially the blogging course, they often ask me what they should blog about. I always tell them to find something they are passionate about or else they will run out of steam after a few posts.
What is Good Copy?
Writing is something we all do every day, but to make an impact on the Web we need to learn some techniques. So, what do we know about good copy? It is:
- Establishes trust and authority
- Gets people talking and sharing
- It is clear and doesn’t distract from the product or service.
From The Elements of Style by Strunk & White (1918) comes this great advice:
A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
This all sounds so easy doesn’t it? So now that we have dealt with the how’s, let’s look at the why’s.
Why have you picked a specific topic? Why are you writing about that specific subject?
Produce Good Original Copy
There is a lot of great content on the web, but also a lot of rubbish. I believe that if you produce good, original copy and put in the right amount of focused time, you can build an audience, no matter what the topic. (But it must be something that you are passionate about.)
Remember it takes a lot of determination, planning and persistence to write blog posts on daily basis that make your blog great, viral, or “hot”. It also takes practice and imagination.
So that is what you need to ask yourself – what am I passionate about? Can I write blog posts on this topic on a sustained basis?
About the Author
Karen Lotter is a journalist and writer based in Durban, South Africa. She runs a company (http://www.ethekwiniweb.co.za/) specializing in creating websites, writing creative and interesting content and optimizing sites for search engines.
She has written profiles, features, advertising copy, obituaries, press releases, and columns in magazines, company newsletters and newspapers, and written and produced corporate scripts.
Since she stopped writing political speeches (after 13 years in the trenches), she has focused on writing for the web and presenting workshops on communications-related issues.
Karen teaches the Writing for the Web Course and the Writing a Blog that will get Read Courses at SA Writers College.