Only very recently have I started to focus more on blogging. I was always determined to give it my best shot and stick with it. What I am grateful for are the amazing mentors along the way that gave me essential advice to better my writing.
One person that I am particularly thankful for is Irene O’Leary. She is a full-time editor for Social Media Examiner.
The brief story
I was looking for guestposting opportunities and gladly @Dino_Dogan put me in touch with Irene with a quick intro.
When I sent a post over for review it must have been immediately clear that I am not a professional in this. Yet she bore with me on it. She send emails back explaining where and how I should change my writing.
And she did this in the most kind manner you can imagine. She described which impact certain things would have. Why there are certain aspects in my writing I should focus more on.
If you learn and you get explained not only the what, but also the why, it makes all the difference I believe.
So here are 3 most valuable lessons Irene taught me.
1.) Structure is everything
I know this is a basic lesson, yet I used to write in long paragraphs with little formatting. One of the things Irene emphasized very often is that you have to look out for your structure.
We are all browsing and scanning the web for the best bits and pieces we can find.
Most of us are not interested in big chunks of text that steal our time.
So a readable format we can quickly oversee and then decide where we want to focus on has proven to be one of the best ways to get through to a wider audience.
- Use bold or italic text to emphasise as often as you can.
- Put subheadings for every new thought.
- Illustrate your posts with pictures that carry real value for the reader as often as possible.
In short, show that you have put some real thought into all this and worked with the content.
2.) Short sentences – understandable language
No, it is not because you assume your audience is stupid. It is because I learnt the simpler you can make your sentences the better you can convey your message.
Especially in the area of Twitter Tips and Social Media I learnt there is a large range of knowledge amongst readers. By making sentences short and understandable new readers can catch up with the terminology.
Simultaneously more knowledgeable readers can easily scan and find those bits which are useful for them.
3.) Create a discussion – answer every comment
When you are writing a post, it is only half of the story. The other half is written by your audience. This is the mantra Irene ingrained in my mind with her advice and I think it’s brilliant.
This creates a lot of opportunities for you as a writer. Don’t try to say everything that needs to be said on a topic. Most of the time, this even relaxes me a lot, as I can focus on one aspect and let the readers chip in the rest.
- Drop some interesting questions every now and then, especially when you are not sure about a topic.
- End your post with a thoughtful question.
- Be there in the comments and answer them in a short timeframe of being posted.
So your turn now. Which are the things that helped you to make for better writing? Or were some of the lessons I took away from Irene useful for you?
Up next week: 3 Networking Tips from Dino Dogan