Tag Archives: blogger’s style guide

Blogger’s style guide: Short or long?

There is room for both, depending on the content and what you want to say.

Short posts – around three paragraphs – are great for when you have a simple observation or point to make, or you’re short of time (see the three things to tell a reader in How is blogging different?)

Long posts – for more indepth analysis – are best broken into manageable chunks that the reader can scan easily (see my previous post on structure).

A series is good for breaking up a complex subject, and can later be pulled together in a round-up post, eg, the Blogger’s Style Guide!

[FYI: Last year I wrote a Blogger’s Style Guide to help people in the organisations I was working for start writing posts and publishing them on the company blog. Many had never written anything beyond an email before but they did know their subject far better than I, so they just needed a good briefing in style, tone, structure and so on. This is that starter kit for company bloggers, consisting of  10 mini-posts in all.]

Blogger’s style guide: How to structure long posts

Structure: manageable chunks!

People don’t tend to read online. They scan the screen for what they find interesting, which means long posts of running copy are often skipped over. A short-form, three-paragraph post noting, explaining and presenting one particular issue is often the ideal for the reader (as noted in the first post of this series How is blogging different?)

But sometimes you need to write a little more, especially when explaining a complicated subject. Luckily, there are many different ways to break up a long post and create some ‘white space’.

7 ways you can package your thoughts:

  • Snappy sub-heads – such as the one above!
  • Lists – a top three, five or 10, for example.
  • Q&A – create questions (which you then answer).
  • Images – pictures and graphics provide a nice visual break.
  • Quotes – block quotes are longer quotes that can be styled differently.
  • Bulletpoints – ideal for short lists like this one.
  • Use shorter paragraphs (and shorter sentences) in general.

[FYI: Last year I wrote a Blogger’s Style Guide to help people in the organisations I was working for start writing posts and publishing them on the company blog. Many had never written anything beyond an email before but they did know their subject far better than I, so they just needed a good briefing in style, tone, structure and so on. This is that starter kit for company bloggers, consisting of  10 mini-posts in all.]

Blogger’s style guide: Ideas for your posts

What readers like…

  • Original research and surveys
  • Benchmarks, quantative analysis
  • Relevant news not found anywhere else
  • Insight – leading-edge thinking, novel perspectives
  • Precis, time-saving summaries and reviews
  • Useful tools and checklists
  • Personal stories, first-hand accounts, experiences, lessons learned
  • Live reports from events
  • Short educational pieces
  • Relevant ‘Aha!’ graphics
  • Fun stuff – quizzes, self-evaluations, interactive content
  • Great photos and illustrations
  • Useful finds – resources, blogs, posts, graphics

(Source: The Corporate Blogging Book by Debbie Weil)

If you work for an organisation, there is your rich source of information on a subject, but think about tying this in with what is going on out there in the world outside. Read the news or subscribe to RSS feeds for blogs and websites that also cover your subject area – find out what they are talking about and think about joining in the conversation by posting about topical news and discussion.

Also think about timing. What big events are happening throughout the year that would be relevant to write about/around for readers – both generally and specifically. For example, if you were a family lawyer, get your help and advice posts on divorce issues written in December, ready for the ‘January Jilt’, and your prenuptial advice published ahead of February 14. If you’re an accountant, you’ll be thinking about Budget dates and Pre-Budget Reports.

[FYI: Last year I wrote a Blogger’s Style Guide to help people in the organisations I was working for start writing posts and publishing them on the company blog. Many had never written anything beyond an email before but they did know their subject far better than I, so they just needed a good briefing in style, tone, structure and so on. This is that starter kit for company bloggers, consisting of  10 mini-posts in all.]

Blogger’s style guide: How is blogging different?

[FYI: Last year I wrote a Blogger’s Style Guide to help people in the organisations I was working for start writing posts and publishing them on the company blog. Many had never written anything beyond an email before but they did know their subject far better than I, so they just needed a good briefing in style, tone, structure and so on. This is that starter kit for company bloggers, consisting of  10 mini-posts in all.]

How is blogging different from other types of writing?

Blogging is a different type of communication. The style tends to be: informal and conversational; easy to read rather than big blocks of copy; human not corporate; real rather than perfect; a space for you to talk about what interests you.

Your opinion is valuable – in fact, the best posts are often ones that tell a reader three things:

  • what has happened, what is the issue of interest
  • an explanation of what it means, some context
  • an opinion on what you think about it (if blogging for a company, this will probably be the company line)

As you can also see, you can also speak directly to your reader. (Hi, by the way.)

The other big difference is that your reader can easily say ‘hi’ back. They can respond to what you are saying – and you can have a conversation about the subject of your post.

Think of it as a dinner party that you are hosting. What are you going to say? Hopefully something that will interest them. So, what will interest them? I’m glad you asked. Next up in this series is: ‘What readers like (or ideas for your posts)’.