9 Tips for Being a Successful Blog WriterDecember 09, 2018
There is no secret that blog writers want to be successful. It's just like in every other job. You shouldn't be ashamed, either, if you want to ask fo
There is no secret that blog writers want to be successful. It's just like in every other job. You shouldn't be ashamed, either, if you want to ask for some help along your path of becoming a successful blog writer.
And you've arrived at the right place. In this article, you'll find some things that might not represent an epiphany, but that will push you through following your path.
What you'll find here? I will try to point out different aspects that can be essential if you want to become a great blog writer. Click down below on the exact paragraph that you want, or read the whole article to better outline the whole idea of success in writing.
Starting out in this world of content writing will surely make you look at others. There are tons of blogs out there, on every subject. Checking others style is not necessarily something that you should do to copy what others are doing.
Every situation that makes you check others' work brings you two benefits:
- you see what good strategies are they using. If somebody does something that brings them success, why shouldn't you try to use it as well?
- you'll know what not to do. It's your time to shine! Maybe you see something that you think it should be done differently, so why not take the opportunity?
Each of these benefits can be applied to every aspect of content writing: words, style, promotion, length, design etc. You can even start by creating your own list of people to follow (both good and bad) and compare their work. This comparison can be done on a whole, or by taking separately each aspect of content writing.
Write down your pros, cons, ideas to do and to avoid. In the end, you'll have a full “project” that you can use to develop your writing skills.
How can you constantly see what others are writing about?
Fill your inbox with content that will actually be of interest to you. If you're going to start a blog on Social Media Marketing, then try to follow those kinds of blogs. Of course, you can read whatever you like, because you'll never know where inspiration will come from.
Besides, every type of blog can bring you knowledge, content writing knowledge. It's good to see how people in every branch are writing, what words and style are they using.
Try to search for independent bloggers, B2B blogs and other blogs. I find that B2B blogs are quite interesting and they offer a lot of useful information. Their articles are well-written and contain much more information than other types of blogs.
I would say that B2B blogs are worthwhile is because content writing is for them the only thing that they can (and have) to do for SEO. Also, for offering their clients valuable content, making them come back, trust the company and be loyal.
Not to limit your actions, you can also follow blogs on social media. Among some of the bloggers and blogs that you can follow, here are some: Intercom, Wordstream, Buffer, Inthefrow, Hand Luggage Only and many, many others. Some are mentioned in our article.
Nowadays is super easy to quickly write down an idea that you see. You might still want to carry with you a small notebook, that feeling of having a piece of paper to write on is still the best feeling. But there are apps that you can use if you're on the go.
Every single smartphone has a native app for taking notes. In case you want to use something that has more features, it's not that hard to find an app, because there are tons. It will be harder to find one that will fulfill all of your needs.
Don't rule apps that sell themselves for something else. Personally, I often use Trello to write down some ideas that you read. After all, I can use it on my smartphone and in a browser, on my laptop. And it's the application where I will sort my ideas, create boards and organize my work. Another app that I use is Evernote, along with Notes for iOS.
Just as an example, I just found a notebook where I wrote a bunch of ideas presented in a webinar. I felt quite surprised to see that there were some things I forgot. A great moment to use that advice now!
As long as you use the same browser app on your laptop and on your smartphone, it will be pretty easy to bookmark the articles that you find interesting.
But I found out that this process can be easier and more interesting. Pocket offers a smartphone app and a Chrome extension. Whenever I find a website page that contains helpful information, I quickly hit the Pocket button. The same thing applies if I find an article that I don't have time to read; the Pocket app will allow me to read it later, on my smartphone.
A plus on the features is that you can tag every article, basically creating categories for your saved articles. Organizing is life!
Besides, you can follow specific themes and read articles that others find and save. You can subscribe to Pocket and you'll receive a weekly digest on these articles.
So these are some of the methods you can use to watch what others are writing. You'll be constantly automatically informed (newsletters), and you'll constantly have a way to access information manually (sources of blog articles).
Improving your content writing skills and knowledge can be done also by reading books. They are basically the first way of spreading knowledge around the world, right?
Reading fiction books is (at least in my opinion) the best way to improve your grammar and vocabulary. I'm not necessarily thinking about the Harry Potter series, but that can help, too.
Reading non-fiction books will develop your skills. You can find books that are specialized in content writing.
And in case you like to read books on your Kindle, one website that I truly recommend is Bookboon. Here you'll find non-fiction books about almost everything in life. And yes, about content writing, too. Take into consideration that other skills might help you at writing, so Bookboon is a tremendous source of information.
You can subscribe to their newsletter, receiving emails whenever something is new. With your email address, you can download a great number of free books. And you can choose a Premium account, to read and download paid books.
If self-learning isn't your thing than courses will come to your rescue. I, myself, tested three of the online learning websites that exist out there: Coursera, Lynda and Udemy.
Coursera is the most complex one. It can be a bit expensive, but the courses offered there are complex. Also, you'll pay only if you will need the Certification. Coursera works with various universities and professors. They will give you assignments; these are graded by other participants, objectively, and you'll do the same for others. Don't worry, you'll not know what others thought about your assignment until you'll grade some assignments, too.
Lynda is a LinkedIn platform. It is based on subscription: a fairly small amount of money, paid monthly or yearly. The courses are all video, with no assignments like on Coursera. The information is passed on by specialists in their domain.
Udemy is the simplest and the cheapest one. Although you have to pay for each course, instead of paying $15-$20 to have monthly access to every course. Here you'll find online courses about pretty much everything. Entrepreneurs and specialists are the ones that will teach you about various subjects, like content writing, Facebook, Instagram, Photoshop etc.
Your brain isn't a hard-drive. You may think that you'll remember your idea later in the day, but most of the time you will not. I find myself in this situation almost every day, with everything I do. We encounter so much information during the day, that our brain can't remember everything. It's not that we have a problem, it's just the world we live in.
Our parents lived in a much simpler world, hence they pretty much remembered everything. We are both privileged and disadvantaged to have access to this amount of information. The human brain didn't have time to evolve, to size-up the hippocampus (the brain area that stores all of the information you get throughout the day). The brain is still the same, the information is much more, and we have issues remembering things.
That is why you shouldn't feel old because you have to write your things in order to remember them later. If you know that you have a special place where your ideas pop into your mind, then make sure you have a notebook and pen there at all times. It might be in the bathroom; yes, there are special waterproof pens, so don't think that you have an excuse!
If you're not able to write, use your recording app and quickly save your idea.
This process will have to become your habit, so don't despair in case you see that you can't do it for a few days. An action becomes a habit after 20 days or so. But you have to keep trying, of course.
Let's be honest. We are all somewhat annoyed when we hear someone that corrects our grammar (people call them “Grammar-nazis”). Now, haven't you been ever in the situation when you see someone writing badly, feeling that you should correct them? We all have inside of us a level of a grammar-nazi.
Besides, haven't you been in the situation when you meet someone, think that they are a great person, but then you see how they write? Your opinion about the changes, at least a bit.
I believe that your grammar is like your business card. It is the first thing that people see when they encounter you online. Your physical appearance is the most important when you meet someone, let's be honest. Because online you can't actually meet physically, the only way to prove yourself is by writing grammatically correct.
While small mistakes can be acceptable, especially after you correct them, some mistakes are truly not forgiven.
Before going any further, there another thing that I would like to mention. Tools like Grammarly won't be there to help you in the “offline” life. Yes, your grammar is also noticeable when you speak. Tenses, words pronunciation and others.
Being a successful writer definitely includes a spotless grammar.
If you think that your grammar is rusty, don't be ashamed to ask for help. There are teachers that can help you remember some grammar rules, teach you new ones, and making you the best.
Schools and Universities are the best options to find teachers that can give your private lessons. There some online courses as well, but being face-to-face with your teacher can be better. I'm sure that in your city you'll find someone that can help you with this. In case you're not sure who to ask, go to your high school; I'm certain that there will be a teacher that will either help you himself or he will recommend someone.
Grammar doesn't necessarily mean writing words correctly. It also involves other aspects that you should be aware of, especially if you want to be a successful blog writer.
Watch out for the following:
Punctuation has a lot of rules, a lot of elements that need to be considered. Here's a website where you can check for some explanations in case you have some problems. It is called The Punctuation Guide. Down below you'll find a few ideas regarding the main punctuation elements:
- Pay attention to apostrophes – make sure to not confuse the plural of a word with the possessive form (schools vs. school's). Also, whenever there's a possessive form of a plural word, then you have to insert the apostrophe at the end of the word (e.g. all the girls' ideas were good);
- Commas – you should use them in lists, but also in cases like indicating nonessential information (e.g. Our country's Prime Minister, Elizabeth Smith, will resign soon). Still, these are only two of the different ways to use a comma. There are a lot of situations that can cause you some headaches, but if you learn properly, there's nothing will stop you;
- Parentheses – they are usually used for further explanation inside sentences. Be sure to mark them correctly: if the parentheses element doesn't exist on its own, then you shouldn't use a terminal punctuation;
- Quotation Marks – most of the time these are used to mark a quotation. They can also be used to mark the title of a movie, a book, a story etc.
- Layout – the layout of a text is also important. It gives your text that flow that gives the reader the pleasure to … read. The Layout is about correct spacing: press the Space button after the terminal punctuation and use a space your paragraphs
- Choice of words – this can be one of the difficult parts of grammar. It definitely has a strong connection with what I wrote above, regarding reading. Your vocabulary can only be improved by reading books (fiction or non-fiction). Most of the time, blog articles use similar words. This is because blog writers have to create their articles in such a way that everyone will be able to understand it. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't have a back-up for synonyms and antonyms, right?
- Active versus passive voice – I must admit, this part is the one that gives me the biggest issues. It might be from schools, but I always tend to
- Use of pronouns – if you start your article with the first person, make sure you continue and end it in the same way. Also, be sure to use the third person in case you're using the formal style.
- Long paragraphs – these heavy paragraphs are hard to read because they appear like big blocks of words. Most of the time, they scare the readers, who will most likely jump after that paragraph or will read it superficially. Make sure to use headlines and separate your idea, in order to have a nice reading flow (if I may call it like that).
While the first two parts of this article were mainly to explain some basic aspects of content writing, now we should focus on what to do to be a successful writer. The first two parts are essential to your success in content writing, but there are a few tips that can further boost your skills.
Right in the first part of the article, I mentioned that you should watch what others are doing and read what others are writing. Making that list of blogs to follow, with pros and cons and particularities will definitely help you to define an idea of what kind of blog writer do you want to be.
Reading constantly will form your vocabulary, and will help you choose your writing style. This is really important as you will have to write in such a way that it will be easy for you. Just like everything in life, you'll have to love (or at least like) to write in order to become the best and not feel like it's a burden. And having your own style will surely help you have that writing flow (not taking into consideration those writer's blocks).
Practice, practice, and practice again. Yes, this is the process you have to follow for every new thing that you're learning. Being a successful blog writer is something that you'll have to learn. Why? Because there are these tips that you should read and learn, and you should also familiarize yourself with a new standard. The standard of being a successful blog writer.
Once you've written those blog articles that are visibly better than the ones you wrote when you began your writing path, you'd have to continue with the same standard. Hence, you'll have to continue practicing.
Now all the new information that you acquire, all those things that you are learning and practicing, reach your *drums* hippocampus! And what did I say that happens with this brain area? It gets full, yes. Sleeping is the activity that makes our brain transfer the information from the hippocampus to the cortex.
While we sleep, our brain can also enhance those connections that have been made throughout the day. This enhancement, though, can't be done if we don't rest our brain. It's a whole story and science on this subject, believe me. Amazingly interesting – Why We Sleep? by Matthew Walker.
In this book, the author exemplifies what I said above by telling a story about a pianist. This pianist admitted that there were days when no matter how much we would practice a certain piano part, he couldn't get it right. But the next day, after a good sleep, he was able to do it from the first attempt.
Practicing your writing during the day has to be accompanied by some good sleep, in order to make your brain wire those connections and enhance them.
Having a strict schedule is something that will put you on the right path to success. It's something that you should do not only for developing your writing skills but also for your own good, in life.
A schedule is basically a tool that will help you avoid procrastination, avoid the writer's block and be productive. Even if you have some meetings to participate in, insert them in your schedule. Make it clear for yourself that you have a deadline to write that article.
Deadlines are powerful enough to push you to finish your work, finish your writing practice and so on.
All of these are great tips of becoming a successful blog writer, not only the last 3 ones. And I'm sure you will find some other ideas inside you, ideas that will develop from your own schedule, behavior and from actually constantly applying the aspects you've just read today.