"Should I blog?"
"Yes," I tell clients.
"But how do I write? What if it doesn't sound good?"
"Write how you would talk," I tell them. "If someone can hear your voice when reading your blog, you're off to a good start."
Additionally, there are five key items to keep in mind when sitting down to write. Keeping these five items in mind will not only make you a better writer, but it will help focus your piece and clarify your message.
1) Think about your audience while you write.
Blogging exposes us to a potential worldwide audience. Such a reality can often cause our efforts to feel insignificant, or on the opposite spectrum, can overwhelm us. Rather than thinking about ALL readers who may discover your post, I find it's best to shrink your audience down to a more manageable sum. Keep a specific person in mind when writing. Or picture an event where you may be asked to share a similar topic. Being specific with you audience helps to add life to your posts and keeps your writing conversational.
2) Think about the catalyst to your post.
What was happening when you thought about your topic? Were you with friends? Alone in your car? Who did you want to tell? How did you feel? Think about those moments—your emotions—and don't let them go. The less time that elapses between an initial idea and actual writing, the more apt we are to write with conviction.
3) Think about relationship.
Not all of your readers will know you. While we're with friends or colleagues, we tend to develop inside lingo. Additionally, we may streamline conversation or skip over background information as everyone already knows our story. When blogging, though, new relationships are forming. New audiences are emerging. You may have to explain a bit more in order to not confuse or lose readers.
4) Think about timing.
While you may wish to write down a new idea immediately, that doesn't always mean you have to PUBLISH your post immediately. Seasons, recent events, and cultural trends can all influence the timeline for publishing. Example: foodie posts on barbecue won't fair as well in the winter. Keeping posts timely will help to ensure you get the most life out of each piece.
5) Think about intent.
What is your purpose for writing—to inspire, teach, convince, entertain? Keeping the intent of your post in mind helps to both focus your writing, as well as maintain consistency. If we ignore the intent of the post, there's a chance of diluting the message. New ideas often come during the writing process, and if we're not careful—and not thinking about intent—these new ideas can find their way into a piece where they don't belong. They may be good ideas, but ideas meant for another day.
What are some other things to keep in mind when writing? Have any tips or tricks that help you focus? We'd love to hear them!