We know that writing for the web is different. But what helps to make a blog post fly? Here are five simple tips to help you write your next masterpiece.
We’ve put up over 700 posts on comms2point0 over the past four years and leaned an awful lot along the way.
They cover a wealth learning, ideas, campaigns and case studies from colleagues across the communications and digital community
I have read every single one of them.
I have also monitored each one to assess what works best in terms of views, comments and shares, as well as what doesn’t work so well.
So if you’re writing with a digital audience in mind here are five simple lessons that may help you along the way to writing your next post…
Experience. You just can’t beat it.
Knowing your comms and digital onions is important. Job title less so. But I have spotted a growing number of johnny-come-latelys writing about our industry and cribbing other people's work. Nothing wrong with that, of course. But you want to read about genuine experiences and perspectives - on what delivers, and where things have gone array - from people at the sharp end. There is no substitute for colleagues who have earned their stripes and have a good personal story to tell. So write about the things which you know about, topics you care about or of the things which might concern you about our industry.
What’s in a name?
A lot. In the same way that it is important to get the subject title of an email right, it’s really important to come up with a name for your post which is interesting, different, quirky even – something which draws attention and prompts a click through.
Using keywords such as ‘great’, ‘brilliant’, ‘awesome (OK, maybe not awesome) can be really beneficial in this respect. In terms of web traffic, the name of your post can be just as important as the post itself.
The ‘so what?’ question
Every post needs a clear purpose - a rallying call. Those posts which have done this well have received greater views and more engagement and shares in my experience.
It may be a call to action to drive a response. It might be a request for some help and support on a project. Or it might simply be to share some professional pain because it’s good to talk, right?
It’s OK to have fun…
We work in a serious old world at times. And that’s right and proper – our work is important and makes a difference to people’s lives when we get it right. But that means it’s also important to allow some light-heartedness now and again.
Some of the most popular posts ever on comms2point0 have been those which are fun and poke a humorous stick at the work we do.
Posts such as comms room 101, your ‘cut out and keep’ guide to saying no to daft requests, and four stages of comms face palm have all rattled up a stack of views and shares. I think it’s fair to say we like to take the opportunity to share our work grief and frustrations but it’s always done with good grace and with jovial intentions.
And here’s another example of fun working. We have shared nearly 35k tweets over the years - hard-sourced nuggets of comms and digital learning, inspirational posts, helpful links and absolute gems of creative genius. But the most popular post of all from that 35k-large reassure trove? A photo of a ‘cute baby desert fox’. Enough said.
A cute baby desert fox (image via hdwpics.com)
Finding the right image
It can take a while to find the perfect image to accompany your post. But it is worth investing some time to get it right.
You’ll know that we only do B&W images. It’s the law. We use creative commons photography wherever possible and have a love of retro images which fit closely with the comms2point0 brand. You’ll have your own styles and preferences but finding an image which sits perfectly with your post can really lift your efforts. And you can use the same image to promote your post on social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and, don’t forget ,LinkedIn.
So, to practice what we preach, here’s a call to action – write us a new post on something you’re passionate about, on a piece of work which has gone tremendously well, or share the learning on a project which bombed. Go on, you’re amongst friends.
Darren Caveney is co-creator of comms2point0 and vice chair of LGcomms
main image via Wikimedia Creative Commons