Welcome to Into the Inbound with Technology Aloha, a podcast about Web Design, Internet, and Content Marketing with Aloha. Join us every Tuesday for new episodes. To listen to our recent podcasts or read our blog visit technologyaloha.com/blog.
JILLYN: Hi, I’m Jillyn founder and executive director of Technology Aloha and I’m here today with our Content Manager, Kelli to talk about how to write a blog post. Not sure what to write about? Check out our previous podcast “How to Come Up With Things to Write About.” Our podcast today will be broken into four sections; Planning Your Posts, Researching Your Topic, Writing Your Draft, and Editing your post. But first, let’s have Kelli explain why blogging is so important.
KELLI: Hey everyone, I’m Kelli. Blogging is important because it’s a great way to consistently set yourself apart from your competition and also a great way to connect with whoever you’re trying to reach. We thought it’d be a great idea to give you an insider’s look on how we handle blogging at Technology Aloha so that you won’t get overwhelmed by it. So, Jillyn we’re going to talk about planning your blog topic. Why plan a blog post rather than just jumping in?
JILLYN: Well, planning is a really important step because without planning you don’t know when you’re done researching and ready to start writing. Your research and writing also won’t be as efficient without a plan. The other really nice thing about planning is that if you do it right your plan will double as the outline for your post which streamlines the entire process from beginning to end.
KELLI: Having an outline is a really great way to streamline and it’s really nice to have a streamlined process.
JILLYN: Yes. Anytime you can save time and be efficient is a positive thing. So, now that you have a plan for the post let’s move on to researching the blog post. Kelli, how do you do research?
Research Your Topic
KELLI: I start with the keywords that I know I want to focus on, you should already have these keyword research is not a research point of your writing. You can search those particular keywords that you have like on Google or Bing or whatever search provider you like to use, and then look at what’s being talked about and if there’s anything new to you about the subject or if something’s missing about what’s being talked about that you already know.
JILLYN: That’s really good advice. So, do you have, sort of a benchmark of how much research you should do?
KELLI: Enough research is my best answer but you don’t want to fall into the rabbit hole. So, your plan will help with that. Find enough research to keep on-topic but not so much that you lose the meat of your post. I usually set 20-minute research timers per post. That way I can write what I know not what everyone else knows.
JILLYN: That’s a really good guideline, manageable amount of time and a deadline which is always good because boy, it is really easy to get sucked in on the internet, right?
KELLI: Oh my goodness, I would never stop researching if I didn’t have a deadline.
Create an Outline
JILLYN: Yes, I can completely see that. So, once you’re done with your research what are the steps for actually writing a blog post?
KELLI: So, you want to outline each subject area that way you can break up the post into a few paragraphs but cover the subject differently and then write a quick introduction, write each section that you’ve decided to write about and write a conclusion. Also, be sure to include a cult of action. After that point, I revise the introduction because my topic might have shifted a little bit, and then I take a break, that part’s really important cause I need to step away. After that, I’ll proofread the first draft removing errors will keep you professional in your writing and then to remove those errors use internet add-ons like Grammarly.
Take a Break
JILLYN: I think that that’s all really good advice and that break is really important. Do you have guidelines on how long of a break you should take, is that an overnight break, an hour? What do you usually try to put in there for your break time?
KELLI: For my break time I want to do something that will take my mind off of what I just did. I want to, not necessarily forget what I just wrote but remove it from my short-term memory. So, I would give it a minimum of 15 minutes but I would at least give it an hour usually.
JILLYN: I think that that’s a good guideline to follow. It’s just so hard to proofread your own writing if you go back and do it right away.
Edit Your Writing
KELLI: So, once you get there you need to edit your blog and it’s really, really important to go through your editing process so that you can match tone and clarity and easy reading. Jillyn, could you talk to us about what tone is?
JILLYN: Yeah, so, your blog has a sound to it and although I know the people are reading it because every blog is written for a specific set of readers, your blog needs to have a tone that resonates with those readers whether that’s informal and fun or exact and informative. That’s totally fine you just want to make sure that it’s consistent so that it appeals to your readers. When you’re doing your editing, that’s the time to ensure that your blog post sounds like it belongs on your blog.
KELLI: And the other thing with clarity is that you want to make sure that you set your structure as correct, you’ve got good punctuation, you’re taking care of commas. Clarity is the grammar, you really, really, really need to make sure that these are correct so that your readers can simply read your writing and the main reason I say this is because brains don’t sentence logically, you need to follow the proper grammar rules so the others don’t have to guess what you’re trying to say.
JILLYN: The ease of reading is also very important and while punctuation, and dashes, and semi-colons and all of those things really help with that, part of it is also keeping your paragraphs to a single topic area and keeping all of your sentence structures short and simple. It makes it so that people can very quickly grasp what you’re saying and it makes it a quick and fast read and generally that is what people are looking for online. You should also use headings to break up your posts and give your readers an at a glance overview of the topic. We’ll cover this more in-depth in our next podcast on June 18th.
KELLI: So, this is always the funnest part to accomplish but there are a couple of things that you can use and Jillyn has my favorite one.
JILLYN: So, Hemingway is the app that we generally use and Hemingway is really wonderful, there’s an online version but if you use the Apple platform there’s also a desktop version that’s very affordable and it gives you a really clean space to put your ideas down and write and then it has a setting where you can flip over and remove all of those extraneous things. Passive verbs, adverbs, sentence structure that doesn’t necessarily support what you’re saying or it’s too complicated and difficult to read. It just helps you tighten up your writing, it’s absolutely my favorite and that particular tool is available at hemingwayapp.com. So, Kelli do you have any other steps for just making sure that the post is completely squared away and exactly what you want it to be?
Read Your Post Out Loud
KELLI: Yeah, as I stated earlier, brains don’t necessarily sentence logically, so you’ll want to read your post out loud. That way your brain can’t assume you wrote it correctly, you get to listen to yourself, you hear it. If you can’t read the sentence out loud then others won’t be able to easily read it.
JILLYN: That totally makes sense. The fact of the matter is that we read the way we speak and so, reading it out loud is a great plan. Well, it looks like that’s all the time we have for today. We’ll include links in the description to several of our blog posts that cover this topic in more depth. I’m Jillyn.
KELLI: And I’m Kelli, if you have questions about how to write a blog post or have other topics you want to hear on our podcast, please reach out to us on social media or contact us TechnologyAloha.com. Thank you for listening to Into the Inbound with Technology Aloha we hope we’ve added a little aloha to your day!
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Into the Inbound with Technology Aloha