There are numerous perks of being a Community Reporter for Leeds Wellbeingweb one of which is free expert led workshops. Recently we had a fantastic session on how to write a successful blog. The session was led by John Baron who is a Journalist and has worked for the Guardian.
We started with a brainstorm session: What makes a good story? Why is a print headline different to online? How to structure a blog post?
Here are some tips:
A story needs to be interesting, engaging, unusual – perhaps, and well written. Like any good story, a good blog has a beginning, middle and end.
Start a blog post with a winning headline. An online headline needs to be descriptive and informative. It should contain keywords which an internet user is likely to search for when using a search engine. Printed headlines differ as they appear in context, alongside the written article and often with a picture. Newspaper headlines are more likely to be a play on words.
Next we need a clear introduction. The introduction needs to grab the reader’s attention and explain the story. In terms of the story think about the following: ‘What, Where, Why, When and Who,’ which are commonly described as: ‘The five W’s.’ John advised us to keep the introduction brief and suggested that it should be no more than 20 – 30 words in length.
The main body of the blog post follows and needs to engage the reader. A well written blog flows well and is often quite punchy. Here you can include facts and perhaps quotes. We were told that writing short sentences helps.
The summary can include things which are interesting but not crucial. Internet readers tend to have short attention spans and tend to flick around from site to site. Get the juicy bits in early on!
It’s not all about structure and writing though, a blog post could be fantastic but what is it without an audience? Link to other sites and use ‘Categories and Tags’ to increase ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ (SEO). Linking and tagging means the blog will appear higher up in the results of a Google search, attracting more readers to the blog. Remember to ensure the headline contains keywords that Internet users will search for rather than a play on words.
John Baron was a fantastic tutor and led a great workshop. He also manages a local blog: South Leeds Life. He left us with some simple words of wisdom ‘Write, rewrite and rewrite again.’
Finally, if you’re still reading and if you are interested in blogging there is an excellent article which managed an interesting headline, but also came up on the first page of my Google search: ‘Google Doesn’t Laugh: Saving Witty Headlines in the age of SEO.’
( oh and don’t forget to spellcheck !)