How to write a successful and interesting blog post – tips!

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.’

Happy Blogging

( oh and don’t forget to spellcheck !)


Story writing for blogs

Today was our 6th training session for the Community Reporter Training Course, the tutor was John Baron the journalist. He explained  the difference between writing headlines for printed material and on line publishing, he suggested that whereas headlines for printed material can use word play to good effect, blog headlines are best written succinctly, this increases the likelihood of search engines speedily sorting internet searches.

John pointed out that an introduction sets the scene to a story and is ideally best kept to no more than thirty words. I didn’t quite manage that this time!  After explaining the 5 Ws of good journalistic story telling and reminding us

that journalists

and all writers have to work at their art, having to continually rework pieces, I found this reassuring, as I always have to tweak what I write, we were paired up to collaborate at constructing a story from  a set of random sentences cut from a news story, group feedback and comparison showed we had  differing opinions about ordering the main points.

John and Terry suggested we might like to put links into out blog stories………I will be practising this before our next session as I don’t think I quite got that.

The stimulation of learning new techniques , the social aspect of the training and an increased awareness, between sessions, for observing potential images for photographs or interesting stories has helped me stay committed to attending.every week.

Like many people my enthusiasm for opportunities to learn often sees me over commit while my mood is stable, and as I was already taking part in singing with the ‘Healing Voices’ choir,* (part of the Arts and Minds Network),,  they meet Tuesday afternoon, 2-4pm from 18th September at the Swarthmore Education Centre, 2-7 Woodhouse Square, contact Jane 0775 881131, and a cookery course with Jamie’s (Oliver) Ministry of Food, I was apprehensive about accepting the invitation to take  part in this additional 8 week  free course but I’m pleased I did.

*The Healing Voices choir will be performing in the Light on World Mental Health day, 2nd October.