B.L. Ochman, Internet marketing consultant for the likes of Ford Motor Company and IBM, and president of whatsnextonline.com, has written an excellent piece on “How To Write Killer Blog Posts.” It’s one of those posts you stick under that magnet on the fridge (or tape on the wall by your monitor) to make sure you’re blogging as you should.
I told B.L. we have have some great lawyers in our LexBlog community always looking for ways to improve their blog posts. The great person she is, B.L. said to share her article with you guys. Without further ado, take it away B.L.
Writing blog posts is actually very simple. The basic guidelines are to keep your copy lively, factual, tight, clear and short and search engine optimized. Here are basic blog style guidelines to follow:
- Declarative sentences are good. Web readers demand them.
- Link like crazy. One thing that distinguishes blog posts from dead-tree journalism is that bloggers link prodigiously. Link to any mentions in your blog to other blogs, websites, articles, books, products, bios or explanatory materials on other sites. Always provide links to information that clarifies or gives background on information and opinions in your post.
- Write less. Omit all unnecessary words. The best advice I ever got about writing was from my first boss, the late ‘press agent’ Leo Miller, who taught me a game to play with sentences. He’d keep taking out words until removing one more word destroyed the meaning of the sentence. Taking this last sentence for example, the sentence would end up like, He’d take out words until removing another destroyed the sentence meaning. Aim at keeping your posts at about 250 words.
- Write good headlines. Most people use a news feeders like News Gator to scan blog headlines. They decide after seeing the headline to click into the post. Tell as much of the story as you can in the headline.
- Before: Pakistan: NA body on S&T meets
Huh? Who’s’ NA? What is S&T?
- After: Pakistan National Assembly Calls Water Resource Problems the Nation’s Major Issue
- Before: The B. B. King Book
- After: I’m Writing The B.B. King Biography
Questions to ask yourself before you hit ‘Publish’
- Is the topic clear to someone who only reads the headline?
- Does the lead paragraph tell who and what the story is about and why the reader should care about it?
- Is the angle you’ve used likely to seem newsworthy?
- Would someone who knows absolutely nothing about this topic understand this post?
- Is the post free of jargon?
- Is it written in a journalistic style and does it make an effort to be objective?
- Have you peppered the headline and the post with keywords and phrases that is attractive to search engines?”
Thnaks B.L., great stuff as usual. And we lawyers deserve that ribbing about ‘stiff, formal writing’ – we need to let our hair down a bit and talk like the folks we’d like to have as clients.
For law firms looking for an excellent consultant to think outside the box when it comes to Internet marketing & PR, give B.L. a call. It’s not every PR person who’s been invited onto Oprah. My invite must still be in the mail.