A lot of people want to be better bloggers, but either aren’t sure how or doubt whether they’d be good at it. Thanks to some easy tips, those concerns needn’t stop you from writing!
The following is a collection of tweets from the How to Blog workshop that that members of Greater Greater Washington’s editorial board hosted to give bloggers skills they need to be effective writers. The workshop was a session at StreetsCamp on Saturday.
Check them out, and remember: Greater Greater Washington is always looking for new contributors. If you’re interested in giving it a shot, send an email to email@example.com.
The big goal of blogging is to give people useful information in an accessible way.
Effective blogging needs: news, advocacy, and accessibility #StreetsCamp— Sean Emerson (@FourCornersSean) June 20, 2015
“Blog the way you speak to explain things simply” #StreetsCamp— Sean Emerson (@FourCornersSean) June 20, 2015
When you start a post, the key takeaways should go in the first two sentences. The harder it is to find and understand the main point, the less likely people are to read and engage with a post.
It’s also good to err against using the passive voice. That’s because passive voice often makes sentences more complicated than necessary. It also often puts the person or entity taking action second, or leaves them out altogether.
The editors shared this rule of thumb: If you can end a sentence with “by zombies,” either by simply adding it to the end or swapping it out with the existing end of the sentence, it’s passive voice. For example, “The road was widened” is passive voice, and so is “The road was widened by the State Highway Administration.” “The State Highway Administration widened the road,” on the other hand, isn’t passive.
No one really gets passive voice. If you can add 'by zombies' to the end of the statement, it's the passive voice. Change it. #streetscamp— Val B (@Val_bert) June 20, 2015
When blogging, it is also important to keep the post short and to the point. Lengthy posts take longer to write and read, and large blocks of text discourage readers.
Including imagery and photos in your posts is a great way to further engage the audience. Greater Greater Washington readers love maps!
Lastly, when looking for ways to blog effectively, it is important to remember why you are blogging in the first place. Being mindful of the audience and knowing what you are trying to achieve are the keys to writing great blog posts.
“Why blog? To build and engage a community of people”— Sean Emerson (@FourCornersSean) June 20, 2015