When I started brainstorming for this blog post in my head, I immediately recalled a ridiculous line from a ridiculous movie called Just Friends.
Please note that I’m not recommending the film to anyone, since I’m sure your sense of humor is much more highly evolved than mine. But this one line is relevant regardless, since it goes like this:
“Be yourself. Be yourself. Be yourself.”
Delivered in a sing-song voice by a space-cadet mother to a grown-up son, it’s supposed to be a snicker-worthy moment, I know. Yet it’s still great advice to take if you want to attract a large following and blog “like a boss,” as my younger brother might say.
So let me repeat it once again: Be yourself.
In other words, whatever you’re going to put up online, make sure it features your personality. After all, blogging is about building relationships, and very few people want a relationship with an autobot.
That’s why you want to write about your thoughts and opinions and experiences and loves and dislikes – as relevant to your larger field of focus, of course. And while you’re at it, you probably want to aim for a conversational tone.
I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule where you have to be all business for a blog. But in most cases, you’re going to get further when you pretend that you’re chatting directly with your readers.
Here are some tips to do exactly that:
- Use contractions. Unless you’re trying to emphasize a “to be” verb, contractions are your friends. When you speak out loud, chances are high that you shorten yourself from “is not” to “isn’t,” and “should not” to “shouldn’t.” It therefore looks much more natural when you write the way you talk, giving your blog posts a welcoming tone vs. an educational or authoritative one.
- End on prepositions. I’ll flat-out admit that I hate the grammatical “don’t end a sentence on a preposition” rule. It’s contrived and downright impossible in some cases. And once again, nobody actually speaks that way! So go ahead and write “I’m sure you know what you’re talking about.” or “You might want to think that one through.” You’ll get no judgement here – just more readers and followers.
- Employ incomplete sentences. You don’t want to do this all the time, as it gets obnoxious or incoherent or repetitive. But there are few better ways of emphasizing a point than to tell proper sentence structure to go take a long walk. Off a short pier. Ending a paragraph with a one-word non-sentence such as “Right?” or “Seriously!” or something a little longer like “Nothin’ wrong with that.” can help build up excitement or disbelief or whatever other intense emotion you’re blogging for.
- Learn to love white space. White space is anywhere on your blog page (or any page) that isn’t taken up by text or images. It’s just blank. And it’s very powerful. White space serves a few different purposes in that it gives readers’ eyes a break and their minds a pause between stated points. Especially in today’s day and age, when attention spans are already ridiculously short, people are more likely to follow you if you don’t overwhelm them with too much text or too many big, bulky paragraphs.
Oh yeah, and use “And” and “But” and other conjunctions to start out sentences when appropriate. At the risk of sounding repetitive, this will help your blog feel friendly rather than like a textbook.
Now, if any of the above advice makes it sound like you shouldn’t be concerned about good grammar and professionalism, then I apologize. Because how you write something is just as important as what you write.
Grammar matters. A lot!
Yes, you want to be yourself as you blog. But you want to be the best possible version of yourself. That involves knowing the standard writing rules and when to break them.
To achieve that goal, always look over what you’ve written before you press the publish button. A single grammatical or spelling mistake isn’t going to kill you, but consistent errors could easily turn a lot of readers off.
Reviewing your pre-published post also gives you the chance to review your message. You let your personality out while composing it, which is exactly what you were supposed to do. But after you’re done, try to step back and review the piece like you’re your ideal reader.
Do you still understand it from that new perspective? Is it interesting? Does it offer something helpful, even if just a laugh?
Answer those questions, revise what you need to revise, read it over one last time, and then you’re ready to go.
That combination of personality and perspective? That’s how you blog like a boss.
Meet the Author!
Jeannette DiLouie is the Chief Executive Editor of Innovative Editing, a full-service editorial company that writes and edits blog posts, creates website copy and helps compose marketing material. You can find her at www.InnovativeEditing.com or follow her professional writing tips, tricks and tactics every Thursday by connecting on LinkedIn.