40 Ways to Deliver Killer Blog Content

rock scream You’ve got a chance right now. While everyone else has their eyes on celebrating the holidays and doing all their year end rituals, you can make a commitment. You can make your New Year’s resolution almost a full month early. Here’s what you can commit to for 2009: you’re going to have a killer blog. You’re going to write the kind of blog people post, tweet, link, and even print to stick up on their office wall. Your blog in 2009 is going to be the kind of blog that people use to power their own change. This is your chance to get out there and kick ass.

You can do this. You can deliver with the impact you want, and build on the work you’ve already done. I don’t claim that I know every little secret, but I tell you this: I get a lot of decent results with what I’m doing so far. You want some ideas from my side of the page? Here: take 40 of them. And if you want, add to them in your own blog post (pointing back to here). Ready?

40 Ways to Deliver Killer Blog Content

The Basics

  1. Brevity rules. Can you say it briefly?
  2. Start at the main point, then work the story up. (Make the main point in the first paragraph.)
  3. Use small words. You don’t have to impress people. You have to be clear.
  4. Analogies help people understand things better.
  5. So do stories.
  6. You don’t have to write complete sentences, even though your teacher taught you to do that. But treat it sparingly. Like this. Like a condiment.
  7. Keep paragraphs small, if possible. We balk at large blocks of text.
  8. Make your point from the reader’s side of the fence. Who is your audience?
  9. Depending on how you write, go back and see if you can cut out more. Reduce. Reduce. Reduce.
  10. Use the word you’re thinking about, not a fancier, or more polite word.


Concepts and the Bigger Picture

  1. Set up series of posts, even if you don’t call them a series. Make a post that brings up follow-on points from a previous post, and link back to that post to reinforce the original content.
  2. Get your inspiration from reading. #1 source for my ideas comes from other blogs not in my space. Not sure what to read that’s NOT in your space? Alltop, my friend. ( see also).
  3. Think strategically, if this is for business or a cause. Ask yourself what you want your reader to do next. Try to write from that point of view.
  4. Theme-wise, writing very helpful things that people can use is way better than writing thoughtful things that make people think and just walk away. You can have thoughtful but not helpful, but you’re striving for helpful and thoughtful in the same piece.
  5. Never write the me-too blog. Look to be ahead of the wave and feeding backwards, not behind the wave and eating someone’s wake.
  6. Look for ways to think forward, but that tie to your business interests. When I write about the future, I’m also inviting someone to make that future with me.
  7. Mix it up. Keep an editorial calendar and note what kinds of posts you’ve written lately. Thought posts? Lists? Interviews? Make sure you’re mixing up the type of post you’ve written lately.
  8. Consider the occasional dip into Google Trends to write a story that might draw new audience to your conversation. Don’t do this all the time, because the gimmick can wear off quick. Again, think condiments, not meals.
  9. If you don’t have anything interesting to blog, skip a day. Don’t skip many days.
  10. And never never never (raise your hand and repeat this with me) “I” (state your name) “solemnly swear never never never never ever to post another ‘I’m sorry I haven’t blogged lately’ posts ever again. Ever.”


Overdrive

  1. Consider your audience but write from your passion.
  2. Don’t mince words. If it’s a “pissing match,” it’s not a disagreement.
  3. Ask questions. Blogs are conversations starting and flowing. Ask. Questions.
  4. Link to people. If you write about Steve Garfield, link to Steve Garfield.
  5. It’s not all about your blog. Get out and comment on other people’s blogs. Often.
  6. Leave a few ideas unfinished. Ask for input. It always improves a piece. Blogs are great for that.
  7. Use tags. Lots of tags. Make sure you claim your blog with Technorati, and submit it with Alltop.
  8. Make sure your blog’s URL is everywhere: in your email signature, in Facebook, in Flickr, in Twitter, in every outpost you can think about.
  9. Don’t email, DM, and otherwise push every blog post you write to other people. Share the best ones. Let the others be found on their own merits.
  10. Always know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Question yourself often. Look for ways to improve the game.

thesis is my wordpress theme

Encore

  1. Comment back to the people who have left comments.
  2. Follow those people’s links sometimes and go explore their blog.
  3. Look for ways to empower the community you inspire.
  4. If you haven’t found your community yet, keep looking, searching, and connecting.
  5. Learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). It’s no longer okay not to know even the most basic things.
  6. Find great Creative Commons photos and use them for your post (with attribution).
  7. Deconstruct what your favorite writers do, and try it your own way.
  8. Occasionally, try something completely different.
  9. Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid of not being interesting enough.
  10. Write as if someone believes in you, because someone does. (me!)

And if that’s not enough, here’s my best advice about blogging.

What do you think? Any questions? Anything I left out?

Photo credit, motorpsykhos

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  • http://clairegiordano.org/blog Claire Giordano

    This is a great post, Chris, and conveys your 40 tips with short words, too. Thx!

    One tip to consider adding: Have a place to capture your blog topics, in real-time, as you think of them. As with all inspiration, if you don’t capture it, you lose it! In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:

    “Look sharply after your thoughts. They come unlooked for, like a new bird seen in your trees, and, if you turn to your usual task, disappear.”
    –Emerson

  • http://clairegiordano.org/blog Claire Giordano

    This is a great post, Chris, and conveys your 40 tips with short words, too. Thx!

    One tip to consider adding: Have a place to capture your blog topics, in real-time, as you think of them. As with all inspiration, if you don’t capture it, you lose it! In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:

    “Look sharply after your thoughts. They come unlooked for, like a new bird seen in your trees, and, if you turn to your usual task, disappear.”
    –Emerson

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  • http://www.chrisnorton.biz Chris Norton

    Chris, this is a really useful and insightful post. There are some great tips in here, I particularly like the fact that people should make their point in the first paragraph rather than building up to it.

    I also think, people should have a good point first and not just blog for the sake of it. I often find myself holding back rather than diluting what I write about.

    Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.chrisnorton.biz Chris Norton

    Chris, this is a really useful and insightful post. There are some great tips in here, I particularly like the fact that people should make their point in the first paragraph rather than building up to it.

    I also think, people should have a good point first and not just blog for the sake of it. I often find myself holding back rather than diluting what I write about.

    Keep up the good work.

  • http://mothersinamerica.brighterplanet.org Tanya Chadwick

    I have had this post up on my computer for the last couple of days so that I would not forget to read it. First, I am so glad I did save it. Wow, definitely the kind of information I needed to read, hear and learn and then be able to re-read yet again. Thank you for putting it into a an easy to quick read format as well.
    I used to say that I write to be read. I believe now it is I write to be heard and most certainly hope to be understood.
    Keep on Sharing!
    I like what you are doing!
    Most Sincerely,
    Tanya

  • http://mothersinamerica.brighterplanet.org Tanya Chadwick

    I have had this post up on my computer for the last couple of days so that I would not forget to read it. First, I am so glad I did save it. Wow, definitely the kind of information I needed to read, hear and learn and then be able to re-read yet again. Thank you for putting it into a an easy to quick read format as well.
    I used to say that I write to be read. I believe now it is I write to be heard and most certainly hope to be understood.
    Keep on Sharing!
    I like what you are doing!
    Most Sincerely,
    Tanya

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  • http://mrjavo.com/how-to-boost-your-blog-by-holding-a-contest/ Mr Javo

    Hey Chris, awesome post! Some of these 40 points can be obvious but sometimes people forget them… It’s nice to have you here to remind us that kind of simple but killer strategies!

    You have inspired me today! Keep up your great work :D

  • http://mrjavo.com/how-to-boost-your-blog-by-holding-a-contest/ Mr Javo

    Hey Chris, awesome post! Some of these 40 points can be obvious but sometimes people forget them… It’s nice to have you here to remind us that kind of simple but killer strategies!

    You have inspired me today! Keep up your great work :D

  • http://www.jennyonthespot.com jennyonthespot

    #24… I don’t know how bloggers miss this. It is quite irritating, really… to say the least.

  • http://www.jennyonthespot.com jennyonthespot

    #24… I don’t know how bloggers miss this. It is quite irritating, really… to say the least.

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  • http://www.WinkSound.com MateoPuig

    Thanks for the tips. A friend of mine forwarded this post to me and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m in need of the inspiration.

    I really enjoy your posts by the way. I’ve been following along for a few months now and you always have great insight to share with the rest of us.

    Thanks again and keep on keeping on!

  • http://www.WinkSound.com MateoPuig

    Thanks for the tips. A friend of mine forwarded this post to me and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m in need of the inspiration.

    I really enjoy your posts by the way. I’ve been following along for a few months now and you always have great insight to share with the rest of us.

    Thanks again and keep on keeping on!

  • http://www.tele-smart.com/blog Josiane Feigon

    Good stuff- especially well organized.

    Josiane

  • http://www.tele-smart.com/blog Josiane Feigon

    Good stuff- especially well organized.

    Josiane

  • http://colormepink.com Christine

    This is a great post! I learned a lot of great things and was reminded of a few that I knew, but somehow forgot. Thanks!

  • http://colormepink.com Christine

    This is a great post! I learned a lot of great things and was reminded of a few that I knew, but somehow forgot. Thanks!

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  • http://www.365hustle.com Hustler

    One of the best blog posts I have ever read.

  • http://www.365hustle.com Hustler

    One of the best blog posts I have ever read.

  • http://twitter.com/ryansmiller Ryan

    I needed this! I’m printing this out and putting it in front of my face everywhere I can. You’re gonna kill it in ’09 and hopefully I will follow ya!

  • http://twitter.com/ryansmiller Ryan

    I needed this! I’m printing this out and putting it in front of my face everywhere I can. You’re gonna kill it in ’09 and hopefully I will follow ya!

  • http://taijiutah.com SRS

    40 tips, doens’t that contradict the very first one: number 1?

    Good points though…

  • http://taijiutah.com SRS

    40 tips, doens’t that contradict the very first one: number 1?

    Good points though…

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  • http://redefinability.blogspot.com deepikaur

    Great post! I’ll definitely use this as my own guide in my startup blog.

    Thanks, and Happy Holidays!

  • http://redefinability.blogspot.com deepikaur

    Great post! I’ll definitely use this as my own guide in my startup blog.

    Thanks, and Happy Holidays!

  • http://www.y-rd.blogspot.com Ellie Behling

    Someone said something about journalism 101.

    But I was thinking the opposite…

    How does journalism 101 fit into it all?

    [Loved your post. Will probably print it out and paste it on my wall and follow it like a religion.]

    But what about the ethical concerns of blogging (the journalism 101); does that have anything to do with the convo? [I know a lot of bloggers aren't journalists, but I'm asking, what about "being good" -- what does that have to do with being a good blogger?]

    Thanks!!!

  • http://www.y-rd.blogspot.com Ellie Behling

    Someone said something about journalism 101.

    But I was thinking the opposite…

    How does journalism 101 fit into it all?

    [Loved your post. Will probably print it out and paste it on my wall and follow it like a religion.]

    But what about the ethical concerns of blogging (the journalism 101); does that have anything to do with the convo? [I know a lot of bloggers aren't journalists, but I'm asking, what about "being good" -- what does that have to do with being a good blogger?]

    Thanks!!!

  • http://www.weddingsbysocialites.blogspot.com Kelly McWilliams

    Printed and posted on the wall! Thank you!

  • http://www.weddingsbysocialites.blogspot.com Kelly McWilliams

    Printed and posted on the wall! Thank you!

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  • http://spiral-scratch.blogspot.com/ Liz

    I think it depends on the purpose of your blog. I can see following these rules (or some of them) if your blog is part of your business and it is important to build an audience but they run counter to the creativity and spontaneity of a personal blog.

    Blogs can be creative outlets where one expresses ideas with words, images, videos, colors, movement, & design. It’s great to share this but sometimes the creation is satisfying in itself. I think it is more important to be authentically yourself than calculate through managing content how to attract the greatest number of people. The quality and originality of the content, not the packaging of it, should be the primary concern, IMO.

    I guess what I’m arguing is that there is no one set of rules of what a blog should be. They are more like books (which can be works of art in themselves) than newspapers (which have a clear objective…to deliver news). A blog is whatever it’s creator wants it to be and sometimes rules don’t apply.

  • Liz

    I think it depends on the purpose of your blog. I can see following these rules (or some of them) if your blog is part of your business and it is important to build an audience but they run counter to the creativity and spontaneity of a personal blog.

    Blogs can be creative outlets where one expresses ideas with words, images, videos, colors, movement, & design. It’s great to share this but sometimes the creation is satisfying in itself. I think it is more important to be authentically yourself than calculate through managing content how to attract the greatest number of people. The quality and originality of the content, not the packaging of it, should be the primary concern, IMO.

    I guess what I’m arguing is that there is no one set of rules of what a blog should be. They are more like books (which can be works of art in themselves) than newspapers (which have a clear objective…to deliver news). A blog is whatever it’s creator wants it to be and sometimes rules don’t apply.

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  • http://www.bebizzy.com BeBizzy

    Excellent list!