Become a Better Writer Today – Save Your Work From Falling Off the Cliff

It’s amazing what happens when you become a magazine editor. You get to see a lot of people’s writing and think about what it means to deliver a piece of content that works well. Between my own project and the opportunity I’ve had lately to look at dozens and dozens of prospective authors’ works, I’m noticing something very recurring in people’s work: a strong urge for people to write their way off a cliff.

Become a Better Writer Today

If you’re blogging or writing magazine articles, there’s an important piece of the frame you have to improve upon, if you’re most people. Write better endings. Finish up your pieces. Of the last 26 articles and blog posts I’ve read from other people, 24 of them had weak/bad/NO ending. It’s as if people just thought, “Well, I’m done giving you the details. I’ll go home now.”

What happens is that we, the reader, end up feeling a bit off, and we don’t always know why, but we leave the piece with a sense that something just wasn’t quite right. In this case, that feeling could lead to no action being taken, or even the perception that the work isn’t as good as it probably is.

A Simple Writing Frame

I’ve got the simplest writing frame in the world. People who take my Blogging: The Master Class course know it well.

  • Opening paragraph, usually something personal that attempts to connect a reader.

  • First main point, then explanations.
  • Second and third main points, if that’s important.
  • How-To information to expand upon the process.
  • A Call to Action

In this frame, I show that MY favorite endings push you to take a next action, whether or not that’s in service of my business needs or otherwise. For instance, in my last piece about networking, I said that if you came up to me at an event, I’d give you three other pieces of information. It was a call to action (which a few dozen people actually heeded at the event I was attending).

The point? Leave people with something to do at the end. Don’t just finish up what you’re saying and walk off the stage. It’s just too awkward and stunted.

If this was helpful, take a peek at Blogging: The Master Class. There are lots and lots of helpful information baked into the project. And if you scroll down that page and look at the testimonials, you’ll see some real proof of why it’s important.

And if it wasn’t helpful, then you’re probably already ending your pieces in a great way, and not leading people off the cliff. That’s a good thing. Keep your readers safe, okay?

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  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Chris,

    Share, then tell. Share value then punctuate your post by telling your readers to do something. A blog is a gateway marketing device; otherwise, we might as well be writing in a diary, right? Share, tell, improve lives.

    Excellent point CB, thanks for sharing!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      It’s both. Sometimes, my blog is just media. Content for the value of the content alone. But if we’re smart, we use it for both as often as possible. : )

  • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

    Great tip Chris,
    I’m definitely going to pay more attention to my endings.

    I’ve also noticed this problem in movies.

    You see 1 hr 45mins of the greatest action scenes and dialogue imaginable – then it all just kind of “works out” in the last 5 minutes.

    And sometimes, when they really don’t have an ending – the actors will simply all start dancing to music. (really)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Totally true about movies, especially action. The “big monster at the end” ending, for instance.

    • http://www.brum.pw/ Phillip Dews

      This reminds me of the movie Gravity I recently watched! Great movie and the special effects was amazing. I am a big special effects guy to heart!

      But the ending was dire just walking off (Not going to say more as I don’t want to spoil it for others who have not seen this movie)

  • Adam Sell

    Guilty.

    The endings of my blog posts are always the toughest part. Sometimes, when I’m putting together a post out of necessity (we need to have something up today) rather than inspiration (I’ve totally got to write this), my posts look like episodes of the Simpsons: a beginning that makes sense only to the creators, a beefy middle section that may or may not include a side plot, and an abrupt ending.

    I don’t use credits, though, so at least there’s that.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      There *is* that. But there’s always room for credits. : )

  • Nicole Ortega

    I love this and tweeted it. Simple, and effective point and a reminder for me. I just did a Facebook update before I read your article and in the middle of my update I found myself going “Why am I sharing this, what do I want people to do? And so I ended with a thought on mindfulness and interconnectedness that I think ended it well. Afterward, I stopped by looking for your thoughts on Google+ pages for entrepreneurs and found this great post. And it’s congruent with what I’m doing. Yey! :)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      So happy that you’re already doing it! : )

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  • http://lucychenfineart.com/ Lucy Chen

    Keep your readers safe.

    Love this!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Thanks, Lucy. : )

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  • Aphile-Aphile Sololo

    Just what I need. As a novice blogger, this will definitely help me improve my writing and write more strategically. Thanks!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Happy to help. : )

  • http://jacksonandwilson.com/ Mitch Jackson

    Awesome 5 bullet steps. Just shared on my communication tips platforms. Will also share the course. Thanks Chris!

  • Chris Devismes

    As this is the very first blogread for me, I can now tell my teenage son that dads ‘with it’. Why I picked you I can’t say, but its fast becoming obvious that how I write needs a bit more structure, so bless you for putting it ‘out there’. ‘Ooh er, look at me with the catchy phrases. Thanks Chris.

  • @SAPL

    I am speaking to a grade 5 class as a Blog Writer on Monday, helpful to use the five tips with them!

  • http://searchsimplicity.com/ Gregory Smith

    Love this WP theme. Genesis is so awesome…

  • http://mobilerevolution.us/ John Simpson

    Hey Chris. Just came across your blog. Great stuff. May I ask a quick question. I look forward to reading more. What Genesis Child” theme are you using on this site? If you can let me know I’d appreciate it and click through your affiliate link. Thanks.

  • http://www.kizi1.org/ Kizi 1

    I like what you bring it very interesting

  • David John

    These are quite helpful tips. I’d like to add that there are new social networks, like Duvamis, where everyone can post an article or news for no cost and it will be published immediately. I find it great and fast way to spread your news and ideas. Thank you!

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    Great writing frame. I use something similar.

  • Keeon Taylor

    Wow! I just went back and tweaked something in my blog post. I like how you say connect with the reader in the beginning. It’s better than sounding like a wikipedia article. I also try to keep my sentences and paragraphs short.

  • Kathy Rees

    Great points as always Chris. New year for me, new goals, new writing timetable, always great to pop in and see what you’re up to and always great quality advice.

  • Kathy Rees

    aka @strictly btw Happy New year

  • http://www.brum.pw/ Phillip Dews

    Keep your readers safe! I love it! I am surprised though Chris that you did not use some sort of lemmings analogy there as that what I was expecting when looking at the title of this post!

    Seems to me a lot off bloggers especially new ones like myself are in too much of a rush to end their blog post, get it published and start shoving it down the necks of their followers, friends and fellow bloggers on their various social networks.

    One of my friends and fellow blogger Ryan Biddulph uses what you say all the time in his blog posts and that is using a call to action at the end of his posts! In fact he uses a big bold tag with the words “CALL TO ACTION” towards then end!

    His readers know what is expected of them at the end of his quality posts. I love it, it’s like being honest and upfront instead of just trying to be clever and sly when trying to include affiliate links and the like!

    For me though I try and end my posts not only with a call to action, Like you I use the big Genesis Box at the end of my posts, But I try and use restraint in my posts and leave my readers hopefully wanting more…..

    Cheers.

  • Savannah Kirk

    Great points! Just started a blog for a social media strategy course at The University of Georgia and am definitely a beginner at this, but really enjoying it. I have actually been following a similar framework as the one you mentioned in your post, which was reassuring, but I definitely learned a few more tips from reading this. Most of all, I agree that opening with a personal story or experience really helps to hook the reader in and make the post more interesting and unique.

    Thanks for the tips!

  • KelvinAndBecDorsey

    Totally agree Chris…Ya gotta end strong! I used to play drums in a band, if we screwed up the ending, it kinda undid the whole song…even if we played the rest of the song perfectly. Movies…music…writing ALL need to leave the consumer feeling full and satisfied….with NO bad after-taste.

  • chat2vishakha

    Agreed Chris from your post. I basically post my contents on Hichkey .

  • http://www.davecosta.co/ David Costa

    Really it is like any kind of writing: Hook them in with a strong lede, creatively fill in the cracks of the story in the body, and then leave a bow or two at the end so your readers feel like they were taken somewhere worthwhile – somewhere that validates the effort it took to get through the piece. The first two elements are negotiable (meaning the formula for lede and body is very fluid) while the conclusion is not. When a piece doesn’t finish strong, there is very little chance readers will remember a thing you said.

  • http://www.davecosta.co/ David Costa

    Really it is like any kind of writing: Hook them in with a strong lede, creatively fill in the cracks of the story in the body, and then leave a bow or two at the end so your readers feel like they were taken somewhere worthwhile – somewhere that validates the effort it took to get through the piece. The first two elements are negotiable (meaning the formula for lede and body is very fluid) while the conclusion is not. When a piece doesn’t finish strong, there is very little chance readers will remember a thing you said.