, ,

Blogs: How to structure

blog structure

The internet is great for communication – too bad then that we’re often not great communicators.

We are so accustomed to ‘instant’ communication via twitter, WhatsApp, emails..etc, that nowadays we now tend to write as we think.

Like any activity, most of the hard work is in the preparation – start with a decent plan and a sound structure, then the writing will flow and it can actually become quite enjoyable. 

Read on and try it!


So, here are my 5 tips for structuring your blogs.

1. Plan what you’re going to say.

I’m assuming that you’ve already got a few blogs idea in mind and are ready to write. If you’re not, then it’s worthwhile reading How to get started with blog writing before you begin.

  • 1 key point per blog is fine – I find a common mistake is that people try to say too much in their blogs; they make so many points (the majority of which are not properly developed) that it can be hard to decipher what the blog is actually about (note: see point 3. ‘Do not write as you speak’)
  • 5 W’s + How – journalists are taught to make sure they cover the ‘What, Where, Who, When, Why’  in every article they write. Write these down on a scrap of paper with your planning structure and tick them off. [See How to write great Case Studies].
  • Categorise for easy retrieval – how are you going to locate your blog afterwards? By now, assuming you’ve got your topic and your key points sorted, this should be self-explanatory…but it’s surprising how often it’s not!
  • Tag for SEO – whilst this blog isn’t about SEO [see SEO and the perils of keyword stuffing], whilst you’re writing, you might as well tag as you go along – think about what search terms you would use to find this article if you were interesting in the topic.
  • Internal & external hyperlinks – not from an SEO point of view (see point above), but to prevent you from repeating yourself [note: this is why a limited number of points per blog is a distinct advantage].

2. Make sure the crux of the story is in the introduction – not in paragraph five. 

In online writing, there isn’t time for the ‘big build-up’:

  • Include the keyword in the title and the introduction [See SEO scoring for blogs] – this helps keep your message on track and also helps you to identify, at a glance, what your blogs were about when looking back at them!
  • Use H2 headings for your introduction – include the keyword in your introduction.
  • Make your introduction a synopsis – then you can copy and paste it to your social media links [See How to write a modular LinkedIn profile].

 

3. Do NOT write as you speak.

Your speech is spontaneous, you flit around subjects, you repeat yourself, you use slang and expressions, you actively modify the manner and tone of your language to mirror the non-verbal feedback you are receiving from other people.

You can’t do any of this when you are writing.

  • Structure is paramount – refer back to points 1. & 2. – make sure your introduction is clear and you have distinct paragraphs.
  • Review and edit Hemmingway once said: “Write drunk, edit sober.”  ‘Nuff said!

As long as your writing is well-structured and easy to understand, you can still adopt a conversational tone. This will make your writing accessible, and help engage with your readers.

However, it takes a fair bit of work and organisation to manage an engaging conversational tone…don’t be fooled into thinking it was unplanned!

4. Paragraphs should be clear and able to stand on their own.

  • Sub-headings tell a mini-storysee How to write a memorable headline.
  • Embolden the eye – most people don’t read, they scan. Bold headings attract attention.
  • Use different colours – a lecture at a Literary Festival on ‘The Art of Menu’, whilst not a fantastic lecture, was thought-provoking on how menus use structure and colour to draw the diners’ attention to certain dishes [See On the Menu ].
  • Use CAPITALS – used sparingly they can be very effective; used too often they simply look angry!

5. Make white space your friend

 

CONCLUSION

Note that this blog is all about STRUCTURE; I haven’t mentioned once HOW to write compellingly…that’s for another blog.

Have a template in mind beforehand and you can draft the key points for a number of different blogs – you don’t have to finish each blog straight away.

With practise, you will find that establishing a structure becomes a habit…and once you do, you’re well over halfway there.

You’ve now just got to write them!

 

Next article in the series:

Blogs: How to write them

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.