Have you been thinking about writing a blog post – either for AICP or starting your own personal blog – but you just can’t figure out how to write a good post, a compelling post or maybe even a post that goes viral? Or maybe you are aiming at a more realistic goal and just want to write a readable post that doesn’t embarrass anyone – especially you? You’ve read lots of posts and you KNOW you could write something! You can FEEL your inner Shakespeare, Maya Angelou or even Jimmy Kimmel wanting to write something. The only thing holding you back is a giant, flashing sign in your brain saying “HOW DO I START???”
I’ve been writing a personal blog for the past 10 years and have written hundreds of posts over the years – some good, some bad, some definitely ugly – and then there have been a few gems which have garnered more attention than I ever could have imagined – who would have guessed that a blog about junk mail would make so many people crazy! The main thing I have learned from my experience is that you can’t predict which post is going to resonate with people, cause disruption or even go viral. There is no magic number of words to write, picture to attach or even topic – but here are a few tips which might at least give you a nice start and make that sign in your head switch from “HOW DO I START” to “I FINALLY DID IT” –
- Write what you know. All writers will tell you that you need to write about things that you actually know about – but it is deeper than that. You need to write about things that you want to share, things that you are passionate about, things that bring you joy in the sharing! This is your chance to share all of that expertise, that joy, that enthusiasm – let it show in your writing!
- Grammar and sentence structure be damned. Yes, I know everyone wants it to look good – but your writing is a reflection of YOU! So if you talk like a Thesaurus, then by all means write like one. Make people hear YOU, YOUR voice – not the voice of a professor who is lecturing (unless that is really you). Add those commas wherever you want. Add lots of exclamation points!!! I am WRITER, let me ROAR!
- A great title and first paragraph. Find a title which draws people in and then actually speak to those people in the first paragraph. Make it personal. Make people want to read further. This also makes it fun for you to write. LET YOUR CREATIVITY SHINE.
- Tie it up with a bow. Make sure to tie everything together at the end of the blog post. Don’t let people guess what the point of the blog post is or what message you were trying to give out. If you remember nothing else from your high school sophomore English class – this is a good one to remember – everything has a beginning, middle and END. How long, short or messy these are is totally up to you!
So, that’s it – nothing that requires an advanced college degree or special training. No certifications needed. To write a blog you can be proud of boils down to these things – BE YOU, speak from your heart, let your voice be heard – and to capture that audience – come up with a title which is SNAPPY!
Past President, AICP