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Five tips to get you started when writing blogposts

Spandau Ballet Gold (1983)

Gold!1

Remember who your readers are: they are busy people who don’t have time to read and simply want the nuggets which, since you are the expert, you will know from whence to mine, so they don’t have to! Only post things that will be of value to your readers. As I have said previously, “before I hit post I always put myself in your shoes and ask if something is genuinely helpful and informative”.

The song Gold has become an anthem for Spandau Ballet and keeps the band getting bookings for gigs even nowadays, helping boost their income even though the 80s is well and truly behind us. Gary Kemp said something interesting about the writing of this song to The Mail on Sunday March 13, 2011: “There’s no formula to writing a song like that, but the title is key, there’s no point writing a great melody and not knowing what the title is. It’s so hard to put the title over a melody you’ve found – it’s better to think: I have a great title, a great opening line, how do I make that into a song?” This is an interesting idea for writing web content or blog posts, replacing “a great title” with an excellent keyword string.

Research keywords

This can be like jumping down a rabbit hole, as it can take you to all sorts of places that you didn’t even know people are interested in. I have a specific method for keyword research which I share with my clients when trying to figure out the best domain name. The trick is to use keywords which are widely searched for but not widely used by other websites. It is not as difficult as it sounds. Once you have your great key phrases to write around, integrate them intelligently into your posts, you will be picked up by search engines and more readers will find you when searching for what you are writing about.

Google it

So you’ve got your general idea or keywords but still don’t have a clue where to start?  Google is your friend.  No matter what topic under the sun you can possibly think of, someone is bound to have already written about it.  And google will find it and present it to you for you to read and get ideas from.  If you happen to take anything from it, it is good manners to link back to it or somehow acknowledge it.  I do this all the time in my blog posts, particularly when I am looking for interesting information about some of the music I refer to.

Use some personality

There is a lot of writing out there about everything as I mentioned in the paragraph above. Love it or hate it, (and you are bound to hate some of it because music taste is so personal) I choose to express my personality by using music which my generation may or may not be familiar with. Some is obscure, some was terribly commercial, but it is just a quirky little thing that I get a little kick out of because it is my blog, and my way of livening it up a little.

Mindmap it

Mindmapping is my favourite way to do things, besides making spreadsheets. In fact, I have a mindmap for most of the things I have written about to date. If you’ve never learned how to mind map, it’s a pretty simple process: you start with a central idea, then you draw “spokes” out from the centre with other ideas. It is a great way to get ideas down in a hurry and see where they connect to others or what they might lead to.

Brainstorming mindmap

To better understand the mind-map of the web design planning process, see the Brainstorming Your Ideas form.

Know your reader

Imagine that you’re just writing for a single reader, preferably someone you know. Write with them in mind, tell them something useful, being clear about exactly what that is to avoid waffle. Relax as if they are there in person and you are explaining how they need to know.  This will help your writing flow more easily.  If you have done the above preparation, you are ready to begin.

This is quite a broad outline of the blogging process; besides this, the best tip I can give is to draw up a list of topics, no matter how weird and wonderful, and begin this process on the first topic that interests you enough for you to want to get started on.  Happy writing!

  1. Gold by Spandau Ballet was released in 1983 and  features on their third album, True. The BBC used this song in their coverage of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, and it has been covered by several artists and used all over the place. David Barrat wrote a book about them, New Romantics Who Never Were: The Untold Story of Spandau Ballet.

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