This is the first post in a series on blog writing. These posts are based on ideas from a great little book called The Elements of Business Writing, by Gary Blake & Robert Bly. I’ve taken some of these ideas about business writing and adapted them for blogging with my own spin.
There are two common writing mistakes people make that weaken their blogging:
- They write an unnecessary first paragraph which rambles as it tries to pick up steam and establish the post.
- They write a drawn-out closing that ends the post weakly.
Delete the Warm-up Paragraph
The first paragraph often contains no information of value. It may not even be particularly engaging. Why does this happen? Because bloggers hit the Publish button after “splatting” out the first–and only–draft. Many times, the entire first paragraph can simply be deleted, and the post will begin on a much stronger, more confident note, without sacrificing any meaning or information.
In The Elements of Business Writing, Blake and Bly call the first paragraph the “warm-up paragraph” because what we’re really doing as we write it is warming up to say what we really want to say. The weak first paragraph can often be deleted (or at least edited) and the post will improve significantly.
Delete Unecessary Closings
Have you ever known someone who just didn’t know how to end a conversation? They kept dragging out the inevitable ending by bringing up new points in a conversation that should be over with. It makes others feel uncomfortable.
Just as we can often delete the warm-up paragraph, we can delete the ending one. In reality, the post ended already, but we felt the need to continue in a hedging, “from the heels” manner. One of the best ways to end blog posts is telling the the reader what to do: simply tell the reader what should be done to get the main benefit of the information in your post. That’s it. The end.
No More Rambling Brain Splats for You
Next time you write a blog post, just dive in there and chop out your first and last paragraphs without fear. This is no time for timidity. You may have to edit what you now have as your first and last paragraphs, but it should be by only the slightest amount. If you delete the warm-up paragraphs and the unecessary closings, your posts will be stronger, more confident-sounding, and more persuasive.
The next post in the series is: Quit Qualifying Your Words and Just Say it Already. If you don’t want to miss it, you’d better subscribe!