This is a guest post by Sam Peters.
Reading most of the blogging advice out there would suggest that a successful blog has little to do with the actual quality of its content. Success, instead, would appear to be determined by the blog’s use of SEO tactics, social media integration, WordPress templates, and affiliate marketing.
While all of these approaches can certainly bring in traffic and make your blog more successful, there really is no way to get around the fact that content is king and that the arguments you make and the topics you cover are ultimately far more important than anything else.
Of course, it’s harder to give advice about boosting content on a blog than it is to tell bloggers to engage in SEO practices. Content, after all, can cover a broad range of subject areas and audience demographics. But most internet readers share certain stylistic preferences when it comes to blog content. They want content that is provocative, engaging, and informative. They want content that can be easily skimmed. And they seek content that is presented in a “laid-back” and conversational manner.
Being truly conversational entails writing your content in a manner that maximizes its syntactic flow and makes it more natural to read. Here are a few suggestions for helping you make that happen:
-Ask questions. Breaking up your writing with questions is a great way to add a conversational tone to your content. Your questions can be used rhetorically, followed by explicit answer, and placed alone in a single-sentence paragraph. This diversity of use can help break up a writing style that is more pedantic in nature.
-Avoid traditional transitions. When trying to make your writing more fluid there is no better place to start than by considering your transitions. Although transitions such as however, therefore, and consequently make seem natural to writers, simpler ones (but, so, and, yet) can actually make your writing flow more naturally.
-Proofread out loud. Perhaps the best way to make your writing more conversational is by turning it into an actual conversation. Some people will speak their article out loud before writing it down, while others will take the opposite approach and read aloud while proofreading, after the initial writing has been done. Both approaches can help you quickly eliminate awkward sentences.
-Have an argument. This may seem obvious, but a dry and wholly informational piece is, by nature, less likely to come across as conversational than a piece that contains a strong argument. Whenever possible, try to incorporate an explicit argument into your writing. A more conversational style will hopefully flow naturally as a result.
-Split up paragraphs. Keeping your paragraphs concise and focused on a specific point can help your writing flow better both within that paragraph and in the piece as a whole. The best way to insure such concise focus is to err on the side of making paragraphs shorter rather than longer. This makes transitions easier and provides an added level of precision to your core argument.
-Try to forge grammatical balance. Different types of punctuation have different impact’s on a piece of writing’s flow. A period creates stark divisions between one thought and the next. An overuse of periods, then, can make your writing seem fragmented and cluttered. But an overuse of commas, on the other hand, can create a syntatic flow to such a degree that the reader grows confused and disoriented. For this reason, it is always best to maintain a balanced approach towards punctuation use.
-Be personal. When all else fails, adding a personal angle or anecdote to a written piece is a sure-fire way to bring into it an element of intimacy and a stronger conversational tone. People tend to write more fluidly and accessibly when talking about themselves. Doing so can also make your article more interesting in the first place.
Hopefully these tips can help you make your blog content more fluid and conversational. While such a style cannot compensate for poor content or shoddy writing, it can complement most internet topics in a way that better appeals to the average reader.
Sam Peters manages The Education Update and enjoys writing about ways to stand out and have a unique voice as a blogger.