Blogging and copywriting have a lot in common.
They’re both meant to grab readers’ attention, entertain, educate, and, at some point, convert readers into fans.
Sometimes we talk so much about blogging strategy and techy stuff that we forget that the foundation of blogging is actually writing!
I’m a writer who learned to blog and write sales copy, so I want to share some of my favorite writing tips for bloggers. Some of these will work whether you’re writing fiction, non-fiction, or blog posts, and others are more specific to blogging and copywriting.
Here we go!
My Favorite Writing Tips for Bloggers
Speak directly to your reader
Take one: If we use the words “we” or “us” a lot, it’s easy for our readers to disconnect from our writing. We want our readers to feel like we’re talking to them!
Let’s try that again.
Take two: If you use the words “we” or “us” a lot, it’s easy for your readers to disconnect from your writing. You want your readers to feel like you’re talking to them!
See the difference? That second one felt like I was talking to you, right?
If it makes sense, use “you” and “your” instead of “you guys,” “you all,” “we,” “us,” or the super formal/pretentious “one,” as in, “If one uses the words ‘we’ and ‘us’….” see what I mean?
Change the order
If you’re writing something that just isn’t flowing or making sense, try moving sentences or paragraphs around. So much of writing and editing is just organization!
Even if it doesn’t make sense, try switching up the order just to see if it flows better.
Embrace the crap draft
That’s what I call the very first draft of anything, because, let’s be honest, that’s what it usually is.
I also call the very first draft the “dump draft” because you’re just dumping ideas onto the page. Worry about organization and mechanics and stuff later.
I recently wrote a post about this. Spoiler: editing while you’re drafting will only slow you down, and I promise it won’t make your writing any better.
In fact, it might make your writing WORSE because you’re writing with lots of inhibitions, which can block some good stuff.
Have you ever heard the saying “Write drunk, edit sober?”
This quote is often misattributed to Ernest Hemingway, and I’m not sure where it actually came from, but there’s a little truth to that.
I’m not saying you should down a few margaritas before drafting your posts, (I’ve tried it and doesn’t actually work that well. Shocker, right?), but the point is, don’t censor yourself while you’re drafting.
Trust me, the first draft of this post was a mess. I set a timer for 15 minutes and dumped the whole thing in one go, and I think it’s a lot more interesting because of it.
When you’re editing, you’re going to have to cut some sentences, paragraphs, and even whole sections from your post.
When you’re drafting, you’ll probably go off on tangents and write some stuff that just doesn’t make sense for the final post. And that’s okay!
But that doesn’t mean that stuff is bad. It just means it didn’t fit the post.
When I’m editing, I keep another document open to paste anything I delete from my draft. (I do this for non-fiction, blogging, and fiction writing, by the way.)
Those other bits might be great kick-off points for a new post, a social media update, or to include somewhere else.
Knowing that you’re not losing anything will also sharpen your editing skills because you won’t be so attached to those bits. They’re not gone forever, they’re just getting recycled!
The passive voice is to be avoided
That heading was super lame, right? It just sounded…weak and floppy.
How about this: Avoid the passive voice.
You probably learned about passive voice in your school English classes, but here’s a quick refresher: Passive voice is boring, stiff, and formal. Active voice gets our attention.
In active voice, the thing that does the action (AKA the subject) is named or at least implied, and it comes BEFORE the verb (the action) in the sentence. In “Avoid the passive voice,” you’re the one doing the action. I could also say “You avoid the passive voice.”
In “The passive voice is to be avoided,” we don’t know who the doer is. Who is to avoid the passive voice?
Here’s another example:
The dog ate my homework.
This is active voice because we know who or what is performing the action in this sentence (the dog) and the subject (also the dog) comes BEFORE the verb (ate) in the sentence.
Let’s switch that to passive voice:
My homework was eaten by the dog.
The subject comes after the verb. Not as punchy, right?
Passive voice can come in handy if we don’t know who or what is performing the action (As in “The door was painted red”). Otherwise, it’s just flimsy writing.
Only use the passive voice if the doer is unknown or unnecessary.
I hope this was helpful!
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