A Copywriter’s Top Writing Tips for Bloggers

WRITING TIPS FOR BLOGGERS

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.

Keep everything

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.

Better, right?

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.

Here’s an in-depth lesson on passive voice and when not to use it.

 

So I want to know, was this helpful? I’d love to post more writing tips from time to time if you found it useful! Let me know in the comments or on Instagram 🙂

 

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How (and Why) to Refresh Your Old Blog Posts

How (and why) to refresh your old BLOG POSTS

You write a blog post, edit and revise it until it sparkles, and hit publish. Then you promote it all over the internet and watch the traffic roll in.

Now you’re done, right?

Nope!

You could leave it alone and never look at that post again, but your blog is a living, breathing entity. Don’t let your old posts get crusty and stale, or just sit there without living up to their potential.

 

Why update your old blog posts?

readers like relevant content (and so do search engines)

The internet is getting older, search engines have changed, and readers are looking for current, relevant content.

There’s a lot, and I mean a LOT of content on the internet, and much of it is obsolete, poorly-written, or otherwise useless.

Readers now have to wade through a lot of old junk to get to the new, useful content they’re looking for. Search engines are changing to help them with that search, favoring newer content that has a lot of recent interaction (like social media shares).

This doesn’t mean your web content has to age badly, it just means you’ll need to change your strategy and regularly update your content.

 

Get more mileage from your old posts

This is a huge timesaver because it means (for most industries) you can post higher-quality content less often, which is good news if you’ve been killing yourself trying to post something every single day or even every week.

Readers and search engines want quality, not necessarily quantity. The internet has plenty of quantity.

 

Get ideas for new content

One of my favorite places to get ideas for new content, for my own business and for my clients, is old blog posts.

There might be an interesting point in there you can build on. Maybe you have more to say on that topic.

Or maybe that content has even more current information you can write about. This is especially true if you blog about things that change frequently like social media, technology, business strategy, etc.

 

It’ll show you what your audience wants so you can give it to them

When you review your old posts to see which are the most popular, that says a lot about what your audience is looking for. That way, you can create posts, products, and optins that meet their needs.

 

How to update old content

 

Clean out your blog every year

About once a year, go through your blog to do a blog audit. I like to do this in the spring as kind of a spring cleaning.

Update titles if necessary, but don’t mess with the URLs unless you do a 301 redirect. (A 301 redirect sends your readers to a new link if they click an old one that doesn’t work anymore. That way, they don’t get 404ed if they happen to land on the old URL. Here’s how to do this.)

Make sure all links work and that images are still there. Make sure you’ve done SEO on every post. Give everything a quick proofread and fact check.

Bonus tip: While you go, pick apart old posts to save the bits that are still useful and combine into new posts. Or you can use those as captions for social media posts! (Repurposing content is just as important as refreshing it!)

 

Update and republish old posts

Make sure your old posts are still relevant. If they aren’t, update them.

If they’re totally off base and just don’t fit with your brand anymore, or if they concern something that doesn’t exist anymore and aren’t bringing in traffic, I think it’s okay to delete them. It’s up to you whether you want to do this, but if you can do a 301 redirect to a more relevant post, deleting that old post can really help your readers out and build your credibility.

 

Add links to your newer content

Go through your old posts and add links to your newer content in the same vein. You can get a plugin to do this, or just add regular ol’ link to the bottom or even middle of your articles, or link in relevant places in the text.

 

Update your formatting

Make your posts scannable and easy to read! If your old posts are just big blocks of text, add headings, bullet points, numbered lists, etc. I’ve actually got a handy free checklist to help you do this, which you can grab here.

 

Add a call to action

If your old posts don’t have a call to action that tells the reader where to go next (or if the calls to action are outdated) add new ones! Add a signup form for your optin, a link to your products, or at least point them to other relevant blog posts so your readers can continue their journey with you.

 

Focus on your most popular posts

Every once in a while, take a peek at your analytics to see which blog posts are bringing in the most traffic. Those are the posts you really want to focus on updating.

Add to them, include links to products, optins, and other relevant posts, and really make them the most useful bits on content on your blog. Those popular articles are your front line, so keep them in shape!

I recommend checking on these guys at least twice a year to make sure they’re performing at their best.

 

Your blog isn’t a slow cooker. You don’t just set it and forget it. Revisit your old posts regularly to make sure everything is updated and still relevant. This will help you get found, serve your readers, AND help you get a lot more mileage from those posts you worked so hard on!

 

Get your free checklist so you’ll have a list of things every blog posts need to turn readers into customers.

 

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