Blogging 101: How to write engaging and informative content

If you’ve never written a blog post before, where do you begin? I will offer you three strategies to quickly get up to speed:

Know your Blog: If you are a guest blogger, start by familiarizing yourself with the blog purpose, readers, style, and message. I will direct you to two popular guest posts that serve as an excellent example of how to write for our blog:

Gather Expert Advice: Below are recommendations for newbies from three highly skilled and successful bloggers:

  • Leo Babuta Zen Habits: Create amazing content that helps people with their problems. Show them how to do things they want to do. You have to write posts that are relevant to your potential readers – teach her to do things she’s always wanted to do. You have to write posts that are extremely useful and packed with info they need – but at the same time, concise and not too wordy. You need to write posts that are accessible, scannable, and have great headlines. Everything you do should be for the reader. That’s all.
  • Seth Godin: An appropriate image, a topic easily broadened to be useful to a large number of readers, not too long, focusing on something that people have previously taken for granted that initially creates emotional resistance and then causes a light bulb go off, and finally, causes the reader to look at the world differently all day long.
  • Brian Clark Copyblogger: Describe a problem your reader might experience in your opening paragraph and promise to solve it in the remainder of your blog post, explain with specific detail how your reader can solve her problem, If you are a newbie, insert some authority enhancers into your blog post to strengthen your credibility by quoting and including research, including case studies or examples. Writing an authority-boosting article requires you to sweat the details. Avoid generic statements. Dig deep to find the best quotes and the most useful examples.

As you read this advice you’ll notice common themes: 

Begin with a problem that is important to your readers, show them how to solve the problem,  and include references and sources from books, articles, and other blogs. Your writing should be engaging, detailed, and most important, relevant!

Use a Job Aid: Since we are in the business of workplace learning, I’d like to also offer a job aid or checklist that we encourage our writers to use:
Blogchecklist

Questions for discussion. . .

  1. Can you share additional “expert” advice from experienced bloggers?
  2. What are some topics, problems, questions, or themes that we might explore in our blog that would be of interest to you?
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11 comments

  • Blogging is a very good way to communicate with different people such as professional and other business people. Networking through the can be a very good way to express more topics as well as learning how to communicate and developing great ideas across the world. Topics and questions that I would like to expanded on through the blogs would be how to have good writing skills when being a student in college. Also how to continue to maintain a great A average when it has been so hard for students who try real hard like myself and i.

  • The Idea of blogging is becoming more and more necessary to appropriately coach individuals in today’s organizations. Reaching a specific audience and getting across a particular message to their issues, to create the discussion so that innovative solutions are clearly developed. Also, in absence of a coach, ideas and techniques are detailed in such a way communication is ongoing, for the learner or audience. Blogging allows experiences that are either unique or common place to be shared and details of significant variables that may prolong issues or drain resources that the writer and their audience share to be examined.
    Blogging also allows relationships to form between new and experienced coaches, without the need for meeting face to face, giving both parties the platform to not only discuss experiences but to also network. Having experienced coaches contribute to a blog regarding a particular subject matter or coaching in general, gives the blog author additional prominence and stature that maybe the audience did not recognize beforehand. Plus, it gives the blogger the needed or additional content to satisfy their audience’s need for (coaching) content or the contributing (coach) author can touch upon issues that neither the audience or main author has thought of.
    Blogging can be today’s “hello” for many new and existing professionals looking to cross reference ideas or pick up a pointer here or there. I believe blogging is essential in meeting likeminded professionals, and if you are new to coaching, training, etc., it may assist in breaking into a community that may have no idea of what you can bring to the table.

  • Great stuff here. Blogging is so crucial now especially for startups or contracted work. If you want to have internet presence than blogging is the way to go. I have been fortunate to have a blogger in my house that is profitable. My wife blogs at http://www.christinetrevino.com I have watched her go through this process taking courses and developing her skills. I much to learn but this article gives some great pointers.

  • This blog really has offered me personally some good tips and ideas on how to write a successful blog. I have always wanted to start a blog, I just didn’t know where to start, I previously would read other individuals blog and ask the question, what did they do to get started? I would also search the internet and read other FAQ’s on blogging. I’m going to definitely use the resources here, along with the good tips to get started.

  • Blogging is such a challenge because you have to commit to what you are doing or you will not have the frequency to get seen. I think of some of Seth Godin’s posts – very brief, but thought provoking, and they get counted toward his overall content. I think one good way for a person to maintain a regular habit of blogging is to keep a personal list of topics going in a note somewhere. That way, when you sit down to write, you have material from which to generate ideas, and you don’t have to start from scratch. Jot down things that strike you in your everyday life, questions you have about a particular area, or thoughts that come to you while you are attending trainings or classes, and you can ruminate on them and write about them in a post. Finally, subscribe to and read some of your favorites on a daily basis and you can find inspiration there as well. Great post, and thanks for the resources!

    • I have actually seen (on YouTube) many YouTubers who also maintain a blog take the very same advice you gave. They write their thoughts and ideas down on paper as to not forget. They also make a schedule for themselves as to when they should post and make a little note for themselves as to what they will be posting. I think this helps many bloggers get into a routine and type of rhythm that fits well into their lifestyle. Many bloggers use their blogs as a full time job now from what I have seen so I also think it is important to be very careful when it comes to sponsored posts, or as you said finding inspiration from other blogs. There have been many times where I have observed people arguing because this idea was “stolen” from that person, so although I agree with you that it is great to find inspiration elsewhere, I do advise caution with how one goes about enforcing that inspiration and their own blog.

  • I found this post to be particularly interesting considering that some of the organizations I’ve been working with have beens struggling with blogging and obtaining the traffic that they expect given the time they put into each post (these are primarily nonprofits). I’ll have to share this information with them, considering blogging can have a significant impact on the creation of new business, retention and so on.

    Great information!

    • I agree with your comment Crystal. Blogging has a huge influence on the way people think and I think it is a great way for someone to express their beliefs and provide information on areas of expertise. My questions is how does a blogger know what the readers want to read about and learn and how do they know when they have crossed the line of ‘keeping the content clean’ so as not to offend anyone?

  • In checking out a few popular blog sites, I observed a few techniques that I believe would be helpful for any blogger to apply:
    1) Include links within the blog – Link to websites that contain information that supports the topic(s) covered in your blog post whenever you can as this will increase your SEO presence and validates the information you share within your article.
    2) Include images. Readers will come to a blog for information, but they also need to be stimulated visually.
    3) Respond to blog comments. This provides an opportunity to connect directly with the people who read your article(s).

    Here is a topic that might be nice to explore on the rutraining blog—After graduating the MATD program, do not stop learning. As a workplace learning professionals, we must always find ways to continue to sharpen the saw in our skills and competencies. Learning is constantly evolving. To stay relevant and of value to those who count on us for training and development, it is imperative to view ourselves as a work in progress—and continue to develop ourselves.

  • Fantastic suggestions! Thank you for posting these. We will work on more career focused blog posts. In the meantime, I can direct you to previous posts that address some of the areas:

    https://rutraining.org/2014/04/30/nows-the-time-to-intern-and-get-real-world-experience/

    https://rutraining.org/2013/03/26/careers-in-human-performance/

    https://rutraining.org/2013/09/30/are-you-set-up-for-success-here-are-11-ways-to-boost-your-career-prospects-in-the-field-of-training-and-development/

    Organizations: for training, a local chapter of ATD for training and a local chapter for the OD Network for OD.

  • http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2008/12/how_to_blog.html this was a link that I found helpful regarding tips for blogging from the expert Arianna Huffington and others. I also looked at tips from Timothy Sykes but they were mainly from a money making perspective. During one of my training classes we had the opportunity to create a blog. This was a fun exercise. I did not continue beyond the class with my personal blog but I do participate in the one at work and love reading the ones for our training classes. A topic that would interest me would be ” I have my degree in org dev or training now what? What organizations would be helpful to join for these two industries. I would also like to know if there are places that you can go to gain industry experience in these areas such as shadowing a seasoned expert.

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