Swift Six: Make boring blog posts interesting
Do you worry about boring your readers? In the latest Swift Six video I’ll look at ways you can make sure people who check out your blog stay interested in what you have to say. Here we go.
So the first thing you have to accept is that the written word can be boring. People get put off by big blocks of text. Users don’t have the same attention span online as they do when they are reading a newspaper, magazine or book. People read things differently and their attention span is incredibly short. So try not to use big blocks of text because people just won’t engage with them.
So what should you do? Well to start with, try writing in the active voice rather than the passive voice. And what I mean by this, is don’t let those users who navigate to the end of a sentence be the only ones to understand that sentence.
Think about these two examples:
1) “The cat sat on the mat” – that is the active voice
2) And the passive one: “The mat was sat on by the cat”
Now you don’t find out the crucial bit of information that it was the cat that sat on the mat until you’ve got all the way until the end of that longer passive sentence. So try to use the active voice and if when writing you are not sure what is the active voice or what’s the passive voice there is a great tool that can help you identify that. It’s called Hemmingwayapp.com. That will highlight within your blocks of text what’s active and what’s passive and what users will have trouble to engage with. And by using the tips and advice that you get within the app, you can really cut down and hone your text in order to make it much easier to read.
The second thing you can do is to break up your text by using headlines that are big and bold. That makes it really easy for users to get a sense of the meaning of your blog post without having to wade through lots of text. At worst, they can read the headlines and come away with the kind of thing you are writing about and you’ll have a chance to remain memorable.
The third thing you can do, following a similar theme, is make sure you use bullet points. Bullet points show people quickly how they can navigate to the most interesting bit of content and they also give people a different way to retain that article in their visual memory. So, make sure you use bullet points in order to highlight the most important points that you want to make within that post.
The fourth thing, break up your posts with images. Now it is a cliché but an image does speak a thousand words. So try to use images and break up your text using images and make them really visually compelling.
The fifth thing, try to turn your facts and stats and boring data into something interesting like an infographic. Now, infographics used to be only produced by graphic designers or visual artists – those who could turn some of those stats into something that was compelling but these days there are some great free tools out there – or at least tools with free trial periods that you can try to use to turn your data into something that is really visually compelling. So take a look at infogr.am, a free tool, or piktochart.com which has a free trial. Take a look at these tools and plug in your data and see the kind of infographics that you can get produced out the back of them and use them within your blog posts.
The sixth thing that I would like you to try is video. Video again is another area that you used to need a camera crew or expensive equipment. That is just not the case these days. You can do a heck of a lot just with an iPhone and a steady hand. Or there are some really good free services like animoto.com or stupeflix.com where you can produce free interesting video. It’s not going to be a Hollywood blockbuster but it’s going to engage people in a different and better way than a blog post that just includes big blocks of text.
So that was the 123-reg swift 6 about how to turn boring blog posts into interesting ones and I’ll see you next time.
If you’re stuck for ideas, you can check out my Swift Six on how to come up with blog post ideas.