Would you like to know how to ensure that your next blog reads beautifully and purposefully for your tribe?
I was reading a favourite blogger’s blog the other day, let’s call her Angela. Angela is currently interviewing others in her field and posting these as blogs. What a clever idea! These interviews are usually quite enjoyable because I get to learn about the various people in her industry at large (she’s an artist) – people whom I do not know but enjoy getting to know something interesting about them. For example, one interviewee, Tania, enjoyed painting landscapes because she remembers long walks in nature with her granddad throughout her childhood.
But the most recent interview blog had me scrolling, scrolling, scrolling – trying to find out something intriguing about the interviewee, whose name was Caitlin. I couldn’t work out why Catilin’s interview was particularly difficult to read. Finally, I pinpointed it: It was all tech-talk.
Now, I’m not a professional artist, so a lot of the technical information that Caitlin was sharing about her art went right over my head. I don’t understand why Caitlin chooses to use a certain type of media over the next, or what kind of canvas she prefers and where she likes to purchase her tools from! It might have been useful if I was a fellow artist who could gain a few pointers from her – perhaps this should have been stipulated early on in the blog?
I realised I’d hit the jackpot: As readers, we want to know something intricately amazing about the PERSON behind the scenes. After all, as humans, we are psychologically drawn to each other; heck, we are inspired by each other! Our brains physiologically do something amazing every time we look at a human face – did you know that? It’s no wonder that the entertainment industry is a billion dollar industry! We want to know more about… other humans. I wanted to know more about Caitlin and what inspired her, not the types of canvas or brushes she employed.
Well, after you have written your story (go back to my post with editing tips for ensuring ‘story’ is embedded in your words here ), I have further tips on editing your words to be read with ease and flow by your reader.
You’re welcome to go directly to the editing concept that you prefer first (cos I know that this stuff isn’t fun for everybody)! Then work your way through the rest of the concepts to ensure a full-bodied editing process.
Basic Editing: Did the lady eat her dog?
There are various types of editing and most people are familiar with Basic Editing – this includes ensuring we have all the correct capitals, commas and full-stops where they should go. This kind of editing is known by most of us as it was learned through regular schooling.
Though one thing that does get tricky for many people is how to use the comma – the comma is used to break up a sentence into its different concepts.
“She sat and ate her dog sniffing at her croissant.”
Did the lady sit and eat her dog?
And who is doing the sniffing?! Is it the lady or the dog?
In actual fact the sentence goes like this:
“She sat and ate, her dog sniffing at her croissant.”
The comma is such a tiny little baby-looking thing yet what a world of difference it makes!
Syntax: Does your reader UNDERSTAND what you’ve written about?
We need to ensure that each sentence is actually complete. When we’re throwing ourselves into the writing process, it is really easy to forget to write everything that we had intended. So when someone else comes along to read the written piece, it can seem a bit disjointed because half of the concepts are still in the writer’s head!
A simple example is as follows:
“Unsure whether she wanted chocolate or vanilla ice-cream, she let it go.”
In this sentence, what is “it”?
Is it the ice-cream that she has let go? Or is it the decision-making process that she has let go?
We tend to do this when we write for our business too. WE know what we mean but we need to ask ourselves, ‘Does the reader know what we mean?’
A business blog sentence might read as follows:
“Before we get into systemising, let’s analyse where we’re at.”
In this sentence, does the reader know what type of systemising is currently being explored? Also, the words “where we’re at” – do they mean where the business is at? Or where the systems are at? Or where the reader is at?
In order to avoid these holes in our blog piece, we need to look at our sentences a little more closely and make sure that all the concepts are clear to the reader with each and every one – ensuring that the concept has been fully explained with each sentence.
Cohesion: Can your reader read your piece in a flowing and comfortable way?
Then there is ensuring cohesion of the written piece by looking at the paragraphs and making sure they each tell a story in their own right. Many people make the mistake of dividing up a concept into 2 paragraphs, however the 1 concept needs to be started and finished within the same paragraph.
For example, we might write:
“Never underestimate the power of Social posts – they can be more engaging than you might imagine.
Friendly conversations and helpful tips and tricks can go a long way in discussion forums.”
These 2 sentences are still referring to the same thing – the concept of Social engagement. They don’t need to be separated – they need to stay together so that it’s easy for the reader to read! The reader knows that a new paragraph means a new concept. But if you have written 1 concept in 2 paragraphs, it can confuse the reader and simply make reading your blog difficult.
I remember letting go of a hairdresser because it seemed that every time I went there, I came away spending more and more on extras such as lashes, eyebrows and product. In the end, I stopped going there because all I wanted was a haircut.
Your reader could experience the same with your content (and we don’t want that)! All your reader wants is to understand your topic at the first instance – they don’t want to be stopping and working out what you mean, as their brain is jolted here and there, with incomplete sentences, unexplained concepts and divided stories. Eventually, they will stop visiting or opening your emails because all they want is the story in a few minutes over a cup of coffee.
The funny thing is, while it’s easy to pinpoint the reason to leave a hairdresser behind, it’s not so easy for even the reader to work out why they no longer wish to read an email or blog they’ve followed for a while. The brain grows tired (I’ve stopped reading a coach’s emails because they began to disrupt the flow of their email with various links to their Socials – it just wasn’t easy to read anymore)!
So the above sentences would read more beautifully (and more easily) – together:
“Never underestimate the power of social posts – they can be more engaging than you might imagine. Friendly conversations and helpful tips and tricks can go a long way in discussion forums.”
I can’t tell you anything more Caitlin who enjoyed being interviewed about her painting techniques, but I’ll tell you this about myself: I REALLY enjoy reading other peoples’ blogs and it’s even more fun when I get to play analytical detective and go on a proofreading hunt! So if you’d like to have a second pair of eyes go over what you’ve written for your business blog, contact me for proofreading & editing services to make your words and stories truly come to life!