Make It Happen: Five Tips for Writing an Engaging Blog

You’ve been writing and publishing blogs for a long time, but are your blog posts moving the needle? Are they helping your audience solve a problem?

Apr 18, 2017

GRADUATE MANAGEMENT NEWS

Make it Happen

Consider these five tips to writing an effective blog post that will entertain, inform, and engage.

  1. Know your audience. Address the immediate needs of your audience. Are you providing your reader with an answer to a top-of-mind question? Not only will this approach satisfy your reader, but it will also help with your SEO. Google, for example, will favor content that is valuable to readers over content that is written primarily to rank higher. If your posts address the needs of your audience, you will receive a steady stream of repeat traffic and boost your SEO.

  2. Hook your reader with a snappy title and first sentence. Most likely your blog topic has been written about before, so you’ll need to find a unique angle. We’ve seen “Five Reasons to Go to Business School” over and over, but maybe not “Five Reasons to Get an MBA that Business Schools Aren’t Talking About.” Similarly, you can further engage your reader with a compelling first sentence. Try a thought-provoking question or stat, such as: “Do you know what an MBA student and a fish have in common?” Or maybe, for a blog on application essays, try: “Did you know that 99 percent of all writers experience writer’s block?” The attention span of anyone reading content on the web is short, so you must make the best of the limited time you have.

  3. Consider a “listicle” format. Unless you’ve been away from the Internet for the past five years, you know that listicles are popular. A “listicle” is a catchall phrase for any article that appears in the form of a list. The benefit is that lists are easy to scan for today’s attention-challenged reader. Don’t go overboard. Rather than offering your reader all 25 points in your original blog draft, edit your list down to fewer than 10 points, preferably five. Anything worth reading should be boiled down to only the essentials. 

  4. Write concisely, wisely, and globally. Keep your sentences short. When you read your sentences aloud, do you lose your breath by the end ? Use precise language and avoid jargon. This is especially important if you are writing to a global audience where certain words and phrases may not be familiar. Rather than trying to sound smart or clever, try to sound sensible. Your job is to communicate and educate. Use words that best convey your ideas and can be understood by everyone.

  5. Conclude with a link to related content or a call to action. If you’re blogging on your school’s or company’s website, be sure to provide links to related or deeper content on your site. Use your blog to inform and engage your reader into more of what you offer. If you’re blogging about what questions to ask alumni when considering MBA programs, then provide a link to the landing page for your alumni network.  Similarly, consider what, if any, action you want your reader to take and provide a way for them to do this. End your blog with something that moves the reader to perform a desired action, but be careful about using your blog posts to ask readers to buy things. That could turn readers away.