DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Grammarly.
I use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because bad grammar is no joke! Seriously. It stinks. I just found out about Grammarly’s services – which is basically a product to help you catch those pesky spelling and grammatically errors that might plague your writing. It’s an instant checker which plows through your content seeking simple errors and even complex errors, such as (gasp!) plagiarism. Why more teachers do not use this product, is beyond me. After the system checks your content, you receive a “report” on how well it did on a scale of 1-100. Green check marks means your stuff is good to go. Red alert triangles? Well, you better re-think what you wrote. It even flags “word choice,” which it seems to do that for me often. Apparently Grammarly isn’t a fan of my writing style. It’s worth checking out! There’s a monthly fee for it’s use but I could easily see someone gaining value if they write a lot (bloggers, teachers, students, etc.)
I’ve battled boring content for far too long. What’s interesting for my readers to read? What will keep them coming back? Better yet – what’s interesting to write about and won’t put myself to sleep? While participating in Jenni’s Blogtember Challenge, I realized that when I started some of the topics, that I felt at a stand still with not a clue how to begin. As ideas started to formulate on something I thought I might share, the words began to pour out of my finger tips into a coherent (that’s super important) post that was somewhat entertaining but made sense.
I think some of my best posts have been unforced. They have been times when I just start writing and before I know it there’s a finished product. I don’t have a pre-planned schedule like many bloggers out there have. No Google calendar for me. Rarely I’ll keep a running list of things I know are coming up that I want to share – but mostly I write on random thoughts and feelings – or on weekend activities that JP and I do. It’d be nice to have some form of criteria or guidelines to remain more consistent in my writing, but I feel that my best content comes when I just jump at it at 9 am (I usually write my posts a day in advance). Here are some tips, though, for those of you looking to provide better content to your readership:
- Find the Meaning: Sounds intense. Like the Meaning of Life. But really, you should find the meaning in what you’re sharing. How relevant is the topic to your readers? Does it resonate with you? Are you just throwing up a post because you don’t want to miss a day? I’ve gone many times with posting only a few days per week. Mostly because I didn’t have the time to blog and because I didn’t really have much to share. Maybe I’m up to my neck in a work project, or busy with some super large life event (hello, wedding) … in those cases I just am not going to put something up that is a waste of time to read or write. Find the meaning in what you’re sharing. Make sure it’s something that you’re happy with!
- Use Pictures: Bloggers say this time and time again. So much so, I think my eyes are bleeding reading this back to myself. But it’s totally true. Aren’t some of the best blogs the ones with pictures? The clearer, the brighter, the better! We all can’t afford a fancy DSLR camera or have time to learn how to run said DSLR camera. But smartphones CAN take beautiful pictures. You just have to have thought behind your images (you know iPhones take crap pictures in any sort of dark environment) and there are tons of awesome (read: free) apps out there to enhance those images even more! Plus, the new iPhone 5S takes much better frontward facing pictures with enhancements to the camera!
- Be Honest: Especially when doing reviews of restaurants, movies, etc. Be honest and true in your opinion. Not everyone will agree with you, but if you provide an honest opinion you’ll write better content. Your opinion will flow right on out of you and allow your readers to also gain a better view of who you are as a blogger/person (cuz we are all really people, right?).
- Learn Your Boundaries: How much do you want your readers to be in on your personal life? I think some of the best blogs out there allow for the readers to gain some form of personal connection with the blogger because they share details of their life that make them real. Your opinion can matter, but you’ll find that your readers can connect more if they know more about you. That doesn’t mean every post has to provide intimate details on your kids, your weekend plans, your financial situation – but sometimes that’s the best content too because it’s something that’s personal to you. Know what that looks like to you and how comfortable you are with sharing your life. Trust me, there’s some good content in there!
I think overall it’s finding your voice and finding what inspires you to write better. Practice! Write and re-write drafts, if you need to. Spend time scanning for spelling errors. You’ll see that sometimes you point of view may change on a topic or you may find a better way of explaining your thoughts by just spending a few minutes reviewing what you wrote. And most of all HAVE FUN! We can all tell when a blogger is going to fall off the blogging wagon, right? Posts decrease, content drags … they’re not enjoying it. So make sure to enjoy yourself, too!