You have opened the Post Editor, and found within yourself the courage to type Content. Critically, you have yet to click “Publish”.
This is the moment where a lot of people go horribly, irrecoverably wrong.
Yes I absolutely will review your draft, and do not even worry about sending it to me. I just end up saying the same things to everyone anyway, so that simply will not be necessary.
So yeah it looked pretty good. Definitely got words in it. Loved the bit about Galileo. You could probably just publish it and it would be fine.
But what if you don’t want fine?
What if you want it all?
Professor mangopdf’s Grand Unified Theory of Blogging
Some people’s Grand Unified Theory of Blogging is all like:
- It has a clickbait title
- It’s long enough
- 💯 Publish 💯
Yes thank you, very cool. But what about
Do you see the order here? Steps 1 and 2?
You can write a really good blog post with just steps 1 and 2. Actually writing about the topic you’re supposed to be writing about is strictly optional.
But if you leave out the first 2 steps, it doesn’t matter what you’re trying to say.
You clowns are out there trying to tell people
“I discovered bees can talk but unfortunately they are racist”
But everyone stopped reading 3 sentences in because it started out all like
honey gets delivered to the supermarket on Fridays, because the drivers have the weekends off, and the supermarkets aren’t open to accept deliveries on Thursdays….
And so on, and so forth, until the bees get away with it.
Part 1: People pay attention to what you’re saying
You simply wanna make it easy for people to give your post the maximum volume of 👀 eyes emoji 👀
The title gets read way more than the rest, so make it count
I dunno about you, but I vaguely read the titles of like 98 things before I click on one. Statistically, your blog post is one of those 98 things, so you better make each character count.
What should the title look like?
yes yes yes:
I discovered bees can talk but unfortunately they are racist
i’m begging you not to do this:
It’s not just Barry from Bee Movie who might have a secret
The title should represent the post as much as possible. It should prepare the reader emotionally for the clown carnival ride you are about to take them on.
It should be the opposite of clickbait.
You’ve been hurt so many times before, you brave and vulnerable internet traveller, you. Desperate for #content, asking yourself whether this top 10 article is the one that will finally win her back? I mean hey 10 is a lot of things, so surely your fulfilment lies within one of them.
Clickbait titles burned down my entire village and never text unless they want something. For 💲some reason💲 people keep writing them, though. So now when you look at headlines, you just have to guess what they’re about, like a caveman. A caveman scrolling clickbait titles. Listen, I dunno.
How about I title it “X for fun and profit?”
Listen. I think you should use way more headings. I’m talkin’ a lot
I don’t know about you, but when I read something I scroll around all over the place like a functional adult. If you have a lot of headings that describe the words under them, then other adults can stop scrolling and read a paragraph when they see a heading they like.
Paragraphs do a similar thing, but within each heading, letting the reader skip around even more, and we love that for them1.
Basically, if your reader sees a wall of text, their brain will activate the evolutionary survival mechanism they have developed to instantly panic-close that tab, before the wall of text jumps out of the page and hecking eats them.
Absolutely no way anyone’s reading this
Actually, write the headings first
This might just be a me thing, but it would be very brave of me to just log on and type. Writing out the headings lets you see if your sections flow on naturally to each other, or if anything’s missing, or if now that you’ve laid the whole thing out before you, this blog post was a mistake, for example.
Engage in subheadings
You don’t gotta stop at one heading, you can just keep going and going. And that? That’s value my friend.
Don’t go too hard
this is degeneracy
You gotta make the post interesting enough, or people will just get bored and leave?
You know how you put all that effort into typing those words? What if someone just… didn’t read them? 😬 They can do that, you know. There’s nothing in the rules against it.
The days of having no choice but to read incredibly boring school textbooks to find the information you need to do this hecking history exam are over. You need not hold your reader hostage with boring and irrelevant details, as your textbooks did to you.
You can use uh blogging to break this vicious cycle and usher humanity into a golden age of Content. Nay, you must.
“Oh, I get it, I should slap a tangentially relevant top text bottom text meme every few paragraphs and call it a day”
Keep it interesting by anticipating what the reader wants
What are they here for? It sure ain’t top text bottom text, I’ll tell ya that for free. It depends on what your post is trying to do. You wanna make the ideas flow on naturally from each other, so there’s no time to get bored and leave. For example:
Telling a story
- Who is it about?
- What happened to them?
- How did they feel about that?
Arguing an idea
- What’s the problem with how things are?
- What is the idea?
- How does the idea solve the problem?
Teaching how to do something (e.g. blog post 👀)
- Tell the reader they’re a clown
- Tell them bees are racist
Classic mistake: Writing about what you find interesting
You already know that QPU movement takes a lot of speed, and it’s incredible that there’s a slope that’s just right for Mario to walk up it for 12 hours building up speed.
Part 2: People understand what you’re saying
Somehow you have made it to the point where people are reading your words. This is most of the hard work honestly, you can take it easy from here except that
h a h a no you can’t. That would risk being inaccessible on main, you see.
You have an idea in your head. You know what you mean with beautiful crystal clarity. But it sucks because you have get that idea in someone else’s head. And the worst part is you have to use words to do it? Buddy, I know how ya feel.
Constantly ask yourself: Does the person reading this know what the heck I’m talking about?
This is the most common thing I say, possibly ever, but definitely when reviewing people’s blog posts.
Obviously, you would not write something that you don’t understand3. But what about the person you want to read it? They don’t know everything you know. So you gotta be reeeeeally careful not to accidentally assume your words make sense without the context in your brain.
Cut out the jargon
Cached ITS has revolutionised attribution for resources in the Post-Contact era.
Don’t worry, I just made this one up. There’s nobody out there actually writing this. But do you see how it makes no sense? That’s how you sound to people if you use words they don’t know.
Maybe buzzwords are safe though? No, I’m coming for them too. Buzzwords, if I have understood the meaning correctly, are “words that nobody understands but everyone thinks it’s good to say”. Artificial, and, I cannot stress this enough, Intelligence.
If your post’s audience don’t know the word? You are simply banned from writing it4.
(Cut out the acronyms)
I’m so sorry for doing that to you5, but you had to feel how painful it is when someone point-blank blunders an acronym you don’t know into a heading.
Either expand the acronym the first time you use it, or simply remove it entirely? Can you just explain the concept, rather than using the shorthand or jargon for it?
You don’t have to say “cached”, you can say “saved for later”. You don’t have to say “powered by machine learning”, you can just say “please buy it i’m begging u we rly need a win”. You can just do that, and nobody will stop you6.
Basically take any excuse to use a picture/diagram instead of words
Listen, sometimes it is too hard to explain where New Zealand is over text. “What? But it’s a small country with a vibrant honey economy, located just off the east coast of Austr-“. Stop this madness. What is an “east coast”. How far “off” is it? Does that mean an ocean is involved? What is a “country”? We do not know what this means.
You know what we do understand?
We live in a world of rich media where you can probably embed a talking pelican that follows the mouse around the screen and gives tax advice7 in your post, to say nothing of a picture.
Use more examples. I’m talkin’ wayyyyyyy more
Hey, does this help you understand what a preposition is?
A preposition is a word or group of words used before a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase to show direction, time, place, location, spatial relationships, or to introduce an object.
No, this is what a Terms of Service page would say if they could talk and also we let them write blog posts.
Prepositions are words like “on,” “in,” “under,” and “beside,”. For example, “The ravioli is in the briefcase behind you.”
Yes 👏 KING that’s the 👏 stuff 👏 right there.
Put a summary at the top maybe?
You wanna let the reader quickly decide whether to read your post or not. Maybe they get what they wanted just from the summary, and can just stop reading there, instantly winning you a Nobel Peace Prize but for like, blogging.
In the first few sentences, you want the reader to know:
- Who is this for?
- What’s going to happen?
Get to the point
If you want to say
“Get someone to review your blog post before you publish it.”
Then you can just say that8.
You don’t have to first say:
“It’s best practice to consider different perspectives. A review by an independent third party can lead to increased success.”
What are you trying to tell me? It’s so vague it could mean anything. Who talks like that? When is this post going to get to the bit where we steal the Prime Minister’s identity on main? One day a long time ago, I guess someone decided you look fancy if you write so vaguely you’re hard to understand. “Maybe they’ll will think I’m hard to understand because I’m so smart”, they thought, with their perfectly smooth and spherical brain.
What if you just wrote more like how you talked?
Bit controversial, but you know how listening to someone explain something usually makes sense9? It’s a lot harder to be completely incoherent when you’re talking, because you can hear yourself. But writing? You can casually write “thusly, delivering more impact” like a serial LinkedIn poster without even noticing. You monster.
So sometimes I try saying what I want to say out loud to myself, alone in my room like a serial LinkedIn poster. Buuuut it often reads better than whatever I had before, thusly delivering more impact.
Write it like you’re trying to trick the reader into understanding what you mean in as few words as possible
Because you are.
You gotta edit at least once
What, you think you’re just going to sit down and type the whole thing in one go, fearlessly hitting “Post” as you type the last full stop? What about the
consequences of your
Cut bits out ruthlessly
You can cut out so much by simply realising “actually, the reader doesn’t care about that.” Simply delete it, and the post loses nothing, so the overall quality goes up. That’s just economics.
Get someone to review it
Get a lot of someones to review it10. You know how when you try on clothes, you get someone else’s opinion before you buy it? How bout you see if your post makes sense before you…. wear it? I’m sorry.
I usually ask reviewers to point out anything:
- Hard to understand
- Not necessary
- That doesn’t flow on naturally from the previous bit
This process is a lot easier if you use something that lets people highlight text and comment on it, like Google Docs, but you can continue to email
my Blog post (fixed version) (updated) FINAL__FINALFINAL (1).docx or do it in the TikTok comments if you must.
Okay that was the hard part. People are now reading your post, and understanding what you mean, which means you’ve achieved blogging supremacy. You could probably blog down everything in a 2km radius11 from here. If you want you can keep going, but honestly you could just hit “Publish” here and probably nobody would notice.
Part 3: You say the thing
No that’s it, this part is all you.
Post-credits cutscene: But how do I decide what to write about?
Oh,,,,, hello. You’re still here? Well….. I suppose we could get,,,
p h i l o s o p h i c a l
Who is the audience?
Just by asking this question you have already galaxy brained past many, many bland and tasteless blog posts.
If you are writing something for the audience of “anyone”, you aren’t allowed to assume anything about them.
For example, the wide-ranging “anyone” audience includes toddlers who cannot read, or use a spoon correctly. They will not know what the acronym “FOI” stands for, because they still working on the idea of letters.
But if your audience is like, “Big Honey”, or “people who have sinned once and want to know more”, or “the group chat”, you can make some assumptions. You can say why they might want to read your post in the first place12.
✅ Good reasons to Post
- You are the only person in the world with this information, and other people might want to know it (publishing something new)
- Fanfic (any)
- To share how to do something, so other people can learn it 👀
- To tell a story
- Just for fun, to be entertaining
- To announce something your audience will be interested in
❎ Bad reasons to Post
- Someone told you that you have to write about this
- “For visibility”
- What does that mean?
- Is it visible if nobody reads it 🤔
- Need somewhere to remember all your passwords
- To encourage people to buy your product
- The post is now an ad
- Who would read it on purpose?
- To document how something you made works
- Might be better in wiki format, with multiple pages linking to each other
Ask yourself: Why are you doing *gestures* all this?
Why are you here? What are you trying to do? What is it that you’re trying to make happen, using blogging as the metaphorical sparks with which to ignite the fuse of the bulk-discount fireworks of revolution?
It’s possible you can get incredible editorial value by simply realising you do not want to Post at all, or that you actually want to change what you’ve written completely. I rewrote more than half of this post, and it’s still got that bulk-discount fireworks bit in it.
Usually I just suddenly end by asking some dumb question then cutting off abruptly.
It is absolutely okay to do the #journalism thing of having one sentence per paragraph, even if it looks jank at first. ↩
Of course, you can go off talking about something you find interesting, so long as you explain it in a way the audience can understand. You can use the Mario 0.5x A presses video as your guiding light, your North Star, if you will. ↩
don’t @ me ↩
Unless you explain it first, but even then… ↩
and for being problematic on main. ↩
Of course, if you’re confident everyone reading your post will know those acronyms, or it doesn’t matter if they don’t know them, then be my guest. No, please. I simply insist. ↩
It’s okay. Anyone gives you trouble, tell ‘em I sent ya 😘 ↩
Welllllllll actually that’s a pretty big claim isn’t it. ↩
yes thank you i do see the irony in this, no i will not be taking questions at this time ↩
This is about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, for all you Americans out there. ↩
Of course, I’m assuming you’re blogging because you’re wanting other people to read it. If you’re just writing it for you, go off king, you don’t need my unprompted journalism opinions. ↩