5 Blogging Tips Straight From The Student Experts’ Style Guide

blog writing tipsWhen new writers and editors begin work at Student Experts, reading and absorbing the Style Guide is the first item on their training agenda. This 56 page document is an evolving tome that covers every step of our writing and editing process.

The Style Guide includes resources on SEO, linking to authoritative sources, conducting online research, and editing for grammar and syntax.

If you’re looking for a few blogging best practices, then review five of our Style Guide writing tips below:

1. Craft A Snappy Intro
Like a good lede in a news story, open each blog with a clear and informative introduction. Other than the blog headline, the first two sentences are your best chance to grab the reader’s attention and keep them hooked. Instead of starting a dental blog with “Many people have gum disease,” incorporate a statistic for a more active and engaging first sentence, such as, “More than 80 percent of American adults have a form of gum disease.”

2. Make It Scannable
When searching for information online, most people have a limited attention span. Use lists, bullet points, sub-headlines, and short paragraphs to make your blog scannable and reader-friendly. A series of brief, topical paragraphs or bullet points is more inviting to a reader than a block of uninterrupted text.

3. Create A Clear Structure
To maintain a coherent structure after the blog introduction, tell readers precisely what you’re about to tell them. For example, “Below we’ll review the main benefits of air duct cleaning.” Include an introductory sentence before lists or bullet points, describing the list and why it’s important to readers. Throughout list headings or subheadings, use parallel verb tenses and similar parts of speech. The numbered list in this blog post is an example of parallel construction.

4.  Use Active, Positive Language
Front-load your sentences and stick with active (not passive) constructions. Put the most important information at the beginning of a sentence so that even scanning readers will see and absorb the main points. Keep your subjects and verbs close together and stick with basic verb forms such as infinitives, imperatives, the simple present, simple past, and future tense.  Maintain a positive tone by avoiding words such as don’t, can’t, shouldn’t and not.

5. Form Simple Sentences and Paragraphs
Think Ernest Hemingway and not Marcel Proust. Keep sentences short and focused on one idea. Each new paragraph should focus on a single topic, with the most important point mentioned early in the first sentence of the paragraph. If a reader scans the blog introduction, first sentence of each paragraph, and your conclusion, they should get the point.

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Photo credit: ItDan