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One Tip That Makes Writing Blog Posts Super Easy

Most blog posts ramble.

They meander from one topic to the next.

Why?

Because bloggers think that more is more.

It happens to me too at times. I start out with a single topic in mind – but then the post morphs into something else. By the time I’ve finished, I’ve added another five different bullet points, talked about related problems – and suddenly my post is long and, well, rambly.

Here’s a different strategy: focus on one (actionable) point.

I recently interviewed Derek Halpern of SocialTriggers.com. He’s a super successful blogger and most of his blog posts follow a certain structure:  he focuses on one actionable topic. Here is an example: How to Increase Online Sales by 600%.

The key term is: actionable

If your readers can take just one suggestion and put it into practice, they’ll feel a lot more confident, than if you give them 101 options.

In the past, I’ve some written mega posts with 100 plus tips. They take a lot of time to write, and you waste a lot of creative energy. Instead of creating 1oo blog posts focused on each single tip, you’ve used all your creative energy to create one post.

Why writers get lost and ramble

This is how most bloggers write:

  • They have a (vague) idea on what they want to write about.
  • They start writing.
  • They stray into adjacent topics.
  • They write a headline at the end.

There is a much more efficient way to write a post:

Write the headline first

A well-crafted headline acts like an anchor. It holds you to your single topic.

Why a focusing on a single topic works

If you give your readers a many choices – they will end up feeling overwhelmed.

Watch the video below on why too many choices make life difficult. It’s by psychologist Barry Schwartz:

(If you’re reading this by email, click on this link to watch it)

As you can see, having choices can make life more difficult.
That’s why giving your reader just one, actionable tip is a better solution than giving them twenty, or even a hundred tips.

It makes life easier for us bloggers too.

 

About the author:

Mary Jaksch is Editor-in-Chief at Write to Done. Grab her FREE report How to Write Like an A-List Blogger. Mary has helped thousands of students successfully create outstanding and profitable blogs at  A-List Blogging and is the blogger behind Goodlife ZEN.

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39 thoughts on “One Tip That Makes Writing Blog Posts Super Easy”

  • Linda H says:

    Mary,

    This is a great post. I’m a blogger and I agree, too many choices make it confusing and lose focus.

    I recall too many times when working in Corporate America that someone gave me a task, and in trying to analyze all the options I lost focus and didn’t get the task done well. Eventually I learned to take the options I thought best and move on it. Made all the difference in getting tasks done on time and on target.

    Now, I focus on topics for my readers, especially since the questions come from clients wanting answers. Focusing on one topics, providing some takeaways or actionable items works. It draws readers, increases my credibility as a Thought Leader on my topic, and get results for my readers. That brings them back each week.

    Thanks for this great tip. I know it’ll improve my blog writing, and help my readers in the process.

  • Glori says:

    Thank you Mary. This is like awake up call to how I write. Breaking things down will definitely bring out more quality.

    • I had to write 6 articles yesterday. With this method I was able to write them in only 3 hours. I think what happens is that my creativity works better when I’m focused on one topic. So for me it’s also been a wakeup call.

  • Light bulb moment! Definitely is a lot less stress to focus on one actionable item per post as well. A lot easier to write!

  • Darris says:

    Excellent post as always Mary. Beginning with the headline first is great advice.

    Love Barry Schwarts and his book, ‘Paradox of Choice’ is a great read.

  • Bonnee says:

    I generally try to keep my posts short, though I tend to let them cover more than one topic. I will only let myself get away with it if the post stays relatively short, otherwise I will do a cut-and-paste and save what isn’t so important today for another blog entry another day. Generally, I think the strategy you are talking about is a very good idea.

    • Thanks for your comment, Bonnee. I think the great thing about this strategy is that we can be frugal with out guest post ideas.

      I now create about 4 different posts with the material I used to use up for just one post.
      And readers love it! (Because each post is easier to digest)

  • sudan says:

    I totally agree on that but as a beginner we need to keep writing on various topic. Sooner or later you will know what topic comes naturally to you and you need to keep going on that. In that case you need to delete your older post so that it looks focused one.

    After reading this post i asked myself what my blog stands for and the answer wasn’t clear. Then i came to know why would a reader come and read my blog?

    Thanks for sharing such a nice post and the video too.

    Provided an opportunity what are the top three books that you would recommend young generation to read if they want to be a better writer/blogger?

    • Hi Sudan, my strategy is not so much about the whole direction of a blog, as about a single post. I’m suggesting that you focus on one, actionable point per blog post. And of course, as a blogger, we want to vary the topics we write about – as long as they are within the niche we have chosen for our blog.

      Your question about what your blog stands for is an important one. In the training material for the A-List Blogger Club, we’ve got a fantastic 3-part video sequence that shows, step-by-step, how to determine and express the uniqueness of a blog.

      As to suggesting a book- I would definitely recommend joining the A-List Blogger Club instead – even if it’s just for one month! Not just because I’m a Co-founder, but because you’ll learn not only through by reading articles, or watching videos, or listening to podcasts – as well as from the live interaction with other bloggers. It works like magic!

  • Bobby Clark says:

    Hi Mary, very timely post! I’m in the middle of constructing my blog and I’m overwhelmed with the choices of themes available. Still haven’t made my final decision but I’m inclined to let a professional web designer build it. Otherwise, I can find myself spending too much time trying to pick a theme.

    • Hi Bobby, I suggest waiting with the professional design! Otherwise you’ll throw a lot of money down the drain. The problem is that you are still at the start of your journey and don’t yet know what kind of design you need and how to guide the designer.

      I’ve seen some dreadful ‘professional designs’ that people spent eye-popping amounts of dosh on! One designer told a newbie blogger that WordPress doesn’t cut it and he would create a custom-built framework instead – which was a disaster because now she has to pay him for every little change, instead of being able to do it herself through WordPress …eeek.

      Here’s what I suggest:
      Use a free theme that you can customize. For example, Suffusion is a good option. (If you don’t know how to install a new theme, email me via the Contact page). Here are three simple guidelines to customize your theme:

      * Choose a layout that has only one sidebar on the right-hand side.
      * Use back or dark gray font on white
      * Use the blog name as a header without an image

      (With the Suffusion theme you can choose these options with one click)

      Your design just needs to be good enough at this stage.

      Down the track, when you have more experience, know exactly what your niche is, have worked out the uniqueness of your blog, have developed a brand, and know more about design – that’s the time to spend money on a good designer.

  • Great tip! I’m a former journalist and although we NEVER were allowed to write our own headlines (that was a job for “deskers”), no one could stop us from doing them privately (and then not handing them in!)

    I have one other tip: To get the headline, do a mindmap. If you’re unfamiliar with mindmapping, here’s a link to an article I’ve written about it on my blog: http://bit.ly/HHN5gb

  • Bobbi Emel says:

    Mary, thanks for the one tip on the one tip!

    I sometimes get caught up in the idea that there are so MANY exciting things that I can share with my readers that I get carried away with myself. And that’s the key word here: myself. I forget to focus only on my readers, instead of me.

    Thanks again, this was a really helpful post!

  • I think many bloggers get caught up in the Glen Allsopp model of 4000-word, SEO-saturated posts without realizing that Glen, too, usually covers one topic in depth. The most important takeaway for me — don’t go in with a vague idea. Take the time to be specific and meaningful. Thanks, Mary!

    • Hi Debra, I quite like writing long stuff as well, for example if you’re writing a tutorial style article. However, for the bulk of blog posts that focus on ideas, I think sticking with one topic focus is better.

  • Thanks for this, Mary, you always have great ideas. But in part I disagree: for Derek his topic is to help bloggers increase etc. So he can focus on one actionable idea. But some blog topics do not lend themselves to ONE idea or one way to do things or one choice. By their very nature they require maybe 5 bullet points–not paragraphs and paragraphs about these points, but enough MEAT to make the reading worthwhile and to flesh out the topic so the reader can make a choice.

    It’s a balancing act. Example: You want to help someone convince their aging parent to stop driving. That requires more than one actionable idea. You share maybe four ways to approach this problem. TRUE, they all are subsumed under one point–getting the parent not to drive–but giving the reader choices for that topic is necessary and if well handled, not confusing.

    • Liz says:

      Beth, I think that there’s a difference with offering ideas and providing actionable items. To use your example, ‘help someone convince their aging parent to stop driving’, you might first provide a post that offers ideas, and these could be several ideas. But to demonstrate how to put each ideas into action you might write a separate post for each. This also gives you an opportunity to link your related posts as well.

      Does that make sense?

      Liz

    • Maybe I should have been clearer about the ‘one point’, Beth. I was trying to say that a blog post is easier to write (and to read) if it has a singular focus.

      Your example of ‘How to convince an aging person to stop driving’ would be a blog post with a single focus.

      Of course you would need bullet points to flesh out the post, and it would be useful to show different approaches.

      However, if you meander into adjacent topics, like problems of Alzheimers in the elderly, or ‘cars versus public transport’, or communication skills, or the emotional problems of adult children when faced with aging parents – then you’ve drifted out of your single topic.

      The acid test lies in the post title. If you are tempted to add the word ‘and’ – then you may have drifted out of the topic zone.

      Another question is: how many solutions should you offer?
      In the past, I’ve been at pains to offer a bonanza of options, but is that really a good idea?

      For example, I think that offering 21 ways of convincing an elderly person not do drive will have much less impact, than if you offer 3 or 5 ways of doing it, and then recommend one that people could start with.

      A weird factor is that posts with incomplete lists get more comments – especially if you ask people to add to the list in the comments.

  • Thanks so much Mary for this great post. While I have started writing the headline first & found that really useful, at times it seems to take me a whole week to write a post. I can’t wait to have a go this afternoon at a couple of posts using your suggestion.

    Claire

  • Barbara Bremers says:

    LOVE this – also have “The Paradox” and LOVE it, too. Thank you!

  • I cannot tell you how much I agree with the ‘Keep it simple’ modality. For instance, if I see “21 ways to improve your SEO,” I’m out of there, as reader…fast. Just can’t process that much information. I don’t believe anyone short of a Menses candidate can juggle all that.

    Then, too, those long, punishing posts that keep on trucking…woah, I can only believe these folks are having free-association with themselves and just listing everything that occurs to them. They’re off and running, deep into their own thoughts, but they left me off, as reader–waaayyy back.

    So, with the mantra that I must follow my own directive: Keep it simple, short, and concise, with pithy, memorable material. I frequently jettisone even what I consider a ‘spectacular’ phrase because it doesn’t meet my criteria…But you be the judge (just not too harshly, please)…My words are the proof of this important message, and I do like your stressing the word ‘actionable’ as litmus test in determining such..Thank you…..

  • Great post. I can attest to how much time starting with a title saves.

    I tried this with a couple of short stories. I had an idea, so instead of starting out by drafting I brainstormed a few story titles, made a scene outline, then wrote out the draft. Sloppy as it was, the first draft required far less revision than most of my rambling efforts.

    Why?

    Because the title informed the themes and situations I chose to develop.

  • Awesome article, Mary. I totally agree with headlines first. We writers are capable of thinking just about anything and we often get out of track. Sticking to one big point per post is something I need to do more often. I could write the entire universe lol. Very nice tip. Thanks!

  • Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is fantastic blog. A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.

  • Theo Sider says:

    There is visibly a bunch to realize about this. I think you made some nice points in features also.

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