Attention, Class: Here's How to Write a Great Blog Post

shields kindergartenToday I am leading a writing workshop with a few of my favorite clients: two classes of 5th grade students at Creek View Elementary School. The topic: how to write a great blog post. My daughter and her classmates are lucky enough to have technologically savvy teachers who encourage them to blog and socially interact (in a controlled, educational setting, natch.) Here's what the class will be learning today ... take a look, you might learn a thing or two, too.

Ten Things You Must Do For a Spectacular Blog Post:

Think About Your READER. This is important in any writing, not just blog posting. Learn what your readers want to read about ... and write about it! This doesn't mean you can't post about things you're interested in, too, (in fact, common interest is one of the reasons people read blogs!) but it's important to frame it in a way your readers know you're thinking of them as you write.

Create Captivating Post TITLES. If your title doesn't draw in the reader, they'll skip it. So, how do you create a great title? Say what the post is about ... and use exciting, present-tense ACTION VERBS. So instead of "My Halloween Costume Was Awesome Last Year" you'd say "Land the Best Halloween Costume in 5 Non-Scary Steps."

Stick to ONE TOPIC. You might be able to write about all the battles of the Civil War, or name 10 different tricks for dividing fractions, or draw a diagram of every different species on earth ---but spread your knowledge over several blog posts. It keeps the reader from becoming overwhelmed with too much information.

Keep It SHORT. For a student blog, I recommend no more than 150 words (and that's a long post!) For "grown up" blogs, 500 words maximum. Also, short sentences are better. Really, really, really long sentences, even if they offer really, really excellent information that will probably make you 1,000 tons smarter, get really, really boring and then your reader is bored and it is always bad to have a bored reader.

Make a LIST. Just like I've done here! It allows readers to scan for information, and hopefully retain the most important points.

Savvy Readers Want Excellent GRAMMAR and SPELLING. It's easy to get into a hurry when you're blogging, and you might be tempted to let a tiny error or two slip into your post. Dont do thes. Youll Be surprized at how distracteeng you're mistakes will.

Use PHOTOS. Everyone loves to see pictures, and many people are visual learners. It's easy (and effective!) to add a pop of color to your blog with photos and drawings.

ASK a question. People like to share experiences, give feedback and offer advice, so ask your readers specific, broad questions at the end of your post to draw them into the conversation. For example, on a recent blog post I asked readers for their favorite books of 2012. Not only did I get comments, I also added some great books to my to-read list.

Stay in the CONVERSATION. If someone comments on your post, respond to them -- by name if they've included theirs in the comment. Be sure to comment on other writer's blog posts too ... commenting is a two-way street. If you comment on someone's blog, they will likely visit yours to comment, too.

Be POLITE. It's important to be a socially responsible blogger. Strive to make your reader's day better (with positive posts and kind, fair comments) and they'll keep coming back. Moderate comments to make sure your readers and commenters share your view that kindness counts everywhere -- including the internet.

My Question for YOU: What is your favorite type of blog post to read? Please comment on this blog (with your teacher's permission!) so I can write you back!
About the photo: Hadley's current fifth grade teacher was also her kindergarten teacher (talk about full circle!) This is Mrs. Shields' kindergarten class from 2007-08. Hadley's on the front row, far left.


sendkathy said...

Amy, Thank you for sharing your expertise with 60 students today! I'm so happy to have your post as a model for online comminication. We will be posting comments in the next few days to practice these skills. It seems we even have a few students interested starting their own blogs. We will keep you "posted" on our progress. Perhaps you will return to do some small group coaching in a few months. Thanks too for taking us back to the kindergarten years. Little doe-eyed wonders, their eyes are now focused on making a contribution to the world. Communication is the key.

Amy Mac said...

I was SO IMPRESSED how nicely that large group of students behaved, how attentive they were, and the level of comments and questions were very informed and engaged! I would absolutely LOVE to come back and do some small-group coaching. Anytime, just name it! AMD

Anonymous said...

Mom , you did a wonderful job ! I'm so proud of you !

Anonymous said...

Great job presenting in front of 60 kids. I could never be able to do that.Now I know more about how to write on a computer.

Alicia :)

Amy Mac said...

Dear Alicia -- Thank you for your kind comments (and P.S.: you definitely CAN present in front of a group if you're talking about something you love, especially if it's a great group like your class!)I hope to come back and visit with you again soon!

And Hadley, you make me mighty proud too... every single day :-)