Do you have to be a great writer to be a great blogger?

great bloggerBy Mark Schaefer

If you’re not confident in your writing skills, can you still be a great blogger?

Let’s be honest.  Good writing matters. But there are a few simple ideas any one can learn to dramatically improve the quality of their blog posts. Let’s take a look at a few tricks of the trade to help you sharpen your writing skills.

Read it out loud

“I feel like you’re talking to me.”

That’s common feedback I receive about my books and blog posts.  If you can’t write, you can still talk, right? I suggest that you literally read your blog posts aloud before publishing. If something does not roll off the tongue in a natural and conversational way, change it.

Cut, cut, cut

The biggest problem I see in the guest posts I receive is that they are far too wordy. Eliminate every word and sentence that does not move the story along. If your post is more than 1,000 words that is a sure danger sign.

Write upside down

In school and at work, we are taught to write linearly — a beginning, a middle and an end. That usually does not work in the blogging world because people don’t have the patience to wait for your conclusion. Start with the conclusion and then explain it. I see too many posts that do not get to the guts of the issue until you are one-third down the page.

The magic of RITE

In my classes, I urge students to create content through the filter of RITE. It should be:

  • Relevant to your audience. Don’t confuse them.
  • Interesting. Never publish a post that isn’t going to hold your reader’s attention.
  • Timely. Comment on information they need to know NOW.
  • Entertaining. Think about the content you like to share. It’s got some entertainment value, right? This is a very important quality as you try to cut through the clutter and stand out.

The beginning matters

Spend time creating an accurate, interesting headline. If your headline does not compel people to “click,” they will never even get to the blog post.  Create an opening sentence that grabs people by the throat and makes them read what you have to say. The headline is the most important part of the post!

great blogger

Don’t just write, re-write

Here’s a simple but magical trick I’ve learned to be a better writer. Let it sit a few days.

I don’t know how or why, but I might think something is really great, yet when I return to it after a few days I see so many obvious ways it can be improved.

I rarely “crank out” a blog post. They usually gestate a few days, sometimes even a few weeks.

This a gentle art, though.  You can’t let it sit there until it is “perfect” because that will never happen. At the end of the day, the most important characteristic of a successful blogger is having the courage to push that publish button!

Get help

I do not enjoy auto mechanics.  So I hire a professional who can get the job done right at a fraction of the cost and time compared to me trying to hack through a repair.

If you don’t enjoy writing, you’re going to suck at blogging. But maybe you still have a desire or a legitimate business reason to blog.  I think it is a perfectly viable option to hire a professional writer to help you.  Provide a purpose statement for a blog post and 3-4 key bullet points and let a professional work their magic.


You cannot become a great blog writer in one day, in one week, or one month. It takes experience and practice. You will get better, faster, and more effective over time as you find “your voice,” get feedback from your community, and figure out your own system.  Starting is the hardest part, but to become a competent writer, there is no choice!

I’m 100 percent convinced that almost anybody can be a successful blogger with the right framework, dedication and attitude. I hope these insider tricks help and that you take the leap.

What tips and tricks would you add to help a beginner blogger?

sxsw-2016-3Mark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant. The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

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