Hive PH Contest: How To Improve Your Blog! My Entry
Hello Hivers! @baby.magic here, hoping everyone is doing fine today. In this post, I'm going to share to you some writing pointers to help improve your blog.
So let's get to it.
A Brief Background
So some of you who know me might wonder why the f*ck am I giving blogging advise when I've only been blogging for just over 2 months.
I may be new to blogging but this isn't my first rodeo when it comes to writing. As some of you may already know, blogging is pretty much the same as writing an essay or a feature article. Something which I have tons of experience in.
I have been writing feature stories ever since I was in 5th grade through our school paper which continued in high school and then college. Even qualifying for the National Schools Press Conference 3 times and win.
But that was then and this is now.
Yes, I stopped writing back in 2006 so when I started writing again 2 months ago I admit I was a little rusty. But two months of writing is more than enough to shake off the rust and get your game back.
But why am I telling you all this?
Simple. You gotta have credibility if you want to give advise to other people.
So now let's proceed to the actual topic at hand. How to improve your blog?
So if you're familiar with my blogs you might be asking yourself, Why is @baby.magic so serious all of a sudden? Is he sick?
Well, no. I'm perfectly fine. I used a serious tone in the first part of this blog to convey the right emotion. Which is the first technique I'm gonna tackle.
Conveying the right emotions.
This is very important as it is really hard to convey the emotions to your reader using text as a medium. So proper sentence construction is vital to get your readers to feel the tone of your writing. If you're writing about a fun experience be sure to use a casual tone. If it's an informative post then use a serious tone. It's hard to take someone seriously if they sound like they're trying to make you laugh. Although, there's always an exemption to the rule.
An example about conveying the right emotions is when writing a story about an epic moment in your life. You need to take your readers back to the events leading to that moment that made you decide to write about it. And you need to be able to make them feel how you felt during the events prior to that moment so that when you finally tell them about that epic moment they'd understand why it is so memorable for you.
Furthermore, write the story as if you were telling a story to a friend. Think about how you would tell it in person and then put it into writing. But it's easier said than done.
Well, it's like this. When you're telling a story to a friend in person you get to use hand gestures, facial expressions, in short body language. And it's easy to follow the story and what you're trying to convey 'coz your friend can see and hear you.
Now when you put it into writing, the trick there is to describe your body language so your readers get a better picture of what you're trying to tell them.
I was shocked when I saw the price of gasoline today... (you widen your eyes so your friend can see how you reacted at that moment)
... this is bad ( you shake your head to show your dismay)
My eyes widened as I was shocked when I saw the price of gasoline today. I just shook my head in dismay and said, This is bad.
See the difference?
So to convey the right emotions you just have to do proper sentence construction.
Make it interesting to read
It's easy to write something about an interesting topic 'coz the interest is already there. But to write something about any topic and make it interesting, now that's a real challenge.
I suggest you do the latter 'coz it helps improve your writing skills rather than the first one.
I wrote a post about a certain Island once and there was nothing interesting about it at all. It's just a small regular island in the province of Bohol.
I want you to look at this picture.
So what do you think? Is it Instagrammable? No, it's not. But I looked for a way to make it interesting for people to read. I wrote a story about my whole experience while living in the island and made it interesting enough to get curated.
But how do you make your post interesting?
That's easy. Just add a little humor to it. But if you don't have a funny bone in your body and write mostly about serious topics then add some fun facts or relevant information in your article.
You don't have to take it from me. Go get yourself a newspaper or a magazine and read the feature articles so you'd see for yourself what I'm talking about.
A joke, fun fact or a relevant information buys you time so you need to place these things in your post strategically if you want your readers to reach the end of your post.
If you're gonna write something about how to wash your clothes manually and it's a 10-minute read, you better make sure you insert a lot of jokes in your post, like every 200 words, 'coz you don't wanna bore your readers with the same shit for the whole 10 minutes.
Make it interesting for your readers. If you don't know any jokes then be creative. Like put photos of yourself in a sexy outfit. Ivana Alawi did it, washed here clothes while wearing a sleeveless shirt and showing some part of her boobies and she got 30 million views for it.
Although, I doubt they'd read your post if they only got hooked because of your sexy photos.
Well, if you are curious to know who Ivana Alawi is (and watch the video of her showing some part of her boobies) click here.
Some may have click on the link and left already. But to you who is still here, I applaud you for holding back the urge to watch some boobies and focus on the topic at hand. But I know you're still gonna click on the link after reading this post. So I'm gonna do this as quickly as possible so you can get on with your business.
So going back to the subject matter.
Make it interesting to read. The way I do it is I put humor in my post. Others share some valuable knowledge about certain topics. Both of which are very effective in getting your readers hooked.
You can talk about a certain topic for 10 minutes straight and the readers will keep on reading 'coz they are entertained or they see value in it.
But how do you make a topic humorous or put value in it?
It's a good thing you asked 'coz that leads me to my next pointer.
How to put humor and value to a topic
Let me give you a crash-course on how to write comedy. One thing you need to keep in mind is that, the pre-requisite for a joke is it has to be funny.
You only need 2 things to deliver a joke successfully. And that's a set-up and a punchline.
A set-up is a statement that gets your reader on the same page as you are. It is very important that you and your reader are on the same page so that when you throw the punchline your reader will get the joke.
You come to the office EARLY in the morning and you notice your co-worker's pants zipper is open so you call your other co-worker and show him what you're looking at. Both of you are on the same page.. that's the set-up. And then you throw the punchline by saying..
I didn't know Walmart was open this EARLY.
And you can throw another punchline like...
I see the pistol but I don't see the security officer.
And another one..
I've never seen a pink holster before.
That's three punchline with just one set-up.
That's how you would do it in a face-to-face scenario. But if you put it into writing the set-up would look like this.
I came to the office EARLY in the morning and I noticed my co-worker's pants zipper was open so I called my other co-worker to show it to him. And both of us giggled and I said to him..
I didn't know Walmart was open this EARLY.
And both of us laughed and I went on by saying..
I see the pistol but I don't see the security officer.
We were laughing so hard that the other's were curious about what's so funny and then my co-worker comes back at me with..
I've never seen a pink holster before.
And we couldn't stop laughing about it and everybody just started to laugh too including the one with the open zipper. It was contagious.
So as you can see, it's very different from telling a joke in person. When writing comedy you have to get into every detail that will help make it humorous to the reader. When you throw the punchline you don't know if the person reading your post is laughing or not so sometimes you have to coach them to laugh.
And notice that I highlighted the word EARLY to emphasize the relevance of the word to the punchline.
So that's one way on how to write comedy but there are other styles of writing. You can visit our community Comedy Open Mic if you want to learn more about different comedy writing styles. It's a lot to take in so let's just stick with that foŕ now.
It's a simple formula and anyone can get good at it with constant practice.
Now, let's jump into how to add value to a topic. The perfect example for this would be this post. It's already an interesting topic as everybody wants to improve on their writing so all you need to do to put value on the topic is to give your readers something that will be beneficial to them.
It could be something that most people are not knowledgeable about that you happen to be an expert in. So share it.
Also, adding fun facts about a topic that a celebrity was involved in also adds value to that certain topic and it makes the reader interested in it thus giving it more value. And that's it.
So moving on to the next pointer.
The importance of a good format
I think a lot of people already know the importance of a well-formatted post but for those who don't, let me tell you why.
A well-formatted post is easy to follow and makes your post more presentable. Now, I'm not gonna talk about how to make a collage of pictures 'coz I have no idea on how to do that and I'm not interested in learning it. I like to focus more on the content of my post as that is what the readers are after. The pictures are just there to add value to the content but it's not the content itself.
This is not Instagram where you write a one-sentence caption and it's done. There are a lot of posts out there that have amazing photos but do not get curated. So don't rely heavily on photos to get rewarded, work on your writing instead.
I also wanna share a rule about how long a paragraph should be. From what I'm told, it needs to be just 5-7 lines at best. Anything longer than that becomes too painful to read.
And another technique about formatting that I wanna share with everyone is that thing called "Separation". When you want to highlight a sentence or in my case punchlines, you need to separate it from the paragraph.
You stopped at "for example" and now you will stop at this sentence.
That single space that separates that one sentence from the previous paragraph gives that sentence a highlighting effect. This is very useful when throwing a punchline. The reason why you would separate a sentence is so the readers would stop reading or pause for a second to take it all in. If that sentence is part of a long paragraph and is situated in the middle then it losses its relevance.
Also, proofread your work before posting it at least five times to check for grammatical errors. This is very important as you don't want to confuse your readers with the wrong grammar and this might discouraged them from continuing reading your post. Proofreading your work also gives you an opportunity to see if there is something more that you can add to your post.
And the last pointer I can give you guys is.
Take your time
Don't rush it. Sometimes a very good quality post takes days to write so take all the time you need.
I have like 10 unfinished posts in my drafts and its just sitting there waiting for me to give them their freedom. To be out there in the hive blockchain and be consumed by the ever growing number of content consumers.
I think that's all that I can share to all of you for now. I know there are more things that you can do to improve your blog but I'm gonna leave you to discover it for yourself and maybe you can return the favor to me someday.
Okay! Let's be honest here, most of us are blogging in Hive 'coz of the reward that comes with it. Don't tell me that you're blogging in Hive just so you could share your stories to the world. If that was the case, you would have done it in Facebook. For the simple reason that there are way more content consumers out there than here in Hive.
There are only a few bloggers out there that do it for fun. If you ask me why I blog, it's because I like writing and I can make a few bucks off of it. It keeps my mind busy and if I get rewarded for my work then it makes me happy 'coz then I can send some cash to my kid. And also it gives me some money for cigarettes.
And Hivers want to improve their blog so they'd get more upvotes and make more money. That's good. Money is a great motivator. But take my advise, if you're new in Hive, don't focus on the reward. You're gonna lose your zeal very quickly if you have that kind of mentality.
What you need to do is have fun while writing. Blogging is supposed to be fun. So enjoy it. Sometimes I write in communities, even though I know it's not going to be rewarded as much as in other communities, but I still do it just for the fun of it.
So continue to work on your craft, always seek to improve your writing and the money will come after.
That being said, I'm gonna leave you with a funny story before I bid farewell.
The Lousy Chef
I wrote 3 posts in the Foodies Bee Hive community and 2 got curated while the other one didn't. The one that didn't get curated was burnt String Beans Adobo.
I was waiting for it to cook but I got bored waiting so I stepped outside to light a cigarette. So when I finished smoking I went back to check if it was cooked. And when I took off the lid, the stringbeans were black-ish green.
"I messed up again."
But I still went on and posted it. And you don't have to be a fortune teller to guess what happened to that post.(Wait! I already said it didn't get curated).
The curator was probably saying to his laptop after reading my post.
You think I'm stupid?
That's burnt food.
And you want me to reward you for it.
Go fuck yourself!
Better yet. Why don't you take that plate of string beans adobo and shove it up your ass!
I imagine that's what he said after reading that post.😅
And that's the whole post.
Thank you for making it to the end of this post I hope you enjoyed reading this 15-minute long post.
If you like this post let me know in the comments section.(post) before you click on Ivana's link.(post)
Any upvotes, follows and reblogs is greatly appreciated.
And my name is @baby.magic & that's it for now. Jah bless!
All photos taken from my phone.