I have been tagged to tell the blogiverse How Do I Write An Outstanding Post? If you want to see who is out of his mind thinking that I’m writing outstanding posts, click on the bloggy-tag image on the right. Personally, I don’t believe that the word “outstanding” accurately describes my writing. There are other much better words that give a full justice to my blog posts: superb, magnificent, exceptional or at least, sensational.
hmm.. is that what they call a “wishful thinking”? Frankly, I can only hope that one day my writing could be appropriately characterized as “exceptional”. Presently, I feel very honoured when someone considers some of my posts outstanding. But then there’s a nagging question in mind: which posts people consider to be remarkable – the same posts that I personally find noteworthy or the posts that I would label as bestsellers?
You see, the truth is that I don’t consider bestsellers to have an outstanding quality to them, although they do sell well (hence the name) and are very popular with the general public. Most of the articles that end up on Digg’s front page are bestsellers, just like many of the posts published by Smashing Magazine. There’s nothing superb or exceptional in them other than that they managed to cater to a wider audience and were lucky enough to get the right promotion and advertising.
An obvious question comes to mind: Can an outstanding post become a bestseller? I believe it depends on the answer to another related question: What made this posts to stand out – is it the writing or the topic, or the popularity and credibility of its author, or the public who reads it and comes to a combined conclusion that this particular piece of writing also has a “selling” quality to it and deserves to be promoted as a bestseller?
So which of my posts do I personally find noteworthy (or should I just forget about my humble upbringing and call them “outstanding”)? Here are the 8 efforts I’m trying to apply to my writing to make it stand out, my 8 attempts to take it closer to captivating works of those who do know how to write an outstanding post:
Let the thoughts brew in your head.
I noticed that it’s best to let my ideas and thoughts for the post to evolve in my mind before even writing them down. That’s when I resort to the sleeping kingdom, or play with my daughter, or go for a walk – all those things help me to re-charge my creative juices and shape up my thoughts into a post.
Be creative with words
There is a reason why practically every word in English (and other languages) has synonyms, so why not integrate them in your writing? Next time instead of praising something or someone as being “great” ten times in one article why not use it only once and replace all other nine instances of this word with its synonyms: magnificent, powerful, distinguished, immense, awe-inspiring, brilliant, devoted, grand, fantastic (and the list goes on).
Sprinkle your posts with bits of humour
If you’re blessed with a terrific sense of humour use it as your finest tool, get it working to your advantage, turn your posts into a unique mixture of wittiness and intelligence at work. There are too many overly serious boring blogs and bloggers over there, don’t fall into the same trap.
Add a personal touch
Which post would make a bigger impact on you: the one that’s simply listing Top 10 Most Popular WordPress Plugins or the one that talks about the Handy WordPress Plugins installed on the author’s blog with an explanation of why the blogger finds them useful? There are gazillions of articles in the blogiverse that constantly teach us something: from how to make money with blogging or increase the traffic to which are the best tools or sites for designers or photographers. If the authors don’t back up their choices with some personal thoughts and experience why should I take their word for it and waste time trying out their tips myself?
Be original and find your niche
Make your blog’s topic/theme/tagline memorable, write the articles with an instantly recognizable style. Don’t try pretending to be someone else. Write about things you know something about. And if you don’t know much but you are eager to learn and share with your readers, then make sure you research that topic really well. Don’t try pleasing everyone, find the niche and audience you’re comfortable with and always give them your best, never take their praise for granted.
Capture your readers attention by writing on engrossing topics. Engage them to participate in the discussion, hold their attention from the beginning of the post till the end. If you managed to get the readers to look at things with a fresh perspective, if you stimulated them to think, if you made them realize that what you wrote about is actually beneficial to them, then you can relax for a bit, pamper yourself or toast your achievement with a glass of a delicate wine, and concentrate on working on the next “masterpiece”.
Accept and invite criticism
If you get unfavorable comments, don’t get defensive nor let them put you down, but learn from them and if possible ask the commenter for a fair but much needed criticism. If you don’t get any comments on the post you thought was an absolute marvel, then it means that perhaps you forgot to follow one or more of the 6 suggestions above. Try re-evaluating the article and pinpointing out what you might’ve done differently this time to improve its quality.
Be your own best critic
Be truthful with yourself about your work. Ignore the fact that you just spent hours on writing, thinking, structuring your post. Before publishing it try reading it as you would read someone’s else article. Do you feel bored with the post, does it appeal to you, what would you comment on it? If you personally feel satisfied with your work, if you can exclaim: “How did I come up with those words, that phrase, this topic? DId I actually write this post myself?” then you can be sure that what you wrote can be labeled as outstanding.
Now, it’s tagging time. Once again I’d like to tag two people who tagged me in past – Ronald from RA Project and Bes – The Reasoner, and also I’m curious to see what Brian from Epic Edits has to say about How Do You Write An Outstanding Post? (check out the rules that go along with this tagging)
I have similar questions to my readers: How do you know when you wrote a brilliant post, and which posts do you consider being absolutely exceptional?