Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Punchy, Fun, Engaging Posts

Awesome blog posts don't just happen.

There are plenty of things to consider if you want to create posts people will read without excessive eye-rolling and/or growling aloud. (Note: if eye-rolling and excessive growling is your goal, you have my permission to hit the road, Jack. Bye-bye!)

Choose cool topics
You may be the Grand Expert of Nothing, but you can still share what you know and the resources that have helped you. Go ahead and respond to readers, issues presented by other authors, and explore cool trends in the literature world. (Note: don't act like a know-it-all...unless you've done some mega research and you actually know it all. #SmartA)

Keep 'em brief & positive
Step one is Get the Words Out! So what if they're bitter or rambling? I'm often Miss Bitter and Rambling. But before embracing my righteous indignation and pounding the publish button, I don my editor hat. (Yes, it's super cute and covered with bling!) Humor is added to soften angry/bitter words. And repetitive redundancies can meet Mr. Delete. (Note: soliloquizing and crazy rants already have a place in Shakespeare. And he does it better than you. #SorryNotSorry)

Format, highlight, & leave some freaking blank space
If you don't have an inner artist, this is a good time to develop one. Think of ADD children, and visually peruse the post for large chunks of text that readers (like me) will find overwhelming. Chunk it into more readable bites. Use those schmancy little editing buttons to bold, italicize, and highlight subtopics, important nuggets, or tweetable gems. And please for the love of Pete, leave a decent amount of white space! (If you think this is just the ramblings of a crazy kindergarten teacher, go ahead and write four pages without paragraph breaks or dialogue to interrupt. I'm bored just thinking about it...and you?)

Eye-catching images
We like to pretend that Words are All Powerful. Nothing undermines that theory like the share-ability of a post with cool images. You're all professional photographers and artistic geniuses, right? No? No worries, there are plenty of resources that make even the dumbest of bunnies look good:
  • Unsplash is my favorite source for free, high-quality photos. Jazz 'em up, have a bit of fun, and voila, a custom image for your post. (If Unsplash isn't your style, peruse this Verve article for other sites with royalty-free images.) 
  • Photoshop makes my inner child shudder. RhonnaDesigns is the Instagram app I use for editing and embellishing photos. It's simple and includes various fonts, stickers, frames, etc. #SoCute
  • I've heard good things about PicMonkey, which includes many of the same features and it's free.
Double duty! I create cool images for my website and later use them for Social Media promotion. (And hey, if you haven't been paying attention, Pinterest and Instagram are all about the images, baby!)

Link it up
Again, utilize those schmancy buttons at the top to embed links to related blog posts on the same topic, others' posts that inspired yours, and outside resources (book links, more information on the same topic, etc.). Think carefully about how to reference them to encourage the reader to follow the links. (Note: never use HERE to reference links. Mr. Lazy Bones. HERE tells you nothing about where the link leads. It's only useful on that map at the mall when you have no idea where you are. #YouAreHERE)

Choose an awesome title
Some readers won't get past boring, off-putting titles. When crafting a title, think in terms of promotion. What do you want readers to attend to most? Title your post accordingly. Also, be sure to deliver on any promises made to the reader. Annoyed readers don't stick around. Shocker!

Interact with readers
The internet closes the gap between celebs and Joe Shmoe. We may as well encourage audience participation and close that gap a little more, right? We can invite readers to comment, share their expertise, and give their opinions or preferences on the issues we present. Did you think about the fact that you're someone's favorite writer? If you've ever seen the sparkle in someone's eye after they read your book, that's what it means!

Recheck before posting
Resist the righteous indignation of pounding the publish key for one more second! Preview and recheck it again. Peruse, play with different formatting, add your labels, and test your links. I can't tell you how many times I've been so proud of a post only to read it through and find a glaring error. #SoooooEmbarrassing 

The moral of the story is: 
You can never look too brilliant!
(So take your time and make it awesome.)

We've reached the end end of my soliloquy on creating Punchy, Fun, Engaging Posts. (Note: this was the least punchy, fun, engaging post EVER. So I jazzed it up a bit. How did I do?) 

By the way, if you'd love to see some masters at work, here are a few of my favorites:
Any other tips you'd mention to the blogosphere, my dears? I'd love more input on the subject. Leave me a comment below!


  1. Good points! I am the worst about going on and on in my blog posts (at least I feel like I am)...can you tell me where you get your cute editor hat? I think I totally need one ;) and thanks for the mention, you're a doll!

    1. Oh I created my own editor hat! Lots of bedazzling! Thanks, Cathy! This one is actually pretty long, but as long as it keeps moving, that's what matters :)

  2. Big thanks for the free photos links!

    1. They're brilliant. And guess who shared them with me? The lovely Rachel Thompson! :)

  3. I see you have deemed me a Master at Work, Sarah, and I am both humbled and honored!!! Thank you. Your roundup of tips here is masterful as well. Here's a tip I'll add for the image-stymied…when you need to interrupt the blah-blah, use a call-out (read-out, pull-quote)—most templates offer a pre-styled format using the giant quotes symbol. Which you can, of course, tweak.

    PRO TIP: Make it pithy and under 100 characters, and turn it into a tweet-able quote using (free if you don't care about tracking results).

    Thanks again. Nicely done, Sarah!

    1. Thanks, Jann! Always inspired by you, my dear. I'll have to try that site too!

  4. Unsplash photos are great, and there are some fantastic ones at Gratisography - including a guy in a teddy suit coming out of a portable toilet. If that's not an excuse for an interesting blog post I don't know what is!

    1. Ooh! I'll have to try out Gratisography...I wanna see that dude in the teddy suit! :) Thanks for dropping by.