This guest post is by Marya of Writing Happiness.
When I finished my MBA degree about a decade ago, I undertook a course which taught me how to write great content for my blog.
Sceptical? I know what you are thinking: blogging wasn’t even around then! I know. Allow me to explain.
Doing MBA, I did many subjects like Marketing and Management which are great for anyone who is a webpreneur or looking to become one. That being said, Business Communication was, by far, the most enjoyable subject of the whole course. And I knew it would come in handy one day.
I just didn’t know that blogging would be the area that would benefit the most from it.
Time to dig through the dusty old boxes, locate the Business Communication textbook and revisit the well thumbed pages once again!
Blog writing is effective communication
We all agree that at the heart of great content lies effective communication. If you don’t, you are almost guaranteed to fail at whatever you are trying to accomplish with your posts.
To compose effective written or oral messages, there are certain principles that we need to apply. These also provide guidelines for your choice of content and style of presentation, be it a post or a video on your blog.
These are 7 Cs of communication:
Your post is only complete when it contains all the info that your reader requires in order to have a reaction you want them to have.
Remember when you are writing a post, only you are aware of what’s happening inside your head—the readers don’t. They don’t have access to all the voices in your head. For them to interpret the message as you intend, make sure you provide them with all the necessary information.
That could be a back-story to your post; it could be the questions you were contemplating while that thought popped into your head to do your post. Readers need to know what motivated you to write your post. Answer all the questions that are bound to come up and relate to your purpose.
Give your readers the whole picture, laying down the benefits, and talking about the results to convince them. Bring your reader to the page where you begin, or much context will be lost or misinterpreted.
Ahh… I am really partial to this one—it’s easily my favourite child of them all!
Conciseness is saying what you have to say in the fewest possible words—without sacrificing the other C qualities. Pay attention to the last bit as this is gold. It won’t help you to write briefly if you haven’t provided complete information, lack clarity, and are not courteous.
A concise message saves time for both you, the blogger, and for your readers. By being concise you are showing respect for your readers’ time. You lay emphasis on important ideas by eliminating unnecessary words, including only relevant information and avoiding needless repetition.
Wordiness has been the bane of writers for ever. So avoid long introductions to your post, omit unnecessary explanations, and don’t insult your readers.
Cut down pompous words, trite explanations, and gushy exclamations. Stick to the purpose of your post. When combined with the “you view,” which I’ll explain in a moment, concise posts are that much more interesting to your readers.
Write each post with your readers in mind. What do they need? How much of a difference will your post make in their lives? Be aware of their desires, problems, circumstances, emotions, and expectations.
Put yourself in their shoes. This is “you view.”
Most new bloggers are actually surprised to find that the most important word in their posts is you and not I. Yes, it might seem contradictory; I mean, you started blogging to air your thoughts, right? Well, that’s probably not entirely true. Don’t let your posts become an exercise in navel-gazing: write with the goal of helping your readers in some way, be it educational or entertainment.
Show them the benefit of reading your posts, and gently encourage them to take the desired action—sharing your post, commenting on it, or buying something from you.
Getting the meaning from your head into the head of your reader—accurately—is the purpose of clarity.
Choosing the right words to convey your message will work wonders for your writing.
Be conversational, and avoid being superior in your writing. Your writing doesn’t need to be pretentious to be taken seriously. It doesn’t matter how big your vocabulary is, you won’t achieve any results if nobody understands you. Use familiar language, and words that you are well versed in, and are appropriate for the situation.
Use short words if you have a choice between using long or short. Avoid using technical jargon and, when you have to, explain it once for people who might be beginners in this area.
Construct effective sentences and paragraphs by laying emphasis on the main idea. Generally, short length works best, and be sure to have unity and coherence in your sentence structure. Look into style elements if you feel you need some help in this regard.
Do you reply to your comments? Do you thank people for sharing your posts, tweeting them, and linking to them?
Your sincere “you attitude” makes you courteous—and it makes you likeable. Courtesy is politeness growing out of respect and concern for others.
Be thoughtful, appreciative, helpful, and truly respectful to your readers. Remember you are building a community here, so you want to promote values that define you as a person.
Be specific, definite, and vivid in your writing, rather than vague and general.
Use active verbs rather than passive, and choose image building words. Use analogies to make comparisons when appropriate, and avoid dull language. Show off your personality and your voice—that’s what makes readers hang on to every word.
And lastly, an extension of that is the final C.
This issue is the easiest to fix, and should never ever see the light of the day—there is simply no excuse for it.
Use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Check the accuracy of facts, figures, and words. For oral presentations, substitute spelling with speech etiquette. Enough said—you are a bright reader, I can tell.
Do you follow these 7 Cs of communication when you write your blog posts? Tell us your approach in the comments.
Marya is a communicator of ideas, exploring the human face of blogging. She offers quirky insights into personal development for bloggers. Catch more of her posts at Writing Happiness.
Perfect. Now I know what to follow in order come up with a shareworthy post..
Thanks for that. Much appreciated. :)
Great info! I definitely have to engage my readers more. I haven’t been responding to comments, and keeping up the “human element” as much as I should be. Thanks for that reaffirmation!
I actually think the most successful blogs are the ones who are blessed with engaged readers. But you have to work hard to engage them. It does take two to tango you know. :)
Love the 7 “C”s. You are absolutely right. Anyone who strive to write within the framework of those 7 ruls will have really share worthy posts.
Thanks. Its goos that I am having success on twitter, otherwise it would have been totally embarassing. :)
Thanks for the post! I always love a set of rules to follow when writing for my blog. It’s so helpful for me to have a checklist to keep me in line. May I add an honorary 8th ‘C’? While it won’t guarantee better writing quality, it will definitely improve your blog’s communication.
In today’s blogosphere where everything seems to have already been said, it’s the only way to set yourself apart.
Thanks again for the post!
You are right Brandon, if it were up to me, I would definitely add Creativity to the list. On the other hand, maybe it gets covered Concreteness, when it comes to language. Do you reckon we need another one for ideas?
I wish I had learned more about communication in college, but it’s never too late, I now see how much more critical it is as I catch the wind in my blog’s sail on the 7 C’s.
Thanks Kevin. This is one of those topics that stuck with me during Uni days. I knew there was a purpose to learning it about all and it finally came out. Good to know you concur. Cheers
Consideration is priority for me — if you’re not thinking about your reader or viewer, you’re bound to overlook aspects of your topic that the reader or viewer doesn’t understand.
Thanks for the reminder!
I agree Chris, you can pretty much get away with being a slacker when it comes to remaining C qualities however lack of consideration can cost you big time. Thanks for your input. :)
When I first started blogging I was always skeptical of if what I was writing was clearly communicating what I meant. It’s easy to have something in our head but to communicate it effectively is a skill in and of itself.
I agree Justin. Another favourite topic of mine that started the course of Business Communication for me was Process of Effective Communication. Maybe I need to write another post on that one?
Excellent post! Every newbie blogger should print this out and paste it on their wall as they type. Very well done Marya! Thank you.
Hi Ollin, good to see you. :) Your kind words are much appreciated – as always. Many thanks.
This article is well worth printing and stapling to the wall, just over your monitor. Thanks for these useful tips.
Thanks so much. This might be the nicest comment I have received so far. Have a great day! :)
There should be a new phrase – “Conciseness is king” ;)
Seriously though, that is a big one for me. Internet surfers (myself included) have an incredibly short attention span, and as such, you need to grab their attention and attack the issue at hand in a concise fashion. Quality, not quantity!
Good post Marya :)
Like I said, conciseness is my favourite child. :) Cheers
Love the 7 C’s, especially conciseness. Some bloggers tend to ramble sometimes and have long winded explanations. Great insights Marya !
Thanks very much Geoffrey. Great to connect with you on twitter as well. Keep in touch. :)
Great to see your guest post here at ProBlogger!
I love the way you’ve been able to relate the lessons of your Business Communications class to blogging – which, as you say, is a completely new platform to what you were learning about back then.
The idea of ‘Completeness’ as you describe it here is something that I think is really valuable for bloggers, and is on my mind lately as I contemplate future posts.
‘Conciseness’ and ‘Concreteness’ would have to be the most difficult of these for me, but definitely worth working hard to master.
Thanks for the great tips that you’ve shared here!
Hey Brigid, good to see you here. I am glad that this post was useful to you, it certainly has been the highlight of my whole course. :)
I look forward to meeting you at porblogger training event. Its gonna be awesome! See ya then.
Nicely written post. :)
I agree, focusing on how you deliver your content is just as important as the message itself.
Absolutely, mate. Cheers
I hope I’m following these guidelines! Very insightful and I am bookmarking this page right now.
Thanks very much Tisa. Much appreciated. :)
This is excellent advice. I like to add personal stories to hit my point home. I hear you about concise now if I could only learn to talk that way:)
hehehe I hear you Tess. Fortunately, we are only talking about writing here. Now talking would be an entirely different matter. Cheers
I’m a technical writer who creates software documentation so writing and editing is what I do for a living. My best trick is to read over and double-check everything, a few times. Reduce the number of words and shorten your sentences.
Especially helpful is to read backwards, as your eyes can tend to skip and not see obvious errors.
Thanks for the tips!
I agree Gillian, you make good points. Another thing that helps with revision is to paste the text using a different font or a different colour. Your brain treats it as something new I guess and it works beautifully. Thank you. :)
Fabulous post Marya. May I also suggest a 9th C (as well as Brandon’s Creativity), and that would be Consistent. Kinda goes without saying but often forgotten, that your argument/theory/thread needs to run a consistent strand through your post. If it jumps around or contradicts itself, then it won’t cut thru or resonate like it should. Awesome 7 though…..
Di, your suggested C is well worth a mention. I was just going by Cs of Business Communication – according to it, it might be covered under Correctness I think. Thanks for the reminder though. Cheers :)
I have been teaching Communication Skills to university level students for 15 years now. This post is undoubtedly the most convincing and cogent I have seen in a long time. it is very well written too. As far as Cs are concerned , I have seen 5, 7 and even 9 of different types. But this 7 is the very practical and logical set.
I am recommending all my students to read , absorb and retain .
I am a great proponent of conciseness. Small ( less) is beautiful.
Conciseness is my favorite. It’s what I really have to work on too.
Thanks for the great post, as always, Marya.