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A Guide to writing good email…. and blog posts?

Posted By Darren Rowse 24th of May 2006 Writing Content 0 Comments

There’s a nice post over at blue flavor on how to write good email – an author’s guide which as someone who gets a lot of email I wish everyone would read. It’s got some great common sense tips.

I wonder if there are a few good tips for bloggers writing blog posts buried away within it also? Here’s a few that I’ve tweaked to see if they might apply:

On Brevity

“Short emails blog posts rule. When I get come across an email a blog post that’s several pages long, I have to make some decisions: do I have time to handle this now? Is it important enough to come back to? Can I pass it on to someone else? If I can’t say yes to any of these, I will probably never get back to read it.”

On Context

“And for god’s sake, have a subject line good title. One that makes sense. Some of the most important emails blog posts I’ve received seen didn’t have a subject good title, and they almost fell through as a result…. Remember that on recipients’ screens, your subject title competes with a large number of others for their attention.”

On Giving Recipients Something to Act On

“Don’t give people an excuse to misread you. If you’ve written a request at the end of a long paragraph, or been passive (“it’d be nice if somebody could…”), it’s likely to have been missed on the receiver’s end. If you sent an email, you have a point. Get to it.”

Perhaps I’m stretching things a little far – if nothing else it’s a good post on writing emails which just might contain some helpful hints for blog writing also.

Found via Lifehacker

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • The two last points are fine by me, but I don’t really agree on the first one. A blog post has to be as long as it needs to. In this sense, it’s not the same as an e-mail, as the later is (from my point of view) meant as a discussion tool mainly. A blog post can serve to express some deep reflexion that takes some paragraphs to explain clearly.

  • jimmy

    Good points setforth by Darren and RinzeWind.

  • Yes RinzeWind I agree with you.

  • CW

    I agree that a blog post can be as long as it needs to be, but in the interests of helping one’s readers, might it not be better to split super-long posts into say 2 or 3 (or how ever many) posts? They could be labelled ‘Long Post Part 1’, ‘Part 2’ and so on. I for one find it easier to digest posts in smaller chunks…

  • I’ve written about post length previously but my opinion is that a post CAN be any length but I find that I get more interaction from readers and more people taking action on what I write when my posts are short to medium.

    Long posts have a place but you have to work hard in them to keep readers interested until the end.

    I know when I go to a blog that if a post is too long I often give up either immediately or along the way. I’m lazy, I scan content, I have a short attention span and I suspect most we users do also.

    Having said that – I regularly write long posts – but mix in shorter ones also.

  • The better you make your headline, and your first paragraph, the more likely you are to hold readers if you do choose to write a long post.

    I think the ‘chunk’ idea is a good one. If you’re reading these comments, please post quickly saying how many paragrpahs you like a post to be.

    Thanks David

  • People’s time is very valuable. You have to consider how long a busy person can spend at your blog and post accordingly, IMHO.

  • As far as post length, I think it depends on who are you writing for. If it’s something of an online journal for yourself, writing long posts could make sense.

    I do however agree that if you are trying to write so that others will want to read you, you should probably use shorter posts.

  • I’ll also question shorter posts a little. I know my own tend to be on the long side. I write articles as opposed to a quick post, which for my subject matter makes sense to me. I’m sure they could be a shorter, but they do need to be long enough to give the information.

    A long post does take a commitment in time to read, but I grow tired of blogs that get in an out in a paragraph or two all the time without ever telling me anything useful. It’s an even greater commitment of time to come back every day to see if there is something worth reading.

    Maybe a mix of short, medium, and long posts is a good solution.

  • K

    About blog length, I actually prefer consistency.
    That way for my regular blogs,
    I can plan my visits.
    If I have a big chunk of time, I go to Blog A.
    Only have a minute? Visit Blog B.
    But then I’m a very lazy surfer.

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  • I’ve read this before, but I also think these are very good points.
    You can expand these points to everything written for users. Because it is the same behavour if you write a tutorial, an article for a newspaper or a blogpost.
    The reader wants to know fast what he gets when he reads the article and it should be easy to read.
    Just a thought…

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  • Length and context matters most for a blog post. Who has the time to go through number of pages. One should values others time!

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  • darrell

    Thank you for stopping by my site

  • I agree very much with short blogging. I think a good mix of both short and longer blog content gives busy readers something to read before they leave the site. I know that as a mother, I often find that some articles get skipped over by my eyes because I just don’t have the time to read it all.