Overcome your inner wizard to sharpen your blogging skills


This week James and Rick have been running an updated version of our training course on blogging. So if you’re interested in a bite-size summary of how to improve your blog this is for you.

Sitting in the car, chewing over the pitfalls of blogging about blogging, we agreed that the most challenging aspect of training bloggers is the multi-disciplinary nature of blogging itself. Whilst the principle concern of creative writers, copywriters and journalists alike is to put words on the page, the successful blogger not only requires the ability to write but also a feel for attention grabbing sub/headlines, noticeable visual references, relevant links and the wherewithal to start (and sometimes conduct) a conversation on their own.


That breadth of skills in turn attracts a wide and varied cast of the wannabee bloggers to training sessions.


Many arrive convinced that they can already teach Shakespeare a thing or two. Others, however jounalistically talented, approach the process with a suspicion akin to that of the time travelling medieval wizard Catweazle when he first discovers the “telling bone”. We think James is probably the only person old enough to remember this so here’s a brief clip from the show:

Either way we recognise that bloggers, much like blogs themselves, have different strengths and distinct needs.


No single style of delivery or element of content will suit all. In that sense developing blogs is much like developing book publishing brands. Try telling a celebrated author that their audience would love them to be just a bit ‘better at writing’ (Rick did once and still walks with a slight limp). Likewise, telling in-house writers that you’ve patented the secret formula for successful blogging will provoke a swift and visceral reaction.

Consequently our approach to training comprises real-world examples of effective blogs, highlights the issues and opportunities by specific sector and identifies best practices that can be brought to life through a series of simple exercises.

Is ours a universal panacea for perfect blogging? No.

Is it a practical tool-kit that bloggers can cherry-pick from ? Yes.

Does it work ? You can be the judge and to help you we’ve written a very short list of  ‘top blogging tips’. Here they are:

  1. Themes – be passionate and write about what matters to you.
  2. Specialism is good – make your blogs relevant.
  3. Strike a balance – don’t just comment on the big issues.
  4. Headlines – keep them short, snappy and seductive.
  5. Sub-headlines – make sense of the headline but don’t give the entire story away.
  6. Opening paragraph – explain what’s in it for the reader.
  7. Visuals – make them as lateral and lovely as possible.
  8. Be personal – don’t be afraid to put some of yourself in your blog.
  9. Ask questions – it’s a conversation not a monologue.
  10. Know your readers – find out what they like.
  11. It needn’t be achingly funny – but a bit of wit goes a long way.
  12. Include lists – everyone’s a sucker for a list.
  13. Include links – take your readers to other worlds.
  14. Keep it brief – 500 to 600 words is optimal
  15. Finally, ask yourself, would you give up 2-3 minutes to read what you’ve just produced? If the answer’s “no” then go back to the list!

Let us know if this works for you and if you’d like to find out more about our training courses you can read about them HERE.