Six Quick Tips for Writing Short Blog Posts

Six Tips for Writing Shorter Blog Posts

Six Tips for Writing Shorter Blog PostsSome people give me a hard time about how long my blog posts are (you know who you are). They tell me I should break my posts into smaller posts, or suggest I consider a 500-word post for a change. I deserve the razzing, particularly when I publish a couple of 3,000-word posts back-to-back.

In the absence of column inch or word limit restrictions, I’ll use as many words as I need to get my point across. It’s not that I don’t know how to write short posts, it’s just not my preferred style. If I’m limited to 140 characters (for now at least), I’ll use 140 characters. If I decide to write a 500-word post about how to write shorter blog posts, I can do it.

To prove my point, you’re actually reading that 500-word post I mentioned. Here are six of the most-helpful tips I’ve come across for writing shorter blog posts:

  • Bite-Sized Content – when planning posts, pick topics that can be addressed in 500 words or less.
  • Get to the Point – focus on one point for your topic. If you have more than one point to cover, consider writing a separate post.
  • Blueprints Before Building – before you start writing, create a quick outline for your post. Focus on your opening, your main point, and your conclusion as the key ingredients.
  • Omit Words – review your post at least once and cut half your copy. Follow the “omit needless words” rule from “The Elements of Style.
  • Worth 1,000 Words – What image or graphic can literally take the place of 1,000 words in your post? Or provide your readers with 700 ideas for headlines without writing a single one?
  • Supporting Info – don’t repeat or rewrite things that exist elsewhere – instead of saying it, link to it.
  • Revise and Tighten – if you’re not on deadline, keep revising until you copy is tight and you’re completely satisfied.

As a bonus tip, I suggest you find a blogger who has mastered the art and science of writing short posts. For me, I enjoy reading and learning about startups from “David Cummings on Startups.” Cummings uses a consistent formula for his posts, which is part of the reason he’s been able to publish a new blog post EVERY DAY without fail for several years now. His posts typically flow like this:

  • A short, descriptive headline – what topic today’s post is about
  • An introductory paragraph – introduces main point around topic
  • A bullet list of supporting points – backup for the main point – often linked to helpful resources
  • A summary paragraph – to reinforce the main topic
  • A consistent request for feedback – always end with the CTA (call-to-action)

I’m often surprised how much I learn from two paragraphs and a couple of bullets. I think his blog is a great example of how you can deliver both quantity and quality from your blog.

And in case you were wondering, this post is 500 words. 🙂

What tips would you share for writing shorter posts? Is there a blog you love that publishes short posts? Please share…

(Image Credit: “6” by Goynang / Flickr)

About Jeremy Porter 214 Articles
Jeremy Porter has been passionate about the intersection of public relations and journalism since studying both Public Relations and Journalism at Utica College of Syracuse University in the late 90s. Porter launched Journalistics in 2009 to share his ideas and insights around both professions and how trends and developments in modern day marketing, communications, and technology impact those working in these fields. Porter also values the traditions and history of both professions and regularly shares his perspective in these areas - and related topics geared toward the next generation of journalism and public relations professionals.

10 Comments

  1. I appreciate this blog post as I have just begun in the world of blogging. That most important thing that I’ve noticed, as you pointed out, is trying to get to your point as quickly as possible. You have so much information to try and get across, that it becomes difficult to condense it to a point where you can hold a reader’s interest. As an unexperienced blogger, I thank you for these tips.

    • I agree with the previous comment. I myself recently started my own blog and I find myself questioning how long posts should be. I am afraid that my readers will get discouraged from lengthy posts that highlight more than one or two main points. I think an easy way to avoid repetition and elevate your post is by linking relevant articles and current news stories. My suggestion would be to have certain links emphasize varying ideas that go beyond those bought up in your post. It allow you to focus on your main ideas while still providing readers with supplementary information. Thanks for the tips, I am sure they will come in handy.

  2. I have been blogging for about 6 weeks in one of my Journalism classes. We are going back through our blogs and trimming, tightening, and enhancing the content of them. I found this post VERY helpful, especially since I am editing my blogs right now. Another tip I would consider adding to this list is make sure the title of your blog matches what you say in it. Making sure your title ties to your content seems very obvious, but many people, (including myself) do this often in their blogs. Also, know your audience. I know you mentioned to not write about something someone else has already said and this is very crucial when it comes to your audience as well. Think about what they would want to hear or get from your blog. Those are my tips! Thanks again for sharing. 🙂

  3. I found this blog post very helpful, as well as true. Sometimes we get caught up in length we forget to remember how important content is. On the other hand sometimes we make blogs to short to even gather any information from it. I have blogged on and off throughout journalism courses I have taken the last year but I still struggle with this very issue. Finding a happy meaning between length and content can make or break your audience. I highly agree with the above comment that the audience has a big deal on how you manage to balance the length of the blog while making sure the content is visible. Thank you for your guidance and knowledge.

    • Hi Chloe! I’m glad you found my short post on writing short posts helpful. I think one of the most-valuable pieces of advice I can provide about post length is the importance of adding an editing phase to your writing process. So often we just want to click “publish” on the post once we’ve finished writing it, but spending a bit more time on a couple of revisions can ultimately help to tighten up the copy and ultimately reduce the length of the post. I’m horrible at doing this by the way, as often my revision cycle creates a longer post – but it’s still a worthwhile exercise. The second tip I would add – which I touched on in my post – is deciding whether or not your post is on one or several ideas. If it’s possible to break a longer blog post up into multiple smaller posts, this is another tactic that can help for writing smaller posts. I’m happy to hear you’re blogging as part of your journalism courses. If you write an interesting post from a student’s perspective that you think would be of interest to Journalistics readers, tweet a link and mention @journalistics in your post. If it’s relevant to our readers, I’ll retweet the link for you. Thanks again!

  4. I’m an unexperienced blogger, and when I first started one of the things I struggled with was the length of my posts. I wasn’t sure how much I could write without losing my audience! This post really helped me though, as I’ve realized my style has developed as a “short posts” kind deal. Especially your point on picking one topic, nothing to broad, and if it is broad and there’s a lot to cover, to use links! That’s something I’ll definitely get into the habit of doing, thank you for the tips!

    • Hi Soraya! I’m glad I’m not the only one that has struggled with writing shorter blog posts. Don’t take it personally, as I’ve found there are just as many people who enjoy long posts that are well thought out. With so many bloggers writing short-form, bite-sized blog posts, sometimes the longer posts are a welcome change of pace. I’m happy to hear you’ve been able to develop your style and that you found the post helpful.

  5. I have been excited to blog about this blog site from the beginning. I have made so many blogs in my past including a few anonymous blogs that have become quite popular to an audience I am only honored to represent. However no matter how passionate or interested I am in creating and maintaining a blog, I always stray away from it and it slowly dissolves into the shadows of the web. I consider myself to be a writer. I’ve been writing ever since I was young and have continued using this talent in my english courses throughout my educational career. One issue I have always had when writing is learning how to keep the content short and sweet. When I came across this blog, I did more than just brainstorm on what I was going to write about for this blog assignment, I learned how to take the advice and apply it to my blogging hobby.

    Porter begins by explaining how if he wants to write a long post to get all of this feelings about a topic out, then that’s exactly what he’s going to do. I praise this outlook. It’s his blog. Saying “I have the freedom to write what I want to write” shows his independence and stance when it comes to his great work.

    Later in the post he goes on to then give tips to readers in case they ARE struggling with writing shorter posts and WANT to make that change for themselves. Tips such as bite-sized content and blueprint building were the advice points that really stuck to me while reading this.

    Take the important and relevant to your audience information and brainstorm with it. Brainstorm? I hadn’t really thought of this word since I was in high school. Sure, I think about what I’m going to write about for my college courses but maybe for a moment or two before whipping out a 10 page paper 5 minutes before it’s due. It’s in our “college genes.” We procrastinate. We are college students. However Porter reminding us that we need to take a step back and actually brainstorm and organize what we are going to write about reminded me that it’s always ok to go back to the basics, and sometimes it’s better to do so.

  6. Although I am an inexperienced blog-writer, this article provided a lot of useful information – even in 500 words. I love the point about a picture being worth 1000 words. Content for blogs is really limited, so it’s definitely important to add easy-to-consume pieces, like pictures, that can offer the audience a lot of information without taking up too much time. Also, I just had to write a blog post for a class, and I referenced this post frequently, especially the blog layout that is listed. I really enjoyed the quote, “I’m often surprised how much I learn from two paragraphs and a couple of bullets.” because of its accuracy – blogs have the ability to educate quickly and efficiently.

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