The A-2-Z of business blog writing: K is for Knowhow

blogging,business,writing,knowhow,Suzan St MaurInformative, authoritative blog posts are very valuable. But too much knowhow can put readers off if it’s dry, dull and boring.

No worries, however; there are ways to lighten the load and make these posts more appealing.

Having just proofread one of my son’s university essays (on econometrics) I am still reeling from being engrossed in text that is more dense than a Brazilian rain forest. Of course, academic writing has to be like that and I assume the tutors, lecturers and other staff are well used to wading through the treacle of words that students write.

But out here in the real world, readers – your customers and prospects – don’t have the time or inclination to absorb information to anything even remotely like that degree of intensity. That’s why any information-based blog post you write needs to allow plenty of breathing space around facts and figures, interspersing the solid information with lighter interludes that allow readers to catch their breath.

Here are some ways to introduce a lighter note into information-heavy text

Case studies
These are very effective ways of providing two useful things: one, a diversion from the fact-packed main text, and two, where relevant, emphasis on the part you played in the success story. Be sure to keep case studies in blog posts pretty short and sweet, and link as often as possible to how the good stuff in the case study can apply to you-the-reader, as well. If you want to use longer case studies, offer the long version as a download or link through to it elsewhere on your blog or website, and just use a snappy summary of the key points in your blog posts.  You want to keep your blog post moving.

Stories
These aren’t the same as case studies because you can always make them up if one doesn’t immediately spring to mind! Business storytelling is very fashionable right now. I confess I feel wee bit cynical when I read about yet another rags to riches story or how someone tripping over a dandelion sparked off a million-selling business idea or how a little boy’s Lego structure inspired the highest skyscraper in the Middle East … you get the drift. Stories are great but in a business context, leave out the sob-stuff, gnomes and fairies at the bottom of the garden, and focus on lightish relevance.

Humor
I write about humor and jokes extensively on here – just check out the category “writing humour” in the sidebar. To précis the main points, however …

  • By all means include a joke, but make sure it’s tailored to your readers and their interests
  • If your readers include people for whom English is a second language, it’s probably best to avoid jokes
  • For all audiences, use humor sparingly … as a “condiment” rather than as a main course
  • Unless you’re certain your readers can handle a bit of naughtiness, keep your humor squeaky-clean

Images
blogging,writing,blog writing,business,newsletter,HowToWriteBetter.net,How To Write Better,Suzan St MaurThe old cliché about a picture being worth a thousand words became a cliché, as most do, because it’s absolutely true and valid across the board. By breaking up your text with images you give the reader some sensory relief (NLPers would back me up here, I think…) and images can achieve a lot more than merely offering pretty pictures. You can get excellent free photographic images on the Creative Commons basis from sites like Photopin.com, and there are several more on the internet. Beyond that you can make use of diagrams which you create yourself or use the currently popular “infographic” format which, if intelligently used, can illustrate a process or concept a lot more easily than mere words can.

What other options do you use to break up dense “knowhow” blog posts?

Please share your thoughts and recommendations with us here!

While you’re here, don’t forget to stop by my Bookshop…books and eBooks to help you write better – and to give to friends and family (don’t forget the Holiday Season is nearly here)…

Comments

comments

Thoughts

  1. Lists and Tips are a favourite of mine as they break down what can feel quite paragraph heavy and makes it easier to share know how with readers and helps them absorb information to transform…

  2. Suzan,

    One thing that I like to do is post a whole piece using short 1 and 2 syllable words. It can be very hard to do, but it forces you to think outside the box using tools such as the dreaded dictionary and thesaurus.

    I also use most of the other methods that you’ve used as well.

    Thanks,

    Josh

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