Blog Workshop: Best Practices
BEST PRACTICES FOR WRITING B2B TECHNICAL BLOG POSTS
Your request is for "best practices" writing advice for engineers and scientists who will be authoring B2B blog posts read by other engineers and scientists and possibly also by professionals representing other fields. After reviewing pre-existing information published by credible science organizations, engineering associations, trade publications, and by recognized blog writing, technical writing, or marketing experts, our research team successfully identified 10 best practice tips for writing technical blog posts. We provide a fuller description of our findings below.
1. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
As stated in a "tips and how to's" article in Tech.co, one of the top tips for any blogger, including technical bloggers, is to know one's audience. It is very difficult to select which content to include, which language and industry jargon to use, and how to structure one's presentation if you do not understand what your readers want and expect. For example, if they are looking for an innovative approach that will solve their most current pressing challenge, give them exactly that information.
2. BE CLEAR IN YOUR PURPOSE AND OFFER HIGH-QUALITY CONTENT.
Help your readers understand your post's objectives by stating them clearly right from the start. In the main body of the post be sure to include high-quality content that your audience will find the most useful and be able to put into action immediately. Your readers will appreciate your clarity and action steps to take.
3. ADD VALUE WITH A PERSONAL VIEW AND A PASSIONATE VOICE
Readers are always interested in a personal perspective that "adds value" to "the larger ecosystem." In other words, even within a highly technical post, readers can appreciate a "unique voice" that possibly adds interest to a well-worn subject. By bringing a passionate and authentic voice to one's writing, the author can better capture the audience's attention.
4. KEEP IT SIMPLE
Even a technical post does not need to be overly complicated. This is a common mistake made by many writers. Scientists and engineers may be sophisticated readers who are genuinely interested technology-based subjects, but that does not mean they want to read long-winded meandering pieces. Keep your writing simple and concise and avoid unnecessary complexity.
5. VARY SENTENCE LENGTH
Good writing includes a "healthy mix" of short and long sentences. Both types should be used within a single paragraph. The longer sentence offers room for the details. The shorter sentence delivers the punch. Used interchangeably, short and long sentences will keep the reader's attention.
6. PUT AWAY YOUR DRAFT THEN COME BACK FOR A FRESH VIEW
Do not expect to write the perfect blog post from start to finish in one session. Few writers, even very experienced ones, are able to do that. Instead, it is more useful to prepare a first rough draft, then stop, save the file (if digital), and move on to a completely different task. Come back to your post another day if possible. With a "fresh view," you may see a better way to arrange your content or to explain a key point.
7. INCLUDE VISUALS
Readers do not want a wall of text. It is more aesthetically pleasing to look at short paragraphs of text arranged around visuals. Those visuals can be graphs, charts, photographic images, video stills, or illustrations, just to name a few. Readers are more often drawn to posts that are well-designed and include visuals than to posts that are not.
8. ASK FRIENDS TO PROOFREAD AND GIVE FEEDBACK BEFORE PUBLISHING THE POST
You may review and revise your post many times and still miss spotting a typo here or there. It happens. So before publishing the post it is always a good idea to ask friends to proofread your work. Once they are finished, ask them for feedback. What is their overall impression? Does the content and its presentation make sense? Do they understand the purpose of the post? Is it too long? Is there a good ratio of visuals-to-text? Is the summary or conclusion too weak or strong enough with a clear call-to-action? Straightforward questions like these should elicit responses that will help you tweak and improve your post, as needed, before it is released to a much wider audience.
9. BE SHARABLE
With billions of Internet users sharing information daily through various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others, readers are on the hunt for content that is easy to share. Technical authors who wish to reach and possibly influence audiences beyond their initial target readers should compose with the "share" factor in mind. To improve the odds of a blog post being shared, the author should offer a concise overview at the beginning, a concise summary or conclusion at the end, and a breakdown of the middle content into short "digestible" paragraphs with section headers.
10. ADD a BONUS SENTENCE After the conclusion
Readers enjoy being surprised by a little "something unexpected" at the end of a blog post. They see it as a bonus that sets an author apart from other writers. So when researching a topic it is a good idea to keep an eye out for those small but useful pieces of information that could make for good bonus material. Simply add one item in a single sentence following the conclusion that gives the reader just one more thought to consider - perhaps along with a link for further optional reading.
We identified 10 best practice tips for writers of technical B2B blog posts targeting mainly scientists and engineers. These are: Know Your Audience, Be Clear in Your Purpose and Offer High-Quality Content, Add Value with a Personal View and a Passionate Voice, Keep It Simple, Vary Sentence Length, Put Away Your Draft Then Come Back for a Fresh View, Include Visuals, Ask Friends to Proofread and Give Feedback Before Publishing the Post, Be Shareable, and Add a Bonus Sentence After the Conclusion.