Try to keep up-to-date on the latest ranking factors. Google keeps changing its mind. In-depth (or, more wordy) blogs are currently being given preference. I’ve read that every blog should be at least 750 words. As of 2016, top-ranking content is 1,000+ words.
But, how do you get even CLOSE to 1,000 words? I’ve struggled with this myself. In fact, most of my first blog articles are way under 600, let alone getting close to 750 words! Nevertheless, I’ve figured out how to expand on my writing.
1. Take notes wherever you go. “In-depth” means you must dish out all the details. Focus on the points that are especially unique or noteworthy, which most bloggers have yet to write about. The best way to keep track of these details is to take notes as you go. Flashbacks can provide interesting perspective, but waiting till later will only let the intricate details fade from your memory. For travel bloggers, this is especially important. Notes on your first impression of a place or during an event will help you remember the fresh outlook you had. Even taking note of the atmosphere or how it all made you feel could be invaluable.
2. Start with an outline. Once you’ve gathered enough information, it’s never a bad idea to map out a few ideas first. The outline doesn’t have to be well thought-out. Build a basic bulleted list that overviews each item you want to cover in a specific article. I like to break things down by location, for example. If one bullet point gets long enough, it’s economic to break it off into its own little blog article.
3. Rely on feelings. Self-reflection provides expansion; the paragraphs will grow. We need to see everything through your eyes! Relying on feelings is the reason you shouldn’t throw out any worthwhile backstories, funny moments, or snippets of conversation. Readers need the human touch. Show yourself, your personality. Don’t hide your weaknesses. Accounts of facing a challenge can bring to light the exact solution that your readers need in facing the same problem. You may find that writing from the heart in such a way will cause any formalities to drop–this is a good thing! Blogs are meant to be personal. Voice Is Vital! (VIV….that’s why VIV is the beginning of VIVID….Not really.)
4. If free-writing, don’t edit chronologically as you write. That’s the whole point of free-writing! Let the ideas flow straight from your mind into your hands and let the paragraphs form themselves. Throw in any backstories, random facts, or explanations you think of. You can mold the article into chronological or logical order later. Backstories could turn into separate articles.
5. Be descriptive. Use adjectives. Note different words or phrases that you use often (“word whiskers”…MEOW). Consult a thesaurus (if you’re writing in English at least—I’ve been told that’s the only language that uses a thesaurus…scary, huh?). Heck, scan a few pages in a rhyming dictionary for all I care. Getting yourself familiar with different styles of writing is worth it, as it will help you get used to different word usage. This is where reading comes in: the best way to expand your vocabulary and improve technique is to read publications written in your target style.
6. Expand on the five W’s (and How). Go beyond mentioning who you are with, where you are, why you’re there, what are you doing, when did you go, and how did you get there. Take each question one at a time and expand on it by going through the five W’s again. Let’s take “Who,” for example: Who are you with? Why are you with them? Where did you meet them? What are THEY doing? When did you first meet them? How did you come to be doing this thing together? A little repetitive, I know. But examining these details will help prevent leaving out important pieces of inspiration. Sift through the extraneous details, and leave the important ones.
7. Check your voice. Do you use passive voice too much? Too little? Are your tenses correct? You’d be surprised—wrong tense can make a big difference in your word count and bring other grammatical problems to light. Are you too bland? Try to be funny! Meet the blogger’s best friend, Sarcasm.
8. Read your blog article aloud. See how it makes you feel. Or have a friend read it. If there’s no emotional response, that’s a big problem. Go back over your piece and add depth of character to it.
Well, would you look at that. This post has over 800 words, thanks to these steps to write longer blog articles. Higher pagerank, here I come!
What helps you write longer blog posts? Let me know in the comments below. And while you wait for my response, why not check out some of my other writing tips for bloggers? You can start with my writer’s block-budging article, Blog writing: Be inspired and stay motivated. If procrastination is your relenting nemesis, you might check out: The problem with being a writer and how to solve it.