The joy of reading newspapers is great. Screens can't just replace the joy of reading newspapers along with a cup of tea. No matter to what extent the technology may grow, there’ll be something missing.
Catchy newspapers go "circulo-holic".
There are some lessons that bloggers should learn from looking at the newspapers.
Here in this blog post I’ve some lessons that bloggers can learn by taking newspapers as inspiration.
Find unique topic that rocks your audience mind
No one likes to read old news. Nor they like to read obvious news. People like to read fresh news, that they have not read anywhere previously. If newspapers don't cover fresh news, they are gone.
With the blogosphere expanding in size daily, there are heaps of generic content on general topics. For a blog to be successful, presenting unique content, in a unique way is quintessential.
Another thing to learn from newspapers is, they know how to customize news for their readers in different regions. Newspaper readers often read things happening in their streets with eyes wide-open. So, newspapers exactly know what their readers want.
Likewise, in blogging find content that is perfectly suited for your blog audience (content for which your readers are craving for).
You may consider reading this 2,500 words guide on finding ideas for your blog posts.
Ever looked at "The Sun" newspaper? Their headline strategy drives me crazy. It's like no way to not start reading. The audience are spell bound
on looking at the headlines.
Above is the newspaper headline regarding the death penalty, "99% of you want this"? Why the heck? It drives you curious. That's a lead.
Imagine the newspaper hung at the corner stall; it's a side-walkers-hack.
Many newspapers survive by following a great headline strategy. Same applies for post titles. If it's catchy, it's a clicky-click. If you want to survive in this blogosphere, you have to learn writing great headlines.
Writing punchlines is like commenting about your own headline. Or a short line about the story.
With reference to the above newspaper.
"You will be taken hence to a place of lawful execution and there hanged by the neck until you are dead." NOT ME.
Now I bet you are enticed to read the whole story.
Apply the same in blogging. Below your impressive title include a punchline or a hook.
The font should be slightly larger than the content of the post. It comes before the introduction to your post. If you like, you can italicize or change the font of that punchline.
Narrow down the width
If the content of the newspapers is wide; I think no one ever tries to read it. They keep on reading…reading…damn! They missed a line.
News in the newspaper is always narrow. With this, readers can easily glide through the lines. They never miss a line.
Follow the same in your blog. Don't keep the width of the main content 100%; swallowing up the sidebar. Narrow down. By narrowing down the width of your main content, you are making your readers read your content with ease.
If you anyways want to keep the width to its fullest, increase the font size. Make sure your readers don't miss a line reading very long lines.
Use images that don't suck
Newspapers often have an image next to the title, that pushes you to read through the entire article.
The entire web is now going visual; where it will be designing visually attractive web pages or the infographics. People love to read articles that are accompanied by eye-pleasing images.
Here is a guide I published a few months back on choosing perfect images for your blog posts. If you have not used great visuals for your old posts, go back and add; especially to your popular blog posts.
Don't miss captions
Image captions give newspapers a nice kind of formatting. Newspapers never miss including captions for the images.
In blogging, forget not to include captions, that describe your beautiful image. Captions help readers understand the image. Give credits to the original source of the image, if applicable.
By including captions, you can be sure about the reader's interpretation of the image.
Remember that captions are one of the well-read stuff on the page. Without captions, readers would just look at the image and scroll off. By including captions, you are making your readers stop and analyze the image on the go.
So, including captions enhances user experience on the page.
Come to the point
Journalists come to the point of the story immediately. They don't have time and space to churn out a great introduction. Space on the paper is money for them. They inform what the news is, and that’s all.
In blogging, great introductions are essential. They should be short, enticing, and give a glimpse of your idea.
Some bloggers may have the habit of writing long introductions. Stop it. Readers want meat; not the skin. It's like, "Anyways readers skip reading long intros. Why bother?".
Readers come to your blog, searching for a solution to a particular problem or a section of your blog post. They are most likely to skip introduction if it’s too long to read.
Have an impact
Newspapers have a compact-impact. They need to cover more news in less space. Journalists spend more time in weeding out unnecessary words than writing itself. They have to be extra careful in their word choice.
You also should learn to cut the clutter, in your blog posts. By learning the art of expressing more in fewer words, you can cover the topic in more detail; return more value to your readers. While editing your blog post, always be in a state like, how can I simplify this paragraph even more.
Readers should feel like, "Damn! I should read every line in this blog post".
Journalists are masters at writing clearly. They convey news accurately with no redundancy and contradictions. Newspaper readers can clearly understand the idea.
Writing clearly helps a lot in blogging. It helps to create a loyal reader base by conveying your ideas, as intended. Here are some of the tips that help you write clearly:
- Use active voice whenever possible.
- Make it clear, what the post is actually about.
- Try to make the sentences shorter.
- Always convey only one idea per paragraph.
- Establish a link between the paragraphs in your post.
Reading posts that are clear in terms of conveying messages are a pleasure to glide through. They comfort the eyes.
Persuade them to read more
Popular newspapers have the habit of just giving summaries of some of the interesting stories on the front page. They ask you to go to a particular page to read the story in detail. Why is this? Because, for them front page space is more valuable. They have to make it attractive. It is one by looking at which people buy the newspaper.
In the same way, the summary of the blog post is meta-description. It is the one that appears on the front page, search results page, social media and encourage readers to click on your blog post and read it. So it’s important to keep the description of the blog post short and attractive. You should summarize what are all the information that one may get reading your post. With this, meta-description is the most powerful element that persuades users to click on and read.
Bonus: Cite sources
If you are presenting a less obvious fact or a statement, practice including links to that justify your facts.
Wikipedia is the best example for this. They include citations to every less obvious fact they write in their articles.
By doing this, readers get more trust on the information you present in your blog post. Also, often these links help readers to further explore the thing in depth.
The same applies to images. You should cite the source of the image after using it. It's a good practice.
Although journalism and blogging are different, there are some of the things that you should learn by keeping newspapers as inspiration. I think I've explained a few of them.
If I've missed anything out, do comment. Let me know