Come on. Seriously? You’re about to sit down and bore the living daylights out of people. What you want to do instead is draw people in. The first rule of show business also applies to online writing: be entertaining. Let’s examine what it means to be entertaining in the context of blogging.

This is not going to be an exhaustive guide to great writing, which could – and does – fill several books worth of material. Instead, let’s touch on a few key points to get you on your way. If you want more details on great writing, I’ll be happy to provide a reading list starting with The AP Stylebook.

First, be strategic like MacGyver. The ideal post pulls seemingly unrelated concepts together to form a whole that’s far greater than its parts. If you’ve got writer’s block, just start typing anything, even if it’s nonsense. Something on the page is a whole lot more reassuring than nothing at all. You can delete later.

Here’s how to get a great idea: put yourself in the place of your reader. Subject matters. Most people make the huge mistake of writing about something they are thinking about. Like your dreams, there’s only a very small chance that your musings will be of interest to anyone unless your topic is of universal appeal. It’s a balance well worth achieving. Shift the focus from inward to outward.

Who is your reader? What is on his mind right now? That’s where to start. It’s not about you and never will be. By default, you are the writer and are crafting the piece, so rest assured it will be imbued with your spirit and opinion.

Do the cocktail party test. Is your subject worthy of social banter? If you were at a party, drink in hand, would you be entertained, enlightened and amused? Or would you be thinking to yourself, “When is this guy going to shut up already? I need a refill.”

Once you have a topic worthy of others’ interest, do me a favor and don’t ramble on about it. There is nothing wrong with writing a whole lot, but then go back and edit it down. Then go back again and tighten it up some more. Think of running a fine tooth comb over your copy, getting out all those little pieces of lint. My years of writing for broadcast taught me that there are always extra words to be cut. It’s shocking to discover how much you can remove from a piece of writing and still get your point across. Not only that, but you will get your point across even better.

A note on style: Be sure of yourself. Exude confidence. Write like you mean it, and write like you speak.

A note on grammar: Rather than write directly into the blog body field, use a word processing program that has a spelling and grammar checker, then copy and paste once you are sure that you’ve caught all of your typos. Even then, do one more pass. All it takes is one misspelled word to make you look less credible. You’ve got some serious competition out there, so be entertaining, even amusing, but take the craft of writing seriously.

If you are looking to optimize SEO, make a list of words you will want to include in your post, and weave them in naturally. Appearing stiff has its place, and believe me, it’s not in your blog.

At least that’s what she said.