My favorite source for internet writing tips, Copyblogger, has a very helpful post up today on how to use print newspaper principles to boost blog circulation.
The author points out five things you can learn from newspaper editors and reporters to improve your blog copy:
1. Cut post length down by 50%.
Space is extremely valuable to newspapers and very limited. A story that gets to the point quickly is more likely to be read and understood by busy readers.
2. Do you have a good lead and hook?
In newspaper talk, the lead (or lede) is usually the first sentence of a story. Most news is written so that you can get a full idea of what the story is about after reading the first paragraph, everything afterward fills in the details. Will your readers be hooked after the first couple of paragraphs? If not, they’re moving on.
3. Does your headline catch readers’ attention?
“If a reader is not grabbed by the headline, only the most ardent follower of the news is going to stick around for the rest of the story.” Spend a few extra minutes on your headlines and compel people to read your full post.
4. Use captions.
“Pictures are one of the most looked-at elements on a newspaper page.” Your eyes go straight to the caption after looking at the picture. Captions act as a secondary lead. If your platform allows it, use captions and alt tags with your images. Make them just as compelling as your headline.
5. Check your facts.
Every article in a newspaper is strictly edited and proofread before going to print. A blog post usually doesn’t get this luxury. So, it is your responsibility to make sure names are spelled right, links work and your facts are correct.