We often focus about what to say in a blog post. We look for inspiration on what to write about. We spend time brainstorming. We make lists of ideas, hoping that they will provide inspiration.
Although the time spent on planning our content is certainly valuable, let’s not forget the flip side. Let’s take a look at what NOT to say.
The goal of a blog post is to communicate to your intended audience.
Always consider your audience. Speak to them in language that they understand. Make sure it is a language that helps to get your point across and helps to achieve your goal. If you fail to communicate effectively, what is the point of writing a blog in the first place?
I was recently asked to edit a colleague’s blog post. Here is the first sentence: ” ‘Set it and forget it,’ is the Ultima Thule of workflow.”
I thought it was a typo, and corrected it to “ultimate rule.” I sent the edited article back to him, and he changed the first sentence back to “ultima Thule” and hit publish.
He was surprised that I didn’t get the reference. Apparently it is a common literary reference from the Middle Ages. I had never heard of it, and I consider myself reasonably well-read. Maybe I had missed that day of English class!
So, I googled it. Dictionary.com defines Ulltima Thule is “as a symbolic reference to denote a far-off land or unattainable goal.” So that’s what he meant…unattainable goal!
I took an informal – and completely unscientific – Facebook poll, to see if it was a common reference.
The overwhelming response was “never heard it before!” There were some random guesses…perhaps Ultima Thule is a relative of Uma Thurman? Among the 30 or so respondents, no one got the reference, but I’m sure that everyone googled it, and now they use it every day with confidence!
How does this reference apply to writing your blogs? If your post contains references or terminology that the reader doesn’t understand…especially in the first sentence…you may lose them. You are failing to communicate effectively to your audience.
Which sentence below says it best?
- “Set it and forget it,” is the Ultima Thule of work flow.
- “Set it and forget it,” is the unattainable goal of work flow.
If you chose #2, you are in the majority.
So, if you want to know “What NOT to Say in a Blog Post” the answer is anything which clouds your ability to communicate. If you are going to use complex or obscure terminology, make sure to define it! If you can say something simply, please do!
Blogs are written to inform and educate your readers. It’s OK to introduce new terms, just make sure that the words you choose don’t get in the way of your message!
P.S. If we have sparked your curiosity, click here to learn more about Ultima Thule. It’s always a good day when you learn something new!