Help me please. If I read one more organizational change blog full of corporate speak and business jargon, I’m going to fall off my chair and hit my head on the desk on the way down. At least that will wake me up.
Listen, I know some of these blog authors are smart. They’ve got Ph.D.s. I know they can write, after all, they’ve written dissertations. Maybe like those people who work for government agencies, the problem is “they know too much.”
I also happen to know from having a few personal conversations with them, they have personalities and actually come across as bright, interesting, and down to earth people.
What happens when they go blogging? They pack too much into a sentence. Here are several blogging blunders smart people make with their blog writing.
- Over use of the pronouns “we” and “they” instead of I and you
- Long sentences containing more than one idea, making it hard to get to the key point and retain it
- Long definitions, without any concrete specific examples of what happens with real people
- Writing in generalities, without coming out and saying clearly what the problem is
- General theories without case studies to show what the specific manifestations of the problem are
- Being vague by using terms like “employee engagement,” “organizational culture” and “dynamic thinking” without specific illustrations
- No clear answer to the question “So what?” What do you want readers to do with your information?
- One-way delivery of information without involvement of the reader such as asking them questions
- Nothing to explain why the blog author is concerned about the topic, why we should believe him, what makes him (or her) an expert
- Nothing to indicate that the solutions are being offered by the author
Here’s what I think a highly trained professional needs to do to write a better blog: dumb it down a bit, just a little. It’s not that your readers are dumb. We’re in a hurry and we need to read quickly and easily. Don’t make me have to think to figure out what you’re saying, what you mean.
- Use shorter sentences
- Break up your paragraphs more often, help readers who scan
- Make your posts shorter, only one snippet of information at a time
- Use a case study more often, or at least a sentence or two of people or companies you’ve known
- Make your theories come alive with stories of people
- Bring yourself into the post, show your personality
- Show how you work with clients
- You can do this and maintain anonymity
- Don’t write like you know it all, surely you don’t
If you want your blog to work, then you’ve got to build trust. And that will only work if you are kind to your readers. Make it easy for anyone to quickly read and understand what you’re writing about.