How to write a FREAKING AWESOME blog post

There are probably a million ideas on how to write, and how to write a blog post, and how to write a freaking awesome blog post.

I’ll share just one… since it’s on my mind. I don’t remember where I heard this but it made a ton of sense to me.  Before I share it I want to say why I think it is brilliant.

One reason I write is to develop a community. One measure of community is the discussion.  A way to gauge the discussion is by the comments.  A “comments” metric is “Number of comments.”

I think blogs that have comments show they have (a) readers and (b) a community.

So, how do you write a blog post that gets comments (perhaps that should have been the title of this post, which really should become a series)?


Let your readers finish the other 20% in the comments.

Think about that – if you write enough of the post, but leave it open for discussion, as opposed to making a super-tight conclusion, you don’t give your readers much to comment about.

When I heard this I thought it was absolutely brilliant.  It takes skill to write that 80% and not sound aloof… and I think by nature we want to complete things, but if you want to generate discussion and create community, make sure you don’t say all that should be said.

I’m wrapping it up here – tell me in the comments what YOU think a FREAKING AWESOME blog post entails 🙂

Want more info about blogging?  I do a monthly coaching thing – learn more here.

13 thoughts on “How to write a FREAKING AWESOME blog post

  1. Karen

    Interesting! I’ve never thought about it this way. I’ve een of the mind set that I want to provide value to my readers, educate, share etc. but come to think of it, I need some constructive feedback too – while it’s nice to get comments on your blog (people are actually reading it!) that support and encourage, it should be about continuining the dialog. Hum… now how to retrain my style of writing to keep the end open…

  2. Apryl Parcher

    Intriguing idea! Got any good examples of “unfinished” blogs to point to, Jason?

    I think an important aspect to creating FREAKING AWESOME blog posts is a compelling headline. This works for any type of writing–not just blog posts. For instance, your Twitter headline attracted me to click on this link. Since I’m interested in improving my own blog posts, that headline hit a chord with me.

    Another hot one right now is embedding video and other interactive media into posts–or creating “vlogs,” like Gary Vaynerchuk’s

    I’m interested in hearing what others have to say…

  3. Craig

    It’s the difference between writing a blog and writing a newsletter. And you’re right, it’s harder to write the blog post, because the open-endedness goes against virtually everything we were ever taught about writing well.

  4. Davina K. Brewer

    It’s an interesting application of the 80-20 rule, letting the comments fill the last part of the discussion. And of course, that starts with leaving it open ended, and having a call to action to generate responses.

    Apryl is right about headlines; compelling headlines and tweets get clicked, read and hopefully, comments and RSS subscriptions. FWIW.

  5. Winnie Anderson

    You make an interesting point Jason. I think we all start a blog with the intention to generate SEO traction and position ourselves well within our segments. The trick I think is to start there and then expand into what you’re talking about here. It’s sort of hard to have a conversation when you’re the only one talking and that’s the situation at first, isn’t it?

    I think a good start is to end with a question so you’re inviting comments even though you’ve probably finished your thought. Then as you build a bigger community you can do the 80-20 thing. By that time I’d think the writing would have progressed to where the person would have more ability to stop themselves and they’d have some peeps to comment.

  6. Julie | Resume Services

    I think opening the door to comments is a good idea but I also think there are numbers of people who are afraid to comment. Maybe they think they will annoy the blogger, maybe they don’t think they have anything of value to say, maybe they think they aren’t wanted… I try to not only end with a question but also an invitation. My current ending is Talk to me, I talk back 🙂 and sometimes it works…

    I didn’t start blogging to build SEO, I started blogging because I love to write. It also is a great way to let my clients know more about me and to answer the questions that I hear over and over in the job search field.

    Whenever I think more about the process, I find myself not wanting to write anymore.

  7. Jason Post author

    great thoughts you guys, thanks for adding.

    I personally don’t think you should ask for input until you have any readers who will input. I don’t like seeing blog posts end with “what do you think” again and again, and no posts have any comments.

    I do, however, like how Julie does it… not asking a question that goes unanswered, rather saying she wants to discuss…

  8. Jerry Dunham

    This is a comment so that Jason won’t feel like he didn’t get enough comments on his blog about eliciting comments to blogs about … um … where was I, again?

  9. Kate

    This is the problem I have. I started writing my blog only recently, and I don’t have many readers. I want a discussion-it’s the only way I’ll improve-but no readers equals no comments. I can tell I have few readers because of the metrics Word Press offers me.

    On another note. I personally dislike vlogs. I don’t have the time to sit and watch something for 4 minutes when I could read it in 1. So I generally skip them. I know I miss a lot of good content, but I save myself some time, and that’s worth it to me.

  10. Jason Post author

    @Julie – lol, you make sense all the time. Good point – one thing I had to do was WRITE TO MYSELF (instead of writing to a big audience). I had to be honest and true to myself, and the readers eventually came… it’s that “authenticity” thing “they” keep talking about. Eventually the comments came, but not at first… which leads me to…

    @Kate – you have great stuff. Keep writing, and you will improve without comments. I think consistent, high quality posts will result in readers, and readers will eventually lead to comments.

    Have you used Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and email to get people to a great post and solicit feedback/input? These are relatively new tactics I’ve employed and when I do I usually get much better results (or, more comments).

    Regarding vlogs, I agree. You have to really hook me in order to have me spend the time on a vlog (not good for mobile, not good for lower speed connections, etc.)… and as a blogger I then have to set it all up, make sure my background is nice, that I’m groomed, and possibly (a) edit or (b) do many takes.

    I might get into vlogging later but for now it’s not for me… :p

  11. Beth Bittenbender

    I LOVE the write 80%, let the rest be written in comments idea!
    If I get one good idea out of what I’m reading, it’s a success – so call this blog post a success for me!

  12. Brad Merrill

    As a brand new blogger, everyone’s input is invaluable to me at this point. My first major post was on Ethical Behavior. And I think, without knowing it, I actually did what Jason is advocating with the 80/20 thing.

    I related a story about an experience I had recently and asked some very pointed questions and basically said, “I don’t have the answer, what is your opinion?” Leaving it wide open for comments. We will see how it plays out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.