This guest post is courtesy of David Tucker.
Blogging is fast becoming a marketing cornerstone of effective and relevant brands wanting to make an impact online and differentiate themselves from the rest of the “gen biz pop”.
However every great story (or blog post, as it were) deserves a great ending, and sometimes even professional writers have, on occasion, fallen flat in that department.
David here has very kindly offered you dear readers, some handy-dandy tips to make your blog post endings the stuff of legends.
OK, at the very least the stuff of damn good writing. Read on and comment below.
Whether you are writing the next great novel, or a brief promotional blog post, you face the same problem that every author confronts.
How do you end things in such a way that you leave the reader feeling that this was a worthwhile expenditure of time and attention? As students, most folks spend a great deal of time learning how to craft their introductory and thesis paragraphs or sections of their writing projects.
However, as critical this skill is to effective exposition, the ending is just as important. A weak conclusion, or one that is not at least as strong as the opening, will undermine the impact of your piece.
Especially if your client is depending on your competence to sell their product or service, you owe it your readers to end forcefully. Let’s examine some potential pitfalls awaiting you at the close of a piece, and consider how to send your readers off with your intended message and mood.
Try to keep away from following mistakes that sabotage your ending:
The Lost Thread
Where is your ending headed? If you start with one point or message, you owe it to your readers to stick with it in your ending. If you are making an argument that smoking kills, and conclude by slamming second-hand smoke; this is going to just confuse them.
You undermine your opening message, and undermine your credibility. Remind yourself of your main point any way that works, whether on paper or on another screen.
If you have a superfluity of good ideas that do not fit, save them elsewhere for another future article or blog post. That will be less painful than just deleting them.
The Broken Record
Can’t you say it another way? There is often a temptation to repeat in the ending paragraph or section the message that the opening paragraph presented.
Resist, unless your client has asked specifically for this, although this seems unlikely. To find a different way to say the same thing requires some sensitive and thoughtful use of a good thesaurus.
You run the risk of having already exploded all your verbal fireworks in a compelling opening section. This may mean that you need to craft your ending at the same time as your opening, to avoid this problem.
The Padded Fluff
Is that extra wording really necessary? Spinning out the ending to raise the word count often reveals a tenuous grasp of their subject or a weak command of the language. In the case of a loose familiarity with the topic, this writer/editor has seen this manifesting as, for example, repetition of one lonely point.
If the writer is out of their depth, it is going to show. Another sign of floundering is quoting an authority at length in the ending. After all, it is you, and your original ideas and points for which the client is paying, and which are supposed to attract the reader’s continued attention.
The Irrelevant Interloper
Where did THAT come from? The ending is meant to round out the opening assertions.
It confuses your reader if you throw ideas into the conclusion that have not appeared previously. Another inappropriate inclusion to an ending is an appeal to religious authority in a purportedly secular or scientific piece of writing.
The Mood Change
Is this even the same article? Keep consistent and congruent in mood and tone. If the whole piece has been serious, don’t suddenly start joking in the ending. If the tone of the piece has been jocular and light-hearted, the ending is not the spot for doom and gloom.
The Bald Spot
Can’t a marketing message be subtle and tasteful? Yes, many of us are writing to sell something. Nagging your readers to BUY, BUY, BUY is tacky. Use some finesse in making your final pitch. Now, try the following strategies to give your ending power:
Give them something to use.
Be sure that your blog will help them somehow, even if only to hold up their end of conversation.
Give them something to laugh about.
Be funny without being nasty or offensive. You are the safest target for your own humor. Laughter will hold their attention.
Give them something to think about.
Use your conclusion to apply the main point of your story to the broader world. You readers will stick with the article.
Give them something to argue about.
Propose something controversial, and they will hang around to argue with you in their heads or with their friends!
Give them something to act on for their own benefit.
If you can find something to improve their lives, they will not only keep reading but they will come back again to read your work.
Give them a reason to call or click.
This is the payoff. Make the action of calling or clicking seem inevitable. Why would they NOT do so? Disarm any counterarguments, and punch up the call to action, but tastefully. Use these tips to make sure that your endings are gripping and compelling.
Over to You
Have your own ideas on how to end a blog post in a compelling way? Share your tips in the comments below. And please consider sharing this post if you found it useful!