Blogging in the Goldilocks Zone

Woman and Porridge BowlsRemember the story of Goldilocks and how the little girl tried sitting in each of the Three Bears’ chairs? After rejecting the first two chairs because they were the wrong size, she tries the third: “Ahhh, this chair is just right,” she sighs. That’s exactly the sensation you want your reader to have about your blog post! But, as was the case with Goldilocks, it’s going to take some testing to achieve that result.

Each section of text has a particular feel, writes fiction editor Beth Hill. The “feel” of a story or scene, she explains, is primarily achieved through three elements:

  1. tone – in non-fiction, this is the writer’s attitude towards the subject matter
  2. mood – what the reader feels based on the atmosphere or vive of the material
  3. style – the way the writer uses words, including word choices and syntax

“Recognize that, even if you don’t purposely create tone and mood, they are still there in your text, Hill cautions. Once you’re ready to rewrite and edit, she advises, check each paragraph for mood and tone, so that you’re not sending mixed signals to your readers.

Beth Hill’s list of styles should give pause to any blog content writer. (Ask yourself: is this the way I’d want to come across to my – or my client’s – business blog readers??):

  • approachable
  • business-like
  • condescending
  • conversational
  • deceptive
  • forthright
  • long-winded
  • overly familiar
  • preachy
  • rambling
  • sarcastic
  • scholarly
  • uncaring

“Do you obsess about the tone of your writing as you revise?” asks Adair Lara of Writer’s Digest. “You should,” Lara says. “Tone is one of the most overlooked elements of writing.  It can create interest, or kill it.”

A writer doesn’t have a soundtrack or strobe light to build effect, Lara explains.  Instead, she has imagery, details, word choice, and word arrangement. In the first draft, Lara advises, you write what people expect you to write.  During the revision, go deeper and say what you wouldn’t be expected to say.

We all want to blog in the Goldilocks zone, but it’s going to take some testing to achieve that “Ahh, just right” result.

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