Anatomy of a Blog Post

Writing a blog post is pretty easy once you know a few basic go-to structures. The easiest of all, of course, is to just do a list like this—quick intro, a few bullet points, you’re done. But even the bullet-free, all-prose posts—what we media types would call a “written-through piece”—aren’t that complicated once you know how to adapt a standard article structure for blog posts. Here, I walk you through one of my recent posts and explain the magic along the way.

Part 1: The Lead

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So this starts us off with by saying something fun—and hopefully interesting and relatable to regular people, most of whom have not worked at Residential Lighting magazine, even though technically that’s what I’m writing about. In the lead, you want to capture readers’ interest. That’s it. Nothing more. Bring your A material, or they won’t stick around for the rest.

 

2. The Nutgraf

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In journalism, a nutgraf is your story in a nutshell, in a paragraph. (See what we did there? Clever, I know.) In blog posts, because they’re generally a shorter form, and because they often make their point explicitly in the headline, this might just be one sentence. Your main aim here: Orient the readers, tell them where you’re going. They want to know if they should stick around for the rest of this thing, and/or what your point is. It helps them feel like you’re not just blathering, diary-style.

 

3. The Body

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This is where you methodically make your points. This example post was fairly easy to organize, since I was essentially telling a story from a certain time in my life: I walked through it in mostly chronological order. I stayed focused, however, on the point: This was a tribute, so I hit the happy highlights. There were plenty of annoying things about this job, too, and other great anecdotes that had nothing to do with its surprising positive effects on my subsequent career. The key is to stay focused on your point, as laid out in your headline and nutgraf/nutsentence.

 

4. The Kicker

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This is your big finish! Stick the landing as much as possible. Make it resonate with your readers. This is your chance to be a little deeper or funnier or whatever is appropriate. Don’t just sum up, like you did in those five-paragraph school essays that ended with, “In conclusion …” Make it mean something. And make it feel like an ending.

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