Writing Clinic #3: Alison J. Green’s Post
My pool of submitted posts is running a little low! If you have a post (published or not) that you’d like to see reviewed on DailyBlogTips, take a look at the guidelines and instructions here.
I can’t review all posts submitted, but you have an infinitely better chance if you submit something rather than not. 😉
This week’s post is by Alison J. Green, a freelance writer, editor and proofreader, who has a great-looking blog.
Thanks Alison for submitting it!
She’s already published the post as 5 Easy Steps to Control Your To-Do List, so you’ll probably want to read that before taking a look at my feedback below.
(I’ll quote from the post when I’m addressing a particular sentence, though.)
What’s Working Well
As a professional writer, you’d expect Alison’s post to be top-notch – and it is! Here are three things she’s definitely getting right:
#1: Clear Title and Topic
Like Raspal’s post last week, this post has a very clear title – “5 Easy Steps to Control Your To-Do List”. It’s a topic that has the potential to be fairly broad, but the “5 Easy Steps” format helps define and limit the post.
(I do think the title might need a tweak, though; keep reading for that…)
#2: Clear Structure
Alison breaks her post into different sections. Obviously she needs the five steps of the title (which she has), but she’s also got sections at the start with the subtitles “The Challenge” and “A Solution”.
This is a reasonably long post, which means structure is especially important so that the reader doesn’t get confused or lost part-way through.
#3: Use of Formatting
Alison makes great use of formatting features like bullet points, images and bold text. Her post is attractive and easy to read — I like the fact her bold has a large font size and a “clean” feel to it, without much clutter.
These things might seem quite superficial – but a great first impression is so important when distraction is just a click away.
What Alison Might Change
#1: Cut Down the Introduction and Conclusion
Alison has quite a long introduction before getting into the body of her post in “The Challenge”. While it’s important to set the scene and demonstrate that you understand a reader’s current situation, I think this goes a bit far.
The introduction also seems quite focused on writing tasks, whereas the rest of the post seemed more general, applying to any type of task.
I’d suggest Alison takes another look at the introduction and cuts it by around a third. Personally, I’d take out the paragraph starting “People assume that as a proofreader, editor and writer…” It’s not essential, and it puts the initial focus on Alison rather than on the reader. (Always try to focus on the reader more than on yourself.)
It’s rare that I tell bloggers to cut their conclusions – and good for Alison for actually having one! – but I think the final paragraph of this post asks too many questions. I’d stick to, at most, two questions designed to encourage comments, especially as there’s also a second call to action to “share this post”.
#2: Tweak the Title
While the title is great in itself, it doesn’t seem to quite fit with the actual post. I’d definitely like to see a mention of the Impact-Ease Tool (which is an interesting approach to time management) within the title of the post.
For instance: 5 Easy Steps to Control Your To-Do List Using the Impact-Ease Tool
Or: How the Impact-Ease Tool Lets You Control Your To-Do List in Five Easy Steps
Those are a little on the long side, so Alison might want to come up with a completely different title.
Having the tool named in the title helps for several reasons:
- Readers who are searching for information about it will be more likely to find Alison’s post (via Google or other search engines).
- Readers of Alison’s blog won’t feel as though the title promised one thing and the post delivered something different. If I read the title alone, I wouldn’t expect the post to involve using a new and unfamiliar tool.
- A more specific title may encourage clicks (the reader thinks “what’s the Impact-Ease tool?” instead of “Oh, another post about conquering my to-do list…”)
#3: Use Initial Capitals in Subheadings
This is a tiny thing, but since Alison’s writing is pretty much flawless, I didn’t have much to pick on!
The subheadings for the five steps all use lower case, but in other subheadings, Alison treats them like titles and capitalises them accordingly.
Compare these two subheadings from her post:
The Impact-Ease Tool in 5 Easy Steps
Step 1 – list your actions
I’d prefer to see the second one written as “Step 1 – List Your Actions”. Some blogs choose not to use capitals in subheaders, which is fine; just be consistent, either way.
Overall, I thought this was a great post, and a clear and comprehensive introduction to a time-management tool and method that I’d not come across before.
If you have any suggestions or feedback for Alison, just drop a comment below.
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6 Responses to “Writing Clinic #3: Alison J. Green’s Post”
Alison J Green
Thank you so much for featuring my post and for the really useful feedback. I absolutely ‘get’ your advice on the intro and conclusion, title and headings and will be applying to my posts from now on. I hope others benefit from your generosity too!
Excellent write up as usual Ali. Even though most of these tips have been covered in your earlier articles, I will still add this to my writing bookmarks I am interested to remember the point you have mentioned about cutting down the intro and conclusion, thats true. Because most people want to get to the content fast and once they have they need a quick, short, take home!!
The title seemed to be a plain old “English” tutorial for learning “English”
and I would love to see more post reviews from you Ali, thanks this was interesting, how you can actually improve your skills for writing better blogs posts
I agree with Raghav on seeing more post reviews from you, and another amazing post.
I appreciate your blog post, beautifully expressed and well written.
I’m surely enjoying this ‘writing clinic’ series, because there’s a lot of valuable information and feedback on posts from an editor like you.
If this series continues, many of your readers would become great writers, don’t you think? 🙂
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