Shawna Lynn Cox

Keep simple. Keep it clear.

This doesn’t have to be rocket science, it can be fun and easy.

Keep your audience moving and yourself posting. It’s a conversation, not a novel – there’s another place for that, unless you are blogging a book – and that’s a whole other post and you will see why very shortly!

Who am I?

I am a filmmaker and blogging is a way for me to share my work and open up my playground.

I am by no means a blogging-wizard or an editor, but I love storytelling magic and this is a good place for any storytelling to start. Join me?

Think like a 5 year old and write! I’m not telling you to treat your audience like they are 5. I am simply giving you permission to keep it simple – as if telling your message to a 5 year old – so we may quite simply, understand you.

This is a Work In Progress (WIP), slowly becoming my own and was originally inspired by (my WordPress blog editorial app) Co-Schedule‘s blog post, The Perfect Blog Post: Simpler Is Better .

This is sans formatting for easier reading and for you to cut and paste and format for your own blog template (if you have downloaded a custom one):

My (WIP) Blog Post Template – Think Film…

Heading or Post Title – Think ‘One Liner’

  • attention grabbing, prominent, clear and simple…for a human.
  • 7 words max.

Metadata – Think Descriptors (Film info like ‘genre, language, format, subject matter’)

  • Simple Keyword Phrases for post, images, etc
  • Write a Keyword Phrase in the Meta Description
  • these keywords MUST be in the body copy, page content for SEO
  • keep it informative and relevant to the reader/searcher – think ‘topic’ and/or ‘user experience’
  • 7 words max.

Body Copy Appearance – Think White Space:

  • keep a simple clear large font
  • keep white space – don’t blot out the light
  • keep font colour and contrast easy to on the eyes

Body Copy Intro – Think Film Teaser:

  • keep it simple and short
  • set the mood, regular world and tip them into your new and undiscovered world or information
  • excite, engage and guide into the unknown

Link to Previous Post – Think Moment Before:

  • is this post inspired from another post or content – yours or other creator?
  • show the love
  • keep it simple and keep it short

Key Image – Think Film Poster with Text:

  • keep it near top of post
  • keep it within standard size for fast uploading
  • keep it unique, non-stock and personal
  • keep text clear, contrast or complimentary to image
  • use one to three of your keywords – think Theme, or Hook, or Action word
  • consider a word cloud created from your body copy with the Word Salad App

Read More… – Think ‘Play’ Button on the Remote:

  • optional – you decide your best practise for your blog or per post type
  • keep it near top of post to allow for faster scrolling through your blog

The Copy / Full Story – Think Full Film:

  • like film – where are we, why are we here and why should I care?
  • short tight paragraphs, like scenes
  • variety of subheadings, like scene headings
  • lists and indentations, like montages to move the action, maintain momentum, build curiosity
  • an inline Call To Action (CTA), like crossing the threshold and/or returning home with the elixir

Close – Think the Closing Shot of the Film:

  • make it matter, make it memorable, make it relevent – don’t make it a Hollywood dud
  • ask question or pose an idea to prompt comments
  • keep it simple, keep it short, keep it real
  • 1-3 sentences, 7 to 10 words each

Social Sharing – Think Word of Mouth:

  • think niche, think smart and share on only few key networks
  • know your platforms and audience, lend your voice to them with a unique CTA (call to action)
  • make it fun, engaging and the beginning of a journey they are about to embark on

Review, Rethink and Refurbish your Blog Post if…

It is over 350 words:

  • keep each post between 300-500 words
  • if longer, consider condensing the main idea or
  • simplify the copy with a great desktop app, Hemingway Editor

You have more than one main idea or topic:

  • split the core ideas into related blog posts or,
  • create a post series of that idea or topic (Part 1 of… )
  • consider creating a small PDF ‘zine or essay on Issue and use a blog post to introduce and link to it

If you have more than 3 images:

  • consider creating a Diptic with their awesome app (one image out of a few)
  • link to your Flickr album or Pinterest board to engage readers on your other platforms

If you have video:

  • stick to one video (link or embed) per post – Vimeo offers amazing quality and control for filmmakers with no ads (what?!)
  • Trust me, if you need more than one video per blog post to get your idea across, you’re in the wrong playground! I used to say ‘get a room’, but now I just say ‘get a Youtube Channel and make some money’.

I used to say ‘get a room’, but now I just say ‘get a Youtube Channel and make some money’.

Know the Rules and Break Them…

Know why its good to have a template, guide or plan. Know when it is time to not follow the choices you’ve made and when to allow yourself the freedom to play.

Our job as storytellers is to make it easy for others to understand and champion our ideas and journeys, but don’t get stuck in the mire of rules. Most people are seeking an escape from the norm and only use boundaries as a gauge to their own unique limits.

Going out of bounds is half the fun of being human and it is all the fun of being a storyteller.

  1. Know the rules to break them.
  2. Know why its good to have a template, guide or plan.
  3. Know when it is time to not follow the choices you’ve made and when to allow yourself the freedom to play.
  4. Know that our job as storytellers is to make it easy for others to understand and champion our ideas and journeys and not to get stuck in the mire of rules.
  5. Know that people seek an escape from the norm and use boundaries as a gauge to define and know their own unique selves.

It is our job as storytellers to push past boundaries and into new territory to inspire growth, wisdom and (self) discoveries. We lead by example. Life is not rules and limits.

Life is living around, over, under, on top of, within and without the mechanics, and what is already known of the world. A framework is only and simply that. A start. We breath life into the spaces in-between.

So go ahead. I give you permission.
Make room for discovery. Make your own rules. Break them.
See what happens next. I think you will have a wee bit of fun in the process.
Then, tell me about a time (just now or in the past) when you made your own rules and broke them just a bit… I bet it’s an amazing story.
xox Shawna

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