Choice Of Words Can Make A Difference In Life

Take a moment to check out this video.   Agreed, it doesn’t have much to do with the outdoors per se…but it still sends a very powerful message.   Watch the video and I think you’ll agree.

Indeed, this video expertly demonstrates how changing a few words can make a world of difference in your desired outcome.   In the video the blind man was doing a poor job of marketing his plight.   Oh, sure, occasionally a few people would toss some coins his way because he was blind and asking for money, but look how things drastically improved when the sign’s message changed.

When the sign stopped asking directly for money and instead tugged at people’s heartstrings by highlighting a result of a handicapped condition, the mood of passerbys changed completely.

Okay, I certainly don’t want to condone street begging nor do I like the notion of seeing less fortunate taking it to the street seeking assistance in life, but the message of this video goes way beyond the obvious.

This video talks about the use of words and how powerful the right combination of words can be.   As a blogger, I strive to use the best words that are appropriate for a given situation.   Yet, I think we all sometimes forget how there are many different ways to arrive at a particular outcome (or message) and it is up to each of us to determine how best to get there.

Yesterday a friend asked me to critique a cover letter he was using to seek a new job.  From the very first sentence I found it to be rather boring, cumbersome and, quite frankly, not very inspiring.   I immediately put on my marketing cap and started using some of those power words in the English language.   You know the words, such as:  NEW, YOU, BECAUSE, FREE, INSTANTLY.   I completely rewrote his letter so that anyone who now read it could quickly see he was the only logical candidate for the open position.

To a great extent we all must market ourselves to achieve our goals and the choice of our words helps determine that success.

Another prime example is a friend who just purchased a new business.   He should be standing on the highest hilltop and shouting out the fact his new business exists.   Nope.   In fact, even in casual conversation he fails to mention to folks what is new and going on in his life.   He needs to change his ways quickly or he will fail.   It’s one thing to not use the best words, but it’s a totally different mistake to not use any words at all when you should be expertly promoting your objective.

As outdoors communicators we must also carefully choose our words.   While one reader might feel your passion and deep caring about a particular outdoors topic, another reader might instead be astonished by a lack of compassion having read the very same words.   Therein lies the big challenge many writers face.

Words can stir up and evoke many feelings for the readers.   Words can be extremely powerful if used correctly and with a focused purpose.   The proper choice of words have the ability to change people’s lives.

As bloggers, we have many challenges in our choice of words.   Yet, we also understand how we have a tool that when used properly can change the world…or at least how the world perceives certain important topics dear to our hearts.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

How To Write The Perfect Blog Post

Would you like more money in your pocket?   Have you ever wondered how to command more respect in your communication activities?   Heck, could you benefit by learning the secret to increased happiness and life fulfillment while blogging?

That’s right, a good blog post starts off strong and makes promises.   It capture’s the reader’s attention by either solving a problem, entertaining or teaching them something they didn’t already know.   It needs to suck the reader into heart of the blog post, but eventually it needs to deliver on content and quality.

But actually, a good blog post starts out long before the first sentence.   It begins with a catchy title that sums up the entire blog post in 8 words or less.   Yup, keep it short and use plenty of key words in the title driving search engines bat-crazy when they crawl or spider your site.   That gets you more readers.

In fact, the title might be the most important part of your blog post.   Some people scan many blogs and if the title doesn’t inspire…well, guess what?   You blog doesn’t get read on that particular day.

But now that you’re in the heart of your writing keep sentences short.   Keep ’em conversational.   And notice how most of my paragraphs don’t string lots of words together to make a big block of text.   That’s a no-no in blog writing.   Lots of words strung together in big paragraphs makes the post look cumbersome.

That said, it’s okay to have a one sentence paragraph while blogging.


Pictures work best if they grab the reader’s attention and say…what the heck? Yeah, this is a picture of my wife when she was 14 at a bubble blowing contest. By posting this I am likely in the proverbial “dog house.”

Now, on to pictures or graphics.   EVERY BLOG POST DESERVES A PICTURE!   Words are wonderful, but good pictures can tell stories even better.   Plus, they add nice color to your blog which pleases everyone’s eye during the reading experience.

And by all means don’t forget to add plenty of links, when necessary.   If you mention using The Associated Press Stylebook in your writing, give it some love by showing a link.   Speaking of that resource, it should be on the desk of every blogger and used often to enhance one’s professionalism.

So, how often should you blog?   Here there’s no right or wrong answer.   Blog ONLY when you have something important to say.   Don’t string a bunch of words together simply for the sake of making a blog post.   People will see through that and likely won’t give a second look.

I consider two or three posts per week a good target goal.   Yet, for some that same number of posts might occur each day.   Still, other bloggers only do so occasionally making their frequency maybe once per month.   The big thing is to stay consistent and regular as this is what builds readership.

Okay, so I’ve told you several rules to follow.   This next one is perhaps most important.   Keep your blog posts short and sweet.   Learn to edit out what doesn’t need to be there.   THIS boldfaced word happens to be my 500th word in this post which signals to me it’s time to wrap it up very soon.


Be sure to show good action pictures such as this one with my stepson taking a snowball directly in the face. Again, I’m likely in trouble with him for posting this picture.

As a general rule, I try to ideally keep my posts between 300–500 words.   The absolute max is 700 words…and yes, it is on rare occasion I go over 700 words, but by keeping it short it shows respect for the reader and means you have to be disciplined.

Eventually every blog post needs to wrap it up.   Find a way to reward the reader for sticking it out to the end.   I like to somehow tie my endings in with my introductory paragraph.   Doing that sort of reinforces to the reader the reason they got sucked in to your posting in the first place.

If you made promises…then deliver!    If you were trying to entertain…end with a good joke or funny anecdote.   The perfect blog post doesn’t occur by the blogger transcribing every word that comes to mind.   There has to be some purposeful editing involved throughout the process.

Oh, and just so you know…I ended this blog post with my last word in this post at 700 words.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Blogger’s Note:  Tonight I am teaching a class on the fundamentals of blogging for my local community education.   The preceding blog post will be used as part of that class while at the same time hopefully benefiting the many others who will not be in attendance.