Best of 2017: Our Favorite Posts for Writers from the Last 12 Months

Best of 2017: Our Favorite Posts for Writers from the Last 12 Months

2018 is around the corner.

This could be the year you crack your first 1,000 subscribers. This could be the year you get published on that blog you’re dying to write for. This could even be the year one of your blog posts goes viral.

But none of that will happen unless you keep at it.

You not only have to keep writing, you also have to keep honing your craft.

Because the one thing that separates the winners from the losers in this blogging game is that the winners are always trying to improve.

They’re always trying to take their writing chops to the next level.

And they never stop trying. Because there’s always a new level to reach.

Here at Smart Blogger, we publish a ton of content to help you level up your writing, because we want you to become the best writer you can be.

But we’re not the only voice out there. The blogosphere is full of accomplished wordsmiths who have perfected their writing for years and now share their experience.

So today, we want to highlight a few posts that other bloggers published in 2017 — posts that will help you hone your craft and meet your writing goals in the year to come.

Check ’em out below:

We Analyzed 100 Million Headlines. Here’s What We Learned (New Research) – Buzzsumo

Author: Steve Rayson

You know the headline is the most important part of your article, right?

That’s why this is a must-read.

Buzzsumo has aggregated all the share counts of all the content that is published online. And in this post, they analyze that data to determine which headline phrases get the most social engagement, and which get the least.

Use this fascinating data in 2018 to give your headlines a better shot in the social arena.

The 7 Differences Between Professionals and Amateurs – Medium

Author: Jeff Goins

Jeff Goins is an iconic blogger who has five books and over 1,000 blog posts to his name. He’s a pro writer, but he had to start somewhere as well. He wasn’t always as effective as he is now.

In this post, he opens up about his past struggles to make it in the writing field, the mistakes he made along the way, and the mindsets that held him back.

The message is simple: If you want to be a pro, don’t act like an amateur.

Read this post and make sure that you’re not.

5 Writing Techniques that Stir Your Audience to Action – CopyBlogger

Author: Brian Clark

If you want to stir someone to action, you must first stir their emotions.

That is the premise of Brian Clark’s post, and he describes five writing techniques you can use to do so.

If you want your writing to stir your audience, practice these techniques.

Your writing will be more powerful and persuasive for it.

Sentence Structure: How to Make Your Sentences Easier to Read – Doris and Bertie

Author: Clare Lynch

This short post mirrors two sentences against each other. They both say the same thing in the same language, but one is easy to read, and the other is hard.

The difference?

Their structure.

Not enough bloggers review their writing on such a micro level. They don’t analyze their posts sentence by sentence. But this post shows that the way you structure a sentence can make a huge difference.

Give it a quick read because it could open your eyes.

The Anatomy of the PERFECT Article Intro (And How to Reverse Engineer It) – Unsettle

Author:  Sarah Peterson

In this epic post, Sarah goes deep on the art of writing compelling introductions — and make no mistake, this is a must-have skill for bloggers.

After all, your intros carry a lot of responsibility. They must not only convince people to start reading, but they must also convince people to keep reading.

Sarah breaks it down step by step to ensure the next intro you write has the desired effect. If you want people to read your article far enough to discover your brilliant ideas, read this post.

How I Wrote 200 Unique Blog Posts in 200 Days — A Formula for Infinite Creativity – Medium

Author: Barry Davret

Many people think being creative is all about coming up with original ideas. The truth is, creativity comes from knowing how to combine ideas and experience into something that feels fresh.

This author’s formula for creativity gave him 200 unique blog post ideas in as many days. It’s simple but effective.

That’s what earned him a spot on our list.

A List with 99 Strong Verbs to Make Your Content Pop, Fizz, and Sparkle – Enchanting Marketing

Author: Henneke Duistermaat

Henneke is an insanely talented writer with a knack for writing vivid content that jumps off the page.

In this post, she explains how you can create the same powerful effect by choosing strong verbs that paint a picture in your reader’s mind.

Her list of strong verbs is a good resource, but the advice that precedes it could change the way you write.

Hone Your Craft and Meet Your Blogging Goals in 2018

Don’t be one of those writers who hits a plateau and never takes the effort to improve.

You have to strive to become better. You have to try new techniques, and you have to practice until you’ve mastered them.

That’s what will equip you to make it in this blogging game.

The techniques from these posts are a good start. Practice them in 2018 to hone your writing, and when you look back in twelve months, you won’t believe how much you’ll have improved.

Have a happy new year!

About the author: Robert van Tongeren is the Associate Editor of Smart Blogger, who helps our writers get their posts in tip-top shape. He also runs his own blog that helps guys dress a little sharper at Restart Your Style. You can find him on Twitter here.

56 Comments

  1. Victoria
    Dec 27, 2017 @ 22:19:06

    I actually have a pretty hard time believing people still visit websites just to read blog articles. In this world of rapidly changing technology, consuming content by visiting individual blogging websites seems pretty archaic. I consume “micro” content via many social media platforms; however, I do not ever “click through” to the original website articles to read them in entirety. If I want to learn something specific, I do a quick Google or YouTube search (I do not subscribe to any channels on YT, either), scan through a quick list of search results, get the information I need, and get out. If I need more in depth education on a subject (say photography), I use an educational on-line learning platform like CreativeLive. The only long-form content I regularly consume are podcasts. Same goes for advertisements – if you’re not advertising via a podcast, I’m likely not seeing (hearing!) your marketing campaigns. You can say I’m not the target market of bloggers that come here and you’d be right. I’m not. I’m just someone who’s been waiting for 5 years for something better than blogging to come along and fill the void, amazed that anyone still spends their precious time visiting and reading blogs. And amazed that people still think they can grow a huge audience with such an outdated tool. It’s like a print newspaper still hawking their printed papers to a mobile readership. Yeah, there are a few folks who will still buy them, but the vast majority are moving along to something else. The only question in my mind now is, who will be creating the new content delivery platforms for your increasingly mobile readership? And how long will you stubbornly cling to tools of the past while the world around you speeds far beyond them?

    • Jane
      Dec 28, 2017 @ 01:02:57

      Hey Victoria,

      That’s some serious food for thought – and quite true. Yes no one has the time in the world to read long form articles.

      People are busy and want quick answers for their queries.

      For sure micro blogging or micro content rules – its all about comfort and getting quick answers without having to click through and read a long article.

      But for some kind of questions, I too want long, detailed answers, so I prefer long form content (in some cases).

      Video content has also started to make it faster and comfortable to get quick answers – something that content marketers should embrace in 2018!

      Cheers,
      Jane.

      • Ray
        Dec 28, 2017 @ 23:43:08

        And then there are those of us who read for another reason as well — the most important reason of all:

        Reading promotes thought.

        And thinking is the human quiddity.

        For this reason, it’s not an exaggeration to say that reading grows the mind.

        Which will never go out-of-date.

        This is also largely why good writing will always be in demand. Whether that demand expands or contracts — and it’s done both over the centuries and millennia — is inconsequential.

        Thinkers will inherit the earth, as they always have.

        The most interesting story is always the story of the writer’s style.

        Said Nabokov.

    • Robert van Tongeren
      Dec 28, 2017 @ 08:32:37

      You’re welcome to your opinions, Victoria, but what you’re experiencing here is called the false-consensus effect. You assume everyone else acts the same way you do on the internet. They don’t. Plenty of people do still read blog posts, long form or otherwise. We can personally attest to that. Sure, you have people who prefer podcasts, or people who prefer videos, but many people prefer to read.
      You say you’re amazed that people still think they can build huge audiences through blogging, but here’s the thing: They can, and they do.

      • Moss Clement
        Jan 04, 2018 @ 11:01:31

        Hi Robert,

        I agree with you in total, because inasmuch as some people love to listen to podcasts, there are others who love video content, and there are yet many more who prefer to read text content.

        And among these text readers, there are many whose preferences are long-form content. Long-form doesn’t have to be just anything long-form, rather in-depth informative content that are useful.

        Even though short content can be quick to digest, but in most cases they’re do not provide in-depth value.

        I’ve always been an advocate of long-form content. I honestly only write short content for clients who want them, not for my blog.

        Thanks for sharing!

    • Alex July
      Jan 04, 2018 @ 14:24:18

      I also prefer video over text articles. But I value my time, and if I need an immediate answer, sometimes it’s better to scroll a 2000-word article rather than to watch a 5-minute video.

  2. Mike
    Dec 28, 2017 @ 05:04:09

    All these posts seem to be very interesting. Unfortunately, I recently discovered this blog so I could not read most of the stuff, but, I will read them now. I will start with 200 posts in 200 days because this is something very unusual.

    • Robert van Tongeren
      Dec 28, 2017 @ 08:34:12

      Well, these posts aren’t from our blog, but they’re certainly worth a read. Be sure to check out our popular posts from the right sidebar as well 😉

  3. Nathan
    Dec 28, 2017 @ 14:37:18

    Interesting that I only read about the first five or six lines of your long form post.

  4. Shane Arthur
    Dec 28, 2017 @ 14:42:59

    I enjoyed the Sentence Structure post.

    Thanks,
    Shane

  5. Mel Wicks
    Dec 28, 2017 @ 16:17:34

    Hi Robert, thanks for bringing us this list. I’m sure you had to wade through a ton of blog posts to shortlist them down to these 7. It’s often the hard slog of research, the planning and thought process, the editing, tweaking and refining – all the bits of a blog post that we don’t get to see – that make the end result seem so effortless and polished. And you are a master of that process. My favourite of your final 7 was the one by Jeff Goins, but you also included 2 of my favourite writers in Brian Clark and Henneke. Based on that alone, my goal is to be included in your list for 2018. Wouldn’t that be something!
    Cheers, Mel
    PS. I am one of those people who prefer to read. So, please keep writing.

    • Robert van Tongeren
      Dec 28, 2017 @ 16:30:48

      Thank Mel. You’re right. This post involved a lot of behind-the-scenes work.

      And yes, that would be something indeed 🙂

  6. Ryan Biddulph
    Dec 28, 2017 @ 18:26:48

    Hi Robert,

    Really brilliant list of resources here.

    I read Victoria’s comment, and your response. I dig your take on the matter. In truth, if you want to be a pro – fleshing out Jeff’s no doubt masterpiece from above – you need to kick that fear-based thinking out of your mind. One classic fear-based thought pattern plaguing many bloggers: I see this aspect of blogging through my prism of fear so *everybody* sees blogging through this prism of fear. Hey I have been there, in the same boat. But when I purged fears of mine and did more from the energy of love, I saw how all of my blogging struggles were literally rooted in my insane, bat crap, delusions.

    As for being a pro, ya need to be a pro before you become a pro. This means following your passion, learning blogging from pros, spending money to build a professional blogging brand, practicing your writing daily in a Word document, creating helpful content through your blog and by guest posting on top blogs from your niche, and building friendships with top bloggers by publishing really meaty, genuine posts on their blogs,and by promoting them on social media and through your blog.

    Is this process easy? Nope. Highly uncomfortable in moments. Which is exactly why there are few pro bloggers.

    Is it easy to become a professional basketball player? Nope. Takes years of practicing, developing your basketball skills to become a professional. It also takes years of practice to develop your blogging skills, to become really really really good at creating and connecting, and to do so from a detached, generous, loving space, largely, to become a professional.

    A few folks see this process through and love the ride with intense passion. These are the Jeff Goins and Darren Rowse’s of the world. Jeff saw it through after struggling horribly. Goodness I’ve been in those shoes. Ya gotta pay your tuition and dive into your fears and act like a pro before any money flows to you, or before you appear on world famous sites. This I can promise you, as a full time pro blogger who has appeared on world famous sites, and who has aligned with world famous brands.

    I have published 440 guest posts on Blogging Tips Dot Com alone. But when I Googled “blogging” today, my blog Blogging From Paradise appeared halfway down Page 3. And I rarely give a fig about SEO. Patiently developing my writing skills over years to be able to place over 1000 guest posts on rocking blogs and commenting genuinely on top blogging tips blogs and befriending many of the top blogging tips authors on earth preceded these sweet benefits. And I had to act like a pro, aka, I had to be a pro, before I saw any suggestions that I was a pro, or that I was even becoming a pro.

    Guys, ride it those rough periods. The end game of freedom and serving others is so worth some temporary struggles.

    Loving these articles. Thanks for the recap!

    Ryan

    • Robert van Tongeren
      Dec 29, 2017 @ 05:01:26

      Great comment, Ryan. Thanks for adding your 2 cents 🙂

  7. Nicholas Zachary
    Dec 28, 2017 @ 22:11:25

    Robert Wow,

    Thank You, this is Great Work.

  8. Rohan Bhardwaj
    Dec 29, 2017 @ 00:22:38

    This is good compilation. Thanks. Off to reading a few.

    Happy New Year guys.

  9. Michael LaRocca
    Dec 30, 2017 @ 13:14:30

    It’s that time of year when my writers stop writing but my Reading Jones remains as active as ever. Thank you for this list. I’m going to devour it now.

  10. Marta
    Dec 30, 2017 @ 16:23:14

    Very good choice. May 2018 be equally abundant in good posts! Happy New Year!

  11. Don Sturgill
    Dec 30, 2017 @ 18:23:45

    Looking back can be a big help to deciding how to move forward — especially in content marketing. Good stuff. Thank you.

  12. Vijay
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 07:00:19

    Awesome collection of beautiful posts about writing Robert.
    Book marked the post and will read one by one.
    All look like a gold mine.
    Thanks for sharing

  13. Moshe Chayon
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 11:43:33

    Victoria has a good point, are people still paying attention to blogs today? It seems like no one has the patience to read anymore.

    • Robert van Tongeren
      Dec 31, 2017 @ 12:38:20

      Yes they are, and yes, they still do. You just have to grab their attention.

      Just look at Medium, which built a massive readership in a relatively short time. They don’t typically publish short, bite-sized content either.

  14. Raj
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 12:19:12

    Hi, Robert van Tongeren

    I am also interested to write a guest post on smart blogger. Could you suggest me, what type of article mostly you approved? OR, any type of article I can write. Thanks.

    • Robert van Tongeren
      Dec 31, 2017 @ 12:39:07

      At the moment, I’m afraid we’re not really looking for new guest posts.

  15. Sam Dogen
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 20:43:36

    Ah, this is cool. I discovered this site after looking about the benefits of writing on Quora.

    Good to see the topic of blogging about blogging is still so popular! I’ve been writing on Financial Samurai since 2009 and I never really got into blogging about blogging, but I’m thinking maybe I should.

    Cheers,

    Sam

  16. Prosper Noah
    Jan 01, 2018 @ 16:39:04

    Hey Robert,

    Glad to be here, this is actually my first time and hope to learn more stuffs here.
    Have a great week!

  17. DNN
    Jan 01, 2018 @ 20:38:27

    God makes all good thing possible. And with HIS help, i have very good entrepreneurial aspirations and visions for 2018. 🙂

  18. sekhar uppara
    Jan 02, 2018 @ 02:08:31

    I enjoyed the Buzzsumo article, its amazing

  19. Miranda Hill
    Jan 02, 2018 @ 05:13:35

    Hey Robert, thanks for combing the internet for these cracker posts. I know from experience that there are many, many (and then a few thousand more) posts out there in www-land so thanks for doing the work and rounding these up for us.

    I loved Jeff’s post… he brings to life the difference between writers that show up and do the work regardless of mood, circumstance or setbacks and those who are easily swayed by the winds of defeat. It’s a lesson that can be applied in so many areas of life.

    I personally LOVE reading amazing blog posts so blogging in my eyes will never die. And I hope all of the writers you’ve showcased here keep at their craft because they make the blogosphere a joyful and enlightening place to hang out.

    Happy new year.

    Miranda

  20. Rahul Yadav
    Jan 02, 2018 @ 06:52:12

    Thanks for pulling these together for us

  21. Julie Andrew
    Jan 02, 2018 @ 12:59:11

    This almost reminded me some memories of 2017. Nevertheless 2017 was and i wish 2018 will behave nice to me and all community members. Thank you.

  22. DNN
    Jan 04, 2018 @ 03:11:08

    Miranda,

    I absolutely agree with you. Blogging will never die and will always be a means for people to turn a blog into a full time business. This is why blogging is so important to people to have a secure 2nd income. With today’s employment uncertainty and the way some narcissist employers treat their employees behind the scenes, it inspires anyone to buckle down and get on the side hustle blogging bandwagon. Am I right? 🙂

  23. المثالي ماكس
    Jan 05, 2018 @ 09:22:38

    I absolutely agree with you. Blogging will never die and will always be a means for people to turn a blog into a full time business. This is why blogging is so important to people to have a secure 2nd income. With today’s employment uncertainty and the way some narcissist employers treat their employees behind the scenes, it inspires anyone

  24. free roblox
    Jan 05, 2018 @ 12:08:29

    Indeed this is best 2017 post i totally agree with it.

  25. DNN
    Jan 06, 2018 @ 03:41:20

    This is good that you wrote a blog post roundup. It helps your blog posts stay relevant and improves your own SEO.

  26. Jenny
    Jan 06, 2018 @ 13:52:38

    I dont know. I think that generation Y doesnt really want to read blog. They just prefer to watch YouTube videos or to read Buzzfeed. I think that the baby boomers are more likely to read blogs.

  27. Liz
    Jan 08, 2018 @ 12:42:10

    Great list, Robert! I just read the Jeff Goins article and the Barry Davret article and they were so inspiring. Thanks for putting this together!

  28. NOUN Portal
    Jan 09, 2018 @ 06:15:52

    Hi Robert Van,

    This post highlight was… how do you say it? Excellent!! Finally, I have found something that helped me.
    Believe me, this 2018 will be better. Many thanks!

  29. Jagdish Kumar
    Jan 09, 2018 @ 08:22:16

    Great list that you have provided on your blog. I think this is the best 2017 blog
    post of 2017

  30. Tom B.
    Jan 10, 2018 @ 16:09:43

    Hey Robert,
    I really enjoyed these posts! Some people seem to like to believe that people either love to watch videos and listen to podcasts OR read articles. People generally choose to watch or read something as long the headline sparks an interest in something they care about or are interested in. There’s really a large number of people who wouldn’t mind doing either. If people aren’t reading your blog posts, it’s not because reading has become a dying medium. It’s more likely that your content isn’t hitting the right audiences or that your article isn’t peaking the interest it needs to.
    Just my thoughts on things 🙂

    • Robert van Tongeren
      Jan 10, 2018 @ 18:22:10

      Yeah, I mostly agree. When your headline offers the right incentive, the right audience will read it. And yes, there’s obviously overlap between people who like to read and those who like to listen or watch.

      That said, the argument that audiences are impatient is not entirely without merit. There will be people who see how long an article is and put it aside to read later at their leisure, but then they don’t. That happens. Probably a lot. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t also people who WILL make the time to read it.

  31. penghilang bintik hitam ampuh
    Jan 17, 2018 @ 23:05:03

    kulihat batinmu

  32. Eaton
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 23:22:10

    Great work Robert.

  33. Jio Rusel
    Jan 23, 2018 @ 09:00:14

    I love the 100 million headlines, this has given a very good insight! Another great post on SB!

  34. Rana Jayant
    Jan 28, 2018 @ 10:43:31

    Interesting! I personally loved the one you wrote for vocabulary improvement and content optimization.

  35. Battulal
    Jan 31, 2018 @ 02:11:48

    You are incredible and definitely one of my biggest inspirations.
    Keep rising higher and higher

  36. Alica
    Feb 03, 2018 @ 13:40:47

    supper article :
    0 thanks for sharing

  37. Liam
    Feb 12, 2018 @ 07:34:51

    You guys definitely has one of the best blogs about writing. I’ve missed some of your post and would hurry up to read them all.

  38. safavi
    Feb 18, 2018 @ 10:33:34

    OMG. 200 Unique Blog Posts In 200 Days was wonderful. thank you 1000 times for sharing

  39. Juliana Amaefule
    Feb 19, 2018 @ 16:42:56

    Awesome Robert!!! You always feeding us with important stuffs. Thanks for this update. Anticipating to learn more.

  40. Ritika Shenoy
    Feb 20, 2018 @ 05:23:45

    Thanks for Sharing this post with us. Also introduce with fab. bloggers

  41. Fernando Ruiz
    Feb 21, 2018 @ 13:16:20

    Definitely an interesting read, Robert!
    I personally really connected with Jeff’s post, as I myself strive to become the kind of writer who can push through and keep writing despite any setbacks I may have or the mood I’m in. I guess it really takes a certain level of discipline and the will to want to get better. I personally really enjoyed reading these great blog posts! They’ve definitely given me a lot more insight into the world of blogging and writing as a whole.

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