10 Blogging Tips We’ve Learned from International Idioms

September 21st, 2015

Let’s face it: You’re not Neil Patel or Gary Vaynerchuck. I’m not saying you completely suck at blogging, but there’s always room for improvement.

But nobody likes to hear that they’re doing it wrong—even if they are actually doing it wrong. So instead of telling you everything you’re doing wrong, I thought I would sweeten the deal.

Here are a few obscure foreign idioms that will help you remember everything you need to improve in your blog posts—and help you start up conversation with that cute foreigner you’ve had your eye on but never really knew how to approach. With these idioms, you will always remember how you can improve your blog.

Don’t “Pedal in the Sauerkraut”

This French idiom means you’re spinning your wheels. This one is especially meaningful when it comes to blogging well. Your blog needs to have a clear purpose with goals and landmarks set along the way. You must be clear about what your goals are and how you intend to achieve them. Otherwise, you are very unlikely to get there.

“Failure Makes Smart”

No need to translate this one from German. Trial and error is still the best way to find the right strategy for your blog. However, before you go down this route, expert material from those that have done it before can provide a base on which to build your own strategy. Remember, if your goal is to achieve positive ROI in the long and short term, you must choose a revenue model that is based on your traffic, the type of content you publish, your ability to track and produce user insights, and your ability to attract a niche audience.

Don’t Tell Your Readers to “Go Pick Mushrooms”

This is a Latvian idiom for “Go away.” A blog needs to convert first, but you also need to create a design that’s both inviting and makes readers want to come back. Writing great content is key, but here are a few more points to consider:

  • Use a large font, so mobile users can easily digest your content.
  • Don’t overload the page with visuals and content. A good design is one that takes into consideration your monetization and engagement goals but also provides a comfortable reading experience.
  • Your content needs to be easily scannable. Structure your posts to convey a clear hierarchy in the text using font size, bold, italics, indentation, and bullet points.

Another special someone you don’t want to “go pick mushrooms” is Google. Structure your blog posts to allow Google bots to easily scan and understand your post’s topic and main points. For more information, Kissmetrics offers a good article on creating SEO enhancing structure.

“You’re Jumping from the Cock to the Donkey”

This French proverb means you’re changing topics mid-conversation. If you find it hard to stay on topic, start with the following steps. First, decide on a word count limit for your post. Don’t go over it no matter what. Second, if you just can’t manage to stay within your word count limit, split your blog post into two, three, or more blog posts, depending on the various topics you’re discussing. Later, you can create an eBook out of related posts.

“Stop Walking Around Hot Porridge”

This Czech idiom means, “Don’t beat around the bush.” Online readers have an increasingly short attention span. You need to cut to the chase and provide a clear conclusion. One writing tactic I like to use is reverse engineering a blog post. Using this tactic, you start with your final conclusion and work your way back. This helps the post stay on target.

“He Who Doesn’t Have a Dog Hunts With a Cat”

That’s Portuguese for, “You make the best of what you got.” No excuses! You want to start blogging but don’t have the time? You want to repurpose your content but can’t find the capacity? You want to start a podcast but are worried because you’ve never done one before? The best piece of advice I can offer is, “Do it anyway.” Even in the worst case, “failure makes smart,” right?

“There’s No Cow on the Ice as Long as the Bottom Is on Land”

This is Swedish idiom meaning, “There is no hurry.” With all the tools available nowadays (like the Hemingway app, Grammarly, and good old fashioned spellcheck), you can easily ensure your post has no grammatical errors.

That doesn’t mean that every post that clears these apps and gets a high score is a quality post. When you’ve been staring at a page full of words for a few days, you can easily fail to notice that it’s actually subpar. Before you hit the publish button, take at least a day away from the text, and come back with a fresh perspective.

“No One Can Reach Him the Water”

This German proverb means, “There are no equals to him.” Your blog posts should be uniquely your own, but don’t stop there. Your posts need also need to be better than anything that is currently published on the topic. Make your post the go-to source for anyone who wants to read about or research your topic.

“Don’t Hang Spaghetti on Their Ears”

If a Russian tells you to stop hanging spaghetti on his ears, he means you need to get to the point. Blog about what you know. If you’ve been designing your own dresses all your life, write a blog about how to make your own dress. If you’re a great tennis player, let us know how you got there and what we need to do to be as successful as you. Prove to your audience that you do actually know what you’re talking about by supporting your claims with data, case studies, and unique insights.

“When a Man Takes Out His Sword, He Must at Least Cut the Radish”

This Korean idiom means, “If you’re going to take the initiative, you must follow it through.” For bloggers, this means that if you’ve decided to write a post about a certain topic, you need to not only make sure that “no one can reach you the water,” but also that you take a stance. Choose sides, and make your point clear.

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