Too many business blogs end with a whimper, offering all the excitement of a collective sigh at the end of a coma-inducing PowerPoint presentation.
And yet this is a missed opportunity. The ‘primacy and recency’ effect dictates that we are likeliest to remember beginnings and endings. It makes sense, therefore, to work all the harder at these parts of your business blog.
Always end on a high. This is the time to prioritise your message. Ultimately you want the reader to click on other content. You want to convert. You don’t want the reader to think, ‘Hey, great blog!’ You want them to shout, ‘Where do I sign up?’
It’s worth remembering that you don’t have to write your blog in the order in which it is read. Headlines, openings and endings are the most important parts of your blog. Allocate time accordingly. Craft them carefully. Keep returning to them to make sure they do the heavy lifting.
End where you began
A good read takes you on a journey and the best journeys often end where you began, only you return with greater clarity and insight. Coming full circle enhances the sense of completeness or indisputable rightness of your piece.
Perhaps you opened your blog with a question or quotation, as I recommended in 10 ways to open your business blog. Return to the question or reappraise the quotation one last time.
I could end this blog:
‘So, don’t end with a whimper. Your writing is a clarion call to readers who will become lifelong advocates of not just your blog but your brand.’
Conclude the debate
Concluding the debate and tying up loose ends provides a sense of closure and a comforting impression of neatness.
If you have been assessing the pros and cons of, say, buying organic food, I might reiterate the key arguments for paying a little extra for produce grown without those pesky pesticides and fertilisers, especially if that is what the blog is obliquely promoting.
Although I haven’t actually set up a debate, I could end this blog with a reappraisal of how important endings are. I might write:
‘One thing’s for sure, endings matter, and you want your reader to do more than simply read your blog.’
Offer an alternative point of view
You can use quotations to add substance and social proof to your arguments, or offer other angles so as to show your thoroughness and fair-mindedness.
I could end this blog with:
‘Leonardo da Vinci wrote, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”’
Offer other resources, links and further reading
In a similar vein, you could point out other reading matter. It shows thoroughness and honesty. It’s your way of saying, ‘Actually it’s not as simple as all that. This is a complex issue. We recommend the following as a means of deepening your understanding.
I could end this blog:
‘For more ideas about how to write compelling blogs, read the Wall Street Journal Bestseller Everybody Writes by Ann Handley, or read some of my favourite bloggers: Neil Patel, John Espirian, Louise Harnby, Kate Toon, and Eleanor Goold. Or visit websites like Hootsuite, HubSpot, the Content Marketing Institute, Marketing Tech News, Contently, Copyblogger and Procopywriters.’
Offer a shift in mood or tone
This is an underrated and underused method, perhaps because it isn’t always easy to pull off. But it’s one worth considering. If you are writing about something serious, you could end on a lighter note or offer a tone of reassurance. You could use humour, albeit judiciously.
Other shifts include:
- from the public to the private and personal
- from the general to the specific
I could end this blog:
‘Don’t worry if you can’t come up with a killer conclusion. Let’s face it: the reader may not make it that far.’
‘Don’t worry. The fact that you’re researching blog writing shows that you’re serious about your writing and puts you way ahead of your rivals.’
Ask the reader a question
There was bound to be some overlap with my blog ‘10 ways to open your business blog’, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The aim, after all, is to add both substance and style to your writing.
You don’t want reading your blog to be a passive affair. You want the reader to engage and interact. Questions demand answers.
I could end this blog:
‘Have I missed anything? Are there better ways to conclude that I have completely missed? Get in touch.’
Issue your call to action
You may have noticed that I sneaked in a call to action at the end of my last paragraph.
What is the purpose of the blog in the first place? This is what you should be building up to. Do you want the reader to comment? If so, ending with a question makes good sense.
Do you want the reader to share the post or subscribe to a mailing list? If so, make it obvious and easy. Lure them with the offer of further insights.
I could end this blog with a brief offer of my services.
In fact, I do!
Present a picture
I also suggested this in my blog on introductions. We’re wired to remember the concrete over the abstract. We’ve evolved to respond to visual stimuli.
I could end this blog with a picture of an exit sign over a door or a customer leaving the shop empty-handed. Or perhaps someone is looking at the camera with a ‘Is that it?’ shrug of the shoulders: the result of a lame ending to an otherwise engaging blog.
Offer a few final thoughts
The conclusion is the chance to insert those ideas that didn’t fit elsewhere! This seems horribly untidy, and is a technique best used sparingly. But they sometimes work well.
When I am editing a first draft, I cut ideas that don’t fit, but rather than delete them altogether, I paste them to the end of the document. The phrase or idea may just well work elsewhere, and to some extent, this is how I end this blog.
The simplest way to end is the most obvious and the most helpful to the reader. ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’ after all.
End with a potted summary of your main points, or highlight your one ‘takeaway’ message. I’ve written elsewhere that blogs are a crash course on subjects that you know in depth but your readers don’t. Write for the harried, the hurried and the time-poor.
Repetition seals the deal. It’s the varnish that makes the message stick.
I could end this blog with a bullet-pointed checklist:
So, to recap, you can end your blog with:
- Your beginning
- A conclusion to the debate
- An alternative viewpoint
- Other resources, links and reading
- A shift in tone, mood or content
- A question
- A call to action
- A picture
- A few final thoughts
- A recap
Finally, as I wrote in my blog about writing effective introductions:
‘Don’t agonise over writing the winningest introductions. They’re important, but they often arrive magically in the course of writing, or when you’re in the shower or out for a walk.’
Furthermore, these ideas aren’t geared solely to business blogging. These ideas apply to improving the style and substance of your writing in general.
If you’re after help with a blogging strategy for your business, get in touch.