the endI write a lot of blog posts. Some of them deal with digital marketing because I’m passionate about my vocation. Some of them deal with politics because I’m frequently full of righteous indignation. Some of them deal with comic books because I’m a colossal nerd. But the one thing these posts all have in common is this… Figuring out how to end them is HARD!

The problem is that the purpose of a blog post’s conclusion is kind of nebulous. The headline is there to capture the attention of your readers and entice them to read your article. The introduction is there to engage your readers and convince them to keep on reading. And the conclusion is there to… what, exactly? Sum up? Spark discussion? Incite your readers to take action?

There’s a lot of advice floating around online about wrapping up your blog posts, and most of it tends to boil down to the same handful of suggestions:

  1. Sum up your message.
  2. Ask a question to encourage comments.
  3. Ask readers to share your post.
  4. Promote your product or service.

The problem with these exit strategies is that they’re often treated as quick fixes. Someone writes a wonderful blog post, but feels the ending is a bit anticlimactic. So they try to spice it up with a clunky rehash of their introduction or an awkward attempt to solicit feedback. Or, worst of all, they turn an otherwise splendid article into a ham-fisted sales pitch.

So if you’re looking for a quick way to wrap up your blog post, I’m afraid I don’t have any easy answers. However, I do have some advice you may find useful.

Know Your Ending before You Begin

Brian Clark, of Copyblogger fame, advises bloggers to “begin with the ending in mind.” Basically, this means the best way to wrap up a blog post is to know ahead of time how you’re going to end it, and then write towards that ending. Not only will this help you bring your post to an agreeable conclusion, but it will lend direction and cohesion to your post as a whole.

In other words, you can’t simply slap an ending on a blog post and call it done. If your summation or thought-provoking question comes off as an afterthought, then you’re probably better off without it. Which leads us to the next point…

Not Every Blog Post Needs a Slam-Bang, Attention-Grabbing Ending

Please understand, I’m not suggesting you simply trail off or end your post abruptly. What I’m saying is that your ending should reflect your goals and reasons for writing. If you’re writing a persuasive piece, then a summation at the end would probably work well. If you’re trying to engage your readers in an ongoing discussion or solicit their opinions, then ending with a question or two makes sense. If you’re writing for the sole purpose of hawking your products or services, then by all means, close with a sales pitch.

But if you’re writing a post and you reach what feels like a natural stopping point, then maybe you should trust your instincts. As long as the post ends gracefully and doesn’t leave your readers hanging, then it has been wrapped up satisfactorily. You shouldn’t feel compelled to tag on an unnecessary coda.

In Summary

Blog post endings are only helpful if they’re organic and integral to the post itself. They should never be tagged on. Check out these great products. If you like this post, please share it with your Twitter followers and Facebook friends.

What do you, the readers at home, think?