Reading a blog post should be like sinking your teeth into an ice cream cone in the middle of August.
Or the moment just before you plummet 2,000 feet in a roller coaster.
“Canobie’s Corkscrew” by flatluigi
Let’s face it: blogs posts always have been, and always will be, a diversion from the mundaneness of life. No matter what your blog’s subject.
Since that’s true, let’s give people what they want.
Here are five techniques you can use to make your posts give your readers a great experience—not just dry information, but a truly unforgettable post.
1. Be a contrarian.
“If you try to write for everyone you write for no one.” ~ Brian Clark
It’s okay to be controversial. After all, if everyone agrees on the same things, it’s boring.
While I don’t recommend you disagree just to get attention, there are bound to be times where your interpretation of certain concepts differs from that of many other bloggers. When this happens, don’t hesitate to share your opinion.
When readers come across your blog and read a different take from the usual, it’s refreshing. Allow readers to enjoy that experience by having the courage to be controversial.
2. Create the unexpected.
Here are two solid ways you can implement the unexpected in your blog.
The first is to occasionally write posts that are a little off-topic from your niche, but which your readers will enjoy.
For example, if you write a blog on personal development, you might occasionally write on subjects that veer a little outside your niche but still interest you, such as tea, or strength training. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits does this all the time, and his success speaks for itself.
The second way to create the unexpected is to include something in your post that the reader never saw coming. It can be funny, shocking, nonsensical—anything you can think of, as long as it’s something your readers can’t anticipate. Of course, you have to be tactful in how you use this technique, because ultimately it has to work.
In a post titled, 9 Greatest Mistakes of All Time, my brother wrote two sentences about the Crocs shoe craze. Notice how the second sentence is completely unexpected (which is why it’s so fun to read):
“Not that long ago in a galaxy, very, very close, plastic shoes with large holes became an international sensation. Definitely the Bush administration’s greatest mistake.”
A few other ways to implement the unexpected include:
* Conclude your blog post with a sentence that came out of left field.
* Set up a post giving the impression you support one position, and then swiftly move to support a contrary position.
* Have a demon interrupt the middle of your post.
(You weren’t expecting me to give you that last bizarre example, but it made the reading more engaging, didn’t it?)
3. Use similes and analogies.
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ~ Anton Chekhov
Whenever possible, regardless of your niche, give people something they can see in their mind’s eye.
For example, I wrote a post about people failing to capitalize on opportunities in life and how, regardless, new opportunities are always coming our way whether we take advantage of them or not.
But I didn’t use that language. That would’ve been, well, lackluster.
Instead, I used the analogy of a surfer sitting on his board who had missed a couple waves and then suddenly spots a new set of waves rolling his way, appearing in the sun like large hills laden with diamonds.
Whenever you can use an analogy that paints a picture in the minds of your readers—and also makes the concept you’re conveying clearer—do it.
4. Use humor.
When you laugh, you’re having a good time. If your blog post can elicit chuckles from readers, you’re giving them one of the most pleasant of all human experiences. Make your readers laugh even just occasionally, and you’ve added a whole new dimension to your blog that your readers will relish.
Humor turns your post from being just a bunch of words into a party where everyone’s cracking up and having a good old time.
5. Use quotes.
In my blogging career, I’ve used quotes from blogs, books, and YouTube videos. And every time I have, the quality of my post improved.
For starters, by inserting a quote from someone else, you’re allowing your blog post to house another person’s voice other than your own. That gives your writing variety.
In addition, it gives you the opportunity to share someone else’s expertise on a subject—expertise that you may not possess.
In short, including quotes can make your post more interesting.
I don’t advocate using quotes just for the sake of it, but if you recognize a time where a quote will fit with your post, give it a go. It’s like adding a little spice to a dish to give it a little something extra. And personally, I like curry.
Anyone can share simple facts in their blog posts. But the really talented bloggers, who demand attention, give their readers experiences that keep them coming back for more, through unforgettable blog posts. Do you use these techniques? How else can we make our posts unforgettable?
Bamboo Forest created an online timer that helps make bloggers ridiculously productive. He also writes for Pun Intended, a blog that’s hilarious and enlightened.