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My Secret Formula for Creating Super-engaging Blog Content

This guest post is by Kiesha of WeBlogBetter.

Many of my readers have asked how in the world I come up with such creative ideas for my blog content.

If you’ve read:

  • “The Walmart Guide to Increasing Time spent on your Site,”
  • “Can your blog Pass the Salad Test?”
  • “Attract Readers to your blog like Mosquitos
  • “What the Sims Taught me About Social Media”
  • “How to Solve the Blogging Puzzle” (a post that compares blogging to a jigsaw puzzle)

…then you’ve probably figured out by now that there are no limits to the subjects I’ll squeeze a blog post out of.

I often challenge myself to find the most unlikely subject and see what blogging lessons I can squeeze out of it. While some things are a complete stretch and really won’t work, there are some surprising lessons you can pull from just about anything, if you’re creative enough.

I’m going to be honest: I’m using the phrase “creative enough,” but really what I mean is this. If you have a brain that has the capacity to think deeply enough to write a coherent paragraph or two, then you’ve got “enough creativity” to pull this off.

I’ll tell you how, but first let me tell you about a book that I read that really informs how I write today. It’s called The Medici Effect. This book talks about how it’s not completely new ideas, but the intersection of two seemingly unrelated ideas, that make a real difference in innovation.

I’m really simplifying the complexity, so you’re going to have to check this one out yourself to really get this and fully grasp the secret to creating meaningful and engaging content.

Here’s my secret formula for creating those zany analogies and surprising comparisons that I write about.

1. Pay attention to the surrounding environment

Every good writer is so because they pay attention to the details of life around them. They use those details and describe them with words that evoke the five senses: sight, smell, taste, sound, and touch.

Being able to describe an experience is key to hooking readers and keeping them engaged.

2. Squeeze lessons from personal experience

This is a direct extension of step one—if you’re paying attention your environment, you’ll discover that life’s lessons are everywhere. Blogging, like Kung Fu, is in everything!

You can pull lessons from any subject and then think about the ways they are similar to your blog topic.

This is easier if you make a list. For example, think of all the ways your experience in college is similar to your blogging experience. If I were to list mine I’d say:

  • Both were baffling at first.
  • Both required time studying alone.
  • Both required commitment and dedication to a schedule.
  • Both required one to stretch his or her thinking beyond the ordinary.

This list could go on and on. I might start with a really long list, but then I would narrow it down to the most important points, since only so much can go into a blog post if it’s to remain engaging.

3. Overcome fears and ignore the inner critic long enough to write

This step is extremely important. If you’re sitting there worrying about how crazy people will think you are or how much someone might think your analogy sucks, you’re not going to be able to do much writing. When you kick your inner critic to the curb and decide to just have fun with writing, it will come through in your writing. Confidence or lack thereof can be sensed and can weaken your credibility and authority.

4. Brainstorm catchy titles

If you’ve selected an interesting topic, then half of the work is done for you. At this point you just need to think of ways you can capitalize on those phrases that people love and that are also search engine friendly.

5. Revise and polish

This works best if I’ve allowed the post to sit for a couple of days. This gives me fresh eyes and since the mental load of revision is far less than writing, it also allows me to think of ways to inject humor, think of details I’ve left out, choose better words and also consider ways to extend the post if possible.

6. If you canít think of ideas to combine, try a dose of randomness

Randomly pick two items and think of ways they are similar and can complement each. Then boldly consider ways you could use the combination to your advantage. You may need to try this exercise a few times before you arrive at something you believe to be true genius that you can passionately use to separate yourself from your competitors.

It was the combining of seemingly random, unrelated ideas that sparked the idea to change up the blog contest game and do something different. I suddenly got the idea that I should host a reality blog contest where bloggers will team up and work together while simulaneously competing for a Grand Prize. I got that idea while reading The Medici Effect, specifically a passage that talked about what makes a good contest. It discussed the evolution of the game show over the years until it eventually turned into reality contests and shows—that immediately sparked a eureka moment for me!

That’s what combining unusual ideas should do for you and your readers. It will help you create super-engaging content that your readers won’t be able to resist.

Kiesha blogs at WeBlogBetter, offering writing, social media and blogging tips. She’s currently holding an exciting new type of contest on her blog—the first ever reality blogging contest called “Surviving the Blog”. Visit her blog for details.

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Comments

  1. Joseph says:

    Great Tips kiesha, Fear is one thing that can ruin someones creativity.
    Thanks for Sharing.

  2. Eddie Gear says:

    Interesting read. I like the way you get ideas. However, I guess this does not work for all. We all have to find the driving force and a source of inspiration to write some awesome stuff.

    • Hi Eddie,
      I agree that this method may not work for everyone – however, when all else fails, randomness can rescue a writer from the dreaded blank screen. If nothing else, it gets the mind working, which is the goal. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment – I appreciate that!

  3. Sean says:

    Personal experience is the best one for me. When I write on topics from personal experience the words just seem to flow effortlessly. Love it! :)

    • Hi Sean,
      Personal experience is a wonderful source that supplies unlimited ideas. It also makes reading it so much more interesting because it allows people a glimpse inside your world and let’s them experience things with you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. ferdian says:

    This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I’ve shared your website in my social networks!i like this

  5. Tom Ewer says:

    Well said Keisha. I was listening to a podcast with Brian Clark of Copy Blogger a few weeks ago, and he was talking about the Medici Effect. I think it is an effective way of catching people’s eyes, especially in our age of attention deficit disorder ;-)

    • Hi Tom!
      I definitely recommend reading that book if you haven’t already – it will give you so many Aha-moments! It’s an exhilarating read. Ideas will start pouring out of your ears. :)

  6. Mr.G says:

    Thank you, but I see no secrets here. You are doing what any average blogger does everyday!

    • Hi Mr. G,
      I won’t argue with you about that – perhaps this message will help those that aren’t quite there yet. Thanks for checking out my post – I appreciate that!

  7. Good advice here for newcomers to the blogging world. I guess it also could be good for those times you just don’t feel like you can muster another post. Kind of helps get the gears churning.

    • Hi Miranda!
      Yes, resorting to a bit of randomness really does get the gears turning. It’s as easy as putting some random topics in a hat and then pulling two and seeing how you can connect them – this activity alone gets the brain sparks going.

  8. I am always pushing myself to be more creative and to take my personal experiences or passions and turn them into blog posts/financial analogies. I even wrote a post about how I use Spongebob Squarepants as the perfect example for being great employee.

    I’ve also wondering if taking a few days before publishing a post helps or hinders it, but I definitely think it helps the creative process.

    Using randomness is a great idea for compiling an article. One of owners of a blog I subscribe to, uses randomness and other creative ways to express herself, and it’s very entertaining. I enjoy reading it.

    • Hi Carrie,
      Sounds like you’ve got the “secret” down – that SpongeBob post sounds really interesting! I think randomness is so entertaining because it’s very unexpected.

  9. MidwestTech says:

    Great post. I think #3 is probably the most critical/most difficult to overcome. The thing I like about all of the tips is that they really help you to bring out a unique personality to the posts. Ultimately, a unique personality and new content are the two things that keep me coming back to a blog. If I want “vanilla” I’ll read the newspaper. LOL

    • Overcoming fears is difficult, but in the long run – it’s those things we’re most afraid of that bring the greatest rewards in our lives. I think I fear regret more than failure – at least you’ll know you gave it a fair shot and won’t die wondering about “what ifs.”

  10. Good tips. Unfortunately creativity however does not come easy for many.

  11. Rohit says:

    great post Kiesha …though creativity can not be learnt, i do agree that personal experience can add elements of creativity in writing.

    • Hi Rohit,
      I don’t know if creativity can be learnt, but it definitely can be practiced. You can train the brain to be more open to ideas and then freeing yourself to let the content flow. I do think this is something that has to be cultivated at a young age, though – I was fortunate to have a teacher who nurtured that quality. But when all else fails, everyone has a personal experience story to share.

  12. I am the same when it comes to writing new material, I try to vary it as much as possible in order to engage and captivate my audience. To know that your content will bring people back again is refreshing. I write a lifestyle magazine blog, which there is a lot of competition for out there, so it’s essential to get noticed and not to unnecessarily alienate our readers. Thanks for another great post, I often read problogger but this is my first ever comment.

    • Hi Mark,
      I’m so happy that my post was the one that inspired you to chime in! There are a lot of lifestyle blogs out there that focus on celebrities, but not all of them crank out good content – looks like you’re doing that and it will eventually cause your blog to rank higher than the rest since a lot of those blog rely heavily on the pictures – pictures do say 1000 words, but it would be nice to get the author’s opinion, too!

  13. This is a great post. I appreciate the information. I am inspired to do more randomness.

  14. Ahmed Sharif says:

    some really nice tips…. most of which were already known, but helped to think again….
    and thats what really matters when you are trying to differentiate…. thanks for putting the effort!

  15. Agreed! Even the title itself plays a major role for any readers to click on the topic.

  16. Michael says:

    This is a great way of wording it Keisha, as a new blogger my biggest hurdle is myself. Once I get over my drive to offer the best I can do, and shorten my learning curve I would perform the duties that really matter which is writing more quality content. I am afraid of rejection from public henceforth the search engines. I love everything you write because the best thing that works for me is to develop my style from the way others write. I am not saying copy, but it is similar to reading “A good writer is a good reader”.

    • Hi Michael!
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate that! I’m glad you enjoy my writing. I enjoy writing it – in fact, most times, I can gauge by how much I enjoyed writing that my readers will enjoy reading it. I encourage you to find a style that you enjoy – pull from what you learn from others and then tweak it to make it your own. There will be no stopping you then.

  17. Laura Shoe says:

    I love this, Kiesha. It’s great to keep in mind, and encouragement for using some of my fun thoughts for titles rather than going with dry descriptive ones. What I struggle with though is making interesting titles also search-engine friendly. For example, I found your titles “Can Your Blog Pass the Salad Test”, and “What the Sims Taught Me About Social Media” to be very intriguing, and something I would probably click-through to if I came across them, but don’t they work against you search-wise?

  18. Photo says:

    Great Tips kiesha, Personal experience and creativity are mind and soul of blogging.

  19. Alan says:

    For a starter blogger it’s quite find difficult to write engaging content, or at least in the first posts. I used to have a fear to express my self and share my ideas with others, but I guess as you keep writing, the fear goes away and you gain self trust. Actually this post has helped me to take a different approach. I liked the randomness part, I think I’m going to try it :)

    Thanks Kiesha

  20. priya says:

    Loved the 5th point. May be i should implement this while blogging. I totally agree to it and have often found that I get new ideas for old posts days after publishing them. Thanks a lot for the tips.

  21. Hi Kiesha,

    Super tips!

    #1 and #2 are how I build almost all of my posts. The environment around us always has lessons to teach. Sometimes we are in too much of a rush to see these lessons. I take my time, calm my racing mind, and see what I’m being taught. Do this from moment to moment, and you generate unlimited blog ideas…..it’s how I publish 3 posts a day for different blogs, and I never run out of ideas.

    Experience is the best teacher. We connect with folks who recount what they experienced, and the lessons they extracted from these experiences. Write about your life. Write about what you learned. Tie these ideas into your niche, your theme, and you will attract increasing amounts of readers.

    Be an observer. Be a watcher. Be less concerned with writing blog posts and focus more on learning from the moment. Take these lessons, apply to your niche, and you’re golden.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Kiesha!

    RB

  22. Every one of us are wired for creativity. It improves a lot if we use it more and more. You have done a nice job so far with great post ideas Kiesha. And the idea for this blogging contest is one of its kind. Kudos :)

  23. Matt Davis says:

    Good points. And yes, you’d be surprised of all the things you can get good content out of. I was blessed or cursed with a severe case of ADHD which has served me well while blogging. Content is not a problem. I think the most important thing is to just write. I try to make sure I post every 4-5 days. Even if I’m in a hurry I can fine tune later. It gives readers something to look forward to. My blog is actually a safety valve to prevent my brain from exploding so I don’t shoot for perfection just something I hope is fun to read. Keep consistent and keep it interesting. Since my mind tends to wander I also have a digital voice recorder to record ideas on the fly. Works great since smartphones are a pain to use for voice notes on the fly. Random topics are great because it isn’t the same old thing my biggest problem is condensing my posts to keep it around 3 minutes of reading!
    Thanks for the advice!

  24. Really like your list! I have found that when I incorporate something from pop culture into my post, people eat it up! Blogs can get boring and dry if you only offer the information that’s expected. It’s fantastic to change it up a bit, get creative, a little controversial, and always always have FUN!

  25. Thanks again, Keisha I really appreciate all you help.

  26. Excellent post, Kiesha! Especially helpful was the point about ignoring the inner critic. I needed that today!

    • Hi Deborah,
      Yes, sometimes we have to kick that inner-critic to the curb. Half the time it’s the zany things that we’re afraid to say that create the most engaging content. It’s refreshing because it’s so unexpected. Glad you were helped today!

  27. Blog Rehab says:

    Thanks for the boost, Kiesha! I have a post in draft form that uses an odd analogy, and I’ve been wondering if people would think it’s too silly. Now I see that it could turn out to be one of my better ideas. I should take this as a clue: I was smiling and excited when I thought of it, but then started to doubt myself. :)

  28. Craig_Os says:

    Great! Great! non regurgitate aritcle!!! Love the “Pay attention to the surrounding environment” advice! Funny things to write about happen almost everyday!

  29. Will Caleb says:

    Experienced writers from Shakespeare to Woody Allen have proven that using metaphors and analogies has and always will be key to good storytelling and with a bit of humor it only gets better…great post Kiesha, I’ll definitely start keeping up with you :-)

  30. Great Stuff As Always Kiesha,

    I am not the best at writing but I am beginning to practice and test different ways to write blog posts thanks to your blog.
    I have been a big fan of both Problogger and WeBlogBetter.com and look forward to following to your footsteps.

    PS the Medici Effect has made it to the top of my Wish List on Amazon.

    Thanks again for sharing.

    JB

  31. Thanks for this post. I agree with you on- “”Brainstorm catchy titles””. If your title is so catchy after then any person will take interest in reading your blog. You can also try:
    1. Discriptive pictures
    2. Videos- so much helpful
    3. Colorful Herdings