Before you ask, let me start by saying that I don’t feel that I’m a profound writer, or that many of the things I have to say fit the description of “profound”!
But in some blogging niches—self help, personal development, and other emotive categories—”profound” is a word that’s often used to describe posts. I don’t have any stats on it, but I think profound content is probably more likely to be read all the way through, to encourage comments from readers, and to get shared.
It’s probably fair to say that profound content draws more readers, and may have a better chance of going viral in some cases. For bloggers, profound content is a worthy goal.
So what is profound? And how can you and I, who may not write on such an emotive level, create “profound” content?
What is “profound”?
I think “profound” content usually unravels something for us and make us see that thing in a different light. It takes a common concept or idea—something we take completely for granted—and recasts it so that we can see something new or undiscovered in it.
If you think about it, this is really what Apple does with its products. The idea of a portable colour touchscreen computer may not seem like a massive leap from, say, a laptop. After all, touchscreens were already popular in many applications. But it took Apple to recast what we saw as “computers” and “computing” in the form of an iPad for people to sit up and say, “yeah, that’s great!”, and to use it, and love it.
I think this is pretty much the definition of “profound.”
Making profound content
A profound idea is, I think, the basis for profound content. You need to start by thinking—though I’m sure many ideas come from an “ah-ha” moment, the fact is that even those sparks of inspiration take mental energy.
Beyond that, I think there are probably several writing techniques that can make or break your profound content.
The clarity of your expression is important in communicating a profound concept. The aim is likely to be to communicate what you need to with as few words as possible. This leaves the reader the mental space to take in the information and digest it as they read.
So avoiding lengthy, repetitive descriptions, unnecessary humour or undue seriousness, is important. A post doesn’t need to be “weighty” to be profound, but it does need to be effortlessly comprehensible.
Above all, make sure that every word in your profound post is necessary—that every word counts.
Some posts are profound because they say so much in so little space—if you follow The Dalai Lama on Twitter, you’ll know what I mean.
The shorter the post, the more pithy it’s likely to be. That doesn’t mean a longer post can’t be profound, but it probably does mean that sentences are likely to be short, and the overall post contains no fluff.
3. Word choice
I think the most profound posts communicate, so that means the words you choose for the post need to be easily understood by all readers.
This doesn’t mean you need to “dumb down” your post, but a profound post is usually one that, as I mentioned above, takes little to no effort to comprehend. So word choice is important. Make your posts as accessible as possible by using words that your readers won’t struggle to understand—that will allow them to focus upon your message, and give their full attention to what you’re communicating.
A trend I see often on blogs is that of using formatting to emphasise “profound” or meaningful points within a post. We might separate already-short sentences onto separate lines, bold them, or italicize certain words in them.
That’s fine, but it’s important to remember that formatting doesn’t make for profundity. More often than not, I see it used to draw attention to points that, if the blogger had taken more care with the text of the post itself, would happily stand alone and have impact without formatting.
If you craft the post well, you may not ned to use formatting to drive your points home at all. A truly profound post draws readers through its length by virtue of its power.
Do you have a profound post?
Is there a post in your niche that fits the description of “profound”? Share it with us in the comments so we can take a look and get a feel for how profound content works in different situations.