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Three(ish) Techniques to Unborify Your Blog Posts

This guest post is by Stephen Guise of Deep Existence.

I’m working on a secret project, and it requires that I read studies. The information from the studies is absolutely fascinating, but they are run through a science machine that sucks the fun and life out of them. The verbose verbiage and dry delivery are brutal on the eyes.

Fiction: people enjoy academic studies for the writing style.

While studies and textbooks have a hidden code that says you must write with the intent to bore, there’s no such restriction on blogs. If your blog is boring, and there is another blog with similar content and enjoyable delivery, you lose. Pack up your keyboard and go home. Unless, that is, you want to unborify it.

In this post, I will suggest three excellent techniques to hold your reader’s gaze. When you type it in Word, “unborify” has a red line under it because all new words face initial resistance. This post has already been through the unborifying process, so I hope you enjoy it!

Three(ish) techniques to unborify your posts

1. Inject humor into bland posts

Humor breaks through stubborn minds, making your content instantly more relevant and accepted. Not only that, but humor is funny.

I like to use the strikethrough jest. It works by inserting a funny, out of place “what if I wrote THIS” word or phrase in a sentence. Then, use strikethrough HTML to cross it out. Readers can see the ridiculous word, but you “fix it” and write the correct words after it, like this…

Michael Jordan plays with his hair basketball.

I am more successful than Darren Rowse several 6th graders.

I’ve noticed that women are hopelessly drawn to me chocolate.

These kinds of comments are laced with self-deprecating humor, which is funny when it’s used sparingly. Anyone can learn to add humor to their posts, but not many people do, that I’ve noticed, and it’s a mistake!

Make your readers laugh, and you will double their chance of sharing the article (there could be a study to back this up, but likely nobody’s read it because it’s boring).

2. Add in a relevant quote … or seventeen

Quotes are frustrating to me. Some quotes say more than a 1000 word blog post can. But instead of being jealously distant, bloggers are better off using them.

A relevant quote that coincides with your content is a nice break from the paragraph, paragraph, paragraph format. If it’s from a well known author and you’re not as famous, it serves as a credibility boost. You can even throw your own quote in a special box to highlight it.

“Quotes are good.”—Stephen Guise

Tip: Don’t add seventeen quotes to your post unless it is titled “The Seventeen Greatest Quotes From Ernest Hemingway.” Quotes are more powerful individually than in packs, so use them with care.

3. Build anticipation

People love anticipation. If the Summer Olympics were held twice a year, I wouldn’t be so darn excited about them every time. When you read in a blog post’s title that you’re failing to make a key revision to your blog, you want to find out what it is. List posts are filled with anticipation because you wonder what each list item says.

You can claim you have secrets, make promises, reference later parts of the article in the beginning, and structure your article to build to a climax. If you split an article into two parts, part II will have extra anticipation built in automatically. Anything that leaves your readers wondering what’s next is going to add valuable anticipation to your content.

4. Cut out weak content

*scissor sounds*

5. When it doesn’t matter, choose interesting over technical

Sometimes you’ll want to add details, but there are other ways of stating boring data. Pick one…

  • The weather was 97 degrees with humidity at 95%.
  • I walked outside, and my shirt was completely soaked in sweat within two minutes.

See how both convey the same general idea, but the second version is more gross and interesting? Make your blog posts as gross as possible. Who cares if the humidity was 95% or 93%? It is remarkable to drench your shirt with sweat in two minutes and share it publicly. As a bonus, readers wonder what’s wrong with you, which builds anticipation for your next article.

6. Be unpredictable

Six! I wrote six tips after saying I’d write three. That is unpredictable. Nobody has ever promised a number of list items and then delivered more! Oh, they all have? Well, not twice as many. Do this too much, though, and readers will think you can’t count—or they’ll simply adjust their expectations to your chronic lies. My other list posts have been very upfront and honest, so this one is a true surprise.

People are naturally interested in anything they don’t fully understand (Lady Gaga’s brain) or can’t accurately predict (Lady Gaga’s outfit). They’re bored by predictable things (a loaf of bread on the table) and things they already know (the Lions are the best team in the NFL).

Deliver more than you promise or alter your format occasionally to keep readers guessing and interested in what you’ll come up with next.

In addition to “standard” posts, I write two series to mix it up. One is called Opposites! where I advise people to do the wrong things. The other is Mindshift, where I try to give people a concussion teach people how to shift their mindset to a better place.

These series, and my dedication to being weird, do a nice job of keeping my readers on the edges of their mousepads.

A look inside the Blogger Sea

Once you’ve finished your final draft, go back through your work and ask, “how can I make this more interesting to read?” Useful information is ubiquitous, but useful and entertaining information is a rare treasure that readers crave. Applying these “3″ tips will instantly make your content better.

In the Blogger Sea, these techniques will propel you to giant squid status. But if you don’t use them, you’ll be a piece of seaweed. Giant squid are better writers than seaweed because they have more ink (okay … maybe leave this type of humor out of your blog posts).

What sea creature best represents you as a blogger? How do you spice up your posts?

Stephen Guise is an electric eel in the Blogger Sea because his wit is shocking and he likes sea caves. His passion for changing lives through changing minds is painfully obvious at Deep Existence – Personal Development’s Deep End. Humans are permitted to subscribe (no reptiles, NO exceptions) to receive Stephen’s acclaimed book – Stress Management Redefined.

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Comments

  1. Ben Troy says:

    I like the idea using quotes in the content , a popular quote from well known people should make it easy to remember the point of view of blog post .

  2. Jack Bushell says:

    Stephen,

    You were scaring me with your introduction a little and I really didn’t expect anything good to come out of this but I was pleasantly surprised as these tips are fresh and unique, standing out from the plethora of mindless blogging tips flooding the Internet. Great job.

  3. Well written. I love that you demonstrate your content with the way you wrote your content (adds credibility and proof). I also love that this post is about the writing itself (because I’m a writer).

    I have definitely used these strategies before, but not nearly enough! This post re-excites me about blogging.

    Thanks so much, Stephen.

    • So glad to hear it Sarah! Yeah, that was the scary part. I thought, “well, if I’m going to write a post about how to make blog posts more interesting, there is an awful lot of pressure to make this post interesting!” I kept doing “make-it-more-interesting” edits it until I thought it worked. :-)

  4. Eddie says:

    I like the idea of injecting humor. Seems like a lot of bloggers are using memes to capture the attention of their readers.

  5. Fantastic Article!!

  6. Matt Brennan says:

    Awesome post. The thing to keep in mind here is that so many of the facts, tips and tricks in your industry have probably been written. If you can add your personal touch to them, it’s a lot more interesting.

  7. Nick Goodall says:

    Aha this article is brilliant! Thanks for the share, I think I’ll be working a bit more on my unpredictability..

  8. Shelby Roth says:

    Wow! This is interesting post Stephen. I liked it. Your tips and content is really unpredictable and I loved being unpredictable too. This are wise and pure techniques I would love to apply too.. Thanks a lot for sharing, It is really helpful!

  9. This is so interesting techniques Stephen! I think a content without humor to me sounds boring. I’m glad it is one of your most interesting and attention-grabbing technique. I would love to do this in my blogs too…

  10. Hi steve,

    The idea of humor is a great one. I especially like the strike-through jest. It creates a lot of humor, but hey; don’t you think this might lead someone to believing you meant something else?

  11. I actually can’t believe you wrote six techniques when I was expecting three. Wow! I love the idea of being unpredictable!

  12. Reed Nixon says:

    Wow! Stephen, I really like your sense of humor. In fact all this ideas just made your post so appealing. I just wanted to say I enjoyed every bit of your writing. Your post was actually not only educative but also interesting. Thanks for the good write!

  13. I love the idea of inserting humour into the posts. I run a financial blog and the material can get dry at times so this is a technique that will definitely help.

  14. Ehsan Ullah says:

    Great read Stephanie, making your post funny and making readers laugh works no matter what niche you are in. I always add a quote on every post write because It worth thousand words.

  15. Richard Ng says:

    Hi Stephen,

    Thanks for the tips, I’ve been trying hard to add authorship to my blog but so far to no avail. I managed to view my authorship via the above-mentioned tool but when trying to use the normal google search, the authorship is not displayed. Any idea what could be the potential cause?

    The blog that I am trying to fix is laughtershub.blogspot.com

    Thanks in advanced for the help.

    Thanks.

  16. Chad Miller says:

    Now, if only we can inject humor into bland comments… that would be an accomplishment.
    Enjoyed the read. Can’t wait to get more at Deep Existence.

  17. Thanks for such a great post and the review

  18. Hi,

    Excellent three tips. :)
    You have explained an awesome post to unborify your blog posts. :)

    Thank you

  19. I sure will keep these tips in mind and hope to unborify my blog readers.