What’s the difference between a blog post that makes your reader feel curious, laugh, and empathize and one that informs, but is otherwise lackluster?
The difference is a sense of connection, a sense of humor, and a wittiness that admits the subtleties of irony and nuance. Don’t worry – you don’t have to be J.K. Rowling to tell a great story.
Literary genius is not a prerequisite for making your B2C blog posts shine. It certainly helps, but it’s not necessary. There are several simple things you can practice and keep in mind before, after, and while composing your posts that will showcase your creativity and cause readers to take notice.
1. Surprise your readers.
The element of surprise lends novelty to your post, and it can inspire readers to lean in. One of the most common reasons we tune out or dismiss a blog post is because we think we already know what it has to say. We’re protective of our time and weary of the redundant.
Note that this doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel. What you have to say may have been said before, but it may not have been said in the way you’re saying it. Leverage your unique perspective to bring out and emphasize aspects of the story or news you’re sharing that may be purposefully downplayed or simply left underdeveloped.
2. Ask questions and explore alongside your reader.
It can certainly inspire confidence when someone has all the answers, but it can also be refreshing to be in the presence of someone who’s thinking out loud. Great writing invites us into a process. We feel like we can’t help but participate, wonder, and follow along.
3. Use imagery.
Compare these two sentences:
“Broadman and Sons is featuring a new kind of cake in its bakery.”
“Broadman and Sons, after years of toiling knee-deep in flour and sugar, has created a new chocolate cake, and it tastes like heaven.”
While similar in message, the two sentences actually exist worlds apart. Through the use of rich imagery, the second sentence has the reader literally salivating. It also feeds the imagination. The reader feels invested. Who are these people? What have they made? What does heaven taste like? Can I stop by the bakery on my way home from work?
4. Use detail.
Our lives are complex and filled with color and specificity. The more you can include this color and specificity into the story you’re telling through your blog post, the more it will shine.
Even in the most technical writing, there is room for detail. If you’re talking about a new piece of machinery, for example, the reader may not be that excited about its formal specs or mechanical functions, but even adding a few sentences about the people and process that enabled that new piece of machinery will generate interest. Did it take years? Was there a “Eureka!” moment? What struggles did the team have to overcome to get to the big reveal?
5. Pair words with visuals.
Though good writing has built-in imagery, actual visuals can be a great complement to rich language. They can drive home a point, sum up a complex idea, and as the old adage goes, — be “worth a thousand words.”
Finding the right visual, whether a stock photo or a compelling infographic, is not always easy. Choose something relevant and vibrant that fosters an emotional connection, or in the case of an infographic, is thought-provoking.
6. Make a joke.
Comedic timing is both complex and simple. A touch of sarcasm, a wry observation, a self-deprecating confession can all interrupt the standard script and foster a sense of lightness and trust.
If joking is not a part of your skill set, don’t worry. Just be open to the power of humor and practice when you can. Little dashes of mirth and mischief will sprout up organically. In the meantime, you have an excuse to watch Chelsea Lately and call it work.
7. Know your audience.
This is probably one of the most important tips because it will not only shape the tone of your writing, it will provide the substance. What do the folks you’re targeting care about? Money, health, spirituality? How can you meaningfully speak to your customer’s values?
8. Ask them to act with a call to action.
We discussed how asking questions and enacting inquiry can inspire reader participation. A more direct approach of suggesting actions the reader can take accomplishes the same goal.
Usual calls to action include things like:
- “Sign up here”
- “Purchase the newest edition”
- “Tell your friends”
But you can also direct your audience to:
- Or “Follow through.”
Offer your readers options, which will signal the beginning of a productive relationship – one in which they feel deeply invested in the development and evolution of the brand.
9. Be intentional about the length.
Factor in both SEO considerations, which favor longer length posts, and what will best serve your topic. Sometimes, an exciting update can be delivered in an enthusiastic 500 words, while other times, a topic with many dimensions will require 1,500- 2,000 words to really tease out the different perspectives and possible complications.
10. Plan ahead. Though the best ideas sometimes come on the go while we’re improvising and being spontaneous, organization can support the creative process in many ways.
Mapping your key points ahead of time will ensure that your blog post has a structure. Then, you can add flourishes to your heart’s content.
Good reading practices lead to good writing practices.
Pick out your favorite blogs and make a practice of reading them regularly. As you read, ask yourself what makes the style and content engaging and effective? Is it depth, succinctness, humor, intelligence, or some combination of strengths?
12. Make it skim-able.
The internet is a land of varying paces. And though there are occasions in which readers will want to dive into a blog post and really soak it up, sometimes they just want to look it over for its major points.
Write to accommodate both types of readers. Using lists, bullet points, and the classic clear beginning, middle, and end will help orient those segments of your audience who only have a few minutes to peruse your blog.
13. Consider legality, etiquette, and ethics when using sources.
The internet makes so much information readily available, but it can also blur the lines around intellectual property. The importance of crediting your sources can sometimes depend on content. A list of suggestions for cat names may not require the same attribution as somebody’s years of medical research, but it may still be polite to credit Jane CatLover.
14. Make use of digital tools, like the Hemingway App or Grammarly, to tweak sentence structure and errors in grammar and punctuation.
Having sharp editing skills does not always guarantee a winning blog post, but it does create a strong foundation to build on.
15. Finally, enjoy yourself.
Think about writing a blog post that stands out the same way you might think of a lovingly prepared meal. Take pleasure in crafting something delicious and thoughtful for your guests, and use your own tastes and intuitions to guide you.
Still facing writer’s block? Take a look at our post “How to Create Epic Content: Writing Tips for People Who Hate to Write.”