This guest post is by Bamboo Forest, of Tick Tock Timer
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.
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.
I don’t know..
I like the demon kind of thing. Though this will not entirely make it unforgettable, nor will a quote..
I enjoyed reading this light, breezy, informative post. All these ideas are very worthy of implementing in some way or another. I agree with the notion that a good blog post needs to contain a variety of key elements to really make it shine and give it a lasting shimmer:
Spacing, no huge paragraphs that scare people away, bold type, italics, quotes, font size variety, all add up to a pleasing visual display. And, of course, the writing has to be decent!
Perhaps encouraging readers to read the blog while enjoying their favorite beverage or a cigar might be fun, for example.
Thanks for sharing your perspective!
Humor. Definitely….humor. Also consider adding teasers at the end of your series posts, so the reader knows to anticipate the next installment (I’m currently doing that with my Inceptions Deceptions series).
Getting a lot of positive emails about it! Making your posts pull people in – it compels them to tell their friends as well. Good stuff!
I like the tips… The first two tips are reminding me of something…
Surprise is when we distort one’s beliefs about how things should be. “Be a contrarian.” and “Create the unexpected.” are, in my opinion, simply the elements of surprise…
Why is it useful to surprise people?
Well, when we disrupt the patterns of how things should look, people talk about it. They spread the word.
When you go to the store know what to expect. No one is talking about going to the store. However, if you go to the store and see a clown, it surprises you, you do not expect a clown in a store, and you will talk about it to your friends…
If you are chatting to your friends about it, and they will go to see a clown.
The same with blogs. If everyone expects some kind of post, and then they see something new in post that disturbs their patterns they will talk to someone about it, and he will come to see it. :)
Humor and great story telling. I find that my most popular posts are vivid, unexpected or funny stories that really strike at the heart of an idea.
When people have an image in their mind’s eye, they remember it and want to pass it on.
Surprise readers with the unexpected – Works EVERY time.
@ Mikkel: No tactic by itself will make a post unforgettable. I’m providing methods to help people contribute to making that happen.
But more importantly, had the headline been: “5 Techniques That Could Contribute to an Unforgettable Post”, it would have been a terrible headline.
@ Barbara: I’ll have to think about using teasers. I’ve never put much thought into that technique. Sounds like it could be beneficial.
@ Marko: You write,
“Surprise is when we distort one’s beliefs about how things should be.”
Wow. That’s exactly right. Thank you for sharing that.
Your comment is very well said. Sounds like a guest post in itself!
@ Alex: Sound strategy you’re using.
@ JD Ebberly: It certainly does!
Being a contrarian is one of my favorite things to do, and it does tend to make someone a name in their industry. Thanks for the tips.
I laughed out loud at your brother’s second sentence. You hit the nail on the head with that point.
I would say be authentic too. Do not try to pretend, be yourself.
@ Jason: It can be a good thing when you truly believe your stance. Nothing wrong with sharing an opinion that many others disagree with.
@ Elias: Agreed. Authenticity is important, as you’ll be in your best writing voice.
I like them all but my favorite is “3. Use similes and analogies.”
Number 4 is ok but I have no idea how to bring humor to the post, I’m not a very funny guy myself. :(
@ Sayed: Readers will enjoy when you create vivid pictures for them.
You don’t need humor. It’s just one method of many. Use those methods you excel in!
Very good tips! It´s so easy when you write to fall into the trap of just following the old pattern. After a while you are mainly repeating yourself. We need to renew ourselves every once in a while.
I’ve been having fun with the titles… for example, 2 posts I wrote this week.
1) Does this salary make my butt look big? (about earning differences amongst women of underweight vs. overweight)
2) Let me introduce you to Fred….my whisker. – pretty much speaks for itself.
I suppose the other thing that is fun about those posts is making fun of myself with laughter.
@ Tom: Thank you. It is easy to fall into old patterns. I think we should constantly strive to push ourselves as writers.
It’s part of what makes being a content creator so damn fun.
Great ideas. Content is always a king! I have noticed that more conversational writing and valuable information keeps bringing readers.
Btw, I like your tick Tock clock idea, pretty neat! Congratulations on doing a guest post on Problogger!
thank for this nice tips, i made a lot of mistakes on my blog, but now I think i can write on my own and extend the topics to reach more visitors and make some surprise to regular visitors.
This place always give me something to be a better blogger, it is nice to come here more often.
Definitely agree with the humor. And making your topics relatable to everyone. Great post.
Oh yeah, I prefer humor to dry serious drab any day- I write pretty much like I talk and I try to inject humor here and there.
I love the Demon!
I think what I need to work on the most is creating “pictures” with my word.
Interesting techniques I must say. I actually like the one of using humor. It will be great for your blog reader to leave your blog with a smile on the face.
Interesting points. I’ll surely try them for my blog. I have to work hard to make my blog a good place for reader. Thanks for your tips..
“If you try to write for everyone you write for no one.” ~ Brian Clark
Loved this quote. I mostly try to write for myself. Something I have heard or just thought of, trying to make a mental point or trying to establish a point. Dont know how far the road to unforgettable is, but I always thought interacting with the blog readers is one of the most useful way to make your blogs memorable!
I second Elias’ comment – be authentic. Write as if you were having a conversation with somebody in front of you, and your readers are more likely to respond to you.
Of course, this isn’t something you do just to make one post unforgettable – it’s something you have to do consistently in all your posts.
tried all of those and it is not working. may be i am just not lucky
Vicky89 do not forget to be patient as well :)
depending on the kind of blogs, I think be a contrarian is one of the most useful technique to give readers a great experience! discussing and sharing different opinions can always let grow people and it enhances a superior quality of contents.
Very good tips! It´s so easy when you write to fall into the trap of just following the old pattern.
@ Mike: Thank you for the good words. And indeed, it truly is an honor to do a guest post for this awesome blog that has helped so many in blogging, including myself.
@ Santel: Try some surprises! Your readers will enjoy it.
@ Carolee: haha, the demon rocks :D
Reading is one excellent method to improve making more pictures with your words! This is one of the reasons I try to read a lot.
@ Ngozi: If your readers leave with a smile, consider your mission accomplished :D
@ Copywriting: We ALL have to work hard. Writing is a craft and needs to be improved on a daily basis!
@ Aussie Girl: It’s a great quote and one we need to keep in mind as we blog. Interaction with your readers is very beneficial.
@ Luis: I agree that being conversational in your writing style is a great plus.
@ vicky89: Keep reading and keep writing and you’ll get better at all these methods!
@ benedetta: I agree that when readers are exposed to different opinions it can help them grow and use their mind to think more critically.
Sense of humor and beeing able to surprise with your stories,is the shortest way to be succesful,not just blogging but any thing you mean to do. I agree with these two tips. Be contrarian…I don’t know, Perharps I would say better,to start a point of dicussion. Thanks for your tips.
Great tips. Being humorous and creating the unexpected are not easy though.
@ Xavier: You have to be careful when you’re being controversial. But it can be appropriate at times and beneficial for your blog.
@ Ravi: No, they’re not easy. Hell, blogging isn’t easy. But practice, practice, practice, and you’ll get better all the time!
Nice article Bamboo forest. Wel without humor a post realy sucks. In my opinion a blogger should also be entertainer. Writing quotes is good form of entertainment.
Thanks bamboo. Nice article and i agree humor should be in post.
All good points, thanks! I can only hope to reach a level of writing where I don’t need to think about how I’m writing.
Nice post but i dont use the humor aspect but i still get some traffic cominng in.Thanks anyway
WaW , what shall i say about this ?!!! really awsome , i do agree with you , you know when you write and make readers feel like they are with you and you’re reading it for them , specially when you laugh or joke and make that little pause to make them feel good , of course content does matter and its originality is very important !!!!
I have been building a blog for over a year now. My reason for starting it has changed, as marketing has changed. I now get good traffic, plenty of comments and regular subscribers.
But… I want to change the whole theme without losing my content and value. How damaging is this to take my platform and change it over to one of the newer themes. Mine is outdated and needs a new look, but to say I am “wimpy” over it is putting it mildly.
I have loved learning from you blog post. But I can’t seem to find a post relavent to my situation. If you could point me in that direction I would appreciate it.
An active Problogger Reader,
I was wondering, how flexible is word press? I mean, I have often tried to get my posts to be more popular, but I am constricted by the limitations that I really dont have the time to put into my website, and connecting blog.
When do you guys all blog?
[…] 5 Techniques to Make Your Next Post Unforgettable: Is reading your blog like riding a roller coaster? You can either read this post to make it that way, or put all of your readers on a roller coaster. I know which one I’d choose. […]
I’ve used all these ideas in the past few weeks and it really seems to be working well. An added benefit is that it’s more fun to construct posts this way. Changing the rules regarding hits in football is a big topic here right now as is adding instant reply to baseball. Both offered opportunities to be controversial. Very enjoyable. Especially the part about executing the umps in center field during the seventh inning stretch. Can you be too controversial?
Really nice post. I haven’t enough word to discrib that How important this post for me? Hope it will help me to drive my blog bright future ahead. Thanks a lot. I am a new Blogger from Bangladesh. try to write nice articles for my Blog. have a nice day. :)
Thanks for this post. I just wrote a post for tomorrow but had not published it yet, so I went back and added some more interest and humor, really just more of myself and I think it is much better. Thanks again for the tips.
Writing an interesting topic will make a blog post a success. Most of the people are not reading the whole post but they just scan and get some information. A bit of suspense can add spice to their interest.
Thanks for the useful tips. This is something that I tend to struggle with. Painting the picture to make the reader picture in their own minds what I am on about.
Creating interest by throwing in odd bits of information is also a great idea to generate interest.
I will use these points as a guide for writting my next post.
Nice post! These techniques surely seem useful, though they are pretty hard to start using them the moment you finish reading this article. I guess it will take some time for understanding where and when use each of these techniques…
You provided good five tips. I like especially number four and five. I think humor will always catch the attention of anybody.
Really useful tips. All good points, thanks! I will use this points in my next blog.
Great tips. Will try to implement all these. My next post will be unforgettable.