This post is by Positive Writer contributor, Frank McKinley.
When I was a kid, there was no such thing as email. We didn’t have a family computer in the living room.
There were no cellphones either. In fact, the only mobile phones I saw were on TV detective shows (and those were only as mobile as the cars they were in).
So how on earth did we communicate with our faraway relatives in that primitive world?
We wrote letters.
Why We Loved Getting Letters
I didn’t have a secretary when I was in middle school. I had to write each letter word by word with pen and paper.
I could spend a whole afternoon doing it.
It was fun to write letters and those who got them would always write me back. They’d say things like,
- “I loved reading your letter. It made me laugh all afternoon.”
- “It was so good to hear from you! Your letter made my day.”
- “It was so sweet of you to think of me. I wish you’d come and visit.”
It was the next best thing to sitting on the porch with that loved one who lived 200, 500, or 1,000 miles away. Long distance phone calls could get expensive quick so we avoided those like we avoided snake bites.
Let me ask you this – are your blog posts as exciting to read as letter from a friend?
Do people eagerly await your next nugget of wisdom?
Or do you have to beg people to come to your site to read what you have to say?
In this post, you’ll learn how to make every blog post you write as exciting as that letter you rip open at the mailbox!
What Makes Blog Posts Dull
My platform personality is the Professor.
The Professor loves the facts. He loves to learn why things are the way they are. Then he finds great joy in sharing that knowledge with anyone who will listen.
The challenge for us Professor types is keeping our thrilling knowledge interesting to our audience.
I can’t tell you how many times I sat in a college class and struggled to keep my mind from drifting to a sandy beach on the Southern coast of Georgia.
Facts in themselves are boring. Without an application, they’re as relevant as buggy whips to a new car.
Ready to root out the boring in everything you write?
7 Ways to Make Your Blog Posts Sizzle
1) Make it Personal
When you write a letter, you don’t make it generic.
You have a specific person in mind – a person with a name, an address, and a host of human qualities.
I wrote my grandmother, my aunt, and my cousins.
When I got older, and friends moved away, I wrote them to keep them up to date and find out what they were doing.
Write your posts with a particular reader in mind. You’ve heard this time and again, and it’s true. When you write this way, it will be more conversational and less boring.
When you treat your reader like you’d treat a friend, you’ll have more friends (and followers) to write to.
2) Tell Stories
Want to make a point?
You could just state in a sentence for us to read.
It might even be powerful and memorable as it glistens on the page.
But it won’t mean as much without a story to make it come alive.
Old Aesop did this for your kids. He’d have a character run into some kind of problem based on a choice he made. As you hear the story, you can see how silly the consequences of the choice are.
Yet the character seems clueless about it until it hurts.
Maybe you find yourself like you would at the movies when the star of the film is about to get beaten in the head by his adversary.
“Hey, look out. He’s about to club you! You better move or you’ll die!”
Wisdom is more powerful when we see it applied.
When we hear a good story, we get emotionally involved. When that happens, we:
- remember the main point more clearly
- take action based on our emotional response to the story
- see ourselves in the story doing what the hero is doing
Don’t just make points. Wrap them in stories.
3) Make a Difference
I always aimed to make someone’s day better after reading my letter.
When someone comes to your blog, they’re doing it for one of these reasons:
- to get information that will help them accomplish something
- to confirm something they already think is right
- to get rid of a nagging problem that feels like a boulder dragging behind them
Don’t let someone came to your site without trying to WOW them. There are thousands of other blog posts to read. Give them a compelling reason to read yours. Hook them in, and then go for the kill.
What you’ll kill is the pain that makes your reader’s day boring, mundane, or burdensome.
4) Write to Woo
I wrote letters every day when I was courting the woman who would become my wife.
I wrote poems to warm her heart.
I sent notes every day to let her know I was thinking about her.
I reminded her again and again how special she was – and I was specific.
What I was doing was selling myself to her.
Do you want a long-term relationship with your readers?
Tell them how special they are.
Write stories that will help them see themselves in a better light.
Help them see their inner genius and find ways to bring it out.
Do that regularly and you’ll build a loyal following that is larger than your wildest dreams.
5) Be Funny
Nothing brings people together like laughter.
It’s why jokes go viral.
A good joke has some specific qualities. In fact, Persuasion expert Roger Dawson says there are only five jokes in the world.
Exaggeration. A friend of mine and I would complain about the bus ride home from school. I told him it felt like we spent 20 years there every afternoon. By the end of the week, I’d be older than my grandparents.
Puns. I was going to write a stage production about the English language, but it was really just a play on words.
Put downs. My kids have it easy. When I went to school, I had to run fast to avoid being picked up by a pterodactyl on the way. All they have to do is ride a bus that comes right to the door. It’s a wonder the bus driver doesn’t come up the stairs and wake them up.
Silliness. My grandmother wrote me years ago and asked me if I was dating anyone. I replied, “Well, no, I haven’t found that special someone yet. You might say I’m sampling but not ready to order.”
She wrote back and said she laughed about that for days.
Surprise. What if a gorilla popped out of your birthday cake instead of a beautiful girl?
You’d remember that forever, wouldn’t you?
If you can weave some humor into your posts, you’ll make your points with more impact and leave an impression that can last forever.
6) Fill your work with reasons to read to the end.
Storytellers use cliffhangers to keep you turning the page.
TV broadcasters dangle an unfinished thought or scene right before the commercial break so you don’t flip the channel.
Let your stories unfold bit by bit as you tell them. Fill them with cliffhangers that leave us hungry for what’s next.
If you’re teaching with your writing, don’t just lay out cold hard facts and data. Use a story to give us those golden nuggets – one morsel at a time.
When you do, we’ll remember a lot more later and have more fun along the way.
7) Use emotional words.
Research tells us we buy stuff on emotion first, then we justify our purchases with logic.
Consider this. You didn’t just buy that shiny new car because it was the logical thing to do. You bought it because you felt good behind the wheel. You sunk into the leather seats, drank in the new car smell, and imagined yourself zooming down the open road past breathtaking scenery – you know, the kind people post on Facebook to make their friends jealous.
People do just about everything for emotional reasons. NLP experts say we do everything to accomplish two things:
- avoid pain.
- gain pleasure.
If you want someone to buy your product, join your cause, or even agree with your point, you’ve got to stir their emotions.
Otherwise, they’ll pass by you like yesterday’s garbage.
Your Future as a More Engaging Writer
If you want to enjoy massive success as a writer, you got to connect with readers.
You’ve just learned 7 fantastic ways to do that.
Use them all and you’ll have more posts that get shares, comments, and buzz.
You’ll create and sell more products because you’ll be a better marketer.
And most importantly, you build influence, and that will open doors to even greater opportunity down the road.
Now Do This
Write your next blog post as if you were writing a letter to a friend.
Create a profile of the friend who would benefit from what you have to say. Imagine how you want her to feel when she reads your post. Then work backward to make the post accomplish that goal.
Share your success in the comments.
Have questions about what you just read? Ask them here and let’s get you unstuck.