The setup is simple: you want your blog content to be fun to read. It doesn’t always have to be funny, but it must be enjoyable. Now, let’s say you were going to write this post on how to make your content more fun to read–how would you start it? How would you set your audience up to be ready for the post?
Let’s find out. Here are two options for the opening line for this post. Pick one, and see what happens:
1. I turned the corner, and there it stood, roaring and monstrous. I hadn’t seen it in 5 years. I was terrified. (Click here if you choose this one.)
2. I had a dream of self-employment for five years, but I always managed to ignore it until one day I decided to consider it. (Click here if you choose this one.)
We all have different tastes, but as a blog reader, I’d probably grab that first opening line, and read on. Curiosity has me wondering what happened next, and the first option is fun to read. As a writer, though, the second one is easier to write because it sounds like a nice, logical start to informative blog content, or an inspiring blog post. Thinking of things in terms of storytelling isn’t our default setting, especially when writing content for our blogs.
How To Make Your Content Fun To Read
I’m not comedian, and I don’t have to be. Fun to read doesn’t always mean funny.
There are definitely days I miss the boat when it comes to making blog content fun to read, but there are days I want very much, even under time constraints, to write something that readers will have fun with, despite my lack of comedic skills. Here’s how I write blog content that is fun to read:
1. Find funny inspiration from an outsider. Frankly, my dad has provided me with some of the best posts on my personal blog as far as humor is concerned. He’s a funny guy without trying to be, which makes it even more laughable. He says hilarious things in otherwise benign situations, with completely deadpan delivery. Now, you’re not going to write about your dad on your marketing blog, but you might find a humorous comment or take on life that you can tuck into your work from the people and experiences in your life. This leads to the next point…
2. Things that are mundane are funny. Jerry Seinfeld is a great example of using the mundane for humor. He could get people laughing by talking about the most commonplace things. Why would we laugh at that? Well, he was a great comedian of course, but there is another reason: readers are thrilled to know there are others like them. We latch onto the idea that other people get frustrated or annoyed about the same things in daily life, and we laugh that someone feels the same. Sometimes it’s OK write about the mundane, the thing you figure your reader doesn’t care to read about because it’s so obvious or unimportant. Mention the petty frustrations and annoyances as part of your larger blog post, and treat it with a light touch to help your reader laugh their frustrations away. You basically give readers, with your blog content, the tools to find humor in frustrating situations the next time they are faced with it.
3. Give out portable quick tips. A blog post that has 2,000 words can be a lot to process. Giving your reader quick tips or bite-sized summaries throughout your post makes it easier to digest. It’s a little bit like mental white space: you sometimes need a breather from the concentration required to process a larger, complicated concept. This also rewards the readers who rely on scanning, particularly if you visually set apart the quick tips.
4. Take liberty with an image or idea. What if William Shakespeare spoke disparagingly about your blog? He just may have, and we have the image to prove it. Juxtaposing a familiar image with startling text is the thing internet memes are made of. While you might not be creating a viral meme, you can make your post more memorable if you clash an image that the reader is familiar with against words they weren’t expecting.
5. Make inanimate objects or concepts animate. In our opening line example, I pretended that the subverted dream was a monstrous thing that would have to be confronted some day. If you think (and write) about an inanimate object as if it were an actual being, you’ll find your writing gears shift much more easily into story-telling mode. It’s more interesting to read about the dream that wouldn’t die as a huge hulking beast rather than a vague concept that someone had held onto that required three action bullet points to achieve. It is also a great way to think differently about a topic and approach it with new ideology.
6. Get some cartoons going. Consider the fact that you might have someone on your team that can draw humorous cartoons. Illustrate your posts once in a while with a cartoon or something besides your usual slick graphics. No one on your team is into drawing? Try BitStrips on Facebook, or other cartoon-generating methods. Cartoons and sketches are a great way to tell the story behind the “serious” instruction your blog post is going to give. It’s especially fun if you have actual team members featured in the cartoons, because it humanizes things.
7. Make your post interactive. The easiest way to make your post interactive for your reader is using a plugin like our free Click To Tweet, creating one-click quotes and snappy sayings that your readers can share as they read. It works well for both of you. You get the shares, the exposure, and your reader gets great content to share in his or her Twitter feed. But, if you’re up for something a bit more in-depth, maybe you’ll make a narrative blog post where the reader can choose from several endings. Give your reader a little interactive adventure.
8. Keep a smile on your face. This sounds strange, but it oddly works. The expression we have on our face not only mirrors what we’re thinking, but it feeds it. When I’m drawing cartoons, for example, people watching me can tell what I’m drawing because my face matches the expression I’m drawing. I do it because I more accurately draw the expression if I have it on my face at the time. A smile changes how you write. It pulls your mood up. And people around you will think you’re up to something. :-)
9. Take it easy with the stock images. We’ve already covered this one in depth, but the idea is to avoid using images in your blog post that people are used to seeing. This might include overused memes, too. Remember, familiarity breeds contempt (and a lack of attention). It’s more fun for your reader to see something new they haven’t seen before. Don’t think of your images as just something you tack on because that’s what bloggers do now. The image is part of the story. Would you just grab a paragraph of random text and put it into your blog post content? Then why would you treat your images in that way?
10. Don’t worry about offending. If you have the courage, the platform, and permission from your team or boss, say what you gotta say. Controversial blog posts are a tricky business, but they are also a great read because they confront the usual pablum and slice and dice it with words. Readers will eat that up.
12. Make fun of yourself. Poking fun at yourself lets you illustrate an issue without the risk of offending readers, because you’re aiming at yourself. You might not get away with linking to a blog post and ripping it to shreds for what’s bad about it, but you could do it to yourself without repercussions.
13. Do not use passive voice. Passive voice is one of the grammar-sounding things we don’t want to hear about, but passive voice is one of the quickest ways to make your blog post boring and monotonous. You should use active voice (where the subject does the action) as much as possible. Which sounds better, “we lit the box on fire” or “the box was lit on fire by us”? The first sentence is good, strong, active. The second is like lukewarm and limp spaghetti noodles. Passive voice slips into writing when the subject isn’t clear, such as a scholarly paper (“the beaker was heated”). You’ll also see it in informative blog posts because it is less aggressive and doesn’t accuse anyone specifically of action. “Social media is often used wrongly by experts” is safer than saying “Experts use social media wrong.” Don’t use passive voice if you can avoid it. Keep your copy active, direct, and without the fuddling words passive voice brings.
14. Cute works. Put a cute (kitten, puppy, baby animal, or bunny with a waffle on its head) video/image somewhere in it. People like that. It works. No further instructions on this one.
Making your blog post fun to read should be a regular consideration as you write. It’s easy to get caught up writing for word counts, search terms, and keywords, forgetting that it might be nice if it were fun for the reader, too. Not every post is a candidate for fun; sometimes it’s all about getting down to business and informing readers.
But once in a while, go for a laugh as you inform them.