Some kids were unpopular in school – they were gawky, not socially skilled, and not in the “in” group. Funny how things change.Many of the kids who were unpopular in those days are now “killing it” in their careers. They found their footing and “took off,” because they developed their skills and talents.
Popular bloggers didn’t get that way by just having great writing skills. And even if you add great topics into the mix, the formula still is not adding up to star status. No, the missing ingredient that separates blog posts that are “ho-hum”from the stunners, is creativity. Popular blogs are written by people who add something creative to each one of their posts. And, in most cases, there are sparks of creativity throughout their posts.
Nature or Nurture?
Creativity is a hard trait to narrow down. Certainly, some people just have that part of their brain in overdrive and can punch out quips and unique words and sentences “on a dime.” Others, who tend to be more logical and serious, have a tough time getting creative “juices” flowing. But this doesn’t mean they can’t develop that part of their brains. It takes time and practice. In the meantime, though, you are a blogger who needs to get creative. How do you do it? Well, here are six tips that might help. And, as you work at them, you will find that your own talents will grow too.
The verdict is in – titles are probably the most important factor in persuading someone to read your post. Newspaper journalists have known this for a long time. People read headlines and then decide whether they want to read the article or not. Likewise, people read blog titles and decide whether to read the posts or not. It makes sense, then, that some work has to be done to come up with the most creative title possible. It has to intrigue, it must be pretty short, and it must hold a promise of something important to come. It might be a bit controversial or it might be a bit suggestive. If you know your audience, you will know their sense of humor, their sophistication, and you should use this information as you formulate your title.
You may struggle with titles. But there is help in the way of several title generator tools. You enter a keyword or keyword phrase, and the tool will generate a list of suggestions. Some will let you identify tone as well – humorous, shocking, etc. You won’t want to use the exact title (remember, others are using these tools too), but you will get lots of great ideas that you can then tweak.
2. Shock and Awe
Once you have your title, you need to follow journalism’s lead again. Begin your post with something that will shock (e.g., an amazing statistic), inspire (a short anecdote perhaps), or make your reader smile/laugh (maybe a short but topic-related joke). Your first sentence or two must engage the reader, so he wants to read on. Here are two examples:
- 14 million children in the U.S. face food insecurity every day.
- The brain processes visual information 60 thousand times faster than text.
Think hard about your first sentence or two. Try to make it a whammy. Either shock your readers or present something to which they can easily relate and that will “connect” with them right away.
3. Visuals and Media
This is a fast-paced world, and people want their information easily and immediately. If you can say something with images or video instead of with words, do it. Infographics are great for communicating information and data; photos with great quotes superimposed on them can be inspiring; videos have now become the preferred method of getting information. 85% of people online watch videos. If you have a smartphone and a good video editing tool, you can create a great video for yourself and make it look pretty professional. Or you can get a semi-professional team to help.
Dollar Shave Club spent $2500 to create a video that went viral, put that company “on the map,” resulted in soaring subscription sales, and creatively packaged its value and benefit to its audience. Its blog, “Bathroom Minutes” is a fun read. A boring product (razor blades) not so boring anymore.
4. Tell Stories (Or Get Your Customers to)
People love stories, and this is a great creative way to pique interest in your blog. Jack Daniels invited its followers to submit their weirdest bar stories ever and then named a winner. ModCloth, a women’s clothing retailer, asks its customers to submit their photos and stories all the time. WD-40 has asked it customers to submit stories of unique uses for its product.User-generated content makes life easier for you and attracts!
You can tell your own stories, stories about your team, and the story of your brand as well. And if you can find a popular news story to that you can creatively weave into a blog post, so much the better.
5. Go Interactive
Anytime your audience can participate in your blog in some way, you will get readers/viewers and more shares.You can publish an interactive infographic, so readers can click on elements of it and get more information. Here is an infographic titled, “The enlightened Happy Hour. Readers can click on each drink and find calorie count, ingredients, and amount of alcohol.
Other interactivity might include surveys and quizzes. You see them on Facebook all the time. Put them in your blog posts, and drive people to them via creatively written teasers on your social media channels.
6. Use Humor When Possible
Obviously, a funeral home is not going to incorporate humor into its blog. But for most other products and services, there are opportunities for humor, whether verbal or visual. Memes are a great example of visual humor. You don’t have to limit them to your social media posts – add them to your blog posts as well. And this tip doesn’t necessarily require that you come up with the humor on your own. You can use the humor of others (giving credit, of course). Even Shakespeare added comic relief in his tragedies – you can spice up a serious topic with humor – readers will appreciate that.
This article is presented by Janet Anthony, she is a blogger from Kansas City who has been writing professionally for five years now. She mostly writes about blogging, social media, and internet marketing. Her motto is “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows”.