Having fun with other people’s blogs

Everybody’s got one. Some love it. Some hate it, but there’s always a need for more of it. Yes, I’m talking about blogs. Fresh content really does improve your search engine rankings, but it takes time. Writing blog posts also takes time, and let’s face it, even if you’re passionate about plumbing or gaga about glazing, writing about it can be a bore. As for actually reading what’s been written, it can get terribly ho-hum. How can we break out of the mold?

Any blog can be fun to write and fun to read

As a website writer, I get a lot of blogging work. I have the online equivalent of the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker to help out. In some lines of business, there’s always new information to share, but what can we do when confronted by something solid and uncomplicated?

Yesterday, I had to write about agricultural sheds. I’ve gone into galvanizing, I’ve fussed about fodder storage, I’ve murmured about milking sheds and I’ve prattled about planning a shed. Now what? Let’s think about my client’s clients. What are they interested in? Presumably, agriculture is what blows their hair back. But how can we link super-fast balers or self-driving tractors to sheds? We wouldn’t want to confuse people or algorithms as to what the site’s really about.

Humor often does the trick. It doesn’t have to be wildly hilarious; it can even be a little lame, but even if it only raises a smirk, the blog post at least raised something other than a yawn. Finding the humor in an otherwise dry article about past participles, for example, can be tricky, but at least your readers might keep reading, and they’ll actually get some useful information by doing so.

Why even lame humor is good for you

At some time in my weird and wonderful career, I was a teacher of sorts. I had classes full of bored adults sponsored by employers or the government, and I had to impart gems of knowledge to them. I noticed that in assessments, my students always remembered the information that I managed to get across in a humorous way. I may have got a little risque in my explanation of male and female irrigation couplings, but those guys and gals never forgot the info that went with it.

Humor is memorable. Your blog shouldn’t just be about SEO; it should be written for people. You don’t want them to read and forget. You want them to read and remember. Specifically, you want them to remember you in a positive way. Yes, you can do this by imparting interesting or valuable information, but what really gets remembered is that lame wisecrack.

Humor is challenging, but fun to write. I write all day. I’ll be honest, I like it, but it’s still a job, and quite a tiring one at that. I like all the work, even having to write the same article about dumpsters (I kid you not) 15 times in different words. It’s a word-game, really. But when you let me have FUN, real fun, with words, I really start to enjoy myself. Have you ever noticed that people do better when they’re doing something they enjoy? The end result is something I liked doing and others like reading, at least, so I’m told.

Impressive professionalism doesn’t have to be boring

No matter how high-level your line of business, you’re still talking to people. If your blog text is so boring or difficult to read that people’s eyes just slide off the page, they aren’t going to read it. Even if you don’t choose humor, the rules for grabbing attention are easy to follow.

  • Get your reader thinking “This is me”.
  • Get your reader thinking “I need this.”
  • Tell your reader how to get it the hard way (if there is one).
  • Tell your reader why doing it the easy way (by using your company) is better.

Long, complicated, jargon-laden sentences just put people off. I used to work in a trade where jargon was used a lot. Most of it was unnecessary. It made our trade appear less appealing than it actually was. Instead of making us look clever, it made us look impossibly difficult to work with.

Oh, there are times when the jargon did come in handy. You use it when others already speak that language. But if you’re offering a professional service, you need clarity, and you have to assume your prospective clients don’t know the jargon yet. If they did, they wouldn’t be coming to you! Keep it simple, and if you can make them smile, you may even win their hearts!


About andreadurrheim

I'm an ex-horticulturist turned horticultural journalist turned radio broadcaster and general freelance writer. I'm hoping to promote my work through my blog and find out more about other writers too!
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