20 Jul 2017
Bored to Tears? Here’s the Cure
Remember when published content often felt rigid and dry back in the 1990s and early 2000s? This was mainly an attempt to keep things strictly professional, as the internet wasn’t quite as social as it is today.
Then, slowly but surely, content publishers realized they weren’t writing articles for humorless robots. Thank baby Jesus.
This has gradually led to a more casual approach, particularly among personal blogs and even many high-profile brands.
Fun Content = High Retention Rate
It’s no wonder publishers have started to make their articles pop in creative ways; publishing content is not just about spreading knowledge, but also keeping readers highly engaged in the process.
This brings me to today’s topic: How to make your content much more fun and relatable.
This article is ideal for:
- New bloggers who wish to learn how to start a blog in style, making their first articles stand out from the get-go.
- Established publishers who wish to spice things up and add a little twist to their content strategy.
Let’s get started!
1. Use a Rating System
A rating system allows you and/or readers to “score” published content as a way of providing feedback and increasing interaction.
This largely depends on what type of content your blog publishes, such as product reviews or a comparison post.
For example, many writers enjoy exploring freelance platforms such as Fiverr, TextBroker, among others. If you’re in the habit of reviewing such places, an attractive rating system will likely complement and even strengthen your article.
Likewise, let’s say you have an extensive Q&A page on your blog dedicated to answering tough freelance questions. A rating system would allow users to ‘Like’ or ‘Dislike’ your answers and help you tweak them depending on overall feedback.
It’s little things like these that subtly make your content more engaging and fun, even if results are not immediately noticeable.
Rating plugins for your WordPress blog include:
2. Gamify Your Blog
Gamification refers to the implementation of game-like features and other interactive goodies.
For instance, readers may gain badges and points simply for interacting on your website in different ways. Interactions may include registering to your blog, logging in, posting an article, sharing it online, commenting, and much more.
Gamification can get very complex depending on your creative juices. Let’s say, for example, that you create multiple “levels” for blog commenters:
Level 1: Commenting Newborn
Level 2: Toddler
Level 3: Chatty-Kathy
Level 4: Word Master
People would reach each level after achieving a set amount of comments (set by you). Once someone reaches a high level, you could then reward them with an Amazon gift card or anything of your choice to acknowledge their contributions.
This naturally makes your content more fun, and satisfied visitors could share your blog with friends as a result.
Many websites, such as Reddit.com, use a “Karma” system where users gain points merely for posting and commenting.
This seemingly painless action has many of them hooked for no apparent reason….. But guess what? It works, and users keep aiming for a higher score.
List of gamification plugins for WordPress include:
The above section actually deserves its own article someday, and could serve as one of many effective blogging tips to find success.
3. Leverage the Power of GIFs
Have you ever wanted to make your blog more fun without relying exclusively on written content?
Even if you don’t use them often, consider the power of good old-fashioned GIFs.
Let’s say you run an entertainment blog based on anything pop culture.
Let’s also say you often post humorous and upbeat content for your audience.
Of course the occasional GIF would be tremendously ideal in this case, if you know where to fit it.
Much like Emojis/Emoticons, GIFs used to be all the rage in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Now they have made a gigantic comeback thanks to easier online communication. We have phone texting, Facebook, and advanced discussion forums, which has led people to try and get their message across in witty and fun ways…
As a blogger, you should embrace animated GIFs by including them in your articles and even on newsletters – especially if they’re humorous.
These natural attention-grabbers can remind your audience that you’re a fun, down-to-earth human being… just like them.
Are you publishing a highly positive article? Then don’t be afraid to use something like this:
And while we’re at it…
4. Be Naturally Humorous
Have you noticed how the average commercial tends to rely on humor?
Well, there’s a reason for it: Humor is one of the oldest, most powerful marketing techniques in existence.
And it’s safe to say that everyone loves a good laugh, so it’s always a match made in heaven.
I’d like to emphasize “naturally” humorous here, as there’s nothing more obvious than someone trying too hard. Show your funny bone as long as the situation calls for it (you’ll instinctively know when).
You don’t always have to come up with your own humor. Quoting the occasional line from a known comedian works wonders.
Speaking of which…
5. Bring Your Post to Life with Quotes
Do you normally find news stories more fascinating when reading a first-hand account of something that happened? Absorbing a quote straight from the person in question adds an extra level of authenticity and intrigue to your content.
Here’s are some ideas you could use for your posts:
Start *every article* with a heartfelt quote:
Imagine you had a fitness blog, and every single article starts with a kickass, health-related or otherwise motivational quote.
This could eventually become your “signature” — in other words, this is what you are known for. Many regular readers would be delighted to click on your article and be met with today’s witty quote.
Make references to famous people… and their quotes:
We tend to idolize/admire/respect known figures, even in subtle ways. For example, who doesn’t have at least *some* kind of respect for the late Maya Angelou or Nelson Mandela? Even if said respect is casual or minor, it’s still very much there.
Using known quotes from well-liked figures will often make your piece more relatable and emotional, thus making your content more fun to read.
- Look for dozens of quotes using a search engine near you
- Save them all as an email draft or a text file (for easy access)
- Grab a quote from this pool every time you need it; make it a habit
It’s much easier to stick to this habit when the job is only done once (in this case, finding them all in one sitting). Don’t forget to give credit and keep Fair Use in mind.
6. Embed a Survey
Surveys can make a traditional article more interactive and help readers feel involved. It’s almost like a small, fun quiz where there’s no wrong answer.
These are particularly welcome when you’re looking to spark a conversation or when gathering data, depending on your niche subject.
An entertainment blog could simply ask, “What cancelled TV show should make a comeback?”
A freelance writing blog may ask, “What’s your biggest tip for finding an awesome client?”
Ideal survey plugins and services include:
How often should you embed a survey in your posts?
That depends on your niche/audience. An pop culture site may post a weekly survey asking about the latest Game of Thrones or The Voice episode, for example.
7. Implement Easter Eggs
Easter eggs are hidden things designed to be found with the help of a close eye and an open mind.
So, how can you insert the occasional easter egg into your content?
You could have contests and giveaways by having readers go on a virtual scavenger hunt throughout your content. Anyone who finds a certain word or phrase (specified by you) gets to win the prize.
Do me a favor: Scroll up to the above section that talks about using GIFs and take a very good look at the first five lines.
Can you spot the hidden crossword?
You should see a very familiar word emerge (and you just won the prize!)
Let’s say you have a $29/month membership site. You could provide subtle clues to a specific question, which can be hidden within image names and other creative places. Those who find it get a major discount to your website.
Using easter eggs is perhaps my favorite of the bunch. And while this tactic probably wouldn’t be used frequently, it can make your content stand out and engage readers a little more in the long-run.
Creating fun-to-read content is both essential and highly effective, as it prompts more people to share it among friends and even come back for a second read. This leads to higher engagement, email marketing leads, and overall success from all angles.
Can you add other creative tips on making published content stick out like a sore thumb?