It’s true- there are over 2 million blog posts being written every single day. So how do you engage readers in this era of short attention spans and information overload? The only way of effectively doing this is by creating unique content. But as our clients always ask us, “is any content really unique in today’s day and age?”
Of course, most topics under the sun have already been written about. But unique content doesn’t mean you have to a unique topic. What it means is that you have to bring your unique perspective to the topic, whether that’s in the way you structure your article or the personality you bring to your content.
In fact, writing content in a voice that’s interesting and unique can put a fresh spin on even the most mundane topics. So without further ado, here’s our pick of the 7 most effective ways to give your content more personality.
Tip 1: Don’t write, talk
Does that sound confusing?
Believe it or not, this is one of the simplest ways to give your content more personality. Unfortunately, ever since school, we’ve been taught that’s there’s a difference between how we speak and how we write. So long-winded sentences, extensive vocabulary, and complex ideas meant you were a better writer. But that simply isn’t true. When you create content today, it has only one main purpose— to engage the reader. So a simple technique is to just imagine your reader is standing in front o you and you’re having a conversation with them. The words will be simple and direct; and will flow naturally. And your content will automatically become so much more engaging.
Tip 2: Tell a powerful story
Humans have been telling stories since the dawn of civilization, and there’s a reason for that. Stories immediately hook the reader and capture interest. Of course, you’re not always writing a compelling narrative. Sometimes, you’re writing a 1000-word guide on which building materials to use. Even in that case, use anecdotes. Anecdotes are an effective way of transforming a drab and dry piece. Every time you feel the pace is slowing down try and use a compelling anecdote.
Of course, you need to find an anecdote that is both interesting but also relevant to the point you’re making. Also try and sprinkle them through the content without going overboard. Too many anecdotes can be jarring and take attention away from the meat of the content.
Tip 3: Craft a detailed buyer persona
A buyer persona is basically a detailed account of an average reader of your blog. Put some time and effort into cultivating a buyer persona so that you’re able to understand your audience better than anyone else. Figure out who your reader is; how old they are, what gender they belong to, what their income is, whether they have kids, where they went to school, what their hobbies are, and so on. Once you start writing, always keep this buyer persona in mind and address your post to them. You’ll notice your writing immediately becomes more intimate, personalized, and effective.
Tip 4: Tug at the heartstrings
Jonah Berger analysed over 7000 articles from the New York Times to figure out what made a particular piece of content engaging. He found that stories that provoked an emotional response in readers — whether that was empathy, joy, frustration, pain, or even anger — were far more likely to be shared than stories that weren’t high on emotional content.
If you’re stuck wondering how to make your staid content idea evoke an emotional response, just think of it from the reader’s point of view. Which pain point of theirs are you addressing with this piece? Why will they value what you have to say? Once you figure this out, writing an emotion-driven piece shouldn’t be hard.
Tip 5: Formatting
The right formatting is just as important as the actual words. You need to understand that in this age of frenetic content consumption, readers don’t always “read” content. Sometimes, they just scan it. So making your content easily scannable is the key.
Formatting is actually one of the easiest tools to pick up. For starters, keep your paragraphs short; ideally no more than 100 words. This helps break the monotony for readers. Another technique is using subheadings to break down the text and let the readers know what’s coming next. Other techniques include using paragraph spacing, emphasising important words and phrases by putting them in italics, using em and en dashes, and parentheses.
Tip 6: Be interested in the topic
This one can be tricky, especially for those of us who are professional writers. You may not always get to work on content ideas that you find inspiring or even interesting. But the trick is to move past this. The reason you’re writing that piece of content is because it will add value to someone who’s going to read it. Which means that just because you don’t find the topic interesting, doesn’t mean no one else does.
Instead of writing on a topic you don’t care about, take some time out to do your research. Not research on the topic, but rather research about and around the topic. Keep doing this till you find something about the topic that piques your interest. You’ll create a much more authentic piece if you’re actually passionate about what you’re writing.
Tip 7: Break the rules
When it comes to modern content, you don’t need to be a stickler for grammar rules. Starting a sentence with “and” or “but” is perfectly acceptable if it drives your point home better. As is using sentence fragments and even run-on sentences. The idea is to be unique, authentic, and relatable. Your customer needs to understand and identify with what you have to say — and if some rules get broken in the process, don’t sweat it.
These tactics are fairly simple to implement, but they can really transform your writing if you let them. Have you tried any of these techniques, and did they work for you? Are there any other useful tactics we’ve missed out on? Let us know in the comments below.